Nate's first Christmas was as relaxed, joyous, and merry as we had hoped. For a couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, he enjoyed the Christmas tree, the snowglobe music box, the decorations made by Grandma Happy when Mama was a baby, the stockings ("sock") the bubble light nightlights ("bubba") and the Fisher Price manger set from Auntie Andrea (the angel apparently has the best mouthfeel, in case you were wondering.)
On Christmas Eve, he dressed up in a Christmas sweater and red corduroy pants that Mama sewed (no, she wasn't going for an MC Hammer look; weird things happen when you work without a pattern.) With Mama and Dad holding his hands, he walked up to the creche at church to place the baby Jesus in the manger. Then it was off to bed in Christmas jammies, after a reading of "The Night Before Christmas. Grandma Happy and Granddad Don spent the night at our house, too, so they could share Nate's first Christmas morning.
Christmas morning, Mama woke at 5:30, and waited impatiently for Nate to wake up. Finally at 7:30 the coos and songs started in his crib. After a change into clean Christmas jammies for Nate, we came downstairs, where Dad was waiting with the videocamera. Santa had brought a big red wagon and Nate went straight for it. He (literally) kicked the tires and then wanted to sit in it. Next, he spied the activity cube. That occupied him until breakfast and naptime, and much of the afternoon as well.
With no schedule to keep (Mama's favorite part of Christmas Day,) we just let him take his time opening gifts. From Mama and Dad: books, a houseboat, a ball, a wooden clacker push toy, handheld jingle bells and cymbals (a HUGE hit), fabric fruits and veggies for his play kitchen. From Grandma Happy and Granddad Don (in addition to the help they generously gave to Santa:) a LeapFrog dog, boat toy for the swimming pool, pots and pans for the play kitchen, books, nesting blocks, and a snowglobe ornament with a light that changes colors (mesmerizing.) Aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends also gave him several great gifts.
In his stocking, he found a shaker made by Mama from items found around the house, heart-shaped crayons molded by Mama from broken bits (hopefully easy for little hands to grab in a few months,) mini M&Ms (sugar is a very rare treat,) animal crackers, bubbles, Weebles, a huge sweet potato (his favorite food) wearing a Santa hat, and an adorable Humbug, who isn't really grouchy; he just doesn't like to come out and sing until Dec. 25th. (We have plans to have a hunt for the Humbug every Christmas morning, but this year we made him pretty easy to find.)
Mama's family has a tradition of a special ornament each year, to commemorate some interest or event that year. We continued this for Nate with a blown glass rubber ducky wearing a Santa hat, since Nate loves ducks, and "duck" was one of his first words. It was the only glass ornament on the tree this year, and had to nest way up high, although Nate was very good around the tree. He liked to sit and rub his head on the bottom branches, and needed reminders to touch gently, but we were amazed at his restraint.
On the 26th, Uncle Bart, Aunt Tracy, and cousin Sara joined us to continue the celebration. Mama made her first-ever pies from scratch (huge thanks to Dig for the world's most forgiving pie crust recipe!) Sara was (as always) great with Nate, and we all enjoyed hearing about Uncle Bart's recent trip to Italy.
Now we Salty Dogs are looking forward to Part Two at Grandma Honey and GrandPop's house this weekend!
Despite numerous setbacks, and at our usual last minute, we completed the living room renovations in time to put up a Christmas tree. Mark did an amazing job repairing the drywall where the old fireplace insert had been, installing recessed lighting, patching, sanding until his knuckles were raw, painting, and installing a new (electric) fireplace. We can't believe the difference in this room we used to hate.
Like it or not, temps are dropping, and it's time to winterize and put away our summer toys. Dreaming of warmer months and summer adventures to come helps us get through this process. That and a litte creativity... ~M