This year’s Christmas was extra special for so many reasons.
1. It was Annalynn’s first Christmas.
I loved sharing all of our family traditions with her. From our big Christmas eve celebration, to family Christmas pajamas, to waking up early and taking turns opening presents around the Christmas tree. She may not understand everything just yet, but I look forward to building on these traditions for years to come and even adding some new ones to the mix.
2. My siblings and I were all together on Christmas morning for the first time in 5 years!
When my twin brother began his residency program in California back in 2011, we knew it would be difficult for him to make it back home for the holidays. Between the cost of flights and his very demanding residency hours, it never happened. However, now that he’s back in Florida for his fellowship, the trek home for Christmas is finally doable. My parents got their big Christmas wish this year – all of their kids, spouses, and grandkids opening presents by the tree on Christmas morning.
3. The secret is out – Annalynn will be welcoming another cousin to the family in July.
My brother and sister-in-law are expecting! We are beyond thrilled over the news and can’t wait to celebrate another baby’s first Christmas next year!
4. Memorable gifts.
How awesome is this wall piece my sister and brother-in-law made for my parents? The best part is there’s room to grow! The empty piece on the bottom is for my brother and sister-in-law to fill in when their baby arrives this summer.
I had lots of fun making Owen’s Christmas present this year.
It’s a book of labeled family photos so he can learn the names of various family members. I created the photos in PicMonkey and made the book in Shutterfly.
We had a lot of fun playing “Owen, where’s Uncle Ben?” (and then he would look around the room and point to Uncle Ben), so I know he’ll have fun with this one.
When my brother-in-law and his family were in town a few weeks ago, we took some fun photos of Annalynn and her cousin Marley. I ordered canvases for my in-laws (which, unfortunately, won’t be here until January – grr….) and framed some prints for Derek’s grandparents. The look on their faces when they opened the gift was priceless.
Dada hates gifts (he’s in his late 80s and always insists he has everything he needs), so when he was so visibly happy to open this one, I knew we got it right. His great-granddaughters hold a very special place in his heart.
Finally, my sister wins for giving the gift that made me cry. She gave me a framed photo of Annalynn and Maddie with a note that the frame is for my desk at work so I always have my girls with me and that she had added money to Annalynn’s swim school account because she knows how much doing the water babies classes with Annalynn means to me. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it meant the world to me. I’m even tearing up writing about it.
I think our smiles say it all.
I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas full of love, happiness, and family. Enjoy the rest of the Holiday season!