Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Our wonderful neighbors, Nancy and Lance, came over and gave Molly her Christmas present a couple days early this year so she could use it while she was out of school.  Molly has really been into drawing and painting this year, and their gift was perfect!

 a whole art set, paints, canvases, and an easel!  so fun!

 On the 22nd, Molly and I went to the Ryman for the Amy and Vince Christmas concert.  I've been going to these for over 20 years with friends and family and this year was Molly's first time.  Amy Grant is one of my all time favorite performers & Nashvillians!

 On Christmas Eve we made cookies for Santa using the new {huge} reindeer cookie cutter we purchased at Williams Sonoma.  It was a little difficult to keep the cookies all together, but they were still delicious!

 On Christmas Eve we went to church with my brother and his family.  Christmas Eve service is one of my favorite moments of the year, but my church hasn't had a service for a couple years which makes me so sad:(  But, it's always nice to be with the cousins.
 This whole week Molly has been bursting with excitement and joy for the season!  She was especially excited on Christmas Eve!
 The candlelight service is so pretty...and the kids favorite part!

 After church we went to Panda Express, Molly's favorite restaurant!  It was fun to have Chinese for Christmas Eve dinner...even better that I didn't have to cook anything!

 We got home in time to make up the reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter) and spread it on the front yard.  

 Preparing for Santa Claus!  Molly put out cookies and carrots and checked the chimney for any obstructions that might interfere with Santa getting through.  

 She made a beautiful Nativity picture for Santa or "Mr. C"
 and what do you know...Santa came!

 And this is how it happened...

Remember how excited I told you Molly was??? 
She went to sleep {finally} about 10:30 on Christmas Eve and that gave Santa time to arrive and put out everything.  Then at around 12:30 I was putting some final touches on Santa's masterpiece (adding a bow to a stuffed animal dog) and I turned around and Molly was up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Her eyes were wide and she said, "What are you doing?"  And, I quickly put down the dog and announced, "Santa came!!!!!!!!!!!"  
I was almost caught red handed, it was perfect timing...any earlier and there would have been lots of explaining to do!  

Since it was technically Christmas...we went ahead and woke up Mama Maze and had Christmas at 12:30 a.m..................................................

 It actually worked out good, we went to bed at 2:00 a.m. and then I woke up at 6:00 to start cooking Christmas brunch for the family.  Eddie's family and Granny Maze arrived at 11:00 and I had cooked so much food!  

 The kids were too excited to eat, but the adults had fun!

 Later that night, I cooked more food and we had more snacks.  By the time Christmas was over I was broke and exhausted!  ha!
 This was a frozen pistachio cheesecake that was so delicious!  I almost forgot it was in the freezer!

All in all it was a great Christmas!  Molly is 7 years old and totally caught up in the magic of Santa and Christmas time.  She's also old enough to appreciate the story of Jesus' birth and all the amazing things that happened so long ago!  We talked a lot about the real reason for the season and I really try to stress that it's not about the decorations, food, presents, Santa, etc. but only about Jesus!  

It does get harder every year b/c much of the time before focus is so harried and crazy that I feel the true meaning of Christmas is being lost in other traditions.  That is something that I worry about b/c I don't want her to feel like I'm more excited to go see Santa at the mall than I am to go to church and worship every Sunday morning.  I don't want her to be more concerned that "Santa" or an elf is watching her behavior the month before Christmas instead of the fact that Jesus is watching us all the time.  This is a tender age and she is close to making a personal decision to be a Christian and so I want to equip her with the right feelings and attitudes about the holidays.  I think it's a struggle for most Christian families.  

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