We planned to go to my in-laws on the night of the 23rd, go to the museum during the day of the 24th, dinner and gifts with in-laws, go home to DeKalb and await Santa's arrival on the morning of the 25th, go back to the 'burbs to spend Christmas at my sister's house. This plan involved a lot of driving, so the ice storm that struck on the morning of the 23rd put a kink into this plan. Ryan had a hard time driving the 1 mile from work to home by 5pm because the van was coated in a shell of ice, and the roads weren't salted. I couldn't see out the front windows of the house because of all the ice; we were living in an igloo. There was no way I was putting the kids in the van for a 70 mile journey.
New plan, laid the morning of the 24th for the 24th. Clean the house, because Santa was coming, and we couldn't risk him not leaving presents because he thought we were lazy. Nora immediately asked me what chores she could do! How evil, I knew she'd want to clean her room with that comment! After we cleaned a bit, Ryan and Nora made cookies for Santa. I made a goat cheese, onion, and broccoli quiche for dinner, and we shared a wonderful meal together. Well, Ryan and I shared a meal and the kids ended up eating Ritz crackers and cheese sticks because goat cheese wasn't to their liking. But everyone was in such a good mood, singing and dancing to Harry Connick, giving hugs and kisses just because. It was a happy happy house.
After dinner I read the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Santa Mouse next to the fireplace, which had a warm roasty fire burning. Emily got bored in the middle of Santa Mouse, so I sped through it to get to the evening's finale: the family gift exchange. We didn't tell the kids we were opening gifts that night, and Nora's eyes just about popped out of her head when we gave her the first present. We all got wonderful presents; all the girls (me too!) got new jammies, Nora got her first make-up kit to her delight, Emily got a birthday cake toy that she liked so much we found it in her bed the next morning. Ryan got an air compressor, a tool he has needed for ages, as well as two fantastic books.
The best part of the evening, was, however, putting the girls to bed. Nora's eyes sparkled, her smile spread from ear to ear. She kept saying, "Santa is coming! Tonight! Santa Claus is real, and he's coming!". She got out of bed at least 10 times to tell us she was too excited to sleep. I remember that feeling, that anticipation that I think most adults forget about. Santa! Santa! Santa! Ryan and I sat by the fire, indulging in some Raspberry Tart, waiting for the kids to fall asleep. After all, we had to make sure they were sleeping so Santa could leave presents. And he did, because as Nora so clearly stated, Santa is real!
To see more photos of Christmas Eve, please click this link: