Candice and I woke up early on Christmas day. Both of us were excited to watch Asher open his presents :)! Asher was thrilled to open even the little stuff. Here’s his reaction to a new book. He was so sweet and smiley! He saw the front of it and his eyes got wide and his jaw just dropped: “Look dad, I got a new book!”
Asher opened a few presents up before church, a couple more after, and then a few more after his nap… so we had a nice slow pace for the gift opening. I’m sure this will change in future years as Asher begins tearing into gifts with lightning speed. But for now, he’s very careful about tearing off the paper, and he’s fairly concerned that things not get too messy. When he tears off a bit of paper, he will place it in your hand gently instead of throwing it on the floor. He can’t focus in chaos, apparently.
Candice fought me a little bit when it came to picking out his Christmas outfit. But in the end, I told her there was no discussion to be had. I was putting him in green pants and a red shirt so that we could show him off at breakfast and at church! We quickly got dressed and ready to go and headed to our friends, the Appels, for Christmas breakfast. Cinnamon rolls, egg and veg skillet meal, sausage and cheese balls… Americans don’t mess around when it comes to celebratory breakfast foods! We only took a fruit salad so we got off easy on breakfast cooking and just got to enjoy everyone else’s yummy dishes.
In the UK, church happens on Christmas Day. This sounds a little foreign to the US peeps, who usually have a Christmas service on Christmas Eve, if at all. Nonetheless, I have to say that it was awesome and I’m a huge fan of celebrating on Christmas day. It was a joyful, celebratory service. We sang “Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald” with gusto, and you could tell everyone was excited to be there. Most of the children open their presents before church and then bring a gift with them to the service. Asher was a little small to go up and show off his gift, but he loved watching all the other kids show off their stuffed animals and toys. The best was a little girl who had gotten a scooter from Father Christmas. When the vicar asked her what she had, she leapt off the stage and took off on her scooter down the center aisle of the church! Everyone applauded. :) A lot of our friends were also at the service, which made it feel even more special. There is something to be said about being surrounded by familiar faces. It was also helpful to have friends take over Asher duty for a few minutes when he got bored with mom and dad! I think the Breakspears probably swore they would never sit by the Bullards in church again! :)
After church we came home for Asher to have his lunch and he got to open another present or two. We got him a few blocks for Christmas, which he loves. Here we are having a little training session. Oh, and check out daddy’s green pants… awesome!
Here’s a shot of Simon and I glazing the ham in preparation for our Christmas feast. During the prep, our oven mysteriously stopped heating, which made for a very long afternoon since we only realized it wasn’t working when Simon’s bacon wrapped green beans had been in the oven for a couple of hours and still hadn’t finished cooking! What a perfect time for an oven to stop working! Luckily, dinner was pot-luck style, so everyone brought their own dishes and we had minimal baking to do. In the end, we ended up with an amazing meal of glazed ham, green beans, salad, sweet potatoes, rolls, dressing, roasted vegetables, and more! Our friends know how to cook!
Asher and Paxton got to have their Christmas dinner together before the table was set. This was right before Asher smeared his yoghurt in Pax’s hair in an attempt to tickle him. It was a little less formal than the adult dinner :). We hope one day they will be good friends.
Another classic gift-opening reaction. Loving this!
We tried to teach Asher to give presents as well, so we told him to take a gift and give it to his friend Paxton. He liked the picking up, but not the letting go. We’ll have to keep working on the giving part.
Here are the girls doing some of the table prep
And the finished product… the things on the plates are called Christmas crackers… it’s a British thing. You pull them apart and there are little trinkets inside. These came with masks, paper crowns and jokes. Loving our mismatched table cloths and crammed-full kitchen. :)
This was Candice’s brilliant idea (with some credit to Pinterest, I’m sure).
And here’s the gang… I know wearing masks seems weird, but, when in Rome…
We had a lovely, joyful, fun Christmas celebrating Jesus’ birth. We made memories together and with our sweet friends that we will always remember. We built traditions that we hope to continue for many years to come. We missed family back home, but enjoyed our time together as our little family of three. I know we’ll look back on this Christmas (and the two previous) in Cambridge and cherish these times as some of the most simple, joyful times of our lives. We are so thankful for our friends, or really, our Cambridge family, who make times like these feel full and complete. And they brought the dessert, which was awesome. :)