I can't believe Christmas is over.
It was, as always, great fun.
There are a lot of pictures here, so click below for some background music by
the Lumineers if you so desire...
Yes, there is some running around, traveling, and a massive expenditure of money
but the joy and wonder of this time of year outweighs all of that.
We travelled to the annual family Christmas party on Dr Fabulous's side of the family on Sunday.
St. Nick makes a special visit to all 43 children present (next year it will be 45). There are about 80 people there, the 43 "great grandchildren" and the various aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great aunts. This is a heck of a large family and you couldn't ask for a better one. We see most of these guys once a year at this party and it is an event we cherish.
The girls mustered some courage this year and actually all sat on Santa's lap and spoke to him.
Major milestone for this gang!
Santa got a kick out of Rella and pulled me aside saying:
"Most kids TELL me what they want; she asked me 'Can I please have...' "
He thought that was pretty cute.
Since it made sense to stay overnight given that we were celebrating Christmas eve in North Jersey as well, Dr Fabulous and I were able to get a date night of dinner and a movie out of it and
stayed in a hotel without our children!
Christmas Eve was celebrated early this year with a family brunch at my in-laws.
We also had a little belated birthday celebration for both Rella and me.
My bro-in-law attacking me.
Then it was gifts, gifts and more gifts.
The nice thing about Brunch was that we were able to get home around 5:00 and do our own family Christmas Eve traditions. The kids even caught a nap on the drive home to stay up late.
We enjoyed the traditional "7 fishes," wonderful company, wine and cupcakes at our neighbors before hanging our stockings, sprinkling reindeer food in the yard and setting out cookies for Mr. Claus.
Jingles the Elf left a small little Christmas Eve gift for the girls.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...
But my precious CB wouldn't be there.
Santa will be visiting CB in Maryland this year and we'll have a second Christmas when she gets home
after the new year!
Adorable plate Rella made in pre-school. A simple dollar store plate and ceramic paints makes an instant keepsake.
The reindeer is her little handprint.
Christmas morning is my most favorite day of the year. Nothing beats it when your kids are little; when everyone still believes and the magic is palpable. I never want this to end. Never ever ever ever.
If I could only bottle it up, their Christmas morning joy and squeals and smiles,
I would be happy every day.
In Rella's arms are 2 of her bunnies. We lost the original Bubby for 5 months and replaced him, but just recently
found the old one. A Christmas miracle!
After a morning of gifts, love and family we headed to my Mom's house to celebrate with my siblings, nieces, nephews, and my 95-year old grandfather.
My father, who had spent 2 days in the hospital over the weekend with high fever and what they thought was the flu, was discharged on Christmas Eve and thankfully was looking good and feeling much better. That was a wonderful Christmas gift!
I thought about all the families who were dealing with grief this Christmas - the families of Sandy Hook and the firemen who were recently ambushed by a sniper in upstate New York and so many other families who faced despair and heartache instead of joy and happiness this season.
All I can do is love my family and feel grateful.
It's all I can do, and I did that.