Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Post-Christmas recap

Another Christmas has come and gone. Hard to believe. This was definitely one of my favorite holiday seasons ever. Max was really aware of what was going on this year and his excitement was contagious. He loved going out looking at Christmas lights and would constantly be yelling from the back seat, "Oh guys...check this out! Look at this one! Oh WOW!!" His favorite things to point out were candy canes, santas and frosties (snowmen). He also participated more in our Advent celebrations every Sunday night. As was tradition for me growing up, every Sunday of Advent our family sits down together and reads a portion of the Christmas story. We then light the corresponding candle (Gospel, Faith, Hope, Love and Immanuel) and build our nativity scene week by week (first the animals, then Mary & Joseph, then the shepherds, then the Wise Men, and finally Jesus) Finally we end the night by singing Christmas carols. Max wouldn't sing along, but had many requests and did eventually bring out his "jingle bells" to shake while we sang. It was a nice way to keep the focus on Christ and off all the presents each week.

On Christmas Eve we headed over to my parents for what has become a wonderful tradition for us--family, food, presents, lighting the final candle of Advent. I love doing this because it reminds me of the happy Christmas Eves I spent at my Besta & Papa's house. It brings me such joy knowing that Max and Gus will have the same sort of memories. I don't think I've ever felt safer, happier or more cozy than those late nights cuddled up in the back seat of my parents' car, tucked in a new blanket, coming home from Besta & Papa's. I'd gaze out the window to try and catch a glimpse of Rudolph's red nose, which many a blinking tower light became. When my Besta was dying years ago, I remember visiting her in her hospital room. She was unconscious and slipping away and I felt paralyzed. I couldn't say goodbye. Shortly after her death I sat down to write some memories of her and I found myself writing about Christmas Eve and how magical she made it. I left it on her gravesite as my way of saying thank you, i love you, goodbye...

Here is a photo of the boys on Christmas Eve:

Christmas morning was spent at home, just as our small family. The boys came and snuggled in bed with me while Daddy went out to check and see if Santa came and turn on the Christmas lights, make coffee and light the "fire" (candles in our fireplace). After we got the okay, we all went out and opened our stockings. Max had a "Wow" or "Cool" for nearly everything (except Finding Nemo which apparently is "too scary" for him to like). Check out Daddy & Max opening a present:

Santa came through and brought Max what he asked for...a foam finger to take to the baseball game. Who knew $7 could make a kid so happy! Max wanted to try out everything he got right then & there, which lead to us changing his sheets and him taking a quick break in his bed:

After presents were finished I did this to Gus:

I simply couldn't help myself. He's so darn cute! He'll probably want to kill me someday, but it was worth it!

Our day continued when we headed over to Mark's sister Olivia's house for more food, family and presents. This has become another wonderful tradition and Max simply adores his cousins, Trenton and Tea. They play so well together. Max had an absolute blast. He also got to spend time with his Mom-Mom and Grandad, two more favorite people! His favorite activity of the day was to play in a cardboard box (why bother with toys??). I'll post photos of that soon. Poor Gus had a cold and he hung in there like a trooper.

We headed out from Olivia's to our friends Dave and Jessica's house for a ham dinner with them and our friends Paul and ShaiLee. Max got to play with Sylvia and Riley, two good friends. On our way there we got caught in traffic and discovered that earlier in the day a trooper had shot and killed a man on I-5 who had gotten out of his vehicle, taken off his clothes and was running around on the freeway trying to cause accidents. He began choking and beating the trooper who arrived at the scene and after many attempts to calm him down, the trooper finally shot him. It was a terrible reminder that life keeps moving, even on Christmas. I tend to feel like the whole world stops for one day and we all just come together in our warm homes with those we love, surrounded by amazing food and so much laughter. But it isn't that way for everyone and it was a jolt back to reality for those seemingly endless 45 minutes that we spent inching along the road. I much prefer the stopped-world to the real one.

Little eyelids were heavy by the end of the night, but even through the sleepiness their eyes sparkled. It was a wonderful that I will long that will continually cause me to smile and count my blessings.

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