Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Merry Little Christmas...

I can't believe been over a year since I did a personal post!!  I definitely need to put to paper what started out for us as a sad little Christmas but ended up just perfect.

Long story short, Mark got the "holiday block" and had to work looooong days all through Christmas, including Christmas Day (12/22 - 1/5).  He'd be leaving the house by 6:30am and not returning until after the kids were in bed.  We'd barely see him but we couldn't ditch him to go home to the Midwest... so my parents agreed to come to us!  I began seeing all the bright sides of the situation, and excitedly planned our holiday menu.  I made and froze my favorite Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup, and daydreamed about how much my parents would love our special "Christmas morning" recipe, Citrus Sweet Rolls.  I picked up a few extra gifts for my parents, to thank them for all the magical Christmas gift-opening mornings they'd provided me.  I felt relieved that my kids would have at least one Christmas in their own home, since I worry that they soon won't buy the "special approval" I get each year for Santa to come early to our house.

The stockings were hung on the window with care...
Stockings and tree skirt by Pottery Barn Kids (woodland collection).

But about a week before their flight was scheduled to leave, my dad suffered a major knee injury.  He stepped funny on some steps and ripped his tendon fully out of his patella.  Surgery was scheduled for a few days before his flight, and his knee would need to be fully immobilized and unbendable for several weeks - he literally couldn't even fit on the plane (plus was in too much pain to have tolerated travel).  Oh man, what a blow - and not just for him!  I pictured myself all alone watching my kids open their gifts on Christmas morning.  How lonely it would be!

So sad.

But somehow, honestly... and to my complete surprise... we really had the best Christmas ever.  It was so simple and so sweet - and so relaxing!  The weather cooperated just right and we had a true White Christmas, complete with a blizzard on Christmas morning.  My kids (it turns out) are at the perfect ages for enjoying the magic of Christmas, and for being able to hang out all day at home without destroying the house.  A few of our highlights...

Even as I was still sure Christmas would be awful, I knew were lucky to have a major bright spot a couple weeks prior.  One of my best friend's moms plays for the Boston Pops and she was able to get us discounted tickets to the Boston Ballet's Nutracker (it's like, the Nutcracker out here).  😍😍😍  Claire has been taking lessons at Boston Ballet and loving them... her favorite movie this year is Leap!  Mark had the (Sunday) evening off and we had a wonderful time.  Even Matthew enjoyed it... he got a massive candy bar at intermission ;)

Love love LOVE this sweet ballet outfit by Janie & Jack.

We took the public transit - frigid, but added to the sense of adventure
Got the peacoat on a STEAL from GILT - it's Kate Spade!!
Glitter pink boots are UGGs, with adorable ribbons up the back - check them out here.

Such a magical night!

Santa Lucia day also brought Christmas cheer, complete with a beautiful dress gifted to Claire by her grandmother and aunt.  Mark is most obviously half Japanese, but the other half is mostly Swedish... and since that's the maternal half, it's the culture that dominated ;)

My little Lucia.

Christmas Eve, gulp.  I've spent soooooo many holidays alone with babies and toddlers, and it's so painful since nothing is open to take them to, to break up the day.  Plus it was freezing out - way too cold for the park.  I was really dreading it.  But actually, we'd ended up too busy until that day to do our annual tradition of seeing The Polar Express in 4D at the Museum of Science.  And as it turned out, MOS was open!  We flew downtown and caught the very last showing - ran into one of our favorite local family friends too!  After that, hmmm.... what else could we do to kill time?  It turned out that L.A. Burdick's in Harvard Square was open, too.  Famous hot chocolate on Christmas Eve?!  Perfect!!!!

L.A. Burdick's on Christmas Eve, for their famous hot chcolate

Then... Christmas miracle!  Mark managed to get off at 4pm!!!!!  I couldn't believe it.  I had purchased a prime rib, potatoes, and carrots, wanting the meal to be special for me and the kids... and now we had our full family together, plus we made it to the Christmas Eve service at our church.  The service was beautiful.  Say what you want about religion, but even my ever-skeptical heart is absolutely wooed by a holiday that celebrates (when you think about it) the birth of a child as a precious gift, mothers, families, humble beginnings, and "bringing silver and gold" to the poor.  I love Christmas... LOVE.  We hurried home through the gorgeous, snowy streets of Lexington, listening to Christmas carols and taking in the best holiday light displays.  Then, feast!  The prime rib and mashed potatoes were the heartiest, tastiest meal for a frigid Christmas Eve!  We opened all the gifts (other than Santa's) with my husband that night.  I was so thankful that he got to be there for it!!

