Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Christmas Eve 2018

On Christmas Eve day, intermixed with the stuff I wrote about in the last post, we prepped for our Jerusalem Supper, round 2.
This time with a little more intimate group.

And back to our traditional chicken tikka masala and one-piece-of-the-nativity-on-each-person's-plate dealio that the kids instigated a few years ago.  (Lucy sets the table and organizes this, and each person takes a moment to talk about how that particular person in the nativity may have felt).
(added our Advent candles this year too.)

Loved having this extra full table:
On to our version of the Nativity:

...with a quite rambunctious Mary and the sweetest little Baby Jesus.

This was Lucy's sum-up of the night (she writes her journal on her iPod):
Oh man I love her!

Then it was time for the kids gift-exchange.

We do this on Christmas Eve each year to focus on the "giving" aspect before all that "getting" Santa hoopla the next morning, and every year, without fail, this part is my favorite part of Christmas. 

I'll let the pictures tell why:

Can you see all that love oozing out of everyone?  Maybe you had to be there, but that room always fills with thick, magical air during that gift exchange.

Max & Abby gave to Elle, so here she is giving them a sort of virtual hug since they weren't there in person:)

Lucy did indeed give to Bo instead of Max and Abby (although they're still getting a little something from her).  But for tonight, she was overjoyed to give Bo her new "bed." 
...which she promptly fell asleep right NEXT to instead of on TOP of, so we spent some time trying to cajole her onto that new thing.  See Dave in the above picture trying to model how soft that thing was?  Ha!

Then on to Christmas PJs...for these girls:
...and for these guys too:
Oh gosh I love these kids so much!  Look at Zara (blonde sweetie girl right in the middle):
She kills me with her darlingness and spitfire personality.
The snuggles turned to wrestling:

...and dog-piling:

...and cuteness:
These were our best bets at a family picture of these NYC guys:
Ha!  Have I mentioned how much I adore this little family?  I posted some pictures of Eli and I yesterday and meant to write a little praise to that boy because he is so awesome.  He's second from youngest and I'm second to oldest and I just love him.  He's got the best sense of humor, the best sense of style, and the best sense of picking-out-good-people-to-marry (I love Julie!).  Eli and Julie are wise beyond their years and I learn so much from parenting and life. 

Anyway, we had some work to do to calm down the excitement category after all that wrestling:

These girls weren't much better:

Sorry had to post all of those (believe me, there were a lot more), because gosh I sure love them.  And their love for each other.  Yes, they fight for sure, but they are mostly just best friends and it makes my heart swell up.

Exciting times.

Our family...minus the honeymooners:

Another one of my favorite memories of Christmas Eve (aside from the gift exchange) was sitting right here after Lucy was tucked into bed...
...girls laughing, my dad pulling out a big container of chocolate ice cream my mom had bought and eating it with a fork (his signature move) as we all talked, the girls joining in to the fork-eating-ice-cream routine:
Is there always magic in the air on Christmas Eve?  Man, I think so, but it seemed extra prevalent that night.  I had worked my tail off to just be able to hang a little and enjoy, and I was so glad of that.
But even so, we were still up way too late.  Late-night gift-wrapping, stocking-stuffing watching A Christmas Story (always our tradition) this time with Eli, Julie and my parents gathered in.

When we finally finished setting things up I had my Dad "help" Santa with his signature (at least in our family) squiggly-writting notes:
And then we all snuggled down into bed, crossing our fingers our full house would give us a Christmas miracle and not wake up too very early a few hours later.

And those crossed fingers worked.  I didn't hear a thing until 7:15.

But more on that coming...on to Christmas!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

full house, full aftermath and Christmas prep

After the wedding and the grand celebration, Max and Abby safely off on their honeymoon, the party around here just kept on going.

And I was so glad because I feel like I hardly got to see them mixed right in the middle of all that wedding hoopla.  
Too bad we didn't get ALL the grandkids gathered here for this pic...we're missing the young adults, the big teenagers, Saren's twins, Charlie, Faith, Gabriel, and of course the other cousins in Hawaii and Switzerland who weren't able to make it.  But at least we got these ones as a little representation of the cousin love swirling around our house.

