Monday, December 30, 2013

The Christmas of Firsts

William's first Christmas was also:
  • His first flight
  • His first time to Minnesota (and first time outside of California)
  • His first time in below-zero temperatures - a real winter
  • His first time meeting his Grandpa Hagen and Uncle John, Auntie El and Uncle Ryan 

 Grandpa & Grandma Hagen with their grandbabies
  •  It was also the first time he met a great-great relative (my Great-Aunt Sylvia)

The week of December 22-28 we spent in Minnesota visiting my side of the family. All of my siblings and their significant others stayed at my parent's house, meaning there were 12 people under one roof! We had a wonderful time being together, but now that I think about it, there were very few times it was just the 12 of us! I'm going to do my best to remember the full week of events! Here goes:

On Sunday, we all headed to church, taking up two pews and enjoying coffee fellowship with many people I hadn't seen in years. Later that afternoon, my mom hosted a "Meet the Babies" shower for William and my niece Charlotte who were visiting Grandma for the first time. My mom loved showing them off to the women who came by. Many of them bearing gifts. William now has a nice collection of footie pajamas featuring monkeys and a few other new toys.

On Monday, my aunt and her three grown children joined us for dinner and games. Originally they had planned to stay with us also, but once they saw how chaotic our house was already, they decided to find a hotel.  Chris received a new game for Christmas called "Bonanza" which we played several times throughout the week. It was a huge hit!

Tuesday, Christmas Eve was a special day. It's tradition that our family open gifts that night, going around in a circle one at a time so we can all see what was given. For the past few years we've drawn names instead of buying gifts for everyone -- our family is just too big for that now (and we're all a little broke) --with the exception of the babies of course - which both ended up needing an entire suitcase to get everything home! It was a late night for the little ones (and me too) but it was pretty fun until they I got crabby. Chris got new bike tires from my parents and books. I got a beautiful hand made scarf from my sister and a sweater, meat grinder, and a few other things from my parents. William got a few outfits and plenty of toys.

Christmas day ended up being a pretty big deal. Originally the plan had been to keep it to just our growing family as we rarely get time together, but it worked out that most of our near-by relatives on my dad's side could make it too! Our house was packed for Christmas dinner! William went to sleep just in time for Chris and I to join the rest as they sat down for the meal. I was so thankful that neither one of us had to skip that part. The rest of the week, it felt like one of us was in another room with him either feeding him or trying to get him to fall asleep. Our precious little baby didn't want to miss out on anything! 

The next day (Thursday if you're keeping track) my cousin Mary and her family stopped by on their way to her parents home (even farther north than mine live!) I was so glad she stopped by, her kids are always growing and changing and I can't see them often enough. Her baby girls are almost a year old already. Everyone was snapping photos of the four babies under 12 months! Her older kids are adorable as ever sporting their backpacks full of new Christmas toys.

That night we had a few more people for dinner -- My great Aunt Sylvia, my Uncle Ken and Aunt Anne and their daughter Heather drove up from Minneapolis for a couple of days. I was so thankful William got to meet Sylvia. Although, I felt bad that she couldn't spend all day with him -- most of his day is spent sleeping and eating, I know she would have liked to hold him at least one more time. My cousin Terry and his wife Riki also joined us for dinner. (No, mom's table isn't quite that big, five people had to eat in another room.)

On Friday, the morning started with a family photo for mom's greeting cards. It turned out pretty well considering it was taken with a timer and a tripod (meaning no one could get the babies attention!)

Then all of my siblings went snowboarding but Chris and I stayed home. He didn't think Minnesota hills were worth skiing on, just kidding, he really just wanted to get some work done! But that didn't really happen either unfortunately. Baby care is exhausting and I needed his help most of the day. That night we played games with our visitors until way past my bed time. Visiting with people I only see every few years trumped opportunities to sleep most of the week.

Saturday was our last morning together. I actually got to sleep in for a while making it a little chaotic to get everything ready in time, but with a 12 hour travel day ahead, it was much needed. The visibility on the roads was awful. My brother drove us to the airport which is usually two hours away but with the blowing snow, patches of icy roads and fog, he couldn't drive very fast. We made it with just enough time to grab a bite to eat before leaving. (For the details, see this post)

We had a busy, but great time visiting with so many special people. I loved spending time with my siblings and being under one roof again. William had a great First Christmas at Grandma's house and survived his first real winter experience. Thank you to everyone who made the trek to see us that week! And thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Hagen for making this Christmas so special!

I took many more photos; you can see them here.

No comments: