It might be the middle of January, but better late than never in capturing some Christmas memories.
Because someday - someday in the way far off future, or as my mom tells me, "the not too distant future because your kids grow and leave you before you know it" - I'll want to look back at these young years and remember the day. The gifts, the laughs, the simple family togetherness.
The biggest gift our family received this year was a new little person: Jaxton Isaac arrived five days before Christmas, making sure he was there for the gift-opening frenzy, and making sure his Dad was happy with the year-end tax deduction.
Being sore and tired and a tad out of it due to pain meds, I'm fairly certain I wasn't giving my A-game to my kids this Christmas. Thankfully, though, Grady picked up all my slack and my parents were able to stay through Christmas afternoon to help make the day special.
No Christmas Eve church service this year. Just a simple evening at home with lots of appetizers while watching "Polar Express," followed by cookies while reading the Christmas story. And, of course, the annual gift of new jammies.
My Dad joined Grady in trudging up to the attic to retrieve the hidden Christmas gifts and arrange them under the tree. My mom prepped the kitchen for a yummy breakfast the next morning. And I sat by the fire nursing a newborn and sipping tea. Hands down I had the five-star treatment from my family, which was on the one hand wonderful and on the other hand a little strange. I'm not good at sitting back and watching.
Christmas morning began at 7:00 am with three very excited kids giddy about gifts under the tree. Grady turned on the fire and Christmas music, my mom made coffee, and my Dad held Jax - wonderful details to get the day started just right.
Grady and Micah requested and received almost the same things: tool boxes, lots of sports equipment, remote controlled helicopters, and clothes from their favorite sports teams. Annalyse was in over her head when she opened a doll house with several rooms of furniture for it. In fact, after opening the doll house and the box of little family members, she was content to stop opening gits and just play with what she had. Thankfully Grandma stepped in and helped her open and arrange all the accessories.
While my parents busied themselves in the kitchen making breakfast, my boys got to work arranging and organizing their new baseball and basketball cards, and Annalyse stayed put in front of her new doll house. Grady and I? Fifteen minutes of cozy quietness together on the couch by the fire. Total win.
Once breakfast was cleared away and once stockings were opened, it was time for the annual scavenger hunt that leads to the final gift. My boys talk about this silly hunt all year long, and even though it involves dead giveaway kind of clues, it's their favorite part of Christmas.
Later that afternoon, it was time for my parents to pack up and begin their long drive toward Michigan. Tears and hugs and sad goodbyes. Definitely not the highlight of Christmas, but I am so thankful they were able to be here for part of the day.
The boys played with their new air hockey table and spent the afternoon watching basketball with Grady; Annalyse, Jax, and I enjoyed a nice nap. Our family made pizzas that evening, another simple, but fun, tradition.
A quiet Christmas, but a special Christmas.
The very next day, my mom-in-law arrived for the weekend! The Christmas fun didn't stop: more gifts and more family time.
Nana was elated to meet Jax and she did her best to keep him in her arms all weekend. While she was excited about her new TV, I think she was most excited to spend time with her family and hold her newest grandson.
Here we are, a few weeks after Christmas, and the Christmas decor is finally down and put away. I'm usually the person who wakes up December 26 and insists the tree come down along with all things festive and merry. But not this year. Too many other things needing my time and attention, namely a certain newborn. Well, a midsection with stitches may have precluded me from lifting and sorting and packing, too.
December was a fun month - a very full month, but a very fun month. Some traditions and plans changed but many stayed the same. And the blessing of having out of state family visit, on top of the beautiful arrival of our new little man, made Christmas 2013 one to remember. Forever.