Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Sweetest Night

All year, I look forward to Christmas Eve.  The combination of festive mood with time together with my family with anticipation about the next day's events plus the sights and sounds of the season--it all adds up to make it a pinnacle of joy for me.

This year, even though I had a good bit of preparation to make for Christmas Day, I felt fairly peaceful on Christmas Eve.  Unlike one Christmas Eve when I had to stay up terribly late wrapping gifts, I didn't have a single gift to wrap because I had consciously worked on that task all along as we were buying gifts so I wouldn't have any last-minute build-up!  I worked steadily--but happily--all day, mostly on food preparation for the next day, although I did pause to admire Benjamin as he sat in the little rocking chair David had placed him in.  :)
Our supper that evening wasn't fancy--just spaghetti and garlic bread (the bread was made by Jeff, who had gotten home early from work, which also added joy to my heart!)--but delicious even in its simplicity.  And then, after we ate, we gathered in the living room to watch each of the children open their Christmas Eve gift.
Benjamin didn't have a gift to open that evening, but he got to hang out with Grandpa, so that was pretty cool.  :)
And I admired Benjamin's pudgy tummy that his shirt didn't quite cover.  :)
And then the gift-opening began.
First, with Moriah, who we had teased about getting a gigantic Tootsie Roll, based on the shape of her gift.  ;-)
As it turned out, it was actually a...
...sleeping bag!  A good gift for a girl who didn't have a real sleeping bag yet, but who was getting ready to sleep in the living room by the Christmas tree.  :)
Tobin opened his next...
...and discovered a sleeper!
But one without feet (his special request) and with a hood.
He would put it to use that very night.  :)
When Josiah opened his gift, he discovered...
...a dot-to-dot book.
No, really, he did!  ;-)
It was a complex dot-to-dot book with hundreds of dots on each page, and the designs they make are mythical creatures like a minotaur and pegasus.  I guess since coloring books are making a comeback for adults these days, dot-to-dot books are, too!  :)
While David got ready to find the next gift...
...Moriah gave her daddy a hug.  One of the delights of our gift-opening times is watching so many hugs be given.  :)
It was David's turn to open his gift...
...which was a set of two books.
Pilgrim's Progress in graphic novel form.  When I was young, I used to love to read books--even the Bible--in that format; and David sure does, too.  :)
Last but certainly not least, it was Shav's turn.
He opened the bag...
...and found the game Pie Face!
Ever since we had seen a little video of some people, including an older man, playing this game, I had tucked the thought away in the back of my head that it would be great to give it to our children someday.
That day came on Christmas Eve.  :)
After all the gifts were opened, Shav showed us part of his game...
...Moriah climbed into her new sleeping bag...
...David and Tobin checked out the new books...
...and Jeff assembled the rest of the Pie Face game.
David was enjoying his new books so much...
...but he pulled himself away so that he could play Pie Face with us.  :)
Shav and Moriah, not wanting whipped cream in their eyes, came prepared with goggles!  :)
As it turned out, Moriah got too nervous to actually play the game, so she alternated being at the table with us and running over to Jeff on the couch for comfort.
The four older boys and I all played it, and it was just as hysterical as I had imagined.
I tried to tell myself, "It's just whipped cream!  It's not a big deal if it hits you in the face!"  But regardless, my heart still beat very fast when it was my turn.  The NOT KNOWING when it's going to spring up is definitely the hardest, but funniest part.  :)
We all had a number of turns, and sure enough, we all eventually got hit.  When we did, we would howl with laughter, and dear little Benjamin would howl from fright.  We did get a little noisy.  ;-)

Josiah decided to try a new strategy: just open wide to catch all the whipped cream in his mouth!
It didn't quite work though.  ;-)

While the rest of us played, Jeff sat on the couch and watched...and as it turns out, recorded a video of me playing it.  :)

This was my first turn with it, and Tobin had just gotten hit in the face with it, so I was pretty confident that it would NOT hit me this time.  I guess I can't be right all the time.  ;-)

There were other times when it hit me, too; and I laughed and laughed so much that I cried.  It definitely made a very fun memory for this Christmas Eve.  :)

Eventually I needed to pull myself away so that I could keep chipping away at my to-do list for the next day.  Josiah continued his dot-to-dot work...
...the other kids got ready for bed (after watching the short movie The Snowman), and gradually the living room quieted down.
Oh, but it took a loooonnnngggg time for them all to fall asleep.  Who can drop off quickly with so much excitement coursing through the veins?!  :)
Moriah did not, by the way, sleep all night on the big couch.  That was my spot.  ;-)  But she got to start out there, and then I moved her to her new sleeping bag when I was ready to lie down.  :)
When everyone was asleep, I tiptoed around and took pictures of them.
The minutes and days slip by so quickly, and Christmas Eve is no exception.
But now, I have the photographs; and they will bring back to my mind the indescribable delight of this Christmas Eve, when Jeff and I and all of our children were happy and healthy and here at home together, when all was calm and all was bright.

Except, of course, for when we were playing Pie Face.  Then it wasn't calm at all.  ;-)

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