Sunday, December 29, 2013

christmas 2013...

We had a great and low key Christmas this year.  It was awesome.  My family celebrated Christmas the weekend before since my sister Cathy and her family were traveling to visit her in-laws.  We typically have a house full for Christmas Eve dinner but this year it just ended up being my parents and our family of five.  It was different but really nice. 

The kids hang their stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve and I take the traditional totally posed pictures of them doing so.  This year we had a fire in our fireplace, which is a woodstove, so the stockings had to be taken down right away because John was worried they would catch on fire.


We also take a picture of the three of them by the tree.  This year, they wanted individual shots but the boys only made funny or crazy faces.  I had to bribe them to take a serious picture with Grace.  Pictures with Grace require lots of people behind the camera person shouting her name, making funny or loud noises and about 52 takes before she looks up.  The boys totally deserve a bribe after holding their pose the entire time...

 We buy our kids three presents each for Christmas.  This is rooted in the traditional three gifts that the Wise Men brought Jesus but it is also our attempt to limit the amount of toys and stuff they are given.  Our kids have so much already that they really lack nothing, so three toys from us seems about right for our family.  They also get presents from their aunts, grandparents and cousins.  So the total present count is way higher than three by the end.  Christmas also starts what we refer to as birthday season at our house.  All three kids have their birthdays within 6 weeks of Christmas so by February 10th we are done with birthdays and buried under toys.

The boys mainly asked for legos this year.  So we have spent a lot of time putting together the various sets they got and then playing with them.   Luke has been asking for Jet Rocka, which is a hero factory toy, for about 6 months.  He finally got it for Christmas and couldn't have been happier.  He stopped opening his gifts and put Rocka together.  After all the presents were opened, John and Mark spent the next hour (they say it took closer to 2 hours but it's my blog so I'm saying one hour) putting together the jet pack while Luke played with all his other toys.  It was priceless to watch the two oldest children realize that Luke wasn't helping at all and then hear them talk about it for days...

Every year the boys get up early to open their gift and Grace sleeps in.  Blissfully unaware that she is missing anything.  This is something that I never envisioned for my family but totally works for us and her special needs.  I know that it is the right decision for everyone involved.  But, every year this makes me cry.  Every year it makes me sad that we don't have our whole family present for Christmas morning presents.  Except this year.  This year, I didn't cry.  I wasn't really even sad that she wasn't with us for the present opening.  I'm not sure why.  It could be because I'm doing a better job managing my expectations regarding the family I thought I was going to have and the family I have.  Or because I have a better support system in place.  But that's probably not true and the people that know me best would say it's because I'm allowing myself to feel sad and process through all the emotions that hit me so hard at the holidays about raising a special child like Grace.  But whatever the reason, it really, truly didn't upset me at all.  I'm so thankful for that.

Overall, Christmas 2013 will go down in the books as an awesome one.  I hope you had a great Christmas too!


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