Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

Brayden is crashed out after a full two days of family and fun, and now it’s time to reflect on this year’s lovely Christmas season.

I can’t even start a holiday blog post without first mentioning how much I love all the Christmas cards we received. They are my favorite mail of the year. I love the pictures, little notes and family status updates. Each card joins the menagerie on my entryway table, and they stay up long after the rest of the decorations come down.

12 24 11 - Christmas Cards (1)

The first meaning of Christmas is found in our families. It’s hard for me because my family is split in two. Besides the small contingent here in Reno (my mom, dad, brother, Brayden and me), everyone else we are related is in a small area back home in Connecticut. Christmas is a great opportunity to hear everyone’s voices and share the same sentiment year after year – that we love and miss each other. (sigh)

Our small Reno outpost celebrated Christmas Eve in our own (new) traditional way – having fun with Brayden, eating prime rib and watching football.

12 24 11 - Christmas Eve (5)12 24 11 - Christmas Eve (7)

The second meaning of Christmas is found in the smiles of our children. Brayden is too young to understand Christmas, per se, but he does understand that fun things exist under wrapping paper. This morning he woke up to a pretty sparkling tree with presents underneath.

12 25 11 - Christmas Part 1 - Morning (2)

But like most children, after the paper was off and the buttons were pressed on everything once…

12 25 11 - Christmas Part 1 - Morning (7)

he immediately turned his attention to the random cartons and boxes I had laying around in the kitchen.

12 25 11 - Christmas Part 1 - Morning (17)

This is a good reminder of why the best gift we can give our kids is to foster their imagination. And speaking of which, I hope Brayden’s little toddler mind is ready for all the adventures he’s about to live out on his new bouncy rocking horse from Nana and Grampa.

12 25 11 - Christmas Part 2 - Day (16)

If you watch one of my videos all year, make this the one. It’s only a minute and a half, and I promise Brayden’s pure pony joy will make it worth it.

Once Brayden finished conquering the Wild West, we had breakfast, exchanged a few more gifts and put B down for nap. When he woke up, I packed him up and we visited Daddy (Brian) at work to share some more Christmas with him (he had visited earlier that morning as well). After that, we drove to my parents’ house for Christmas Part II where another surprised awaited us – a fully painted and appointed bedroom for Brayden. Brayden instantly loved it, and played for over an hour in his special room at Nana and Grampa’s and Uncle Ryan’s house (pictures to come soon!)

But this was hardly the little man’s only Christmas experience, he had celebrated with Brian and his dad, Grandpa Jewell earlier this week when Santa made an early delivery of toys and clothes. A high point was Brayden’s new cuddle bear.

12 23 11 - Getting cuddle bear from Grandpa Jewell (1)

I am also deeply grateful for the gifts Brayden received from our wonderful family in Connecticut. Brayden is exceptionally lucky to be thought of by all of you, and I am very appreciative of the love you have shown us.

So with that I say good night, everyone. God bless, and I hope your own Christmas or holiday has been filled with the love and happiness you deserve.

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