Monday, January 2, 2012

Our Christmas

Well I sure have taken my sweet old time writing up this post. I'm not going to lie, it has been a rough few weeks - all three of us have been sick and two of us have been sick twice! We did manage, however, to have a very nice Christmas. 

Brad and I realized when talking on Christmas day that this may be the only Christmas we ever spend just the 3 of us. I'm very ok with that, because I missed my family a TON that day. But it was also kind of neat to just focus on each other, especially given how little time we get together. 

Christmas Eve day we spent running around doing last minute errands. I was buying groceries and going to the butcher and wine shop. I also ran out and found Brad some last minute Christmas gifts. And he Christmas Eve shopped for me too! Just so hard to find the time, and the shops are hella crowded around here in the Big City.

Finally in the late afternoon we got all gussied up and went to church. I found a children's service at a nearby church that sounded very low key. This was important because Charlie is not a big fan of sitting still and being quiet. Like, even when his favorite show is on. He doesn't attend the service when we go to church in Richmond - they do kids' Sunday school during the service. So had to be something where other children were being loud!
It ended up being very nice. They had some horses out front we were able to check out and pet. That one on the left was not pleased I didn't come bearing treats. 
Inside there were lots of different costumes and LOTS of singing. I thought they were crazy for passing out candles to a congregation of small children in an old wooden church, but nothing caught on fire! Charlie helped me hold the candle and really did not want to blow it out. He was fascinated with the kids sitting behind us - I think because one was wearing a Cookie Monster t-shirt. And that's cool.
We came home and cooked dinner. My dad had sent me some simple recipes to try for Christmas Eve and Christmas day since I had limited supplies in the apartment kitchen. I made duck with a port and cherry sauce and some parmesan polenta. Charlie wouldn't touch it, but he's in a phase where he eats majorly at one meal of the day and won't eat at all the other two meals. 

Afterwards, we put out the cookies and milk for Santa and read our Christmas books. The stockings were hung on the TV stand with care. And then I began the horrible night time routine of trying to get Charlie to go to sleep. 

Meanwhile, Brad wrapped Charlie's gifts. Like, all of them. And since he has almost no toys here in London, there were lots of them! I was so happy he did that. It had been such a long day at that point! 

I fell asleep more excited than I had been in years for Christmas. I was so excited thinking about Charlie waking up in the morning and finding all the gifts under the tree. And then opening them and being so thrilled. Speaking of the tree, here it is, our little homemade decorated Christmas tree. Popcorn, cranberries, ribbons, a few ornaments and.... pictures of the poodles our house sitter sent us. Yes, I poked holes in them and hung them on the tree. 

In the morning, Charlie was of course up bright and early, and seemed a little confused and overwhelmed by everything. In fact, he mostly seemed perplexed that the cookies we left out were gone and can we have some more cookies over here mom? They are not, after all, Santa's cookies. Cookies are for Charlie.

We did stockings and I was getting all ready to go start some coffee while Charlie played with the contents of his stocking... and then I heard a giant rip and Charlie had torn into one of his gifts. It was a big cement mixer and he was so excited. In fact, it was a very transportation themed Christmas. Airplane, helicopter, fire truck, cement mixer. The Bruder trucks came already assembled, but Brad spent a good chunk of the morning putting together the PlayMobil ones.
After presents we had breakfast. I never did figure out how to put together the monkey bread with so few kitchen tools, so I just picked up some pastries at a bakery. The breakfast casserole didn't taste quite right, either, but was still good. I think we're going to need a breakfast do over when we get home to Richmond.
After breakfast it was just a lot of playing with toys, relaxing and watching movies. We managed to talk to some family, too, even with busy schedules and the time change. And we made a nice Christmas dinner of Chateaubriand, mashed potatoes and green bean bundles. YUM.
I was actually feeling sick again all day, so was trying to rest and drink as much water as possible. Brad left for a bit and walked a mile each way to try and find a pharmacy that was open. Everything here is seriously shut on Christmas. No CVS or Wal-mart for emergencies here. I thought that was so nice until I really needed some medicine! But I survived and I'm sure all the employees were very happy to not worry about working.

So that was our Christmas! Different, but still very special. Like everything else over here, makes me appreciate home, which I can't wait to get back to.

I hope everyone reading this has had a very nice Christmas and New Year's! Or as they call it in London... the Festive Season!

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