Christmas 2006 may be my favorite one yet. This is probably because it seemed that this year we were able to get to the heart of what Christmas is all about.
The season started when, in late November, Grandma Otti turned 90! She amazes us with her witty comments and feisty ways. I can't imagine what the world will be like when I'm 90, but my prayer is that my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will gather around me (as Grandma Otti's did) to celebrate.
Before school got out in December, Emma and Grace's Kindergarten put on a production of The Nutcracker. Emma and Grace and the girls in their class were the sugar plum fairies, and I'm telling you, there is nothing cuter than a five-year-old in a tutu doing plie's to Nutcracker music. My mom, dad, Jeff, and I were laughing so hard. I adore the girls' Kindergarten, and their teacher, Mrs. Sehorn. She exemplifies what a Kindergarten teacher should be: not only is she patient, kind, loving, and sweet, but she knows a lot about how a five-year-old's brain develops (when they're ready to read, etc.). To top it off, she has this creative side, and she'll bring in her surfboard and tell stories about how it is made, or slide down the slide at recess. She also goes to our church, and when the girls see her there, you'd think they saw a celebrity.
Jeff and I made no traveling plans for our holiday. We just stayed home with the gals, and cooked a lot, caught up on movies, and worked a bit on our house. Jeff made me the most beautiful bookshelf I have ever seen (you can see it in the corner of one of the pictures). ALL my books fit on it, and also a lot of the children's books I've collected (some from when I was little and some from along the way.) Jeff is so good at building things. He has a lot of our friends asking him to build shelves or entertainment centers for them as well. I'm amazed at his talent.
Christmas Eve was at our house this year. It was the best! We had a hot chocolate bar for the kids, complete with different types of shaved chocolate, cinnamon sticks, candy canes, and marshmallows (plus some Bailey's for the adults). I also made Oprah's Pomegranate Martinis (they were a hit!) and my mom's Chicken Tortilla Casserole (a Christmas Eve tradition). The kids tracked Santa on the computer, and we just hung out and enjoyed each other.
On Christmas morning, we opened presents at our house (see pic of the girls coming around the corner to see the tree...bookshelf in background!) and then went up to my parent's house. This year Grace received the infamous "Santa". Santa is a hideously ugly toy Santa that my Grandma Irene (?) gave out one year (years and years ago). Every year, we wrap it up, and someone new gets it. The year I got it, I was terribly disappointed, it being my LAST gift! This year, however, when Grace got it, she got so excited! "I got the Santa! Yeah!" She held the ugly thing on her lap half the morning! Grace secretly plans to give it to Emma next year. :)
Our wonderful Christmas was coming to a close as we sat down for dinner without Miss Emma...our poor gal was tuckered out. She had passed out on my mom's Lazy Boy and slept through the dinner, waking up much later to eat her dinner while all of us had pie and played charades. Sometimes taking a cozy nap in a warm house full of people you love is the nicest way to wrap up a holiday.