This is the first year we have been able to celebrate Christmas with two living children. It definitely kept us busy, but there are still emotional aspects that are incredibly hard to grasp some days.
We, and our kids, are very blessed that we have a lot of family that we are really close to, both physically and emotionally. This helps make Christmas time quite the ordeal for us.
Christmas started this year on Christmas Eve. It has become our tradition that we spend Christmas Eve at Dusty's parents (Nana and Papa) and Christmas with mine (Grandma and Grandpa). This has made the holidays so much easier to just park it at one place on each day and not have to battle holiday drivers, and this way everyone gets plenty of quality time with eachother.
Christmas Eve, we got to Nana and Papa's close to 1 in the afternoon. Kaitlyn was so excited to see Camaryn. Although she didn't get to dive into her pile of goodies until close to 4, she didn't once ask to. She was just so excited to see everyone. Of course, I think when Camaryn got there and she realized she didn't have to wait on anyone or anything else to get started, she sure did start hinting an awful lot that she wanted to start opening stuff!! Normally, those girls rip through their stack of stuff in under 20 minutes. This year, I came up with the bright idea of having them take turns, read the tag and then open. An hour and a half later and I was wishing there was more of a happy medium ;)!
Samantha slept through most of the present opening. So, the girls first opened all their presents from Nana and Papa, their presents from eachother, presents from Larry and Nita (Nana and Papa's neighbors) and presents from their Aunt Barbara and Uncle Dean and finally from Danny. Holy Moly they were spoiled. Kaitlyn was so excited, she walked away from Nana and Papa's with a flip video style camcorder (I'm sure there will be plenty of shows done with that!), tons and tons of clothes, sweaters, jackets and cute boots, ds games and stuff I'm sure I don't even remember her getting! Auntie Christy and Uncle Dennis made her day with an iCarly ds game, clothes, gloves a hat, an iCarly dsi set (which she has had so much fun with) and stickers that made her day! Larry and Nita got her another dsi iCarly game and a computer game, Aunt Barbara and Uncle Dean gave them their traditional ornaments, and Danny gave them a very generous gift card that Kaitlyn can't WAIT to use! Then they were so surprised to get an xBox 360 and kinect from Nana and Papa for their house and Larry and Nita got them a BMW car to share. Samantha got more clothes than I think will even fit in her closet, blankets, shoes, headbands and cute toys!
They had a ton of fun. After presents they made giant gingerbread men courtesy of Uncle Dennis, danced around, played games, pretended to eat dinner ;), and play like crazy. They had so much fun, even knowing Santa was coming, they did not want to go home. We got home after 10, and it took several trips to get everything in the house and I spent 3 hours trying to get it put away before I went to bed. Kaitlyn was out in minutes after getting home!
Before going to bed, Dusty and I got to play Santa. I had it pretty easy, I had already set up Kaitlyn's santa present and just had to put it on her desk and fill the stockings. Daddy got the privilege of putting together Samantha's! This year, Santa brought Kaitlyn a purple notebook and Samantha a Baby Einstein activity center. We were in bed by 1.
By 8 Christmas morning, I was ready to get the show on the road. I got up, used the bathroom, changed and fed Samantha and loudly let the dogs out. Kaitlyn did not budge. At 8:30, I finally went in there and asked her if she wanted to see if Santa came. She did. Dusty waited with the camera and she FLEW out there. She saw her computer and was so surprised. I don't think she even knew what to make of it for at least 5 minutes. Then, her first question was "can I go online to iCarly's website?" HA! We convinced her to work on her stocking and other gifts first!
Kaitlyn got some new computer things from us, iCarly toys, board games, a ds game, Barbie Flairy Dolls and some other stuff that I've already forgotten about. Samantha got her bumbo chair, some cute clothes, toys for her car seat, bottles, paci's and some cute newborn and infant toys and books. Both girls made out pretty good. Dusty did awesome for me too! I got two new bottles of Juicy perfume, a ton of really nice make-up that he picked out himself, a new robe and all of my favorite candy :) He said those were my "under the tree" gifts and I can order the stroller I want as my "big" present! Yay!!!
Next, we all got dressed, Samantha ate again and we were in the car with Matthew's stocking from Santa to the cemetery.
Sadly, this is the first time Samantha has been there, which makes me feel so guilty. But, between the weather, healing, the hours it's open and not wanting to take Samantha out there in the rain, it has been hard to find a good time. Kaitlyn told Samantha all about Matthew and how he was in Heaven and then helped me unload his stocking of goodies to put on the marker. We stayed and talked for a little while before the rain started and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Kaitlyn had been talking about Grandma and Grandpa's house for the last couple of weeks. She was really excited because her cousin was going to be there that she hadn't seen since she was a baby. Maylia spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house and although the girls hadn't ever played together they became fast friends and dove right into playing dress-up, having fashion shows, singing us songs and playing with Barbie and her friends. There was a houseful there, that's for sure! Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Christina, Uncle Brian, Auntie Sammie, Uncle Davey, Auntie Jamie, Uncle Scotty, Aunt Beth, Uncle Donny, Great Grandma Mauda and Larry and Sharon were all there. Soon, the presents were sorted and I got claustrophobic being in between Kaitlyn and Samantha and their towers of presents. Samantha came home with some great toys, organic clothes and blankets, a TON of clothes, the most adorable headband I have EVER seen, a new bjorn, baby monitor and soo much stuff. It took forever to open it all. Kaitlyn got everything on her wishlist and stuff she didn't even know she wanted. She loved her Barbie gliterrizer, her handmade sweatshirt, her pillow pet, her mp3 player, ornaments, a ton of clothes and jeans, boots, my little pet shop toys and her favorite that she has been walking around with non-stop, a "grown-up" digital camera from Grandma and Grandpa. She has already taken so many pictures with it. She does not like to put it down for anything.
We had a yummy dinner and spent the rest of the day hanging out, eating treats and dreading the ride home in the rain to unload another gazillion presents to put away ;)
Finally, this morning, well, I guess it took all morning and it's the afternoon now, but I can say that I put it all away. Everything has a home, everything is washed, everything is cared for, everything is being enjoyed!
Yesterday, we took down all the Christmas decorations. I always get so excited to put them up, but honestly, by the time Christmas comes, I'm itching to take them down. They just start to look like clutter to me and stresses me out. We found out Dusty's cousin Ray was in town visiting and on his way home, so we went out to dinner with him and Dusty's family. I didn't realize how much I must have done because I was STARVING and ate way too much!!
Today we are taking the girls roller skating and then having dinner at Nana and Papa's to celebrate Christmas with some amazing friends! I can't wait!
In other news, Samantha is 7 weeks old tomorrow and doing SO good. It sounds like she has another cold (curse having a 6 year old in school!) and is congested but handling it well. She is such a good baby, she smiles all the time, coos and talks to you and tries to laugh. Kaitlyn loves her and she is in awe of her big sister. She is doing really good at night. She sleeps in her co-sleeper and does a first chunk of 3 1/2 - 4 hours, then wakes up to eat and then wakes up to eat every 2 hours. She only uses the bathroom once a night too, so she gets changed after the first feeding and usually stays dry until morning. She also is so great about going back to sleep. She fusses awake, I feed her and she's back to sleep within 15 minutes of her fussing to wake up. Daytime naps are getting even better now too. The girl LOVES to be swaddled!