"And then the true meaning of Christmas came through and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!"
I don't want to leave the impression that Christmas Eve was all bad because it was filled with lots of good stuff too. For instance, polMom and I ran into friends at Krogers and had a very nice chat in the canned vegetables aisle. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking the best grocery store conversations take place in the produce section ... right? However, on this day Fate put us together in canned vegetables and it worked out very nicely. We got to catch up and as a bonus got a great recipe from them for a seasoned oyster cracker snack.
We also came home to the decorated tree and were able to have lovely dinner at home with the family. We had pork chops marinated in lemon and garlic, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and sugar snap peas. We even had sparkling apple cider for the kids. It was actually very nice to not be rushing around in the evening (the early evening anyway).
We opted to go to Saint Michael's Christmas mass at 9:30pm instead of the true midnight mass at the Cathedral that we did last year. The mass at the Cathedral is beautiful and wonderful and full of the spirit of the season but you don't get home until 2am which was just wasn't in the cards this year. Maybe next year we'll be better organized and ... no ... never mind. Anyway, the mass at Saint Michael's was great although highly attended which meant the five of us were sharing four seats for most of the mass. I personally had the opportunity to develop an intimate relationship with the concrete post next to me. In the end we decided a long-term thing wouldn't work and we've agreed to just be friends.
The music program at Saint Michael's is wonderful and, unlike DysfunctionalChurch's new design, the nave was built for great acoustics. The singing accompanied by violins, trumpets, french horns, clarinets, and even a bass guitar put us all in the proper mood. We also saw lots of friends there so it was in a better Christmas spirit that we traveled home.
The kids hung the stockings by the chimney with care and hustled on up to bed. polMom and I then pulled the traditional Christmas all-nighter in which we help prepare the way for Good Old St. Nick. This year were helped along in our quest by watching "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" and "Speed." It was more background noise as neither one of us could probably tell you what happened in either of these DVDs. We finally went to bed about 5-ish which netted us about three hours of sleep each. But it was worth it.
[Click here] to see our Christmas Eve Flickr album.