Us girls who were in on the Book of Mormon challenge got to gather for a great little discussion:
...followed by an MFME lunch:
(I wrote a little about that back HERE.)

Then it was on to a pre-Christmas Eve Jerusalem supper (since three of those families had to clear out the next day to get ready for their own Christmas plans).

Someone had the grand idea to do a Jerusalem supper early all together because hey, that's our Eyre tradition, and how fun that we were that close to Christmas to share it all.  We all do our own tailor-made traditions in our own homes, but I think every one of us does a Jerusalem Supper in our own ways.  I love to think of each of us dressing up the night before that holy day (or a few nights before in this case), lit up by candlelight, thinking of that holy family, Mary great with child, getting ready to leave Jerusalem for Bethlehem.

We all make different kinds of food for our own versions of the meal.  We make chicken tikka masala here in the desert.  Saydi makes falafel.  And since she offered to make that fussy but delicious dish for the whole crowd we all got to work helping out.

I wish these pictures could more accurately depict the beehive of activity going on around here...this was just the initial crowd of cooks:

But mostly I wish a picture could emit a smell.  Because the smells in that kitchen were divine as everyone cooked and worked together.

And set up the tables:
Then it was time.
My sister pulled out our Jerusalem Supper dress-up clothing and added as many dishtowels as she could find to adorn everyone possible in Jerusalem attire and the dinner began.

It was a huge crowd, not conducive to too much group talking, but it was great to be all there together.
The lights were still up from the wedding so we figured that would be a pretty great place to do our little nativity.
 Lucy was pretty delighted to be a little shepherd with her own little "sheep."

We sang Christmas nativity songs:

 And gathered under that giant "star" to find Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

 Lucy was pretty delighted that Joseph gave her sheep a little attention:
(Bo was in desperate need of a bath but somehow her scrounginess made her a little more authentic, don't you think?)

After the nativity we moved inside for a little bit of gift-giving.  I love looking from the outside in:
 ...and then coming in to the noise and motion that all these people I love creates:

Couldn't end an Eyre party without a little bit of charades:

 ...and a little celebration of Kristi's birthday she'd be celebrating by driving all day long the next day.

I was so full of gratitude for these sisters who had come so far to celebrate with well as my two awesome sister-in-laws.
Love them all so much!

My parents and brother Eli and his family from NYC stayed with us until Christmas.

This involved good tennis:
 Loved being out there playing with my girls and my dad:
 Loved watching these two whack that ball back and forth.
 Loved our night discussions...
...and having babies around.

Max and Abby came back real quick to grab some things before they headed to California....and I got to give them a gift I was pretty excited about that.
...but I'll do a different post about that soon.

So many of Elle's friends were home, a couple just returned from their missions, and she loved getting to hang with them a little while she was home.

Dean, my brother's son, spent most of his time in the desert right here in this spot:
 ...and Eli spent a lot of time trying to talk him down.  Ha!

 We loved having a baby around!
 ...and Zara and Dean too.

On Christmas Eve there was, of course, more tennis to be played.
 Have I mentioned how much I really enjoy watching my girls play?
 It is like a grand motherhood pay-off in my book.  They are all looking way better than I remembered on that court.  Extra bonus to have Eli and my Dad to play with them (they are great at tennis, and have a pretty long-running competition going, my brother trying to beat my dad).
 We did all kinds of round robins to try to get everyone in playing.
And it finally dwindled down to Eli and Elle who stayed out there the longest, socking that ball back and forth to each other as hard as they could.  So, so, so fun to watch!

Loved getting random pics from the honeymooners:

Loved a little impromptu visit from Dave's sister and parents who were just in time for our "wrapping station" trying to finish the last of our wrapping in the beauty of that Christmas Eve afternoon.

And then the sun set and we started to get geared up for our second Jerusalem Supper of the year... candles and preparing food, and preparing our hearts to slow down and let the magic of Christmas weave it's way into our home.
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