Christmas Eve-Eve was a smashing success! The following few photos pretty much sum up the evening:
On Christmas Eve Morning, Ben and I kept our tradition of exchanging our gifts for each other before heading out to various family events. Ben pulled out a winner this year - productivity is officially on hold!
Self-timer family photo took a few tries - looks like this one could have been good...
...but instead we ended up with this one of Mini looking possessed...
Packing everything in the car was pretty intense, but we managed to get all of the presents, Sid and Mini's crates, Mini's litter box, all pet supplies (food, litter, toys, etc) and our overnight bags into the Camry in short order, and were on the road in no time. We'd planned on bringing Sidney because we were spending the night of the 24th up at my parents, and unforseen circumstances (I'll explain later) required that we bring Mini, too. We realized that if we actually had children, we wouldn't be able to fit them in the car. I finally understood why people buy SUVs.
Once we were up at my parents, we set to work baking cookies!
...or at least Julianna and I did. Dad, Ben and Sidney were downstairs watching the Vikings game.
And theeeeen it was time for choir mania! Ben and I sing in our church choir (it's a pretty awesome choir actually - our director also directs a professional choir in the area, and our organist is easily one of the best in the country). We sing a 5:30 and a 10:30 service, and our tradition for the last several years has been to eat dinner at a local restaurant in between the two. It's also become tradition that some unforseen event nearly prevents us from making it to one or both services - last year it was a flat tire, which was pretty intense, but this year was not without its shenanigans.
The younger generation, drinking wine while we wait for our table...and yes, that is a Gryffindor scarf. Obviously.
The restaurant we always eat at on Christmas Eve recently came under new ownership, and I think they were unprepared for the insanity because, long story short, we got our food at 8:50 for a 7:15 reservation. Ben and I had to be back at the church, in our robes at 9:30 and neither of us had driven (we rode with my dad, my mom and sister drove separately). So, after inhaling my pasta, I grabbed my mom's car keys and booked it out to the parking lot, calling back a quick "uh-huh, of course" when she tried to make sure I had driven her car before.
Well as it turns out, I forgot that I had not in fact driven her new car. I managed to vanquish the keyless starter, but could not for the life of me figure out how to turn the headlights on. Ben tried to help me out by reaching in front of me and pressing various random buttons on the dashboard, but only succeeded in thoroughly cleaning my windshield and informing everyone that I was turning right, then left, while every car on the road flashed its brights at me to inform me that I was driving with no lights on.
Second service went off without a hitch, and by 12:30 we were back at my parents, totally wiped out and ready for bed, but excited for more festivities the next day.