Another Christmas has come and gone, and I'm left feeling so incredibly blessed and run through the wringer all at the same time. This past month was a crazy one, wasn't it? I feel like I've been in over-drive since the calendar flipped to December. So much to do! So little time! As busy as December was, it was a joyous month filled with lots of family celebrations and holiday traditions, and I'm beyond thankful for this little life of mine.
This year, we celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Minnesota. Typically, we alternate spending Christmas in Minnesota with Andi's family one year and the next year in Nebraska with my family. I love the opportunity to see my family, but it was nice not having to travel over the holiday and having Santa Claus come into our own home on Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve Day, Andi took Tory skiing for the very first time. He is an avid skier, so it was a dream realized to share one of his favorite pastimes with his daughter. I'll admit, I was a little nervous as they left together and I jokingly cautioned Andi I'd be one upset mama if Tory came back home with a broken arm on Christmas Eve. But! He said she did great, and the pride of his face when he retold their day together was absolutely priceless.
Andi and Tory skied at a local ski resort in the Twin Cities. He'd previously purchased a toddler ski harness to use and rented kids skis at the resort. She wore the harness around her body and Andi held the straps behind her to guide her down the hill. He said the harness worked really well, and Tory had absolutely no fear in learning to ski. Tory's only complaint was that the rented skis weren't pink. Ha!
Christmas Eve night, we met Andi's parents at a local church near his grandma's house for Mass, then celebrated together with forty of his aunts, uncles and cousins at his grandma's house that evening. Of course, not before we snapped a few photos at home in front of our own Christmas tree.
Christmas morning, the kids woke up to presents left by Santa Claus displayed in front of the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, Tory wasn't feeling very well (she was battling a head cold) so her excitement about Christmas morning was less than stellar. She walked out of her room, looked around at her gifts and asked to go lay down in our bedroom for a while. Poor girl!
With all the built-up anticipation of Christmas morning, my heart was a little hurt by her lack of enthusiasm, but Andi reminded me Christmas isn't about presents or Tory's reaction to Santa Claus on Christmas morning. He's was right, of course, and we agreed to let Tory rest up for the day and perhaps wait to let her open gifts later that day or even over the weekend if she wasn't up to it. He dosed her with some medicine, she laid down for a bit that morning and luckily later that day Tory was feeling more like herself.
Aden, on the other hand, went nuts over his gifts from Santa Claus! I wasn't expecting his reaction at all. At 13 months, Aden isn't enamored by many toys, so to see him go crazy over his new Little People airport and especially the musical shaker eggs, drums and maracas was joyous for this mama.
Andi's parents Janie and Jim, sister Lindsay and husband Kyle came by our house mid-morning for our immediate family's Christmas celebration. The kids were spoiled like crazy (we all were, truly) with some fantastic gifts. Tory received a Baby Genius sing-a-long jukebox from Andi's parents that was a big hit (music to play during all her fashion shows, naturally) and Lindsay and Kyle gave Tory a framed photograph of Tory as the flower girl in their wedding (which was quite possibly the best day of Tory's life), among other things. She was so excited when she opened the frame she exclaimed, "I wanted this!" Aden received some little cars and a race car play mat that folds into a storage cube that's really neat and countless other adorable toys such as a baby music player and a Vtech car carrier.
Kyle received a pair of headphones he wanted from all of us.
Grandma Janie and her mini-me, Aden.
Two of my favorite gifts this year were a canvas with mistletoe footprints of Tory and Aden's which Andi made me from the kids, and handprint clay ornaments Janie made me from the kids as well. I love these gifts because they capture this moment in time of Tory and Aden's youth and usually I'm the one who makes this type of artwork for myself. It was so wonderful to receive thoughtful, handmade gifts made just for me to enjoy. (Also, I'm so impressed Andi tackled an art project with the kids that involved paint. He said later Aden escaped at one point and left a trail of red paint from his feet all over the kitchen floor. Ha! It's not easy to complete this type of craft project with kids, that's for sure! He left no evidence of a paint trail behind so I was completely surprised to open this gift from him and the kids on Christmas.)
Lindsay, Janie and I each contributed to the breakfast and lunch meals. We kept the food simple with croissants, fruit and bacon-wrapped sausage wienies for breakfast and soup, salad and bread for lunch. Even though our meals were low-key, I couldn't help myself and set the table with my gorgeous holiday dishes I received as an early Christmas present from Janie and Jim this year.
Afterwards, Andi and I cleaned it all up and drove straight to the lake cabin for the rest of the holiday weekend. Never a dull moment in our household!
We had a fantastic Christmas holiday spent with our Minnesota family. I'm feeling so incredibly blessed this holiday season.