Thursday, December 27, 2012

Noche Buena

For Cubans, Christmas Eve ("Noche Buena") is the big night to celebrate, not Christmas Day. My family feasts on traditional Cuban food: delicious pulled pork, white rice with black beans, yucca (a starchy vegetable), and flan (Cuban-style baked custard).

We spent Noche Buena with my Uncle Frank and Aunt JoAnne's family, at JoAnne's mom's house. She's a brave lady to host such a big crowd!

Although JoAnne's mom is from Hawaii, she  sweetly cooked Cuban food for the occasion—with a lot of help from the Cubans. Uncle Frank was very proud of how his pork turned out.

This side of the family is the most like us. They have a larger family (4 kids) and raised their children to be faithful and rooted in tradition. They also take education pretty seriously—Alyssa started her freshman year at a great college and I got a bunch of book recommendations from talking to my cousins.

After dinner, we played some games and sang Christmas carols. Luke accompanied us on the piano and  guitar—he's quite the musician. Even though I'm tone-deaf, I crossed my fingers that the genes for musical talent somehow show up in my kids. Frank is good at singing, so you never know!

The founders of the feast, Uncle Frank and Aunt JoAnne:

Uncle Frank is my dad's oldest brother and I love that he's my godfather. It's a funny coincidence that I'm also marrying a Frank—it's not a common name these days. Hmm... something tells me that the name Frank should be kept alive in our family. After all, I've never met a Frank I didn't love.

After singing, we exchanged presents. My family gave Alyssa this warm and cozy hat for cold winters in her New England college town:

The best part? My DAD picked it out! I couldn't believe he 1.) entered an American Eagle store and 2.) picked out something so awesome. Well done, Dad!

Lillian and I received our proposal Christmas ornaments which we absolutely loved.

After presents, it was time for our traditional group photos to send to Grandma Elsa, who loves seeing her children and grandchildren spending time together. We're great at staging photos and especially at cleaning up after presents... whoops.

 And finally, here is what I wore! (Although you could kind of see it in all the earlier pictures.)

Dress: Banana Republic 2 years ago
Black camisole: Forever 21 6 years ago
Sparkly tights: Department store (I forget which one)
Heels: Steve Madden 8 years ago (they were my very first pair of heels... and they're still my favorites!)

Thank you for reading! Now head on over to Camp Patton to see what everyone else wore.

And last but not least, some photos from Christmas morning. (Which I'm including because they're my only photos from Christmas morning, so I don't have enough to do a whole post!)

Presents lining the room for all 7 kids, plus Mum and Dad. Thrill of anticipation!

Caroline with her beloved Skippy and his presents. He got a lot of presents for a dog not much bigger than a squirrel.

Sisters scoping out the contents of their stockings. We loved our stocking stuffers—just lots of chocolate.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

p.s. I'm thinking of holding a link-up party later this week to share how our houses are decorated for Christmas. Let me know if you'd be interested in something like that!


  1. Beautiful! (And I vote yes on the link-up party idea!)

    Merry Third-Day-of-Christmas.

  2. what a nice family pic. and I love that red dress :)

  3. Tess, you look gorgeous! Such an awesome Christmas outfit. God bless you! <3