Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas 2018

This year, we had a busy but wonderfully cozy Christmas!

Lucy and Alice were in a Christmas Eve concert at a local church. Lucy was in the Nativity play this year as a shepherd, and Alice was in the toddler choir. 

Alice's performance

Lucy's performance... you can hear Esme in the background starting to get fussy.

After the Christmas Eve service, we had a little family gathering at our house. It is our tradition every year to have cheese and charcuterie on Christmas Eve. This year, my parents were in town, and my brother and sister-in-law also came over with our nieces. Our house was loud and lively, and the excitement of all those little girls was so contagious! 

After everyone left, Lucy and Alice hung up their stockings for Santa. We cuddled up on the couch and read The Polar Express and "The Night Before Christmas". Then we put two tired but very excited little girls to bed... 

Hanging their stockings...

On Christmas morning, the girls did not wake up at dawn. In fact, the grownups had time to get a little coffee before we heard the pitter-patter of little feet on the stairs. Lucy and Alice came out and opened their stockings. Santa was very good to them this year! 

After stockings, we sat down to our breakfast of warm cinnamon rolls and lit the Christ candle in our Advent wreath. When we had finished breakfast, the girls were ready to open their presents...

On Christmas Eve, Morgan surprised us all (including me) with matching PJ's. There was a pair for the whole family, including Baby Esme, so of course we had to document this: 

I just realized Esme was missing one of her socks... poor third child!

After all the presents had been opened (and the wrapping paper cleaned up), it was time to start on Christmas dinner. While the older girls played with their new toys, the grown-ups were cooking and baking.

Except for my dad and Esme, who were napping. :)

Every year, it is our tradition to make a Buche de Noel, which is a French roll cake made to look like a Yule log. The recipe has been passed down in my family from generation to generation. 

This year's Buche de Noel... and we are still enjoying the leftovers!

That afternoon, we went over to my brother's house for Christmas dinner. There was beef tenderloin and roast chicken and asparagus and mashed potatoes and hot, buttered rolls. And, of course, the buche for dessert. 

Afterwards, we got the girls into their coats and said "goodnight". It was such a merry Christmas that Lucy and Alice (and the grownups) could barely keep their eyes open.

"Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with all his love into the womb of a young girl, and the universe started to breathe again, and the ancient harmonies resumed their song, and the angels clapped their hands for you?"
 –Madeleine L’Engle

Monday, December 17, 2018

Alice's Winter Recital

A couple of weeks ago, Alice had her winter dance recital. It was just too precious for words, so here is a video. You're welcome! ;)

St. Lucy's Day

Obviously, we've been a little busy around here lately! Between caring for a newborn, recovering from mastitis / infections, and the craziness that is this time of year, I have had to take a little break from homeschooling. Fortunately, I had some planned vacation time already built in to the schedule for the holidays, so we haven't lost too much time.

Speaking of holidays, we have been reading about holiday traditions around the world. Last week, we celebrated St. Lucia's, or St. Lucy's, Day, which is on December 13th. As you can imagine, Lucy was especially excited about this holiday. She even dressed up in the traditional costume (minus the crown of candles... fire hazard...). I think she made an adorable St. Lucy!

There are so many incredible books about Christmas traditions around the world. We have been reading this one and love it so much. 

Happy Advent Season!

One Month

Our sweet Esme Rose is one month old! How is this even possible?!

At one month, Esme has become so bright-eyed and alert. She is also STRONG. When she is laying on her tummy, she can pick up her head and look all around. She also has a powerful kick (which I knew from her time in the womb). She follows voices, especially her big sisters', and she turns her head like she's looking for them.

It's difficult to tell what Esme's little personality is going to be like, but she seems very calm and sweet. She loves to be snuggled and sung to. She also loves the play mat and the swing. We are so excited to watch her grow!

The past month has been filled with so many challenges - just not the sort of challenges we expected! I have been extremely sick with mastitis and clogged milk ducts (yep - just as much fun as it sounds!). As I mentioned in my previous post, Esme was having trouble eating and gaining weight at first. She was actually losing weight, which was scary and made us feel helpless and anxious. I was pumping around to clock to get enough milk for her, which was exhausting and emotional to say the least. Thankfully, Esme seems to have turned a corner! She is nursing again and growing well. At her one-month doctor visit, we learned that she is in the 4th percentile for weight. It may not be much, but we are incredibly relieved and thankful. 

Through it all, Esme has just been the absolute sweetest dream-baby. We are all head-over-heels in love with our sweet Esme Rose!