It's Christmas Eve! Time has flown and yet, stopping every day to blog a 25 day countdown has helped in making me stop to ponder the moments before they fly by faster than Santa's sleigh. Today has that special sense of sacredness to it. My daughter is in the children's choir at our church. We went to a very special children's Mass this evening in which she and her choir mates sang like cherubim on high. I love how formal and traditional a Christmas Eve Catholic Mass can be with all the priests of our parish, the deacons, alter boys and girls. The blessing of the manger and the Baby Jesus was especially beautiful. Afterwards, we went out to eat and had an awesome Italian dinner of mussels, clams, pasta, hazelnut crusted trout, wine, and dessert. We came home and watched A Christmas Story while Saylor kept an eye on the clock and with each passing minute her anticipation grew. In her new Christmas pajamas, coat, and slippers, she scattered food outside for the reindeer, left her shoe by the front door(a Danish Christmas tradition), and left cookies and milk for Santa. And, as if things couldn't have been more perfectly well timed, far off in the distance, as far as possible, but still visible, a flashing light was slowly moving across the sky at the same exact time that Saylor went outside to search one last time for Santa's sleigh and listen for his sleigh bells. The timing could not have been more perfect! She saw it and she hurried off to bed in a fit of giggles, squealls, and blissful excitement. This is our 5th Christmas away from family and friends in our Texas hometown of Houston. I sometimes get very nostalgic and melancholy during holidays being so far from loved-ones, and yet, at the same time, it is nice creating Christmas traditions and memories with my husband and daughter in our corner of the world.