A Johnson Family Christmas

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Christmas is a time of traditions, and one tradition for Vivian and me is celebrating the anniversary of our first date. It was five years ago last Thursday that I took her down to the Old Market for dinner at French Café (after La Casa Pizza proved ridiculously over-crowded), so we dropped by again to commemorate the occasion. On the menu were Duck Cassoulet, Bouchée à la Reine, and several other things I can’t pronounce.

After dinner, we upheld another tradition by bumping into Jenny and Friends, who were down at the Con Agra skating rink. We also made our annual trip to the Old Market Candy Shop for fudge and found the Tannenbaum shop open for the first time in our five years of dropping by. We took a brief, freezing trip down to the Gene Leahy Mall for pictures before running back to 13th Street Coffee to warm up before going home.

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On Christmas Eve, Vivian and I attended a candle-light service at Twin Valley Church with her parents (and family friend Shirley). The Rietjens lit the final advent candle, and then Drew read an assortment of scriptures telling the Christmas story while the kids in the church acted out portions while in costume. Yes, it was about half an hour worth of adorbs and kid-friendly silliness in front of everyone (and Sean was somehow rendered speechless).

We returned to our house afterward to find a pile of food and presents on our doorstep. Jack and Donna dropped in with Shirley, and we spent Christmas Eve stuffing ourselves with an assortment of hors d’eourves for dinner before opening our first set of stocking stuffers together. (Hannah meanwhile, just lay around being cute.)

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On Christmas Day, Vivian and I dressed Hannah up in her Christmas outfit and attended church together. Back home, we opened presents with Jack and Donna before having a giant Christmas dinner together afterward (with roast turkey, of course). Jack got a meter of chocolate, Hannah got about a thousand ornaments, and I got plenty of pictures of everybody (OK, just a handful). Uncle Eric dropped by to join in the fun and seemed mildly amused at some of the stocking stuffers we’d saved for him.

The greatest gift this year, though, was being able to celebrate with Hannah Marie for the first time, even though she doesn’t quite know what’s going on yet (outside of eating and pooping). Merry Christmas, everybody!

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