A Really Long Post About Christmas

Let's see, let's see. Well, so far I told you about our Advent traditions and how we celebrated St. Nicholas Day. Then we addressed lots of birth announcements and Christmas cards and did lots of Christmas baking, all made possible by my mom spending the first two weeks of December with us.

So, I left off with my sister, Allison, flying in on Monday, December 16th. My dad and little brother, Scott, joined us the following day. Allie made her famous honey-lime enchiladas for dinner! On Wednesday, we ordered Chinese food (because it's just really not the same in China) and put up our Christmas tree.




Claire was so excited and loved helping hang all the ornaments. Maggie...not so much.


We have a tradition of getting new ornaments each Christmas. Maggie got a personalized first Christmas one from The Vintage Pearl. 


Claire's was actually a big sister gift from a friend that she's been weirdly attached to ever since Maggie's arrival.


  Since she's a first-year nurse and everything, Allie had to work on Christmas this year. So, we had a fancy dinner and opened presents with her on Thursday evening. She actually made the whole meal herself - pork roast, roasted cauliflower, green beans, and cheese bread. Pork is the only roast my whole family can agree on (some don't love turkey, ham, or beef) and this recipe was really, really delicious. And what's cheese bread, you might ask? Just take my word for it and make some the first chance you get!


Pork Roast 
{From All Recipes}

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 pound boneless pork loin

1. Whisk together the garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, and mustard. Place the pork loin in a large Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cooking.
2. Transfer pork loin to a baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Bake at 350 for forty-five to sixty minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees.

Cheese Bread 
{From My Mom}

2 cups flour
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon melted butter
6 green onions, finely chopped

1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cheese, baking powder, sugar, oregano, dry mustard, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients and, along with the onion, stir well until combined.
3. Pour into a standard loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before turning out of the pan.

While she was making dinner, I quickly hemmed some fabric into a festive table runner, a task I'd been meaning to do since, well, last Christmas.


It wouldn't be Christmas dinner without crackers and the accompanying paper crowns!



For dessert, we had a Buche de Noel, or Yule Log, from our favorite French bakery.


After opening presents, we actually got a pretty decent family picture with the help of the self-timer setting!


And one of the babies in some cute dresses my mom brought back from Shanghai.


Sadly, Allie had to leave on Friday afternoon. She watched Claire while we took Maggie to her two-month appointment and got to have the pleasure of taking her out to play in the snow for the first time, which is kind of a rarity here in Seattle. Let's just say Claire wasn't a big fan!


On Saturday, my parents watched both girls so Adam and I could go out on a date! We went to confession and a glass-blowing workshop, where we got to make our own ornaments.





My finished product.


Adam's finished product.


Another day, they kept Maggie for us so we could take Claire out from some undivided attention. We went to our little outdoor mall for hot chocolate and to ride the carousel that had been set up for the month of December.



 Claire actually got to ride it several times this year because our music class is in the same outdoor mall. She really enjoyed it each time (as evidenced by her really not wanting to get off) but always stuck to the bench.


We had cheese and chocolate fondue on Christmas Eve.


Lit our advent wreath for the last time.


Dressed the girls in Christmas pajamas.


And read the last page in our Advent storybook. 


Maggie wasn't super excited about posing as the real "elf on the shelf."


We had croissants for breakfast on Christmas morning and opened our stockings. Claire and Maggie found some hair bows, bath squirters, shakers, and gummy bears in theirs. Then it was time to get ready for Christmas Mass!


Maggie's ensemble was from Baby Gap.


And Claire's was a clearance find at Janie & Jack.


Claire says, "Umm, you know this headband is ridiculous, right, Mom?"


Being tightly squeezed into a pew doesn't usually seem to produce particularly reverent Mass behavior from anyone, Claire included. So, those gummy bears were promptly used as bribery! But we did manage to get an okay family picture afterwards.


For some reason, Claire was much happier to pose on her own than with the rest of us...


We came home to lots and lots of presents under the tree!


We gave Claire this circus tent from Ikea, a couple board books, and a doll I made using this pattern.


We gave Maggie this music cube, a little doll of her own, and some soft blocks I made following this tutorial.


They also got a membership to the children's museum and a pass to our local indoor playground from each set of grandparents. Maggie was a little preoccupied, so Claire graciously unwrapped her presents too.


By Christmas afternoon, it had gotten to that point in every visit where I realize that I hadn't gotten pictures of the girls with our guests and frantically try to get a good one before they leave. So, we checked Uncle Scott off the list.


My mom made a delicious Christmas dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and broccoli with cheese sauce. Well, cauliflower too, so we could have another vehicle for cheese sauce! During the days between our two Christmas dinners, I made some napkins to coordinate with the table runner.


All the excitement of the day got to Claire and she just completely fell apart during dinner. Even chocolate cake couldn't cheer her up! But I persisted in my quest to get a decent picture of Claire and Maggie anyway. As you can see, it was quite unsuccessful and Claire was whisked off to bed immediately afterwards.


But at least Maggie was still happy to pose. My parents and Scott left early the next morning. We had a lovely Christmas together and were sad to see them go!

1 comment:

  1. Wow - you got so many good pictures. Now I'm sorta wishing I could go back in time and take more, because we hardly got any Christmas photos this year!


You are awesome.