Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry. Christmas. Noel, Noel!

Okay, so that post title might look like I have no idea how the phrase "Merry Christmas" is supposed to go.  But I promise it makes sense if you know it's phrased like a Christmas song that I sing this all the time, not just at Christmas.

Our ward's Christmas party had a Polar Express theme.  The kids had "tickets" and "passports" and could go to different countries (rooms) at will to learn about their Christmas traditions and to do a craft or game.   We were asked to portray Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the Bethlehem room, which was the last room.

These photos were taken on T's iPhone by one of our friends.  The photos really don't do it justice.  The room was dark with just the one light in the stable and it was so peaceful and simple.   As you can imagine, there weren't any crafts or games in our room.

We talked a little with some of the kids about who else came to see the Baby Jesus and other things about the Christmas story, but mostly we just sat with them in silence.  It sounds kind of boring, but it was actually beautiful.  Several times kids just sat near the baby in silence for seriously 10 or 15 minutes.  They didn't want to leave.  It was so sweet.

One little three year old was talking to baby and Pippa smiled at him.  The little boy said, "Oh, Jesus loves me.  I love him back!"

Pippa actually fell asleep all by herself in the manger!

 Pippa was so precious.  Having a new baby at Christmas time is so beautiful.

I was actually nervous about Pippa being calm at the Christmas party because she had had A DAY up until that point.  T had to go in to work that Saturday and when he came home and I made him take baby for 45 minutes so I could have a bath to relax before we had to portray the Holy Family because I was so not feeling holy!

We arrived at the church extra early so I could feed Pippa there just before we changed into our costumes in hopes of keeping her happy.  Pippa was seriously an angel for the hour and a half we were in the Bethlehem room.  We loosely wrapped her in a white swaddle blanket and put some of the blanket under her head to keep the scratchy burlap away.  She smiled and cooed and held my finger most of the time.  She fussed once or twice and calmed right down by sucking on my finger.  After about 45 minutes she drifted off!  Right there in the manger!  Without me doing anything!  Now maybe you can expect that from a brand newborn, but not a three month old!  It was a Christmas miracle!  Pippa was also an angel for the 45 minutes we spent at the dinner after the Bethlehem portion was over.  

This was by far the nicest ward Christmas party we have ever been to.  They went all out with the decorations and food.  Here's T and Pippa after changing out of costume in front of one of the bulletin boards.  They covered all of the boards this way to make it look like you were looking out of a window from the Polar Express.  Also, check out the cheeks on Pippa!

A week after the Christmas party, T and I were at a baptism.  A different little three year old boy saw us with Pippa in a dress and said, "Baby Jesus turned into a girl!"

When T's mom visited we went to the DC temple.  These are from the Visitor's Center.

Every year the Visitor's Center has a big display of nativities from around the world.  I really love this one from Germany and want one cut out of wood like this.

This photo of our friend's family made it into a new portion of the Visitor's Center.

One night while T's mom was in town we left her with baby while we went to pick out a Christmas tree.  Baby was fed, but wasn't falling asleep but we left Pippa with Grandma B anyway.  As we were leaving the tree lot we got a text that we needed to come home because Pippa had had enough.  Luckily we already had the tree strapped to the car so we quickly drove home.  Well, as quickly as you can drive with a tree on top of your car.

We got Pippa to sleep while T and his mom situated the tree.  We did lights and decorated the tree the next day after we got back from the temple.  Here are the results:

"Santa, baby" if you will.

And here is Pippa with the tree on Christmas morning.

Christmas was pretty low key; just how we like it.  We opened stockings then put Pippa down for a nap.  While she was napping T and I opened the presents.  We have some really generous families and know we really are so blessed - mostly in ways that can't be wrapped but that are much more valuable than anything money can buy.