I think Christmas is one of those magical times of year when everything just seems to come together. For so many, the magic of Christmas is a lot of work, a lot of planning and a lot of strategy. But, it's nearly always worth it.
This year, our Christmas started on Thursday the 22nd. We hosted a small Winter Wonderland party for the kids of our closest friends and family. We kept the invitation list incredibly short (it's the first time ever we've had anything and kept the invitations fewer than double digits! And it was hard!) to keep things more intimate and kept the playroom lit only by the glow of Christmas lights. The kids got to decorate Santa hats with glitter glue and cookies with frosting. They got to run around on a sugar rush from hot coco and a variety of cookies before Santa made his surprise visit. The look on some of their faces was priceless. One ran from the room as quickly as she could, but quickly warmed up. It felt like Christmas surrounded by some of our favorite people and delicious treats.
Friday we took care of last minute things. Such as goodies for the stockings. Kaitlyn and Samantha went to play with their cousin at Nana's house while I went to overly packed stores to finish up my shopping. We went home to meet Daddy who was home at noon and spent the day relaxing, decorating gingerbread houses, watching Christmas movies and gearing up for the festivities of the weekend!
Christmas, and all holidays really, are typically jam packed with family fun. We are incredibly blessed to be a short car drive from both sets of family. We're even more blessed that we maintain such a close relationship with both and our kids are so excited to go to both. There is something so heart warming to see the seamless merging of two sets of families and their extensions. One of my favorite parts of the holidays is spending time with family. I think it's so important for our kids to have a strong bond with their extended family that I couldn't ever imagine living anywhere else. It's funny, but even when Dusty and I see other places that would be gorgeous to live in, or where the cost of living is lower or the laws are less ridiculous, unless both complete sets of family are relocating with us, I couldn't do it. It also gives me such a deep depth of gratitude and respect for our military families.
Christmas Eve, we woke up, had breakfast, got dressed and sorted the presents that were going with us, loaded the car with plenty of diapers and toddler things and headed to Dusty's family's house to spend the day. The girls played and played with their cousin, we ate some yummy food, talked, laughed and the girls all opened far too many gifts. This year, Matthew received a beautiful snow globe from his Aunt Christy and Uncle Dennis. The older girls enjoyed Samantha's toys almost as much as she did and the car was packed for the ride home late that night. Kaitlyn's favorites of the night were her angry bird jammies and tablet for the wii and toys r us gift card, Samantha's favorites were her texting toy, baby doll and princess ride on.
Christmas morning came early for us. Samantha was up at 2 AM with a really bad cold. She tried to lay with me, but just was so miserable she cried and fussed until 6:45. Then, at 7:15 Kaitlyn came running in desperate to find out what Santa had left her. We held her off for about 45 minutes, then Samantha was gently woken up to go see what was behind the wrapping paper under the tree. Kaitlyn was so excited Santa brought her the karaoke machine and Victorious microphone she had been asking for, Samantha was in love with her slide (once she realized what it was and I picked her up). They ripped into their stockings and the gifts under the tree. Although they were sorted, Kaitlyn still made a mistake on one of them, opening Samantha's and quizzically looking at the small shirt wondering what she was supposed to do with it before realizing it wasn't for her.
After a quick breakfast and showers, and a short nap for Samantha, we were back in the car. It was time to go to the cemetery to take Matthew the stocking Santa had filled for him. Kaitlyn helped lay out all of his gifts and we realized Santa has been bringing him too much every year because there is hardly a space left. A very crabby Samantha explored the cemetery, looking at the beautiful decorations so many loving families had left out for their little ones.
From there, we headed to my parent's house. We stopped at Walgreens for some more baby advil and unloaded our goodies to give from the car. Kaitlyn was so excited to pass out presents for everyone to open and I have to tell you, it took a while. Some of Kaitlyn's favorites were her Big Time Rush concert Tickets, DS games, jammies and clothes. Samantha's favorites were her ABC train, adorable clothes galore and her very own twinkle toes! Unfortunately, Samantha slept through most of the day, she was just so uncomfortable.
We left for home after dark and unloaded the car, then stood and wondered where in the world everything would go. The girls went to sleep fairly easily and like that, another Christmas had past.
The only things that could have made Christmas any better would be having Matthew with us physically and having Samantha feel better. We know that he is forever with us, and a part of the festivities in our hearts.
It was truly a beautiful Christmas, even if it feels like 2011 just started. It's been awesome having Kaitlyn home all last week and I really look forward to having her home this week. I want to get some pictures taken in one of the matching outfits I got them, we'll see how they are feeling though. Today, the Christmas decor comes down and deep cleaning begins so we can start the new year with a fresh start.
I sincerely hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of love and laughter. I hope your heart was filled with peace and you were surrounded by the ones you love.