This was a day Lara and I have been imagining for a long time – our first Christmas as a family. And what a day it was. We’re pretty much making up our family traditions on the fly. We’ll probably tweak some things for next year, but all in all this went quite well. I guess this story really starts on Thursday, when we had a nice little snowfall to ensure a white Christmas in Denver. As you can see in the pictures, there was enough snow to make sledding a daily event for the Christmas weekend.
We decided to save all the presents for Christmas morning. We debated about splitting them between Christmas Eve and Day, but in the end, we figured that would just be too confusing. Also, we knew there would be no chance of sleeping if we allowed them to open a bunch of toys after dinner.
So to help pass the time, Lara and I decided to see just how much activity the boys could handle on Christmas Eve day. We started with some sledding in the morning, then we were off to the pool after lunch, then we came back home to make some cookies for Santa.This was our first attempt at letting the boys cook. They handled it very well, inspired by the thought that these were special cookies for Santa! In the pictures, you’ll see just how much focus they were giving. Of course, it wasn’t without incident. After a couple of batches, Lara and I got a little careless, and turned our back on Alex for a few seconds while he was adding sprinkles to some cookies. We turned around to see a mountain of red sparkles (yes, the whole bottle) on a single cookie, and Alex with a “what’s wrong” look on his face. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any images of that.
After dinner, we read “The Night Before Christmas” (actually, an audio book reading from Grandma Judy) three times, then hung our stockings “from the chimney with care” in preparation for Santa. As if on cue, our neighbors then rang the doorbell for some caroling, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed.
Then it was off to bed for two more readings of “The Night Before Christmas”, this time by Mama and Papa. At the end of the bedtime routine, we told Evan that he had to stay in his room tonight, because if he came out on the stairs, he would scare Santa and Santa would run away before he could leave any presents. Holy cow, talk about a message hitting home. Evan went into a near frenzy. He could hardly get his words out – Evan! Tam (there)! Santa! Downstairs! Evan! Santa! Run Away! Santa! Evan! Scared! Presents! – and so on… I would donate a kidney to anyone who could have captured video.
Well, it worked. Despite being incredibly hyped up, both boys stayed in their rooms all night. In fact, they slept until 7:00 this morning, which Lara and I consider our present from them. When they woke up, Evan was still talking about Santa, and sure enough, he noticed the presents under the tree. Boy, did his eyes light up.
We have to say that we have some incredibly generous family and friends. It’s safe to say that the boys have never experienced anything like they had today – and may never again have anything quite like it, for that matter. In addition to the usual gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles, we had gifts from cousins, great (and great-great) aunts, old college friends, and friends of parents. They’re a bit young to remember the details, but I’m sure that little clips of this memory will live on with both boys forever. The pictures and video below just capture a glimpse.
By the way, in another little Christmas gift for Lara and me, Alex has decided to make regular use of his potty as of yesterday. He’s not asking to go, but he did pee-pee 4 times yesterday (once with a wholly dry diaper), and three more times today. Considering that before yesterday he had a grand total of 3 successful potty trips, we consider this a breakthrough. All is not perfect however. We forgot to bring a diaper change with us to the pool yesterday. We decided to risk it, and took off Alex’s swim diaper, and let him go “commando” for the ride home. We explained to him that he did not have a diaper, and that he should not pee-pee until we got home. Considering his recent triumph, we thought we had a chance. Not so. He lasted all of 30 seconds! Oh well. Live and learn…
This afternoon we were out for more sledding, and the now routine ice breaking in the front gutter. Then it was inside to explore more of our new toys, and to sit down to a Christmas turkey dinner. By the way, Alex also got over his fear of white meats, and finished his helping of turkey tonight. It took a little prompting, but he made it – with a smile on his face.
The smile didn’t last forever though. We think he is just exhausted, but he seemed very out of sorts tonight. He was very upset just prior to bedtime, and he was crying in bed just a little while ago. That has Lara and me a bit on edge. Hopefully we’re just being nervous parents, and a good night’s sleep will get him back on track.
Anyway, we want to pass on some season’s greetings to those of you that have been following our story that we didn’t get a chance to speak with over the last couple of days. This has truly been an unforgettable event, and we wouldn’t have made it here without the support that has poured in from our family and friends. I think Charles Dickens said it best – “Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one!”
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