Christmas Eve Day
The traditions -- old and new -- go far beyond food. Skiing on the days leading up to Christmas is a new tradition. For the four of us J-M's who ski (Meera will learn when she's three, but until then is off the slopes), it is a highlight. For K & O, it is the highlight. Our boys look forward to this all year. And even now, two weeks later, they are still standing firm that the "high" of the entire holiday was "skiing!!!" I think it might be their favorite thing to do in all the world. Seriously. They love it. And they are pretty dang good (especially for five year olds who only ski once a year). This was their third year skiing. They got right up, and bombed it down the hill on their first run. We were skiing -- like, full-on all-out the-four-of-us-skiing -- together and loving it. Braydon and I are so proud that we have taught our boys to ski. The first day we skied just the four of us (thanks to MorMor and MorFar for keeping Meera at home all day). The second day everyone joined us and it was 9 of us skiing together (us four, MorMor, MorFar, Sadie, Stina, Mark). It was a dream come true for my mom. And the truth is: it was dreamy. Even Meera loved it (she spent the afternoon toodling around the lodge with various chaperons who took turns hanging out with her and drinking hot chocolate).
Not so dreamy was the reality that on our first day skiing, Owen broke his collar bone. Yes, you read that right. He broke his collar bone skiing. Here he is (below) in the Ski Patrol Clinic at the lodge. Not a tradition we plan on keeping. More about our baby's broken bone in a post below.
Back to traditions that we like and want to keep... tubing at King Pine. Love it! The boys, especially love it! Here's Owen, loving every second of it. (even with a broken collar bone.)
And this year -- a magical gift was received by us -- solid frozen lakes clear of snow. We skated every day that we didn't ski. It was magical, and memorable, to say the least.
Candle-light Christmas Eve Service. A tradition passed down through the ages. A tradition we keep. We are blessed to have this as the place where we go on Christmas Eve:
Like I said, I am self-conscious of the loveliness of it. But, as Braydon reminds me (because he still reels from the wonderousness of it all, each and every year), "it is real." It is very, very real.
This year was a year to remember in regards to The Pageant. Of course, the J-Ms are sort of famous (infamous?) in Freedom for our "performances" in the Christmas Eve Pageant (most memorable of which, was, for sure, the year K & O were 2 years old). People tell us outright that they come on Christmas Eve in Freedom "to see what our kids will do this year" (???!!!?). Not sure how to feel about that... but... it is what it is. And, in keeping with tradition, this year the J-M children did not disappoint in making a huge show of it. It was "The Debut of the Littlest Angel" (i.e., Meera). MorMor saw it fit that Meera, at age 18 months, should be in the pageant this year. I personally would never have in a million years thought to put her in an angel costume and send her up there. But, alas, she loved every second of it, and so did her large audience. She stole the show (along with her brothers, whose precociousness never fails, and whose protectiveness for their baby sister is unyielding). She (and "bunny," her lovey) had to be pulled off the stage more than once for simply being too cute (seriously) and not letting the minister get on with the Christmas Eve regalia. I can't do it justice in words. I will have to look for it on YouTube one of these days, since a couple of different people in church that night told us that they had captured it with the camcorders. Anyway, it was, for lack of a better word, adorable. If you click on this photo to enlarge it you can see Meera Angel standing next to Kyle Angel on the left. Owen and Sadie are the two sheep to the right.
Another way that this year was a year to remember: The Christmas that Stina and Mark were engaged! Auntie Stina is getting married!!! Cheers!
And cousin Sadie is getting a great guy in her life. I have to say, in all honesty, we love Mark. He seems to fit perfectly with our family. And there is no denying that this threesome (skating on Christmas Eve afternoon) is very, very cute!
Moving onward with traditions... Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve afternoon. And yes, again, this year, he dropped off exactly, precisely what each kid had asked for. The look on Kyle's face = priceless and precious. "Yes! He came!!! And he brought a snowboard!!!! A red snowboard!!!!!"
And the snowboards were immediately put to good use. And they were "PERFECT!!!!!!" And Meera got the "underwater baby" / "baby doll that can go in the bath" that her brothers asked Santa for on her behalf.
Another tradition: trying to get that perfect photo of the cousins in front of the tree on Christmas Eve. We tried. Here is the best we could do:
Santa brings that one special gift on Christmas Eve afternoon. And then, while we are sleeping, he fills the stockings. And then, up the chimney he goes! The presents under the tree are our presents to and from one another. One gift per person from each person. It is simple and pretty minimal (by choice), but still, it adds up to be a very magical sight to behold!
And the gifts are substantial!!! K & O wanted only one thing this year (in addition to the snowboards from Santa)... "football outfits"... and their MorMor and MorFar pulled through big time!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about making dreams come true. Can you imagine the delight of having a MorMor and MorFar who, literally, make your wildest dreams come true? These boys have it.
Do these boys know how lucky they are? Yes, actually, they do. They know. And they are truly grateful. And they do let it be known in their own ways. Like, when Kyle, on Christmas morning, asked MorMor to go with him back upstairs (where he had already been for a time) so that she could "see him in the mirror!" He is a football star!
And another tradition: getting special gifts -- gifts that we didn't even know we wanted -- from the people we love. Here's Meera with her new favorite thing on earth: her "kitchen" from MorMor and MorFar. With dishes from Auntie Stina.
And here are the three older cousins, the day after Christmas. All knitting with treasures found in their stockings. A rare, beautiful, sunlight sweet moment of calm and quiet.
Christmas 2009 was filled with active adventure, snow, ice, love, giving, receiving, and the wondrous magic that can only happen when everyone puts their heart and soul into it. What a blessing!