>Christmas 2010

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Christmas morning sunrise…just like the other days, but there is something magical in the air.  Four and five are awesome ages when it comes to the excitement of Christmas.  The anticipation, the joy in their smiles, and seeing the belief in their eyes – that innocent belief and excitement is my favorite part of Christmas!
Murphy was the first one to dig into his presents…smart dog.  Found his under the pile of presents and then quietly sat protecting his frisbee for the rest of the morning.  Smack in the middle of all the chaos!
Christmas morning.  Those jammies stayed on allllllll day long.
Emma explaining to Neeny that Santa and the Elves don’t make Zhu Zhu pets.  Santa actually buys them at Target.
Its awesome when Santa brings what was on the list…maybe it will be incentive for more continuous good behavior this year??  A mom can hope…
Neeny was the bow receptacle – which is very New York/Maine these days!
Emma asked for a present for Beppo…and he got it!!!  He must have been good this year too!!!
It was an extra large prince costume for dress up.  However, she also noted a bit later with a disappointed look on her face that he only brought the top and not the whole outfit.
Johnny got Big Daddy a present from Memphis (the musical).  Big Daddy definitely got Big Love.  
More Memphis!  I felt bad that Neeny knew what her present was going to be…but now its ready to be hung up on the wall and hopefully she remembers our fun NYC fling whenever she sees it!
My present under the tree from Maddy…
Emma – ready for a nap with her new pillow pet before we even ate breakfast! 
The deliciousness that began “breakfast” – Neeny’s peppermint biscotti.  And, I’m having one right now with my coffee!  We’ll be back to clean eating shortly… 
Cleaning up after round one…according to Beppo, this was a Christmas miracle.  Hence, the photo of me actually vacuuming.  
Neeny and Papa – cup number 1.  I love having them at our house…I’m very lucky.  Not many people would even think about saying that about their in-laws!
Maddy playing with her Zhu Zhu pet.  The kissing was ok. Its when she decided to put it in her hair and I thought I was going to have to shave her head on Christmas that Santa began to rethink his shopping…
Everyone loves Christmas!
 Still sleepy…even after biscotti!
And some didn’t stop to take a breath the whole day…
Uncle Sean showed up with the most amazing apple cake.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, most of the leftovers stayed here.  I think my waistline is transforming into this round shape thanks to this beauty…
The girls practicing their driving skills with Mario Kart on the Wii…I wonder how long it will be until we break a window or teeth with one of these controllers… 
Neeny showing the girls a move or two in Just Dance 2. 
My little man arrived later in the afternoon and Auntie RaRa was able to get some good snuggle time.  That was the greatest present…
Now – on to healthy eating.  For Christmas dinner, Beppo made a standing rib roast and garlic mashed potatoes…and I made the vegetables and grains.  Up first – Eating Well’s Butternut & Barley Pilaf.  
So tasty!
Then, because our 4 year old loves brussels sprouts (what?!?!), I made  Eating Well’s Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Sage.  
 Once everyone got to their places at the table…12 adults and 3 kids…
Mary Beth and Desmond got ready to dig in…
Everyone paused for a photo…
Even the girls…although, putting the cornbread down was not an option…
It was a fantastic day.  Filled with love and gratitude…joy and excitement…good food, laughter, and true appreciation for what really matters.  Even Maddy took a break from asking where the next present was to say that its not the presents that really matter.  Its that we’re all together and love each other.  Pretty intense for a 5 year old.  I’m not sure if it was a ploy to get the next gift…but at least we got to sit for a split second and have a real Christmas moment.
To those who are in our hearts and in our minds, but not near us this Christmas – know that you’re loved and missed. I wish you all the love, peace and true happiness in the world…And to see you soon!!!
Uncle Brian sums it up nicely…Peace Out.   
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. 
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