I woke this morning and willed myself to get up and plug in the twinkling lights of our tree that's staying up a bit longer and the stars that line the fireplace mantle, as I slid my thoughts past the idea that Christmas is over, I'm not ready for the let-down. There's always such an excited build up of the season, so many things that make my heart swell, and of course, at some point the air has to be let out so my heart can go back to beating at a regular pace again. But now? I'm just not ready.
So today, and tomorrow perhaps, we left the unwrapped presents spread out on the living room floor while the kids played under the stars... literally. My fireplace stars.
It was good. It felt like Christmas, and I think we'll linger in this place a little longer.
Though our Christmas started a week ago, the gates flew open Friday night with our first real party of the season. With a house full of people we love, a countertop filled with sweet and savory things. And sugar, did I mention there was sugar?
Christmas Vacation filled the background while littles stayed up 'till midnight actually playing nice with each other the entire time (a Christmas miracle, I know), talk and laughter charged the air in the kitchen and games were played under the lights of the tree.
Christmas Eve day we caved and let busy little hands find something to build after opening one of the gifts that arrived on our doorstep earlier that week.
Thanks Auntie Gigi, the legos were a hit!
Not wanting to be outdone, Christmas Eve night showed off with our annual Unwrapping of the Christmas PJs.
Exciting, I know. But really, it is.
But that didn't last long.
Blurry, yes, but I'm in love.
If you give a mouse a cookie... or if you give a kid a choice, Why yes, I'll have another. We gave the option of big or little, they chose little.
The Dueling Presents.
I think they were happy with their choice. Aliyah asked to stay up "Just a little later to hear the music with these!!"
Santa stayed up late building Brayden's big surprise, but by morning it was all entirely worth it. I even snuck Brayden into the big bed this morning while big sister slept in so that he wouldn't wander out and discover it before everyone was up and could see his reaction... and I don't think he minded the extra cuddle attention one bit. But by the time Aliyah woke, everyone was ready.
He was ready.
After opening up a few special requests of her own, like sparkly pink tights and sliding into her newly acquired goggles, Aliyah took the new trike for a spin.
Ahem, and so did I. But only because Brayden fervently requested, "Mommy ride! Mommy ride!"
Sometimes at Christmas I make elaborate breakfasts with multiple courses, or at least multiple dishes, but this time, I simply asked my family what they wanted. Chris conceded to whatever I decided and Aliyah brilliantly offered up "green Christmas tree pancakes" as a suggestion, to which Brayden echoed "pan-CAKES!"
So green Christmas tree pancakes it was. Green Christmas tree eggnog pancakes.
Followed by a trip to the beach.
A trip to the beach with gingerbread cookies, of course.
And Sandy the Sand-man (you know, since we couldn't build Frosty the Snowman this year).
Christmas dinner was had huddled with a group of close friends originally from Michigan as well, who are quickly becoming family, over a Floridian fare of coconut rice, a wide selection of fresh grilled fish (and a little fried Grouper), bacon wrapped scallops and stuffed jalepeños and desserts of key lime and apple pies and rum cake... It was a mix of North meets South, and the entire evening was perfectly delicious.
Dressed and ready to go. Notice the mess of toys on the floor? Yep, still there.
So now it's late, I've already been up twice tonight (before I've even gone to bed) to console a crying babe, and there's so much more I could say. But for now I'll leave it be. My heart is still big and swollen... and happy. We've not only survived our first Christmas in Florida, but our crimson handled, mistletoe lined mugs are overflowing and we're drinking it all in.
I think our nights under the stars are going to last a little bit longer, we're still celebrating Christmas.
Happy, happy. Joy, joy.
Oh, and we've got a fun episode of KitchenWise coming later today, and if your skin needs a little boost, you don't want to miss it. See you then!