In the first week of December we began to ready ourselves for Christmas and Queenie enjoyed each part of it. On Thursday we picked our tree and while Queenie slept we set it up* and put on the lights. Upon awakening we opened the box of Christmas decorations and Liam taught the art of hanging a bauble. Queenie's most used phrase is "oh wow" or "woahh". It was uttered countless times that afternoon as she pulled out each decoration. In the evening we made mince pies while dinner was cooking and ate them together next to the tree just before putting her to bed. It was a last minute thing with an unopened jar of mincemeat and some pastry found at the back of the freezer, so the lazy way to do it and do simple for Queenie. I loved seeing her take on her first real baking project with such excitement and accomplishing each task! Rolling out the pastry, cutting the dough and placing into the trays. She spooned the thick filling with a little difficulty but I think painting the lids with milk was her favourite part. I'm constantly amazed at what she is capable of. I suppose that's the way it is with your first born. To you, other peoples children seem like babies forever. But when you spend almost every moment with your own, you see each slight growth. It's a beautiful part of being a parent.
The next day we helped decorate my parents tree with my youngest two sisters. She wasn't as interested in putting up the decorations this time as standing up against the big box of festive treats, looking in with awe and calling out for Minnie to pass her things. Then we found the collection of Christmas books and settled her on the sofa under the blanket.
Each morning Queenie's excited to read her daily part of the Christmas story, from an advent calendar Liam had as a child. Together they hang the little books up on a branch and then looks up at him, tilts her head to the side and asks for "more?" That's when I come in to distract with a bowl of steaming cinnamon porridge and honey. It's wonderful being able to make traditions and memories together. This year is our fifth Christmas since we've been married and until now we haven't made any decisions on what sort of things we want to do every year, we haven't felt the need to and have fitted in around both our families. But this year now she is aware of it, it's been so fun to pick things from each other's growing up and then add our own bits too. More and more we feel like our own family.
I am so excited about this Christmas more than ever before. We will have Christmas morning as the three of us then head over to my parents to join them for the rest of the day. My sister India arrived home from Edinburgh last night and I've missed her dreadfully this term! On Boxing Day we will drive up to Liam's folks and have a few days with them. His brother Declan, who's spent the last year in Turkey is home for the holidays. He's also been sorely missed and I'm so looking forward to a catch up, it'll be so special for him to see Queenie, who has grown so much since he last visited. All in all, this holiday season predicts to be a real marvellous time!
* = When we opened up our tree we found it to be full of beautiful brown oak leaves. Among the lowest branches we found an abandoned birds nest! How incredible is that?!