moses’s first christmas!

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this christmas was the best christmas of my life. it was just brimming with exquisite christmas joy.

becoming a mother and having a baby has created in my heart new pockets of capacity to feel deeply – and that heightened sense was so keenly realized in rich gladness at christmas.

everything was more special this year – the reverent stuff and the giddy stuff alike. we celebrated heartily and loved seeing that magical christmas sparkle in our little moses’s eyes.

our holiday weekend was so wonderful.
here’s some photos! …




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on christmas eve we went ice skating at the tower of london! since we (obviously) couldn’t bring moses on the ice, we traded off taking spins around the rink (set up in the moat – pretty cool!) while the other waved from the side with the baby. i had to turn the live photos i took on my phone into gifs because isn’t this fun? i’m the one in the middle of the rink with arms outstretched here –> and don’t you just love the happy photobomber behind ian and the dad helping his kid up from a fall below?

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when our forty five minutes on the ice were up, we decided to walk across tower bridge and along the river towards home. moses snoozed in the carrier while we enjoyed the views, stopped at the riverside christmas market to buy fudge, and popped into borough market to get a donut. because – christmas eve!
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when we got home, i spent a couple hours prepping our christmas eve dinner. each year we have a “jerusalem supper” – we eat middle eastern food and talk about how mary and joseph must have felt the night before they left for bethlehem. {more about this tradition here.} we invited a couple of friends from our church congregation that didn’t have family around for the holidays to join us, and really enjoyed talking, eating and celebrating with them.
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^^ the food (and dessert – my traditional yule log!) turned out really well – i had to snap some photos :) ^^
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^^ we popped our christmas crackers and made sure to wear our crowns! moses loves both rudi and schetzy so much! ^^
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^^ we lit the candles on the german christmas pyramid (that we bought last year in the bavarian markets), and as it spun we read from the bible and sang carols together. it was perfect. ^^
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^^ after our guests left, we snapped a few family photos just before we had moses open his very first christmas present – christmas jammies! he knew something special was happening and was so smiley! i had to include a couple of outtakes… :) ) ^^
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just after we put moses to bed, my cousin aubrey, who is currently studying at oxford, arrived to stay and celebrate with us for a few days. she was our little elf and made sure the tree lights were on when we brought moses in to the living room on christmas morning. it was so so exciting for all of us to experience moses’s first christmas morning. first things first – he opened his big gift – a “jumperoo” from his grandparents. he was fascinated and delighted! we discovered all the treasures in our stockings and then opened all the rest of the gifts under the tree!
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^^ i actually kind of love that these photos are blurry … it captures the blur of excitement and love that buzzed around us on that glorious christmas morn! ^^
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^^ ian gave me some new oven mits (along with some other very awesome presents), and moses got lots of new books! aubrey is so fun to have around and moses loves her! ^^
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^^ learning how to unwrap presents…^^
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^^ don’t you just love the ground on christmas morning, sprinkled with toys and treats? i gave ian tickets to a show and a trip to romania/bulgaria/moldova/ukraine (he’s planning out his route on the map i wrapped up and put under the tree for him!) ^^
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^^ probably the best thing about lots of presents for moses was wrapping paper to crinkle and play with!! he was clearly too interested in the paper to look up for a family picture… ^^
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^^ but aubrey (behind the camera) eventually stole his attention :) ^^
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i made my traditional eggs benedict for breakfast. i get better at this every year – this time i wasn’t even flustered and stressed when blending the hollandaise sauce! almost everything was hot at the same time (the real trick to this meal, i think) and it tasted delicious! i was so excited to realize that aubrey’s family also always had eggs benedict for christmas breakfast growing up! as we were praying over the food, we started to hear the peeling bells from st. martin’s in the field pouring through the streets and into our little flat. it was magical!
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before we had time to clean up breakfast, we had to get out the door to church! we attended christmas mass at westminster abbey, and it was so so so great. being in that incredibly beautiful and historic building, with so many other faithful people who love the saviour, was just awesome. as we all stood and sang “o come all ye faithful” at the end of the service, the sun broke through the clouds outside and flooded the abbey with light. the organ accompaniment got more loud and intense with each verse and eventually and i couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face as my voice croaked out “oh come let us adore him, christ the lord.” it was magnificent – one of the most spiritual and joyful moments of my life.
as we left the abbey, the bells in the towers started peeling loud and deep. we joined throngs of people outside marveling at the ringing and the jubilant feeling in the air. it was so cool.
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after some relaxing and baking back at our flat, we set off on our long walk to christmas dinner. my sister-in-law’s mom and her husband (tess and ken) currently live in south kensington and my brother and his family had arrived on christmas eve (all the way from hawaii!) to visit them and us in london! and we all gathered for christmas dinner. since there’s no tubes or buses running on christmas day in this city, the four of us opted for the hour long walk from covent garden to south kensington. we passed a lot of awesome stuff along the way – picadilly circus, the festive window decorations along picadilly, wellington arch, and harrods all lit up and backgrounded by a gorgeous christmas sunset.
when we got to tess and ken’s flat, we were so excited to introduce moses to his hawaii cousins and his uncle jonah and aunt aja. they were all quiiiite jet-lagged but cuddled our boy right up. so great to see them!!
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after dinner (which was so so tasty – thank you tess!!), we brought out the cake we’d made for desert. it’s our little family’s tradition to have a birthday cake for jesus. we thought the “2016” candles – since it’s his 2,016th birthday after all :) – were fun, and everyone sang “happy birthday” together before little ezra blew them out. the chocolate peppermint cake was yummy and we were glad to share our tradition.
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before we left tess and ken’s, we snapped a photo of everyone (except poor poem who was just too jet-lagged to get out of bed most of the night) that was at dinner together. i had my camera’s self-timer set up to take ten photos in a row, twice, and yep we got a bunch of silly faces :) it was so great to celebrate with all these wonderful people, including a couple of great guys from the singles’s ward that tess and ken serve in.
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we opted for an uber ride home in time for moses’s bedtime, and then facetimed with family back in the usa, and then cleared up the wonderful, wonderful explosion of christmas all over our living room!
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there were so, so many special moments of crystal clear joy and wonder and love in those two days in decemeber in london. it was a happy christmas, indeed.

