Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

(Post by Evan)

Once again Christmas day is upon us. Weeks of the holiday spirit reached their culmination today. Bright-eyed children (OK, one or two of them weren't quite awake yet) couldn't contain their excitement as the doorbell rang at 8 AM jarring them from their long winter's nap. With their families far away, Arturo Morales and Melissa Bench were at the door and joined us for our family's celebration. I think we've managed to have visitors every year here in New Rochelle since we moved here.

Gleeful smiles were present as the much hoped for gifts were discovered. Who knew something called a DS, or a Speed Racer Hot Wheels "loop-da-loop" could bring so much pleasure? This really was one of the first years when I've felt this excited about Christmas. Seeing through the eyes of your children adds a whole new dimension. And as much as it was about the gifts, it was also about happiness and love. Holding my children in my lap as they helped me unwrap the simple gifts they had for me was a moving and heartwarming experience.

And what would Christmas be without Santa's elf-in-residence, my wife Liz? Not very good. In traditional style she directed the preparation of the Christmas morning feast of "Aunt Dorothy's Sausage Bake," butterscotch pull-apart bread, and orange julius. (Luckily on holidays things like sausage, cheese, butter, etc., have no calories associated with them.) She also came through with flying colors in obtaining all the difficult to find items at the last minute. (You rock, honey!) Even though we didn't go all out with decorations this year, her artful hand added enough holiday cheer to our home.

I know the kids think Christmas is the best holiday of the year. It's easy to see why. I hope that they will learn to see past the tinsel and wrapping paper and want to reach out to others, as did the person who started it all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Eve Tradition

(Post by Evan)

I noticed our blog had gone a little "cold" so I thought I would take a moment to help bring it up to date.
Somewhere around 8 or 9 years ago, some friends of ours invited us to a Christmas Eve service on Manhattan's East Side. The venue was a beautiful Episcopalian church called The Church of the Heavenly Rest. Every Christmas Eve, they perform a re-enactment of the Nativity. It's done by the children in the congregation and is quite charming. They make use of costumes, choirs, music, and live animals! Mary always rides in a donkey, and many of the shepherds carry lambs. If you find yourself in Manhattan on Christmas Eve, this is a great place to get into the Christmas spirit.

What's interesting is that for Espicopal church, it has somehow managed to attract a fairly large Mormon contingent as well. This year we ran into several families we knew from our city-dwelling days and had some happy reunions with some we hadn't seen in a long time. We also invited some of our local neighbors who managed to make it down. As long as we're in the area, I think we'll be there on December 24th.

Supplemental to our tradition, we were invited by the Taylor family to spend a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with them and their extended family and friends. On top of the fabulous dinner that had some of those great "family" recipes represented (I actually forgot that I liked Jell-O salads so much),  we had  Christmas talent show and singalong. Almost everyone contributed to the musical portion. After that was over, The kids all participated in their own nativity display. It was a magical day and night. (Even if Santas elves were forced to work into the wee hours to get ready for his visit.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Soccer Mom no More (for a day, at least!)

It's so much fun to dress up and when you have a grand occasion, it's even better!  We went to a formal Christmas Ball last week and had a fabulous time both getting ready and at the event!  Evan was hot in his tux and I felt great with new hair, makeup and borrowed Bulgari jewels, oh, and a new dress, of course!  It took a lot of preparation to get this soccer mom fit for a Ball, but the results were certainly favorable!  Thanks everyone who took a part in getting me ready! xoxo

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Radio City: The Spirit of Christmas

There is no better way to get into the spirit of Christmas than a trip to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!  It was a fun train ride in to the City with new Christmas clothes and lots of anticipation of a fun night!  We walked up Fifth Avenue from Grand Central and immediately felt the Christmas cheer on the streets!  I love the Christmas windows and Saks is always especially festive with their glowing snowflakes that adorn the entire facade.  

Then a trip through Rockefeller center is enough to put any Scrooge in the gleeful spirit.  The white angels that line the walk were all aglow and the massive annual tree was not yet lit, yet it's presence was enough to put you in awe.  I love the story of where the tree came from this year when I heard it on the radio last week.

Radio City is such a gorgeous building and the Swarovski chandelier provided a warm welcome in the lobby!  

The kids were giddy with excitement as we approached our seats.  

Wesley's got his ticket, he's ready!

They loved all of it.  My favorite was the Rockettes as the toy soldiers and of course their chorus line kicks.  Their precision is impressive!  While the show is altered a little each year to keep the interest up, I always look forward to the living Nativity that concludes the show each year.  It's an inspiring spectacle that reaffirms my faith in the Christmas story.  Thanks for keeping Christ in Christmas, Radio City!

***note:  there is no Luke on this trip.  He did not meet the age requirement for a stress-free trip ;-)