I'll start this post with some advice: if ever anyone in your family is not sleeping consistently through the night, if you're feeling even the slightest bit over-committed or like you're juggling too many things at once, or that your figure could do with a little toning, or even just if it's December, it's probably not the best time to book your brood in for a family portrait. That's what I'd done, however, for last Thursday, as part of a "prize" I'd "won" at a local craft fair. I put those in quotes because it's obviously just a clever marketing ploy, but one which is probably very effective at getting you to spend lots of money when you come to find that you really like the photos.
The photographer we were seeing has pretty impressive credentials, having once been on the official rota for photographing the royals, so I was excited - and a little apprehensive. It was such a relief to just get in car and have the Outfit Selection Crisis come to an end. I don't think I got it quite right, but it just didn't matter anymore.
Night 5 of the sleep project had been pretty much a disaster, with Noah waking at 3:00 again but this time with an obvious temperature, so all the plans went out the window and he came into bed with us. There was just no way I could let a sick child cry. I felt pretty disheartened by it all, but had to remain philosophical about it - my timing had just been off. He will sleep through the night at some point, of course...
Matt had the day off, so after the photos we came back here for a weekend-like day during the week. We all had a nap which was nice; it was definitely needed by everyone.
Our church has a travelling Mary and Joseph, based on a Mexican tradition called posada, which we hosted on Thursday night. A wicker basket, filled with straw and the figures of Mary and Joseph, travels around to different people's houses leading up Christmas and is meant to represent their search for lodging. The people who brought the posada to us were an older Scottish couple, and I had made some mulled wine and bought mince pies; this helped to bring something of a festive feel to what was otherwise our chaotic dinner- and bedtime hour for the boys. I got worried at one point that the man (who had a walking stick) was going to trip on a Lego brick or a Matchbox car...that would have been a great welcome! As part of the handover we had to say a set of prayers out loud and I nearly got the giggles during it but fortunately kept my control and got through it.
It was a very sweet scene though, and we blew out the candle (making sure not to set fire to any of the straw!) and let Mary and Joseph rest for the night. I was sure happy for some rest myself....
Here they are the next morning: