I loved being home the extra days leading up to Christmas because my time home didn't feel so rushed. A week in Nebraska would have been way too long for Andi so it worked out perfectly for him to meet us later. Thursday and Friday, I spent with my dad at home. We babysat my niece, Neeley, during the day and attended my other niece, Brooke's, holiday programs in the evening. Thursday was her Christmas program at church and OMG, so cute. Loved kicking off the holidays with little kids shouting carols at the top of their lungs.
Andi arrived Saturday and we spent a chill weekend hanging out at my parents' house with my sister and her family.
|Baking treats with Nana|
|Brookie (Age 6)|
|Jason and Neeley (Age 16 months)|
Daddy / daughter resemblance? I'd say so.
|Neeley and Nana|
|Neeley and Aden|
Monday, my sister and I met up with my cousins Jen and Jes for a day at the Lincoln Children's Museum. With seven kids between us under the age of six, we wanted do attend a fun Christmas event together but we couldn't find much that fit our schedules. The museum worked perfectly and luck for us, there were hardly any people there. Tory had a blast playing all morning and we finished our day with lunch at Raising Canes. It was chaotic but really fun.
|Ashley, Jes and Baby Finleigh (4 months)|
|Most of the cousins (minus Aden and Finleigh)|
L to R: Reese (6 months), Lauren (3 years), Tory (2 years), Neeley (16 months), Brooke (6 years)
Tuesday on Christmas Eve Day, we celebrated my immediate family's Christmas. This was our first year opening gifts during the day. Our tradition used to be to open gifts late Christmas Eve and sleep in Christmas morning, but now with little kids it's hard to do that. My mom made a nice brunch for all of us and then we opened gifts in the afternoon. I'm still not convinced this is the best time to celebrate since it felt a bit rushed doing our Christmas, then getting ready for and attending church that evening.
|We gave Brooke a Razor scooter - she loved it.|
|Tory and Neeley opening gifts|
|My brother Adam and his girlfriend Carley|
|Brookie and her official cheerleader pom-poms|
|Drinking wine ... holding the babe|
|Andi and Aden|
|Mid-present opening shots|
|Pink cowboy boots for Brookie!|
After church, we celebrated Christmas Eve night with my mom's side of the family. This year was so fun with all the babies and little kids. Tory was much more herself than past years and spent most the evening running around the house playing with her cousins. A far cry from last year when she was practically glued to my leg. Gotta love the age when you don't have to parent every single minute of the party.
|Family of four!|
|Great-Grandma Lohse and Baby Aden|
L to R: Aden, Finleigh, Reese, Neeley, Tory, Lauren, and Brooke
|Tired Neeley hiding amongst the presents|
|Cheri, Reese and Tory|
Having a baby in the winter has its advantages, but squeezing into a dress 5 weeks post partum isn't one of them. This was the first Christmas in my 32 years on Earth where I didn't wear a dress on Christmas Eve. I felt a little like I was going to a business meeting and not at all festive. Therefore, not a big fan of our family Christmas pics this year, but at least we scored one where everyone's looking at the camera.
As I talked about here, Santa didn't make a stop by my parent's house on Christmas morning. Both Tory and Aden were too young to care / notice this year so Christmas morning was fairly uneventful. My mom filled Tory and Aden's stockings with treats so they opened those by the Christmas tree.
On Christmas Day, my parents hosted my dad's side of the family for soup and sandwiches. It was a nice, relaxing afternoon. Guess we didn't take any photos of the day. My photographer napped most of the afternoon with Tory.
Andi, Tory, Aden and I flew home early Thursday morning, then Andi immediately flew to California for work this week. Both kids were excellent travelers again. As much fun as we had in Nebraska, it feels really good to be home again. Once Andi returns from his work trip, we're headed to the lake cabin to ring in 2014.