We are back from our vacation!  We decided the spend the week after Christmas at the beach for my dad’s birthday and for a little breather to end the year.  December has been a brutally stressful month for us and we needed a breath of fresh (salty) air.  It really was just what the doctor ordered.  So please bare with me while I play a little catch-up on posts!

Christmas at the Miller Manor was so sweet.  That’s truly the first word that comes to my mind, sweet.  We have had such a stressful month and I was feeling ultra depressed on Christmas Eve.  The guilt of not doing everything I had wanted to do was getting to me and I had really just felt like I had failed the month.  I pulled through our Christmas Eve Dinner and my spirits started to lift a bit.  We did our traditional Christmas Eve pajamas, made hot cocoa and went for a Christmas Light Tour around the town to see some of our favorite houses.  We got home and got the kids to bed.  Christmas Eve night is one of my very very favorite nights in the whole year.  I love working alongside Mr. Miller as we create the magic for our little girls to enjoy the next morning.  What a tender mercy it was to me this night!  Brady worked on putting things together, while I wrapped the rest of the gifts that needed to be wrapped and setting up little displays.  We excitedly talked about what the morning would hold, and he gave me sweet, encouraging words about my mothering to help me feel better.  It was a night I hope I’ll always remember.  We worked diligently until about 1:30am, then we crawled into bed and hoped sleep would find us from our excitement.  

By 8:00, we couldn’t wait any longer and we woke the girls up! They were so precious in their reactions.  They oooh’d and awww’d over every little detail, they showed excitement for each other and for us as we opened each new gift.

I always worry right before Christmas that the 4 gifts won’t feel like enough, but every single year I have my worries put at ease.  You would have thought we had Disneyland set up in our living room by the excitement level. 🙂

My favorite gifts under the tree were these the girls wrapped.

We sat on the living room floor playing with our Christmas loot until it was time to go to Grandma and Grandpa Harris’s house for Christmas Brunch.  Brady’s grandparents are the best people in the world and host a brunch for all the family who can make it on Christmas morning.  It has quickly become one of my favorite traditions.

We ate a delicious breakfast and then gathered around the living room and talked about our Savior and the day of his birth, then we took turns talking about our favorite Christmases.  Mine of course was when I had delivered my first newborn baby just a week before Christmas.  I nursed my precious baby by the fire near our Christmas tree with literally nothing under it and felt like the richest woman in the world.  I got just a small taste of what Mary might have felt like that first Christmas, and my heart nearly burst with gratitude for that sacred day she brought forth the life that would save us all.  Christmas has had such a special meaning to me ever since that Christmas 7 years ago.

We got home from Christmas Brunch just in time for naps!  I laid down after I put Grae to bed and Mr. Miller followed, snuggling in beside me.  The girls were curled up on the couch with their new dolls and fresh new chapter books.  We woke up three hours later to a silent house.  A true Christmas miracle.  I went to check on my girls, Grae just stirring from her nap, and Harlo and Stella still buried in their books, Junie B. Jones and Fancy Nancy.  My heart was so full.

As we crawled into bed Christmas night, we recounted how sweet our girls had been.  Here we had somehow skipped over new tablets and iphones and other expensive gadgets, and our dear girls were just as thrilled with new books, cloth dolls, and a new scooter to ride outside in the yard.  “We did good.” I said to Brady as I snuggled in to sleep.  He smiled and nodded before we drifted off to sleep.