How bad is that?
To be honest, by time we are through the holidays and we plunge straight into a new year I feel like it's too late to blog about it.
This year though, I'm making an effort, despite us already being halfway through January.
I need to blog about our family life more. I need to spend more time detailing our life and treasuring memories. It's probably not a post that will interest many people but it's one that I can look back on and that's what matters to me most.
For the past 7 years I've cooked Christmas dinner. The least amount was for just Matt and myself (the Christmas before MC was born) and the most was for 10 people.
That was this Christmas. 10 people.
Each year I've stressed about Christmas. I've got worked up about cooking for everyone and making sure the meal is perfect.
It always has been.
I'd spend the few days before working out all my timings of what needed to go in the oven on what setting, at what time and for how long. It would be timed to the minute and written out neatly in order.
This year was different though. I didn't prepare timings in advance and stress about dinner being perfect. Over the last 11 months or so, since Tilda passed away, I've realised more than ever what's important in life. Just being together as a family is what matters. Christmas dinner and everything else are just the extras. I had plenty of stars around the house to remind me of Tilda and what was important - not that I need reminding.
We were looking forward to Christmas as it was the first in our lovely new home. We were to be joined for dinner by my parents, Matt's parents and his brother and fiancée.
Christmas day was lovely.
The kids woke about 8am and that was only because I started making noise as I'd been wide awake from 6.30am excited to see the kids open their presents. Mini Cheddar was so excited when she saw the stocking filled at the end of her bed.
"SANTA'S BEEN" came the cries and running along the landing.
I when to Tiny Ched's room, plucked him from his cot and carried him into our room. MC carried his stocking in and we all sat on our bed to open presents. TC loved every second of it. He opened every present, although it took him a while as when he discovered Percy the engine in there he was beside himself and just wanted to play with that.
We went downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast and then we entered the lounge to discover more presents - the kids had definitely been good this year!
Again, TC opened every single present excitedly and when he discovered Thomas the Tank Engine, that was it! He shrieked.
Last Christmas I would have been champing at the bit to get through the present opening and so I could start dinner. This year though, I soaked it all in. I took lots of photos and watched the kids excitement unfold on their faces. It was lovely and leisurely.
We all got dressed and the kids played happily with their new toys whilst Matt and I started the dinner prep. Matt is the perfect Christmas dinner sous chef! He preps the mountains of vegetables (I hate prepping sprouts) and cleans all the pots up as we go and is just generally my 'kitchen biatch' for the day. It's very rare we both cook together and I love it.
Matt's parents arrived just after 11am, after driving up from Nottingham, and his brother and fiancée arrived shortly after from Oxford. My parents (who only live 10 minutes away) arrived too and we were all set. I'd told everyone that I'd serve dinner at 1pm and, for the first time ever, it was slightly late by about 15 minutes - probably due to my more relaxed attitude!
We sat down (at a table with 3 extra non-matching chairs - isn't that what Christmas is all about?) to eat a feast of roast beef (we aren't huge fans of turkey), a mountain of roast potatoes, stuffing (who says you can't have it with beef?), pigs in blankets, roasted parsnips, sprouts and pancetta, carrots, broccoli and gravy. It was delicious and my stomach is growling just thinking about it.
For dessert I'd made a chocolate hazelnut meringue roulade the day before (thanks Delia!). If you've not tried one, do it - simple to make and it's a bit like eating Fererro Rocher. We had Christmas pudding and homemade mince pies too.
After dinner began the present opening again! The kids were spoilt so much and, despite having a big house now, we were wondering where we were going to put it all.
The only time the TV was on all day was for the Queen's Speech. Usually we will watch a film or something but this year I wanted proper family time with no distractions. We talked, we played games and we were just happy in each others company. There was lots of laughter and just being together as a family.
TC did so well through the day. He had a couple of small naps and went to bed a little later than usual without a peep from him. MC stayed up late and was a little tearful at bedtime due to such a busy and exciting day.
The inlaws all stayed overnight and it was lovely to be able to put everyone up for the night now we have the extra bedrooms.
Everyone went home mid-morning on Boxing Day so we could enjoy the rest of Christmas as a family of four and we did just that.
I have so many lovely memories.
|TC opening up his stocking presents on our bed|
|MC thrilled to have Harry Styles!|
|This Disney Hedbanz game provided|
much entertainment Christmas Day
|Full steam opening presents|
|"What's that you've got bro?"|
|The kids playing happily while we cooked dinner|
|My kitchen biatch hard at work|
|Note the Matilda Mae star at the end|
|Enjoying roulade and ice cream|
|Christmas Dinner face|
|A helping hand with presents from Grandma and Grandad|
|So good at opening presents|
|They played beautifully together with toys|
|Or just playing horses|
|Disney Hedbandz is awesome|
|My favourite photo from Christmas|