A Really Long Post About Christmas

I realize that Christmas ended on Tuesday, even for us Catholics, but it's my blog after all, so I'm going ahead with the ridiculously long recap of our holiday season. My whole family stayed with us for Christmas this year and it was wonderful. After they left, we had five days all together before Adam went back to work, which was also pretty spectacular.
My parents and brother, Scott, arrived from Shanghai on the twenty-second. Allie flew in from Houston on the twenty-third. Adam's vacation started on Christmas Eve, so we attempted to get our first real tree that morning. The folks running the tree stand near the mall were loading the remaining trees back onto the truck, headed for the chipper, when we arrived and snagged one for $20. Maybe too close of a call to repeat that tradition next year...

We had lunch at Cafe Rio and decorated the tree later that afternoon.



We had fondue for dinner.

Lit the candles on the advent wreath for the last time.

Opened new pajamas.

And added the last ornament to the Jesse tree.

Once the girls were in bed, we set up their kitchen in the playroom and enjoyed some chocolate fondue.


 On Christmas morning, the play kitchen was revealed. It was hit, just as we had hoped. I plan to write a separate post with more details on the transformation.


Adam's parents had gifted us a box of mail-order croissants from Williams-Sonoma, so we had those for breakfast and then quickly got ready for 10:00 Mass.
Because the regular choir was pretty busy on Christmas Eve, they had a special choir for the Christmas Day service and Adam got to sing with them. He often gets comments at church about how he should join the choir, but thankfully he doesn't feel right about abandoning me with two toddlers to wrangle. Especially while Maggie's in that can-never-make-it-through-a-mass-in-the-pew phase. This time, my family was around to stay with Claire when I needed to escort Maggie to the narthex.



We opened our stockings and one present, which I happened to know was a new waffle maker (thanks, in-laws!) when we got home from church. Claire and Maggie found these homemade silhouette ornaments in their stockings. The ceramic ornaments where less than a dollar at the craft store. I took profile pictures of each girl, used Photoshop Elements to make the silhouettes, then just printed, cut, and modpodged them on.




And Maggie's. You can see the new ornament we picked out for ourselves in the background - it's Santa and Rudolph climbing the Space Needle.
We quickly put the waffle maker to work, making these gingerbread buttermilk waffles for lunch. While the girls were napping, the adults exchanged gifts, then Claire and Maggie opened the rest of the presents when they woke up. We had a delicious Christmas dinner of steak and twice baked potatoes, with Buche de Noel for dessert. We ended the evening in the best possible way with the Downton Abbey Christmas special (sneaky, I know!)


On Boxing Day, we headed to the Bellevue Square Mall, along with the rest of the city, apparently. We split up for an hour - my parents and Scott picked out a suit for his college interviews, Allie and I headed to Loft and Anthropologie, and Adam took the girls to the play place. We were hoping to have lunch at Din Tai Fung but there was a two-hour wait, so we ate at Cactus instead. Definitely pretty good Mexican food for the pacific northwest.

Some Boxing Day shopping with our coordinating bags and coats. #andthenweboughmatchingshirts #sisters

We gave everyone tickets to the Seattle Chocolate Tour as gifts this year. So, on Saturday, we got a babysitter for the girls and headed downtown. The tour started with cupcakes and ice cream from Cupcake Royale (apparently the first cupcake store outside of New York, just barely.) We also had Tom Douglass' chocolate crinkle cookies and famous triple coconut cream pie from Dahlia Bakery, which technically counted because there's white chocolate in the whipped cream. From there, we walked into Pike Place Market for mini cheesecakes and sipping chocolate at the Confectional, followed by trying a whole cocoa bean at Indi Chocolate. We had dark chocolate kettle corn and KuKuRaZa and saved the best for last at Fran's Chocolates. It was so much fun! We all had a great time and learned a ton. The tour company, Savor Seattle, has several other offerings, which all sound equally amazing.

We gave everyone chocolate tour tickets for Christmas. #andwegotababysitter #savorseattle

Best Christmas gift I've ever given. #chocolatetour #savorseattle

The famous Tom Douglas triple coconut pie! It technically counts as chocolate because they put white chocolate in the whipped cream. #savorseattle

Fran's Chocolates is in the lobby of the Four Seasons, which had this fantastic candy model of the Space Needle on display.


We played a rousing game of Dutch Blitz that evening, during which my mom uttered our new family motto: "It's not about winning. It's about having fun and eating cookies."

Once we'd been to church, had lunch, and put the girls down for naps on Sunday, Adam and I took advantage of our Christmas present - an overnight getaway!

Riding the bus together takes us back to our college days in Pittsburgh. We're headed downtown for a 24-hour Seattle stay-cation!

We took the bus into Seattle, which immediately had us nostalgic for our college days in Pittsburgh.

Shopping for Adam at the original Nordstrom. Somehow I managed to talk him out of this $300 leather jacket :)

We spent the afternoon shopping for some new clothes for Adam. After a disappointing search for jeans at Nordstrom, we looked at Brooks Brothers, where Adam declared he had found the most comfortable pants in history.

Seriously felt transported back to Paris at dinner...although with way better food than we actually ate (and could afford) when we were in Paris almost five years ago.

We had an amazing dinner at Le Pichet - roasted butternut squash soup, a charcuterie sampler, cooked to order roast chicken on a bed of lentil salad, a slice of lemon tart to share for dessert, and house made caramels with the check. We felt like we'd stepped into a bistro in Paris, except with way better food than we could afford when we were in Paris almost five years ago.

Creepy Meryl Streep photobomb, ha ha. Seeing movies in theaters is a rarity for us and Into the Woods was the best we've seen in a long while!

We went to see Into The Woods, which we thoroughly enjoyed as we're almost always fans of a good fractured fairy tale, and then slept for eight hours straight.

Pain au chocolat and chocolat chaud, the breakfast of champions, at Le Panier before wandering around Pike Place Market.

The Olympic mountains on an amazingly clear day. It doesn't rain all winter in Seattle!

The next morning, we walked to Pike Place Market for breakfast at Le Panier, took in the breathtaking view of the Olympics, and browsed in a couple used book stores before catching the bus home. It was absolutely perfect.

We got back just in time for naps. While the girls were sleeping, I treated my mom and sister to pedicures as a thank you for watching them. You know they did most of the work!


 Allie left on Tuesday morning and everyone else left early on New Year's Eve. As soon as they did, we went out to buy a minivan! We had heard that New Year's Eve was the best day of the year to buy a new car, so that's exactly what we did.


Spending four hours at a car dealership with toddlers really wiped us out, so we took it easy the rest of the week. We rearranged the garage, hung a few more frames, and read quite a bit of Brideshead Revisited. I feel like this is shaping up to be the longest post ever, so I'll be back next week with more on our house projects and new car.


But, before I go, I don't want to leave out our little Epiphany dinner party on Monday evening. We invited two other couples for slow-cooker pot roast, potatoes, and carrots with sautéed Brussels sprouts. Easiest company meal ever.  For dessert, we had a gallete de rois from our favorite French bakery. I only took one photo that evening. Claire wasn't the lucky one to find the favette, but she commandeered the crown anyway!


  1. Sounds like such a great week! Merry Christmas :-)

  2. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas! And I get excited when other people know what Dutch Blitz is- it's a great game!

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You are awesome.