in keeping with tradition, PJ Elf came on christmas eve and brought the children new pajamas. flannel separates for henry and a nightgown for lily. she looked like a little christmas angel in that soft ivory flannel. we put some cookies out for santa and some carrots for the reindeer and then we snuggled the littles into bed and henry was literally shaking with excitement. "i don't know how i'll ever sleep!" he exclaimed. "well, you'd better figure out a way 'cause santa doesn't come until the children are all asleep," i reminded him. somehow the excitement gave way to slumber and thankfully, santa found us :)
one thing that made christmas extra special this year was that nate's whole family was in town. we hosted christmas dinner for 20 at our house (we had plenty of help with the food!) and it was so wonderful having everyone under one roof. we had a gift exchange, enjoyed a delicious candle-lit meal and then lingered around the table and shared some meaningful experiences from 2011, talked about the things we are thankful for and looked ahead with goals and anticipation for 2012. we finished up the evening with a few carols, dessert, and a rousing game of mafia. didn't get any good pictures of the people who sat around it, but the shot above is what the table looked like.
we were lucky enough to host auntie hellie and soon-to-be-uncle samuel at our place for a few nights. we loved having them. we especially loved getting to know samuel - we were impressed and impressed by him. he was so kind to our kids, such a gracious guest and so sweet to helen. we are so excited for the may wedding!