Annelise is 4 and I'm 23 weeks pregnant. This was the most fun Christmas we've had as a family, and also the last as a family of 3. The Archbishop for Military Services said Mass on Christmas Eve, which was preceeded by a Christmas pageant. When I first heard that the pageant would be *before* Mass, I was a little ticked off because it meant we'd be at church for 2 full hours, followed by a fellowship dinner. And then we got to the chapel and realized that it wasn't just a kids' pageant, that the adult choir was also involved and would be showcasing some of our parish's most beautiful voices. My friend Lisa sang 'Breath of Heaven' and I cried, and then our friend Vince had a solo that gave us chills. I let Annelise stand on the pew for that one so she could see Mr Vince sing, she adores him and had been very upset that she couldn't see Miss Lisa since she was playing the piano as she sang.
Annelise fell asleep during Mass, so we didn't make it to the fellowship, but she was wide awake when we got home and she realized that our friends Nick and Robin were going to hang out for a while. She convinced Nick to dance with her in the living room and we had to work pretty hard to get her into bed that night because she didn't want to miss any fun.
Being pregnant, I don't sleep well most nights and I woke up about every two hours that night. I finally woke John up at 6 and we laid in bed for a little while talking about past Christmases and memories from our childhoods. His work schedule is a little wonky and I go to sleep pretty early these days, so our times of laying in bed and talking (something we have always cherished) are few and far between and our Christmas morning conversation was a blessing. We decided to wake Annelise up because I was tired of laying around and John needed to run to work during the morning and drop of treats for the people sitting watch, and it was pretty adorable watching her wake up. I nudged Annelise awake and told her 'Merry Christmas' as she stretched, and when I told her that Santa Claus had been here, she stopped mid-stretch and her eyes got really wide! She jumped out of bed pretty quickly and ran to give John a hug, then he carried her into the living room.
Annelise was super excited to see the gifts that Santa brought, a couple of tutus, a computer tablet (kid-style), and a puzzle. She also loved the Pez dispenser and jewelry box that were in her stocking. Then we embarked on opening the massive pile of gifts that had been sent, she had a blast opening things but needed help sometimes, John's parents both used sparkly paper that was tough for her to tear. Annelise's favorite gifts were a Snow White ballerina doll from Uncle Danny and a plush elephant from her baby sister.
Once all of the gifts were opened, I put together a breakfast casserole and John ran into work, then we ate breakfast together (Annelise did so only because she wanted some candy). We got to work getting the house ready for guests and Annelise played with her new computer and wore her new slippers everywhere. Three of the guys that work with John, plus one wife, came over for lunch, it was basically the same group that we had over for Thanksgiving. Jonathan and Cathy made a Puerto Rican-style pork shoulder and delicious rolls, Danny (Uncle Stranger) made Cuban black beans and rice, and Chris made green beans, while we provided Granny's dressing and parsley potatoes. Lunch was so delicious and afterwards we devoured the break n bake cookies that I made the day before.
Jonathan and Cathy brought a Pink Power Ranger for Annelise, plus a puzzle and a coloring book, and Danny brought her a Power Ranger set with a dart gun, sword, and mask, and a remote-controlled helicopter. Yeah, the age on that one was 10 and up, but he's a single guy and it looked like fun to him, so he bought it for our 4-year-old. All 4 guys took turns learning to fly the helicopter and then decided that they each needed their own and went to the BX to shop. When they got back, they took their copters into the lobby area of our floor and learned to fly them in the hopes of taking them downstairs and flying them to the boss's appartment one floor down. That never happened, thankfully, but they had a lot of fun and Annelise even got to learn to fly a little once they had figured things out.
Everyone left just after dinner and we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy our evening, our Christmas Day turned out to be pretty awesome!
We also found out this Christmas that Melisa and Trent are having another girl, Tinsley Michelle, and that my friend Christy is pregnant. Christy is married to one of my high school/college friends and I am SO SO SO excited for them! This weekend, we get to find out the gender of Dianna and Kyle's baby, I can't wait!
So, after a year of moving fom one Asian country to another, getting pregnant, and settling into apartment living, we've topped things off nicely and are looking forward to what 2013 might bring! At the top of our '13 to-do list is to name this sweet little girl that we'll be welcoming into our lives in April and setting up her room for her arrival. John's working on his private pilot's license and Annelise will start preschool in the fall. My parents will visit after the baby is born and John's mom and brother will visit this summer, so we're going to have to stretch our walls a little to fit extra people! That probably means that I'll have to get rid of more stuff, but I already feel like I got rid of so much before we left Japan! I know that we'll definitely have to go through Annelise's things, she has soooo many toys and books, and we need to clean out stuff that she's outgrown or has used up (100 coloring books come to mind...).
Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
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