Merry Christmas Eve! Despite the difficult times we've had over the past week, I've done my very best to stay in the holiday spirit... I refuse to let the darkness get in the way of the magical-ness of Christmas! Which is easier to do when you have a wild little girl running around. This is our very first year staying "home" for the holidays, rather than traveling "home." While it'll definitely feel weird waking up on Christmas morning in OUR house, not sitting at the top of the stairs with all my brothers and sisters, waiting on our parents to snap our yearly photo -- I have to say it's pretty nice NOT having to travel over the holidays. It's a lot less stressful and forces us to focus on our little family of three.
Because we're home this year, we've officially started some of our own family traditions. Now next year will probably be even more special, as Cameron Kate becomes more and more aware of the magic of Christmastime; however, I do think she recognizes when there's something special and out of the ordinary going on in the Peele household.
So, we began our traditions a few weeks ago with a trip to Boone, journeying up the mountain to pick out and cut down a Christmas tree for the very first time! It was a much better experience than the ol' Home Depot parking lot. Cameron, of course, loving every bit of the outdoors, had a blast!
We finished our Boone trip with a HUGE meal at the Daniel Boone Inn (I may or may not have had to unbutton my jeans for the drive home). Once we got our tree up, we cranked up the Christmas music and got our house in the holiday spirit!
Another tradition I was SO excited to start with CK was the good ol' Elf on the Shelf. Obviously she's a little young for all the shenanigans, so I wasn't very elaborate this year. But she definitely fell in love with "Eliza" and had to carry her around and play with her everyday.
Another tradition we will always continue (even though this year I knew it'd be a disaster) was getting Cameron's picture taken with Santa. So she got all gussied up in her Goat and Lulu dress...
And was even in awe of Santa from afar...
But, as I suspected, putting her on his lap didn't go so well!
There's something about the obligatory screaming-toddler-on-Santa's-lap picture. You just HAVE to have it. Here's the official shot:
And just for comparison's sake, here's what we were working with last year:
And just because these pictures are hilarious... a little side-by-side (I guess she's always been a little wary of ol' Saint Nick!):
Our traditions are JUST beginning as we start putting our own spin on the holiday season. There is SO much I want to do as CK gets older and understands what Christmas is all about. But for now, I'm relishing in the little things I can do with her to make each moment count. Like this morning, we started our day with a full-on Christmas Eve dance party. I was panting, and sweating, and Cameron Kate was giggling those deep-belly laughs that make my heart want to explode. It was perfection. It made every tear from last week fade away for a little while, and reminded me of the many, many blessings I have to be thankful for this year.
Later today, we'll decorate cookies for Santa, which is sure to be the best kind of messy, delicious disaster. Tomorrow morning I cannot wait to wake up at home, listen to my favorite toddler babbling in her room, unaware of the magic that has taken over our living room. I will capture the expression on her face when she sees all of the excitement of tomorrow morning, and I will never let that memory escape from my mind.
But first, tonight we'll head to a candlelight Christmas Eve service, where I'll be sure to thank God not only for His son, but also for His plan for us. Even though it can sometimes be confusing, I know His timing has purpose and is perfect...
Merry Christmas from the Peeles!