winter rose

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Christmas morning dawned beautifully here.  The light did somehow seem different–rosy pink, fresh, full of new life.  The children were up not too early, mostly their usual time, while I was busy making coffee and grain-free cinnamon rolls.  I had saved a little frosting from Phoebe’s cake to put on top of the cinnamon rolls and they were heavenly.  We opened stockings first, giving them our usual things–socks, underwear, toothbrushes, candies and dried fruits, some purple sock yarn for phoebe, a toy car for noah, a bath toy turtle for philippa.  Just little items, over which they took such joy!  (As I’m typing this I just now remembered I forgot to tuck one little gift into Noah and Phoebe’s stocking!  Ahh!  My poor brain.  Lately I really feel worn down, brain tired.  It doesn’t bode well for starting school back up with phoebe next week.)  After stockings, we had breakfast and read the Christmas story from the scriptures, and then commenced opening gifts under the tree.

We told the children in the fall that the play gym we were working on for them would be their big christmas gift.  I had bought each of them a coloring book and a chalkboard slate (really actually need these for school), but otherwise we didn’t have presents for them to open Christmas morning.  They had a couple gifts from grandparents to open, and their Hape Mine Mountain train toy was a huge hit!  Brandon gifted me a Fringe Supply project bag which I love, and some sock yarn that I’ve been eyeing for awhile.  I bought him a warm Carhartt coat for work.  I did manage to finish knitting his beanie at midnight on Christmas Eve, just in the “nick” of time, as they say.  Brandon and I had been talking about getting a family gift of a kitty for the kids, but kept going back and forth about the timing and whether or not we really could afford to take on a pet right now.  It’s been years since we’ve had any pets and I admit, it’s been so nice!  I kept imagining a little white kitten in a box under the tree, and a few days before Christmas Brandon visited a local shelter and adopted one.  Some kind friends cat-sat her for us until Christmas Eve, and we kept her hidden in the sunroom while the kids slept.  We had them each open a part of the family gift–a set of bowls, a cat bed, a cat toy–and then they opened the box she was in.  Their reaction was quieter than we expected, I think they were shocked that there was a real live animal right in our living room.  Slowly the giggles and glee and squeals took over!  It’s been such a joy the last few days to see them interact with her, care for her, figure out how to pick her up carefully or get her to play with them.  We don’t know much of her backstory, but she is 3 months old and the shelter had named her Belmont, but the kids have decided to name her Winter Rose, and mostly are just calling her Rose. I am slowly warming up to her, too, kittens are just irresistible.  I am, however, holding to my position that she be an outside cat come spring.

After Christmas morning we had a small lunch and then headed out for a hike instead of putting kids down for naps.  It was absolutely freezing here, but I was especially craving some time out on the quiet parkway nearby, so we drove a short way up and hopped on the Mountain to Sea trail for a bit of a hike.  Despite my bad back pain (which has been the worst this pregnancy) it was still so nice to be out breathing fresh cold mountain air for a bit.  We came home and Brandon helped me make a simple Christmas dinner just for us–baked ham, scalloped potatoes, and a salad of mixed greens, citrus + pomegranate.  I had hoped to make a cherry pie for Brandon, but just didn’t have the energy to pull it off.  I will surprise him with one soon, he’s been waiting for one since Thanksgiving.  I’m feeling really weary after all the kid’s birthdays, holiday celebrations, and I’m looking forward to the next couple months which will hopefully be more quiet until baby comes in February.

It was a simple day spent together, and there was some quiet ache in the midst of all the beauty–the longing for things we can’t quite name that always seems to be stirred up on Christmas day.  The children were happy and we were tired and happy with them.  I think our Advent season this year was one of my favorites–as they get older, it is so rewarding to see them learn and understand and process.  It’s sad to let it go, and today I think I’ll begin packing away some of the decorations.  But our hearts are full from the time together and our minds are turning now to the new year and whatever hopeful things may be in store for us in it.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying these last few days of 2017, and that the year to come is full of hope and promise and joy for you!  I’ll be back to share pictures from Noah and Phoebe’s birthday soon.

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