Other than looking gorgeous and appearing the perfect sleeping angel while in public as attested to below, what did it involve?
Aunt Katherine, Caroline, and I went to an open house at the home of the friend I made while waiting for my organic Thanksgiving turkey. You have to read the other blog to know the story behind that. Caroline was sound asleep while there and the object of much cooing. We didn't know anyone there, save for the hosts. So we got acquainted with one young family and ate really good food, and then made an early exit for church.
People were beside themselves with glee at the sight of Caroline at church. She continued to sleep peacefully, even after being extracted from layers of bundling. When we arrived the pastor said "Oh good, here's the baby Jesus." I chuckled because I was the baby Jesus my first Christmas on earth. This church doesn't do a pageant or a live nativity. They have a lovely reception the hour before worship and then the 7 p.m. service is a lot like Sunday morning except there is extra special music- a trio of guitar, clarinet and bassoon, a soloist, LOTS of carols to be sung.
There was a children's sermon in which the pastor desired to talk about swaddling. And he asked Kevin, who was then holding sleeping Caroline, to come forward for a demonstration. Now... usually we don't leave home without a swaddling blanket, but... of course... we had left home without a swaddling blanket. So Kev just brought our beautiful girl up to the midst of the kids, sat on the floor with her, and she became a visual of how small Jesus once was. The youngest kids were fascinated with her. The pastor's grandson kept trying to get REALLY close; his mom jumped up to run interference. So, I guess, in a way, Caroline was the baby Jesus for her first Christmas too.
Kevin had met us at church, bringing Katherine's car. Katherine scooted out in her car quickly after the service to see if she could find an open grocery store to pick up some supplies she had forgotten. We closed out the place as I wanted to feed Caroline a bit before heading home. And then, when it was just the pastor and us, and it seemed the pastor was ready to go home, we realized Katherine still had the keys to our car. So... we waited a bit... and then she came back with the keys and we headed home.
We had planned to have what has become a traditional Christmas Eve dinner and dessert in my family home, homemade manicotti and gingerbread, but we decided somewhere along the way to delay the manicotti for Christmas day (and no, my family is not Italian, so this is a funny tradition for us!) We had some very yummy Korean food that had been delivered by a classmate the day before, and that became Christmas Eve dinner. And Katherine was willing to delay the gingerbread as well, but I encouraged her to make it. She had been saying for days that she needs to eat warm gingerbread with applesauce and whipped cream before going to bed on Christmas Eve, and so we did. And it was delicious.
We got a slow start to Christmas day. Eventually Kev made some waffles and we baked some cookies. And we listened to Christmas music much of the day. We opened what presents were under the tree. And we played many rounds of bananagrams, a gift from Caroline's Godmother and Godfather when they visited earlier this fall. None of us had ever played this game before. But it was a good one for the three of us.
Caroline slept through much of the day. We tried out her swing for the first time, only to realize we didn't have the right batteries for it. Now we do. We took turns holding her as we played. We fielded phone calls from loved ones. I turned on the t.v. as I fed her in the evening hoping for "A Christmas Story", but I just missed the marathon on TBS. Sigh.
This boxing day, feast of Stephen, is getting off to a slow start. Kev is cleaning out our car for airport pick-up purposes (and, thank goodness, just because it needs to be done). I have a running list of things that need to be done and things I want to get done before family arrives. And cleaning is at the top of the list. My mom, dad, and brother are scheduled to get in mid-afternoon. Kevin's mom and dad are supposed to get into their motel this evening, but they've had an exhausting few days of travel and we won't see them until tomorrow. Auntie Mieke arrives tomorrow morning. Some church members from the congregation I used to serve will also be checking in sometime in the next two days and will join us for the baptism.
We have some baked goods to share and lots of leftover manicotti... and we have the best Christmas gift ever to pass around. All shall be well.
Oh... and Caroline's godmother and godfather can't make the baptism as they need to be with family far away, but they sent a GORGEOUS song they composed for the occasion. We'll play it at the reception after the service, but it would be wholly appropriate, even, to play it in church. What an exciting day it will be. Caroline will wear the gown that was made for me... and that has been worn by so many babies ever since, all the names are stitched into the hem of the gown. My mom had the job of putting me in my robe at my ordination and she brought out this gown first to talk about having had the privilege of dressing me for my baptism and thus how appropriate it seemed to now dress me for my ordination. Special memory...
Enjoy these twelve days of Christmas all... God is good. All the time.