Christmas present

Today was Christmas Eve, and it may have been my best Christmas Eve ever. It wasn't spectacular -- we didn't have anything spectacular planned or any trips to take. It was just ... nice.

We got out around 11:30 and went to lunch at Chili's with some gift cards we were given. The boys were starving and ate well. They would need the energy.

We went to the zoo next. This isn't the first time we've gone to the zoo on Christmas Eve. It's never that crowded, the animals are usually pretty active, and it's something to take our minds -- especially the boys' minds -- off the fact that it's Christmas Eve. The zoo didn't disappoint. Though the elephants were inside, we got to see lemurs being fed (they liked blueberries), the giraffes grazing on Christmas trees hanging in their indoor pens, a gorilla charge toward the glass at someone (not us, but it did scare the heck out of the couple) and the most active tigers I've ever seen at a zoo (ours has five, including three male cubs that aren't little anymore -- I swear one of them was eying Littlest and thinking "he's the smallest prey out there"). We stayed at the zoo for about two hours -- a long time, considering the train and carousel weren't open and we didn't let the boys play on the playground. It was just that good a zoo visit.

We came home but didn't have much time to relax, as our church's Christmas children's Mass was at 4 p.m. We got there just in time before it really filled up and we weren't stuck in back. We hadn't been to this mass in a couple years, and with a new pastor, it was better -- he invited the kids to sit up near the altar for the homily, then had them come up after Communion to sing "Silent Night" to the nativity scene and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to their families. The boys did surprisingly well for a 90-minute mass, with the only blip being Littlest having to go potty near the end of the homily (I managed to get him to the bathroom, and rest assured, he wasn't bluffing ...).

We left Mass, came home, had some appetizer foods in advance of dinner and let the boys open their presents to each other. Each got a video game, and we played both (can I recommend "Just Dance Kids" to other parents with kids under 10 who like to move). We then ate dinner, watched "Year Without a Santa Claus," prepared stuff for Santa, got the boys into bed and read them "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "The Polar Express." They eventually fell asleep, and Wife and I watched the second half of "It's a Wonderful Life" and prepared the house for the morning (including getting the presents out -- thankfully, we had everything wrapped already). Wife went to bed, and I'm here blogging and listening to Christmas music, hoping the boys don't wake us up at 6.

Again, it was nothing spectacular today, and nothing close to snow (high 30s and gray today; it's supposed to get into the 40s tomorrow). But it was just a nice Christmas Eve, one I won't ever forget.


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