This was Ellie's first Christmas, and this was the first year that Will really understood what is going on. I remember when he was one month old, and we wondered when we would start 'getting' it. Well, I would say he did this year. We were so fortunate to be able to both take off 2 full weeks - all of Christmas week and into the New Years week also. It's been SO wonderful to have all the time together - and enjoy a nice break from work.
We started off our Christmas celebrations on the Monday of Christmas week with all of Patrick's brothers, wives and our nieces and nephews at Bill and Marilee's. It's not often everyone is together, as patrick's oldest brother Brian and Michaela are in TX. So, we enjoyed lots of laughs and was nice that the 'older' kids are getting old enough to play downstairs by themselves (somewhat supervised) Thank you cousin Dylan for being the main supervisor at times! We love these special times with all the cousins together.
Tuesday - we were able to do our annual get together with all of Patrick's friends and their significant others. It was great fun to have an adult night out. The emails leading up to the parties each year are always quite entertaining - so you can imagine the fun we have the actual night of!! These guys were giggling like little girls the entire time, and after dinner us girls joined too. The other part that has become quite the tradition is the gift exchange. You never know what you will get! The gifts keep getting more and more creative and 'interesting'. :) We had a great time as always and don't get together with everyone as often as we'd like.
Thank you to Patrick's cousin's Lily and Ava for babysitting (we love having them close and Lily has been baby sitting now for us for over a year!! She does awesome - although this was the first time she said Will was having a hard time going to sleep and kept trying to pull fast ones on her, so he didn't have to go to sleep :)) Not surprised, he will lay awake for hours sometimes in bed, usually jabbering away to himself, or getting us to try to come in there or that he has to go potty, etc. Sometimes it cracks me up at the stuff he says to himself, and other times I get so annoyed, b/c I know he should be sleeping and he will be tired the next day! But, usually I laugh. His sweet voice just makes everything he says a little funnier to me. Ok, back to our holiday....
Wednesday - Christmas Eve - we spent going to Eggtc (duh) - I mentioned that we really should have gotten the staff there a Christmas gift, we go so much, we really know about all of them by name, and they have literally watched our kids grow up. We love our brunch, we love Eggtc, it just works for us :) Then, we headed up to Bill and Marilee's around noon to let the kids take naps up there. (Oops, P and I also enjoyed a snooze, one of the best parts of being off for two weeks, we are getting used to taking small snoozes when the kids are, and staying up late ourselves..... can't help that we have started watching Homeland Season 3 - and it's majorly addicting!) So, after naps, we had nice appetizers for dinner - E was a mess, luckily she fell asleep in my arms right before we needed to leave and was enough for her to be her usual spunky self during Mass, flirting with all behind/around us! (*I have to admit, this year like many, something about Christmas mass, holding my babies, and hearing either Silent Night or What Child is This, I cry every year--- it's crazy - I get this overwhelming feeling of happiness, and the tears start falling. Sorry I'm not sorry)
Thursday - Christmas morning - Well, we left out milk and cookies for Santa... and he came!!! Ellie woke us up about 6:30am Christmas morning, and both P and I got up, anxiously awaiting for Will to wake up. (*This is highly unusual for both Patrick and I to wake up.... our typical routine is we switch mornings for who wakes up and who gets to sleep in - LOVE that we can do this, and works out well for a sleep lover like me, and also for me to get to enjoy those first hours in the morning when kids, especially Ellie, is super happy) When Will woke up - we said, did Santa come?! (Gifts were all in front of the fireplace), he said, I don't know! And then checked for the milk/cookies he sat out, and saw the cookie was half-eaten (good restrain Santa) - but commented that Santa didn't drink all his milk (shoot, next year) Anyway, we had an awesome time with Will opening his presents: his police car that he had seen at Costco and really wanted Santa to bring to him, and some shoes, books, etc. and the biggest one was the inflatible bounce house. Whoo-hoo! I don't know if I'm more excited about our uber-clean basement that Patrick organized/deep cleaned, or about how Will can run off some energy/spend time downstairs some more in the winter. So far, it's been a hit - and can't wait to enjoy it with some friends/cousins when they can come visit!
Friday - We got to enjoy the day after Christmas with Don's daughter's and their families. It's a way different scenario than a few years ago when we got together, as everyone had babies all around the same time. Mom and Don have 7 grandkids all 3 1/2 years or younger!! Crazy, and so fun!! It was fun to see the kids together, and we staggered having them open gifts, as they woke up for naps (or in Will's case, no nap at all :)) By the end of the day - I was exhausted!! (Seriously, I don't know how my Mom does all the hosting, wears me out - but she makes it look effortless) We also had a surprise visit from Santa!!! (*My 8th grade English teacher and my 8th grade basketball coach!) What a fun visit, Will loved it, and we loved that Mom's neighbor Chrissy came to take pictures, lots that we will cherish and enjoy for many years.
Sunday - enjoyed a nice day relaxing at home with Mom/Don/Amy and the kids - the boys are at the age that they can play together pretty well independently - and as you can see, can be entertained too by the TV when/if needed :) Love them!
