We had such a wonderful Christmas this year. Because we live 1,000+ miles apart, I often miss my family more than ever over the holidays, but in some ways it makes it a bit more relaxed to have them so far away. Charlie’s parents and his sister live in the same town as us, so we have a few family members close, but not many.
This particular year was supposed to be our Minnesota Christmas year. We alternate which family we spend Thanksgiving & Christmas with each year to make it easier for extended family planning, but because of the “timing” of my pregnancies, we haven’t made it back to MN for a Christmas holiday since 2009. Boo. In 2011 my family adjusted by flying out here right after Stella’s birth (which was so awesome), but this year my parents decided to not chance a visit that didn’t include the new grandbaby (understandably), so they’re waiting for the phone call that he’s here before they make the trip out.
At any rate, because it wasn’t a “scheduled” Colorado Christmas, Charlie’s brother and his wife & kids weren’t here either, so we knew it would be a quieter holiday for all of us. Considering how pregnant I am right now, we were okay with that! Charlie’s Mom wasn’t feeling well on Christmas Eve and Charlie’s sister had to work, so Christmas Eve church service ended up being just Charlie, Stella, and I (just like last year), and it was honestly perfect. I so wish I could have captured some photos of the service — the joy on Stella’s face when all of the different carols were sung (“pretty songs Mama!”), the amusement on the faces of those around us as Stella announced she had to go pee and immediately starting lifting up her pretty Christmas dress & pulling down her tights in the middle of the service, the sound of my husband’s voice reciting the liturgy along with me, the amazement on Stella’s face when we lit our candles and sang Silent Night… There were so many moments that made me catch my breath in gratitude and joy.
When we got home from church, we did a quick Skype call to my family in Minnesota. They were all sitting around waiting for us, and though it was only a short conversation with everyone before it was off to bed for Stella, it was great to see everyone and be able to say a quick Merry Christmas and I love you on Christmas Eve.
By the time Christmas morning rolled around, Charlie and I were definitely more excited than Stella! The only gift we got her was a new kitchen, but we were pretty sure she was going to love it. When we heard her wake up at 6:30, we both raced up the steps to her room with exclamations of It’s Christmas! It’s Jesus’ birthday! Do you want to go downstairs and open presents?!
We were met with a somber, sleepy response of… “No thanks. I wanna play in my crib for a little bit.”
Well, dangit child… whose kid are you anyway?!
No amount of cajoling could get her to change her mind, so Charlie and I had to impatiently give her a few minutes to wake up & decide she wanted to come downstairs with us.
Luckily, once we came downstairs, she loved the sight of the Christmas tree and lights, and as she opened the gifts under the tree (boxes of accessories for the kitchen – pots & pans, dishes, fruits & veggies, etc), she really got into it. Charlie and I talked later about how much more fun Christmas morning was when you were watching your child open gifts than opening gifts yourself!
The rest of the day was a long, drawn out blur of eating fried food, lazing around on the couch, and playing Scrabble with my in laws. Charlie’s family came over from 9am-7pm (yes, it was a long day), but since we were at home, Stella took an awesomely long, much-needed nap from 12-3:30 that helped keep things happy around the house. After dark, Nana and I drove around with her for awhile to look at the Christmas lights in town, which she totally loved. She still had a pretty epic melt down at bed time thanks to a long, overstimulating day, but all things considered it went pretty darn well.
So that was our Christmas. Not too much running around, lots of relaxing with family, a few well loved gifts (Nana and Papa also gave her Minnie Mouse & Mickie Mouse!), a crushing in Scrabble (by me – bam!), and a beautiful blue bird day that allowed us to sit with the back door open most of the day.
Like I said before, it was a pretty wonderful Christmas holiday, free from the stress & travel that so many holiday experiences seem to entail. Thank God! Last night I refilled the birthing tub with fresh water and let this little guy know that we’re ready for him any time now. Daddy is finally feeling better (he came down with pneumonia last Friday), Stella’s cough is improving, the tub is filled, the midwife & photographer are on alert, and I’m ready. C’mon baby!