A Different Christmas

Our Christmas was different this year.  Not necessarily better or worse just different, for lack of a better word.  I know that doesn't translate well but roll with me here.  Our first Thing left the nest and returned home after three months.  Different.  The Things are all teenagers now.  Different.  Husband Jared is working retail once again, as in a store.  Different.  Gone are the days of Christmas through New Years holiday.  We are living near family, again.  Different.  There was no snow on the ground and hardly a chill in the air.  Different.  Like I said, so much change, so different.

All that and I still could not have been any giddier picking Thing 1 up from the airport.  I tried to hold it together and just calmly wait at the car for her but then I caught sight of her walking through the doors and I could not contain myself.  I sprinted across the street and jumped into her arms.  No really, I did.  Three months is the longest we have ever been apart.  We had a girls weekend planned since the boys were off to Florida for a showcase tournament at IMG.  Woo hoo, all the way around!  To kick off our weekend she requested Chick Fil A and then it was all eating and shopping and movie watching all weekend.  It was so good.  There were a few other highlights too, the Franklin Farmers market, church together on Sunday night and an outing to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens' holiday light display.  Such a sweet weekend with my three girls, reunited.

 Together again.

Fun at the Factory, we took a similar picture almost 10 years ago with Thing 4.  
A little different now.  

Baking Cookies, or something like that. (not different)

Holiday lights at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

More lights, and not the best quality photograph but these trees were mesmerizing.

A few snapshots of the week leading up to Christmas.  Four of our six had a busy work week with Thing 2 logging over 38 hours but we managed to squeeze in a bit of fun here and there.  Thing 1's ornaments were waiting for her so she decorated the tree and put the angel on top(her year).  We also encountered some frightening weather one evening and were in our safe spot for most of the night while Thing 2 and Husband Jared were at work in theirs.  During one of Thing 3's work shifts we visited for fried pork chops.  What can we say, we like our meat and three's.  Well, mostly we like the girl serving them.  All this, more different, as noted above.

 Thing 3 behind the counter serving Thing 1.

Popcorn, a laundry basket and nothing but good times. 

This is how you put the angel on when your tree is almost too tall for your house.  

They were filled with excitement as Thing 1 placed her ornaments on our tree.  
(Enter sarcasm, definitely not different)

Before we knew it Christmas Eve arrived and we spent the day soaking in the bright sunshine and exceptionally warm weather that graced us.  We were outside running, walking Polo and strolling on Main Street.  Thing 3 was in her element baking away and we prepped for our traditional Italian dinner that evening.  Since Husband Jared was working all day the Things and I went to Christmas Eve service together, came home and put the finishing touches on our meal.  The six of us gathered around the table and toasted to Christ's coming and laughed like we haven't laughed in a while.  After clean up it was time for our jammie and hot cocoa Christmas light tour.  These kids never fail to make me laugh.  A poor attempt at Christmas caroling was made and after viewing everything from professional light displays to the average jo's we found ourselves at home and watching Polar Express.  Only thing was we were all so tired I don't think we made it but half way through.

After church obligatory picture for Mama. 

And then this happened and the situation escalated.  That blur is Thing 4 falling over the hedges and Thing 3 right behind him.  They both toppled over and thankfully stood up laughing with no major injuries.  

Thing 1 took over on fried cauliflower for me, she did a fantastic job!

The table is set.  

Christmas jammies on, hot cocoa at the ready and four Things.

Traditional sibling sleep over.  Although I'm not sure there is any sleep happening because we all know that before long Thing 1 will be waking us all up before the sun. (Not different)

Our tree with pretty brown paper packages.

And then came Christmas morning.  Per the usual Thing 1 was the first awake and her and the others stormed our bedroom to wake Husband Jared and myself.  After a quick snuggle it was downstairs for coffee and coffee cake.  Much to our surprise Thing 2 was on it already, coffee made and coffee cake in the works.  See, different, again.  We gathered with our blankets and coffee and Christmas music playing and we all opened our stockings.  One at a time so we could see what Santa had done.  When the oven dinged and coffee cake was ready we gathered around the table for our reading of Luke 2.  This year the Bible was passed and everyone took turns reading.  There we sat sharing new thoughts, trying our best to comprehend the significance of His birth.  It was my favorite part of the day with these people of mine.  We snuggled and spent the rest of the morning just being.  Whether that was preparing brunch or sorting through our goodies, watching movies, playing games, it was all good.  The Things had been patient long enough and there were gifts
waiting for them.  Next stop, around the Christmas tree.  Each gift was unwrapped and oohed and ahhhed over.  Paper was cleared and brunch was ready.  G-pa and Mema joined us for brunch and then it was off to the Horel's house for pressies with Autumn and Gemma.  Autumn had chosen special gifts for each of us this year, all on her own and she was filled with anticipation to present those to us.  The Things and their cousins opened presents and laughed and played and then there were dance parties and Wii tournaments.  We left the Horels and returned home to a quiet afternoon of movies and Enos and trivia and birthday cookies for Jesus.  Oh what a celebration!

Thing 2 on her own in the kitchen.  I must say, the coffee cake was delicious!

Time for stockings.  
Always too heavy for the hangers on the mantle.

 I'm not sure Thing 4 was fully awake just yet.

Thing 3's turn.  And a tail tucking Polo photo bomb!

Thing 1 and a blur of ribbon and wrapping paper.

Thing 2 attempting to untangle her lanyard from her stocking. Just as Husband Jared had predicted the night before.

Luke 2.  

Coloring time with their new crayon pencils and coloring books.

Damian jersey for Thing 4.  Looking good.

Sibling time in the Eno, despite the rain.

Due to the rain our walk to the Horel house was cancelled, thus we piled in the back of Betsy.

Autumn watching as her cousins open their presents from her.

Thing 3 and Gemma dancing!  

For posterity's sake and before we wrap this up I am obliged to include our ornament choices for this year.  The girl Things were all gifted vintage ornaments, chosen for their colors and uniqueness.  Thing 4's ornament, well you can see that one for your self.  Thanks for playing along.  

Thing 1's vintage ornament.

Thing 2's vintage ornament.

Thing 3's vintage ornament.  Well, sort of.  You see in the process of moving said ornament to the tree this Mama shattered it.  Like no gluing it together and pretending it didn't happen.  I was heart broken.  So Thing 3 in all her wittiness is showing you the ornament that wasn't.  Thankfully, since this photo was taken said ornament has been replaced and all is right once again.  

Thing 4's antler ornament.  You know, to document the year of pocket knifes and new adventures and arm pit hair.  Yep, I said it here folks.  

I'll leave you with this.  A snippet of the soundtrack of our Christmas morning.  I do hope you and yours had a merry and joyous day celebrating our King's birth!  

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