Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Eve

Jan and I have hosted all the Christmas Eves which we have spent in Germany.  It is always great fun pulling out the table decorations and planning the menu.  A fun twist this year was that instead of Jan's family being in the majority of our guests, mine was!  My cousin Kim's sister, Lisa, came over this year to visit and spend the holidays in Germany.  So, of the 9 guests we had at our table Christmas Eve, 4 of them were my family - 2 cousins (plus Kim's boyfriend, Bill) and my parents.  We also had some friends and Jan's step-brother, Oli.  It was a fun round of people.

Before the dinner festivities began, we went to Mass at 3:30 at St. Ignaz because they were having a children's Mass.  I found it very condusive to children since it was in the afternoon - no tired and hungry babies to cry through church!  It was very nice and included a little nativity play, the music was also wonderful - they had an orchestra and the closing song was Silent Night, for which they turned off the lights - very dramatic.

I have been holding out telling you guys something:

Blaise started sleeping through the night about the second week in December.  He didn't every night, but even the nights he didn't, usually just a pop of the pacifier back in his mouth would do the trick.  About December 22nd our sleep-hell started up again, and it was back with new found fury.  Fortunately, since the 26th he seems to have fallen back into the sleeping through the night phase - I was really starting to get worried!  We had a few nights where he was awake for 2.5 hours in the middle of the night - but we at least cuddled and he wasn't screaming.  We had raclette for dinner, and even though Jan missed about the first hour and we could hear a screaming baby in the background, it turned out alright.  Anyway, here's to being back on track! :)

Blaise proved to be a master at opening presents.  It was pretty fun that he was so "old" for his first Christmas - he was able to really enjoy it.

The German Christmas Eve tradition is having dinner after church, then the children are distracted while the presents are put under the tree.  The "Christkind" brings the presents and when she leaves she rings a bell letting everyone know that she has been there.  The formerly distracted children then are allowed in the living room to check out their loot.  The translation of Christkind is Christ Child, so you'd think that Jesus would be the one bringing the gifts, but actually it is always a picture of a young girl angel, as in the link above.  If you figure this out let me know, I still find it a mystery.  The Christkind comes to the Catholic (southern) part of Germany - and I suppose the Weihnachtsman (Santa Claus) visits the others?  We'll have to figure out what story to tell Blaise, though I would think a child growing up with two different holiday traditions will figure out the real truth sooner than later.  I don't think I will be able to convince him for too long that a girl angel comes to deliver presents on the 24th in Germany, but Santa Claus takes the US route on the 25th.  Either way, it will surely be good fun in the next few years.

Playing the "Water in a Cup" game with Lisa

Shyly beginning to unwrap presents

Checking out the tree

'This one's for me too?'

Gettin' into it!

Really getting into it!

Oooooooooooooo, a new car!

Bill, Kim and Jörg clearly mesmorized by the Baby

Grandma Rose

Playing with his loot

Playing with his nativity with Lisa

With our friends, Kathy and Christian during dinner

We got some good pictures, but I am already looking forward to next year and some improved photography skills.  I really like using natural light verus a flash, but it is really hard during the evening, so some of our pictures are underexposed.  I actually lightened them up with Picasa, but I couldn't get the edited photo to upload here, any idea why? 


jenlnew said...

Great pics! So glad we got to see Blaise's 1st Christmas! I don't know about the edited Picasa issue, but I had a similar issue. When I tried to edit the lighting and such on my cruise pics and I transferred them over to facebook they were all discombobulated. I had to start over and just put the unedited pics up. Weird.

Tracy said...

I love all the pictures! I think Blaise looks more and more like Jan all the time.

IUgirl78 said...

Wow--I have major photography envy over here. :) Your photos just keep looking better and better. I really tried to keep the flash off, but then some of my pictures were too blurry.

I had to laugh when you said that you had been holding out talking about Blaise's sleeping. My friends and I have always talked about the blog curse, so it's probably best that you waited until he really had it down. :) Too funny!