The rest of the week passed in a flurry of Christmas cookies, holiday parties and merry-making. Before we knew it, Grandma and Grandpa had arrived to celebrate Christmas with us.
We bundled up and headed to Bellevue to experience Snowflake Lane. It's a festive kind of fun as long as you don't mind sharing the sidewalks with the big-city mass of humanity that converges near malls at the this time of year.
Then we went to the botanical gardens to see the prettiest light display.
These grapes were my favorite.
We made a Christmas Eve trip to the movies where we enjoyed Arthur Christmas. Cute story. Yummy popcorn.
Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner was altered this year to be gluten-free. But steak on a stick, potato skins, cocktail smokies and spinach dip had everyone feeling satisfied. We even had two different kinds of So-Good Cookies--some with gluten and some without. We had gluten-free gingersnaps, too.
The traditional first gifts of Christmas were opened--pajamas, of course--and we were ready to begin our read and sing nativity celebration.
I'm choosing the omit the pictures that document Caleb's Asperger moments. They may have threatened to spoil our Christmas Eve, but the Christmas spirit was still felt so we'll just focus on that.
Natalie decided she wanted to conduct the songs.
It's just not Christmas Eve without angel chimes.
I loved that Christmas came on a Sunday this year! Since we're sleepers at our house, I knew we wouldn't be able to get our gifts opened before our 11:00 meeting started. We decided we'd let the kids enjoy their Santa gifts and stockings before church and leave the rest of the gifts for after. We also had our big breakfast on Christmas Eve so that we wouldn't have to rush that either.
On Christmas morning, I heard Jon say, "The kids are up. I can hear them." It seemed so dark and I was so deep asleep that all I could mutter was, "You've got to be kidding me!" Our kids never get up early so I couldn't believe that they'd be up already. But then I rolled over and looked at the clock. It was 8:30. So I decided that they had every right to be up.
Our church service was wonderful. It just seemed so perfect to go to church on Christmas.
The kids were sure excited to go home and having waited to open our gifts just helped build the anticipation all the more. We posed for a family photo before changing back into our Christmas jammies.
Natalie couldn't have been more thrilled about her American Girl doll.
Most of Alyssa's gifts were actually for the doll she got back in November for her birthday.
Caleb got more football helmets. Evidently when you're that big of a fan you can't have too many.
He also got a foosball table.
We stayed in our pajamas for our traditional Christmas ham dinner. Caleb ate candy all night long.
What a wonderfully Merry Christmas!