It was a tiny gathering, but with Daddy there it was just right!

One last thing before bed - cookies and milk for Santa, and some carrots for his reindeer.  I love that my job running Claire's Closet Finds basically requires me to find the very best kids' products out there... we bought our Santa's Message Plate Set by Child to Cherish three Christmases ago and it remains one of our most favorite parts of the holiday.  The plate is a chalkboard, so my kids leave Santa a message (thanking him) and then he leaves a message back to them about his observations of their character over the years.  Check it out...

Santa's Message Plate - what they wrote for him.

What "he" wrote back to them ("Ho! Ho! Ho!  Dear Matthew & Claire Thank you for the egg nog and cookies!  Rudolf says thanks for the carrots.  I've been most pleased by how Matthew takes care of his mom and how Claire has been learning to control some of her "big feelings" this year.  Keep up the good work!  I hope you enjoy the presents.  -Mr. C") 

Christmas morning dawned not too early, as my kids don't wake until 7:30 these days (ahhhh, any time I wonder about having a 3rd I have only to remind myself...).  Mark was of course gone, but even being the only adult I really enjoyed watching them open their Santa gifts.  Claire squealed ecstatically when she opened her Maryellen (American Girl) doll.   It was so fun to watch her; the two Christmases I received American Girl dolls (Samantha and Kirsten) were my most memorable of all.  Matthew was thrilled that Santa brought him so many Zelda toys - how did he know?!  😉

Santa's special paper.

So in love with Maryellen and her Ice Skating Set!
Also LOVE our Pottery Barn Kids Stockings - check them out here.

It's hard to cook when it's just you and the kids, but I managed to bake up a super easy, ah-mazing egg bake.  Oh my goodness you have GOT to try this recipe!!!  Simply divine.  We had it with some chocolate croissants since the orange rolls hadn't quite been made yet.  As we ate and the kids enjoyed their new toys, the blizzard swirled around us... one thing I love about snow is that it makes the world so quiet - as close as it ever gets to silent.  Toasty in our apartment, everything was just perfect.  And then... Christmas miracle #2.  Mark walked in at about 2:00 pm.  Hooray!  We enjoyed the day as a family and gobbled down amazing leftovers.  Along with some Swedish Raspberry Cardamom Twists we made - these are SO good, and you only need 1/2 a batch!!!


Over the next several days of break, again to my complete surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed all my solo-parenting time with my kids.  They are at the best ages (5 & 7) - they're still so cute and fun, but they can totally entertain themselves (especially with lots of new Christmas toys) without making too disastrous a mess.  Many forts were made, and much cooking and baking was done.  Keeping it real - lots of relaxing screen time too 😉  The highlights:

Roll out your dough on one of these mats - it won't stick at all!  Game changer!!!

Cardamom Sweet Rolls with Maple Glaze, ready to be iced!

Raspberry Cardamom Sweet Rolls with Maple Glaze, ready to be iced!
  • Gingerbread house!!!
I did a lot of research before settling on this gingerbread house kit - it's actually pretty tasty!

This cardigan is everything.  😍😍😍
Check out Nordstrom's Mini Boden Selection - *everything* ships and returns free (no minimum!) ALWAYS.
OR check out the NEW spring line at Boden, it just loaded today - women's too!!!

In spite of gaining about 50 lbs, my heart is more full than my stomach.  This Christmas was just what I needed to sort of step away from my business page and our usually harried existence of work/school, and a zillion after-school and weekend activities, and to just be.  To enjoy my children at some of their most enjoyable stages.  To cook and eat with them some of the foods I hope have built and will continue building for them associated seasonal, familial, and just childhood-magical memories.  I have so many favorite Christmas carols... it's Christmas station or bust over here from Thanksgiving on... but the carol for this year is definitely "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

The above post contains affiliate links; I earn a small % commission on purchases made through my links.  No items were provided to me to review; this is all stuff I bought that we own and love.

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