Joyeux Noël

Day three out here in the Alps. We did a long snowshoe yesterday, and in the evening, all the little kids did a torchlight decent by ski after dark, followed by the arrival of Pére Noël, and fireworks while we drank hot chocolate.
We had raclette for dinner, which is something I’ve never seen outside of France and Switzerland, but is basically a melted cheese delivery system. It’s fun and awesome and interactive in the same way a fondue set is, talking and laughing and cooking and popping skillets into the press and pouring bubbling, melted cheese over things.

It looks kind of like this:

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So basically, where you see the little individual skillets? There’s electrical elements in there so the whole thing gets hot enough to melt cheese…or you can put little quail eggs in the too and cook tiny little sunny-side up eggs. The melted cheese gets poured all over whatever you like: potatoes, carrots, meat, boiled eggs, anything that would be improved by a shot of smoky raclette cheese. And what isn’t improved by that?

After dinner we had a bûche, which is a traditional French Christmas dessert. They can be pastry, cake or ice cream…bûche literally means “log”, and it’s a rolled up layered log-shaped bunch of awesomeness. You can put cookies or chocolate or fruit or mousse or really anything you can think of. Ours was pear-chocolate with macaroons on the outside. I KNOW, right? They look like this:

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So beautiful!

Christmas morning was being lazy and content in bed in the morning, watching movies and cuddling and sipping coffee and watching the snow fall.
After lunch of soup and tabhouli, Mathieu, his brother, me, and his brother’s little silver wolf, Hiluna, rented snowshoes and took off into the mountains for four hours, getting lost in hip-deep snow at one point, finally making our way home after dark, sliding down the last bit of the hill as the snow hissed against our hoods. It has been Hiluna’s first time in the snow, and it was pretty joyful to see her bounding through the drifts, chest deep, rolling and barking and laughing.

The best part of Christmas Day was when my sister sent pictures of her kids opening the presents that Mathieu and I had sent. The grown ups all got bottles of good French wine (a sweet muscat and a bottle of Huis Clos 2011, bottled just this fall at Clos d’Elle!), regional olives, Languedoc honey and creme de marron(chestnut cream); but if you remember, I had visited some pretty awesome French toy stores for the kids. 🙂

They got:

-a wooden circus train set
-fairy wings
-a hat shaped like a strawberry
-green and yellow felt flower barrettes
-a little necklace shaped like a glass bottle full of macaroons, with “Mange moi si tu peux” (Eat me if you can) tagged on the side
-A handmade lavender felt purse with lots of little pockets, inhabited by tiny felt animal finger puppets

Man, was I tempted to get them both kaleidoscopes too! But I decided maybe they were a little too young. The wings were apparently the big hit, and my sister sent me images of both my four year old niece and two year old nephew rocking it, fairy style. Apparently my mom had a go, too!

For real, if I’d gotten fairy wings when I was four, they would’ve had to pry them off me. I would’ve worn them til they disintegrated. Bad enough that I wore my sister’s flower girl dress continually (yes, to school as well) for a while there when I was that age! 🙂

Hard to be away from family, but those pictures, shot real-time and texted to me while I lay in bed under the quilts with Mathieu’s sleeping head on my shoulder, were so awesome and special.

I hope everyone had a wonderful magical Christmas! New Years Eve brings my next appointment with the doctor to mark the beginning of my sixth month of pregnancy. I’m getting gently kicked each night and it takes my breath away each time. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Joyeux Noël

  1. What Laurie does not mention is what a genius she is at gift- giving in general, and in particular, with kids’ gifts! Each one contains so much thought and love. We love you, Laurie! Xoxo

  2. Sounds like you had a great Christmas. As usual, your descriptions (and the pictures) were excellent! Hello to Mathieu. Happy New Year in advance!

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