9 comments:

  1. What a lovely Christmas! I would love to be able to attend Christmas service in a church like that!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Christmas!

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  3. Your Christmas socks & Moses's babygrow match.:) Both look great.

    Oh Come All Ye Faithful is my favourite carol. It's very special to me, as it was also my Mum's favourite. Even now I get choked up when I watch Songs of Praise & they sing this carol.

    I've never felt right tho about singing the last verse, "Born this happy morning" until Christmas morning itself. Even after being a member for over 39 years I find it hard to sing this before Christmas day.

    I love how you embrace the British traditions, especially having crackers & wearing the hat.:) Did also read the funny jokes & have some silly pressies in them?

    I think having a birthday cake for the Saviour is lovely. I especially love how you included the 2016 sign on it.

    Thank you Charity - & also Ian - for your wonderful example & for sharing your family life in this brill blog.

    Are you going to watch the fireworks tonight at The Eye or watching them on the telly? Whatever you do, have a lovely time.x

    Happy New Year to you all & all your readers.x


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    1. *you

      Also, some of the pressies in crackers are actually quite nice.:)

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    2. Hi Julie!
      I`m a fellow blog reader. I missed your comments! You are always so kind, thoughtful and respectful!

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    3. Hi,
      Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate them.x

      Happy New Year.:)

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  4. What a joyous time! We have a two year old and Christmas just keeps getting better and better with every passing year. The best is yet to be!

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  5. This is really really lovely. I just want to say again that that baby is the nicest baby. I love him!

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  6. Wow! Because we have been smothered in family here, I just now got a chance to sit down and see this! Such a great post! Love to all!

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