Our Holiday Celebrations.

I hate to draw out the holidays, but I did want to capture the memories of this holiday season because Sydney was so in to it even though I’m fairly certain she didn’t really know what all the actual excitement was about.

Helping Mama decorate the tree

Helping Mama decorate the tree

First, our tree. Sydney was in love with our tree. I had her “help” me decorate and while I normally wouldn’t be so careless with my precious ornaments I opted this year to not put my most special, valuable, or breakable ornaments on the tree. I did include some that were breakable, at my own risk, but kept them up towards the top of the tree. We also talked a lot about how we weren’t supposed to touch the tree or take anything off of it. The first week we had the tree up she was all about bringing me ornaments, but after that she seemed to understand Mommy meant business when she said stop taking things off the tree! She really loved the lights – whenever we would come down in the morning over the weekend or got home during the week the first thing she wanted to do was turn on the tree. We have a little plug that has a button on it so it was easy for her to turn it on and off. We also had to work on not turning it on and off over and over again… I definitely underestimated her excitement for the tree and I’m kind of glad I did because seeing the excitement on her face when it was all lit up for the first time was amazing and hearing her exclamations of “tree!” all month long was really adorable, too.

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah started mid-December this year and I think it was the perfect timing for this year because it was over before Christmas started so they both had their complete separate celebrations. Not that I think she understood what was happening on any day of Hanukkah or Christmas but I think it helped to lessen the overwhelming feelings of presents (& toys!!) that I had haha. Each night we would light our Menorah, FaceTime with Steve’s parents and then open our gift for the night. On Sydney’s birthday she was completely uninterested in opening gifts so I didn’t think she would have much interest in opening them for Hanukkah or Christmas but apparently a lot can change in a month and she LOVED opening presents. So much so that she was very eager to help us open our gifts too. I let her open a couple of mine which is shocking but I got more joy out of watching her open gifts than I did from opening them by myself. I’m excited that next year we will be living much closer to the in-laws so we will have the opportunity to spend each night with them. FaceTime was nice because they were able to see her open their gifts, but I think being able to actually do that in person, together, as a family will be much more special. Especially next year when she probably will get it a little more.

Opening presents with Aunt Heather

Opening presents with Aunt Heather

We also enjoyed a night of Family Hanukkah – which is just when we celebrate with the whole family as opposed to celebrating by ourselves each night at home. Sydney was definitely overwhelmed with all her wonderful gifts – she was also completely spoiled loved by her Aunts but I’m not sure who had more fun with her gifts – them or her! I’m looking forward to next years celebration when we will have the opportunity to spoil love our niece as much as they love theirs. & I’m really excited to see Sydney & Hadley tear in to presents next year and be the absolute centers of attention!

Opening presents with Aunt Mel

Opening presents with Aunt Mel

As we always do, we celebrated Christmas with my parents but we did something a little different this year. We had a Christmas Eve sleep over at my parents house. Since I started a new job I ended up having to work on Christmas Eve and without knowing if we would get off early (we did! yay!) we decided that it would be a bit ridiculous to drive all the way home Christmas Eve just to wake up, open presents, and basically turn around and head back that way to my parents for the day. We figured we would get much more celebration and family time if we just stayed and it was also the last Christmas we’ll celebrate in my parents (childhood) home since my parents are moving this summer to being their retirement years!

Mom was busy making side dishes for Christmas Dinner and Sydney pushed a chair up right next to her to help. My Grandmother on my Dad’s side passed this recipe for potato salad down to my Mom and my Mom has since shared it with me. I’m excited for the day I get to really share it with Sydney and continue the tradition, but for now the adorableness of Sydney helping my Mom make it is a memory I love.

Helping Nana make potato salad

Helping Nana make potato salad

We mostly relaxed Christmas Eve night and just enjoyed our time together. My mom got to read all of us The Night Before Christmas which is something she has done for as many years as I can remember (side note: one year she gave me a book that she had recorded herself reading and it’s definitely something I’m happy to have and know one day I’ll be happy to be able to hear her voice when I can’t.) She was overjoyed to have this moment with her children and granddaughter. It was probably her favorite moment of the night.

Reading the Night Before Christmas with Nana

Reading the Night Before Christmas with Nana

After we tucked Sydney in to bed we just kind of relaxed and waited for Santa to make his appearance. We headed off to bed early (well, late for me but I was trying to finish watching Elf lol). I had this wonderful feeling as I anticipated how surprised and excited Sydney would be in the morning and she did not disappoint me at all. She was in awe of all the presents spread out in the living room. We opened her stocking first and she was THRILLED there were two babies in there just for her.

Presents! YAY!

Presents! YAY!

I believe she was a little overwhelmed all morning with her presents and she didn’t seem to understand that she was supposed to open them all on this very morning when she had been opening one present each day for the last week. She did do a lot of “ooohhhing” and “aahhing” over her presents and that was super adorable.

Big girl opening presents!

Big girl opening presents!

She got a lot of fun pretend play stuff that has already been a big hit for her. She kind of lost interest in opening presents after a while so we tucked the unopened presents away for her to open at our house over the weekend because we had planned on having a small “Christmas” there to give her the big gift we’d gotten her & didn’t want to haul to my parents and back. We had a pretty low-key Christmas Day. My Aunt and Cousins came over and we also got a visit from Steve’s family which was a surprise because Mel and Heather usually spend the day with Heather’s family but they had kind of split up their day and ended up being able to spend some time with us too which made Sydney a very happy little girl. Overall we had a really wonderful day and it’ll go down as one of my favorite Christmas memories because of all of Sydney’s excitement. I know next year I’ll probably say the same thing, but for now, it’s my favorite!

Over the weekend we ended up having our own little Christmas morning for Sydney because I had made her a dress up cabinet with my dad and we were pretty sure that it wouldn’t fit in our car with all the rest of the gifts she would end up with (and we were so very right!). It was also nice because she didn’t open everything Christmas morning and this time it was a little less overwhelming for her because it was just the three of us and there were a lot less presents and chaos going on.

Extra Christmas Morning!

Extra Christmas Morning!

Overall we had a happy and wonderful holiday season. December always feels a bit chaotic (for me anyway) because there are so many celebrations going on between both our families but I do always feel really grateful that we have a close family that we are able to celebrate with every year without too much traveling hassle. I am, however, very much looking forward to next year when there won’t be an hour drive between us and our family. It really isn’t much but I’m sure being much closer will make things so much easier!

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