We had a great Christmas celebration this week. It was a full week and we had lot of things going on. It was great to be able to spend the week with out little family celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
We started out the week with our first attempt at an Arnesen family tradition — story night. We had all of us get our sleeping bags out and put them on the floor in the family room after dinner. We each had a few snacks and treats to eat. While we all lay on our sleeping bags, Sarah read us a few stories. I think we only read three or four books. That was about all the kiddos had the attention span for! After we finished our books, we put James to bed in his crib and let Eliza sleep on the floor. We fully expect this tradition to get longer and more interesting as the kids get older.
Before we had story night, we watched SpaceX launch some satellites to orbit. We had the laptop on the computer and watched the launch live. This launch was the first time that they had flown the first stave back to land and softly landed it using retro-rockets. It was so cool to watch! I was cheering at the end. Eliza loved it too. She has been into rockets since I came back from Kennedy Space Center and she thought the launch was awesome.
On Tuesday, Sarah and I went on a date to see Star Wars! We got the kids in bed and had a girl from church come to sit with them while we went to the 9:15pm showing. We got popcorn and too much soda and enjoyed the movie. We didn’t know how long the line was going to be so we got there pretty early and got awesome seats. It was a great movie and brought back good memories of seeing the original movies years ago with my family. We both had a bit too much soda and had to scoot out right at the start of the credits to hit the restroom! It was good to be able to go for a while and have some time to ourselves.
Wednesday evening we took around some goodies to some of our friends. We went late so that we could show Eliza and James the Christmas lights as we drove around. Eliza loved seeing the lights and has been asking where they are every time we go anywhere since then. I also had the whole day off on Wednesday. I played with the kids and finished my last two books for my reading goal for the year. We had a good time playing around the house. Eliza has a boundless imagination and it is fun to play with her.
We spent Christmas Eve at home mostly the whole day. We finished wrapping the last few presents and put them under the tree. The kids have been super cute with wrapping presents. James loved taking them and putting them under the tree (or at least throwing them at the floor by the tree) and Eliza wanted to pile them all up in one place under there. They were both excited about it. Eliza remembered a bit of what happens at Christmas and she was excited about the presents. She had been praying for several days that Santa could come and bring presents after she went to sleep.
We made a ham for dinner on Christmas Eve and had our little family meal at 5:00. James, of course, ate everything in sight. Eliza ate a bit more daintily but was great to eat her good food before having jello for dessert. After dinner, we reenacted the journey to Bethlehem and the Nativity with the kids. Eliza needed some coaxing to get dressed up like Mary but eventually she was all ready to go. James hammed it up as Joseph. He kept posing for the camera and making cute faces. Eliza got to ride on “daddy donkey” which she thought was pretty awesome. After doing the Nativity play, we read Luke 2 and had family prayer and put the kids to bed so that Santa could come!
It is nice having kids that don’t want to get up in the middle of the night to open presents. Christmas Day started for us around 7:30 in the morning. Eliza came downstairs in her usual fashion and came into our room. We got James up and looked at what Santa brought. James got a cool car ramp play set and Eliza got a fun tea party set. Sarah got a nice memory foam pillow and I got some new wonderfully light-weight scout pants. After looking at Santa stuff we had a breakfast of ham and cheese crescent rolls and then started opening presents.
We opened presents until 10:00 when we talked to Uncle Joseph on Skype from his mission. It was fun to talk to him. He is doing great work. It was kind of funny to hear him talk because he totally has the missionary drawl! What a great guy. It is so fun to have Eliza pray for him every night.
After we finished with presents we kind of just lounged around the rest of the day and took it easy. Eliza and James played with their new toys. Eliza actually was really excited about the little Lego set that I got. She was 100% focused when we worked together to build it. It probably took us 30 minutes but she was right there the whole time helping me find pieces and putting them together. I’m excited for when she’s older and we can make huge sets together!
We capped off our week with a late-night game night with our friends the Larsens. They had a few other families over on Saturday to play games and have snacks. There were a bunch of kids that were running around and Eliza and James just played. We put the kids down to sleep while we were there. James went down pretty quick but Eliza had a hard time. She eventually fell asleep. We had a fun time playing games. When we went home, Eliza had a meltdown about everything. She ended up being awake until around 2:00 before she finally fell asleep on our floor. That made for a late morning on Sunday.
All in all we had a great week. Christmas is a wonderful time of year and we had a great little celebration here in Texas. We are so grateful for Jesus Christ and for his life, example and atonement. We know that He lives and that He is real.