Monday - we headed up to Lincoln to see my best friend Lindsay and her family. Never feels like long enough or often enough that we get to see each other, but we make the most of the times we can. It has been a long time since our kiddos all got together though - so it was really, really fun to see them play together so well. They have some sweet, beautiful little girls and I just love them so much! Will doesn't know yet - but we already have a pre-arranged marriage for him and either Sadie or Gabby. :)
Tuesday - we got all packed up and hit the road. We stopped in Seneca for late morning/early afternoon visit with Great-Grandpa Joe and Great-Grandma Betty (thanks for always being a fan of my blogs you both!! Kisses and hugs to you - as I know you are reading this for sure!! :)) We had a nice lunch and visit with them, and although I felt like our kids were acting kind of crazy - I think they were tired and ready to get back home and to what is familiar. ( I felt like Ellie didn't sleep very well the entire time we were away - that age where they really need routine I guess. So, I was relieved to be on the way home and back to some familiarity for her)
Wednesday - New Year's Eve - we ended up going to Michael and Debra's house, and Michelle/Ross and Melissa were over as well. We had some pizza, and got to enjoy some fun laughs with Ben and Will - and enjoyed some good company (can't wait for Baby girl A to join in Feb. 16th!! Will be so fun over the years for Will to get to play with Ben and Ellie with their little girl!--we hope they stay in KC for awhile :))
Thursday - New Year's Day - ok, I think we are finally DONE! Just enjoying the sweet time with the family - running errands, but nothing major to accomplish except relishing the time with our sweets, Patrick and I enjoying some wine and down time after they go to bed, and of course, our resolution of eating more healthy - as we kind of 'enjoyed' ourselves and our eating a tad too much the last couple months, or entire year! Ha! I had used the excuse of pregnancy or post-pregnancy for long enough!! Time to get back on track - so far (Jan. 2 today!) so good! ha!
Well, if you are still reading this, bless you! :) I feel the urgency to capture these sweet and beautiful moments, as they grow so fast.
I couldn't be more blessed to be married to a guy that I still haven't gotten sick of after 2 straight weeks together, 2 little kids, road trips, fussy baby, stubborn pre-schooler, etc. He is my rock, my best friend, my support, and has a heart of gold, I love love him so much. (I love laughing with you babe, let's keep doing it for awhile, like a long long long while :)
I couldn't be more blessed to have my sweet Will, who God sent to us with the sweetest heart (as I was getting ready for a Christmas party for work, he told me I looked "so beautiful Mommy, like a princess" Oh. my. gosh. Heart melted), with a strong will (nap times and bed time... "Mommy, i have to tell you something"), playful (wrestling with Dad, riding his bike, playing catch/ball all his favorites still), soft hearted (worried if someone isn't feeling well, or if Ellie is crying ("Ellie, where's you binky? "Oh hi sweetheart (to Ellie)" "Ohhhh, hiiii Ellie Gracie" "Hi Ellie Bellie" - you get the picture. He keeps us on our toes and I can't stop kissing/squeezing him!
And I couldn't be more blessed to have my sweet Ellie girl (see above for more nick names that I call her!) Her chubby cheeks and thighs aren't all that she's about - from the first day she was born, when she looks at her with her eyes, it's like she is really looking into them (sounds cheesy - but P and I have both commented on that) It's like she's really trying to look into your eyes - she has beautiful eyes, and I love when people notice that (although I know it's hard not to notice the lovely roly poly that she is!) I love how her little arms and legs start flailing when she gets excited (especially when all I have to do is walk in the room and she gets excited) I love her sweet smile, it melts me every time - and when she 'talks' to us. She started pulling up on things - and loves to stand while holding on. She has started liking to dance a little too! She is truly our wiggle worm - she doesn't want to sit still, but she always wants to be held. It's like she can't make up her mind! ha! She isn't quite crawling yet, but when she decides to, she will be off. She is tough little cookie - she has had wheezing problems for a few months - and had to do breathing treatments, but fought through it and is doing awesome - also with some really bad sores on her neck - that were just horrible, and we had to clean it, dry it and must have been SO painful, but she really didn't let it ever affect her mood. She is a happy baby, and my heart is so full of love for her. She is different than her brother in that she LOVES the water!! She gets SO excited for bath time, that just when we take off her clothes and she hears bath water, she knows that it's about to be bathtime and she starts kicking and smiling - she is SO excited!! And she doesn't mind the water in her eyes, where Will would and still does freak out about that. She also LOVES being outside - even when it's cold and windy. She just loves the breeze in her face - totally different than her brother too! (It's so fun to see their similarities and also how they are different, but mostly it's so fun to see them interact together) E is starting to play with some of Will's toys and sometimes he gets possessive, but for the most part, he is still very sweet with Ellie and helps her out if she's upset.
Yes, we are blessed. Thank you God for the many blessings in our life, for our wonderful family, and our amazing friends. I am humbled, I am not worthy, I. Am. Blessed.