It's been a good Christmas, so far. No one's ended up sick or in the hospital - yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have repeats of past years. Also, this was the first time in two years that we haven't travelled. I don't think Ella remembers having Christmas morning at our own house. It was nice to be home on Christmas morning. I don't think we'll go anywhere for Christmas again for a long time. My parents and sister were able to come here, which made it even better to be home.
We started the festivities at Brandon's grandmother's house with that side of the family. I didn't realize gift giving would be happening, so I didn't bring any of their gifts. Oops. The girls had a great time handing out and opening presents. They did it so quickly that I lost track of who gave them what. The big hit, as far as Lily is concerned, are her fancy slippers. They have little heels and feathers - just the thing a three-year-old would love.
Christmas morning started with the girls hitting our bedroom door with a thud. They burst in shouting, "Santa came! Santa came." The proof? He ate the cookies and drank the milk that they left out for him. Just seeing the gifts wasn't enough - once they saw the empty plate they were convinced. Once the present opening started, Ella was ruthlessly efficient. Lily, however, kept getting distracted. She'd be halfway opening one present when Ella would hand her another. She'd drop the original present, still wrapped, and start on the next one. It was pretty funny. We kept having to turn her around and get her to focus on one gift at a time.
Ella had asked Santa for an Easy Bake Oven, and she got one. This has extended her belief in Santa for another year. She's already make one cake. And she tells everyone she talks to about it.
My parents gave the girls each an American Girl Doll (http://www.americangirl.com). Ella was so thrilled with hers that she was speechless. She held it with this look of absolute joy on her face. My mom was worried that she didn't like it because Ella didn't say anything. I had to reassure mom that that's how Ella acts when she REALLY likes something.
The highlight of Christmas for me was watching my dad open my gift to him. He loves the Town Lake running trail and has asked that his ashes be scattered there when he dies. So I got him a brick that will be installed in one area of the trail. It will have his name on it. He teared up when he read the gift notice. It made me feel really good that I got him something that meant so much to him.
I had asked Brandon for a necklace that had a silver pea pod with three pearls in it - one pearl for each child. I showed him the necklace in the catalog and explained it to him. I even left the catalog on his desk. He got me the necklace, but somehow he missed the whole point of the pearls - mine has four pearls. I've been saying ever since that it's proof that we're going to have a fourth child. He says he's returning it as soon as possible.
So now we've cleaned up all the presents and found new homes in the closets for all the toys, and the excitement is winding down. I'm ending the season profoundly grateful for what I have - an amazing husband; three happy, healthy kids; good friends; and wonderful family. It's a pretty good life.
Happy New Year to all.