As I think about it, I realize that I will remember this Christmas in moments.
Moment Number One
Since we knew that Nick and Marie had to leave early Christmas Day, we decided to serve brunch instead of our traditional roast beef lunch. We always stay at my mother-in-law's house late on Christmas Eve playing cards and celebrating. So we prepped everything for brunch early. That included frying up two pounds of bacon so all we would need to do on Christmas morning is warm it up. I would just pop it in the oven with the baked french toast and it would be warmed at the same time.
Now, we knew there was a risk involved in cooking the bacon ahead of time. You see, our kids LOVE bacon. There has never, never, never been any leftover bacon in our house. NEVER! If we fried ten pounds of it, they would eat ten pounds of it and ask if there was more. So we waited until they went to the movies on Christmas Eve and fried it. Then we hid it in the refrigerator in an opaque Tupperware container. We only had to keep it hidden less than 24 hours. We thought we would be safe.
After we came home on Christmas Eve, I was sitting at the dining room table checking my email when the kids got hungry. In their words, they wanted "real food," not any of the sweets that were everywhere. They went to the refrigerator searching. I had made a big pot of stew on Friday and the leftovers were right in the front of the refrigerator. I thought they would take it out, warm it up, and snack away. Instead they decided to see what else was in there. They started moving things around and looking in containers and they knocked the bacon container out of the refrigerator. Katy caught it in mid-air before it hit the floor. She opened it and they both looked inside. Then came one of those moments in life where I would have given anything to have had my camera in my hand. As they peeked inside, the looks on their faces resembled the rapture of angels at the nativity. They both looked as though they actually heard angels singing alleluias. They turned as one and looked at me beseechingly. I informed them that it was for Christmas brunch. They both reached in and said "only one piece." I didn't have the heart to refuse them. Oh how I wish there had been a camera handy.
Moment Number Two
We were getting dressed for the six o'clock mass on Christmas Eve. The family royalty (Our Little Princess and Her Highness) were last. When we put Our Little Princess' dress on, the front seam unraveled. We took her to church in a red dress held together with safety pins and ribbon. She still looked gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I made both dresses.
|Our Little Princess & Her Highness under Me-Maw's tree|
Moment Number Three
This led to moment number three. We arrived at church in the rain and cold to discover that there was no power. The candles were lit and people in the pews were holding cell phone flashlights. We squeezed into the family pew and realized that we had lost one of Her Highness' beautiful new red velvet shoes. No chance of finding it in the dark. Then, just as the nativity play was about to start, the lights came on. Divine intervention? I think so. Every Christmas Eve, the children of our very small parish present "Las Posadas," a reenactment of Mary and Joseph going from house-to-house searching for a room. Liberty, our eight-year-old niece, was an angel this year. Again, I didn't have my camera. This one is from my sister-in-law's cell phone. That's Libby on the right.
|Libby is the angel on the right|
Moment Number 4
On December 17, our nephew Chase, graduated with a fine arts degree from North Texas State University. Katy and Travis had expressed interest in buying one of the paintings that were part of his senior show. When we were opening gifts on Christmas Eve, everyone was very surprised when he gave them one as a gift. Katy was actually moved to tears. His paintings are beautiful and valuable. It was quite a gift and they will treasure it always.
|Travis with painting from Chase|
Moment Number 5
Watching the young men in the family open their gifts in their annual weapon's exchange. That's right, they exchange weapons. After all, this is Texas ... they hunt, they fish, they kill things ... Merry Christmas!
|The Annual Weapons Exchange - Clockwise from left Casey & Chase, Dustin & Nick, Nick and McKenzie|
Moment Number 6
Watching Our Little Princess opening presents and checking out her stocking. This is the first year she's really old enough to understand opening presents and we had as much fun watching her as she did opening gifts.
|Our Little Princess|
Moment Number 7
Playing cards with family and having my nephew Casey ask me if I'm one of those "tree hugging, save the world, liberals." To which I replied with a smile "Why yes! Yes I am!"
|Chase & Casey|
Moment Number 8
Seeing how comfortably Nick and Marie handle the baby girls. It shows me that they will be wonderful parents to their own children.
|Marie & Nick both with Her Highness|
Moment Number 9
Looking up as we waited to start opening gifts at my Mother-In-Law's on Christmas Eve and realizing that both mother and daughter were having a bottle.
|Katy & Her Highness both enjoy a bottle|
Moment Number 10
Having the entire family together for Christmas ... truly priceless and the best gift of all! Not only did we have our entire family at home, my Mother-In-Law had her entire family right down to the great-grandchildren ... every single family member was there on Christmas Eve. It was a rare treasure.
|Travis, Katy holding Our Little Princess, Grams holding Her Highness, Grandad, Nick & Marie|
|Clockwise from left -- Danny, Patrick (Grandad), Ruth, Gary, Janelle, Laurie|
Unfortunately it was raining and cold outside and there was no place we could get a group picture of everyone together. Maybe next time.
So that's how our Christmas was. Not big and not spectacular, but full of excellent moments. It's the small moments that make life grand and this holiday was made up of many moments. And all these moments made up a wonderful holiday.