Thursday, December 29, 2016
What a morning! What a day, really. This Christmas was a special one. It was obviously so different from any other we've had as a little family - we spent it with friends, not family; we spent it in New York City, not Santa Clara or Charlottesville; we had a holiday of experiences, not a lot of presents. Sans the part of being away from family (we missed them!! We still miss them), Ry and I agree that this was our best Christmas yet.

We loved the experiences > presents aspect the very most. I don't know how I'm going to maintain such low expectations for Christmas gifts (esepcially Santa gifts) for my girls, but I would really really really like to. I'd love to keep Santa gifts to a minimum, keep family gifts super quality, and keep what we do at and around Christmas as the most magical parts of the holiday. I guess I do know how -- we'll just do it. :)

The girls loved what Santa brought this year - white, high-heels for Olivia and a baby doll for Claire...
They loved their stockings - ha thank goodness! Stockings slipped Santa's mind this year, truly, but at the last second, he gathered up an apple, an orange a milk chocolate bar. Hallelujah, little kids are so easy to please.
Miss Bear just sat and ate for a while, naturally. When the Bear sees food (or smells food, I swear haha), the Bear eats!
Hello VIEW. Wish you could really see it. Sooo grateful that we are staying in this beautiful place!
Our families were angelic and sent a handful of gifts our way from UT (those two piles at the end of the coffee table up in the first pic). It was so nice to have a piece of them with us!! I was a stinker and didn't get my packages to them on time (sorry fam!! They should be there now)! Good thing I won't even have to go there next year - we'll be driving our gifts up stragith from SD (crazy and amazing to think about).
CUTEST handmade gift from my sister-in-law, Talli - both sides of our family modge-podged on wooden tiles for a Memory Game! I'm copying her on this one.
Mom and Dad gave the girls a gift to share - a wooden castle stocked with a kind, queen, prince, princess, horses, a carriage furniture - they love! My girls are so into pretend play, all things "family" (there's always a mom and dad, mom's about to have a baby, the baby is born (!!), and then they take care of the baby), and pink + purple, so this was the gift to give this year.
I gave Ry a book he's been wanting, Ry gave me a necklace I've been wanting (a custom beauty from my friend, Mary)! The necklace was the only thing I wanted, and he didn't want anything but a book haha, so we were happy.
After opening presents and playing, we ran up a couple blocks to attend church (stopping for a quick family pic on the prettiest stoop on the street - my pic here, Ry's pic here), and since the Christmas Day was as glorious outside as it deserved - sunny and warm! - we left church for Central Park and walked and walked and walked, talking to our families all along the way on FaceTime (what'd we do without FaceTime?!) Eventually we made it back home for a simple Christmas dinner with our dear friends...
(Olivia had just told us here that Mrs. Clause and Rudolph snuck into her room and snuggled with her on Christmas Eve night. Um, YES. Hahah, that girl!)
And that, my friends, was that. It was simple and beautiful.

I'm so grateful for the sun that was shining all day, that we got to go to church, and that we all felt content with what we were given (have to be honest - I've had Christmases where that hasn't been so. #scrooge. It's good to grow up and just be grateful for life). I'm grateful we had our Freeman framily here, and that we've had a run with Christmas in the City. Grateful our time here isn't over yet (yay)! Grateful all around.

Merry merry Christmas 2016!!!


  1. Love this, Jeni! I LOVE your idea of simple Christmas.

    1. Love you, my Laura girl. And seriously - simple gifts. I've fallen for that route!


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