Christmas morning at our house was absolutely magical this year. As much as I thought Mac got Christmas last year, he really got it and got excited about it this year, making it our best year yet. We had an entire month of Christmas celebration and countdown, including doing Elf on the Shelf (which I swore I'd NEVER do...totally eating my words on that one) and an advent calendar filled with fun adventures like a ride on the Polar Express, neighborhood caroling, a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park to see Christmas lights, charitable giving and a visit to Santa. Doing all those things and having Mac wake up with such excitement and magic in his eyes made it all worth it.
But as any parent of young germ-infested children knows, things don't always go according to plan. Unfortunately, two days before Christmas my husband came down with a very nasty case of the stomach flu, which took him out of commission for the entire weekend. Not only did he miss Christmas Eve dinner at his parents house (his favorite meal of the year), he couldn't even stay up with me to help set-up and prep the room for Santa's visit. I know it broke his heart and he's promised to do all the work next year, but I have to admit it was a bit lonely doing it all by myself this year. Thankfully, he did good job quarantining himself from the rest of us and no one else got sick (yet...knock on wood).
While we parents might not feel the same type of Christmas magic as our kids, there's still something pretty special about making Christmas magical for them and I've taken great pleasure in it this year. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this on the blog before, but Ryan's family has a tradition where all the stuffed animals in the house make their way to the tree to see all the presents that Santa brings. When Ryan and his brother were little, their animals could be found Christmas morning on the raft that Santa brought, hanging out in the tree, playing with trains or just scattered around the room checking out the presents. I love this tradition and I'm excited to pass this on to our kids! Mac was blown away Christmas morning to see all his "babies" hanging out on the presents - he kept asking me how they got there and whether they got to meet Santa. It was adorable. It also makes the pile of gifts look huge and like the kids received 10 times the amount of gifts!
Mim woke up first on Christmas morning, so we kept her up in bed with us snuggling until she could no longer wait. Girlfriend wakes up HUNGRY and in desperate need of a bowl of cereal and some Curious George, so we made our way to the kitchen to occupy her and give her a snack until Mac woke up a few minutes later. I think he initially forgot that it was Christmas, but once he remembered, he couldn't wait to get downstairs and see if his medical tools arrived.
As I previously mentioned, Mac requested medical tools (for a vet clinic) and a new garbage truck from Santa and boy, did he deliver! His "real" medical tools came in a sleek black doctor bag and included things like a blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, tongue depressors, syringes, animal x-rays, gauze/bandages, otoscope, reflex hammer, clipboard, lab coat and pen light. He was blown away! Not only did Santa bring all those goodies, but our whole family played along and got him giant stuffed animals for his clinic, pet carriers, books on being a veterinarian and other fun stuff. He's totally set for Mizzou vet school - class of 2038 (or something insanely futuristic-sounding).
Mac currently has possession and control of my old iPad, much to Mim's shock and horror, so she just might have gotten her own iPad for Christmas (aka: Ryan's new iPad for work travel). It's preloaded with a bunch of obnoxious peek-a-boo apps that she loves and Frozen, so her life is infinitely better these days. Otherwise, she got some clothes, hat/gloves, books, a chair, some diapers, toothpaste, shampoo and vitamins.
The rest of Mac's haul consisted of a new garbage truck, books, Play-Doh, sunglasses, Disney movies, a giant stingray, socks and Hot Wheel cars. Both kids also got personalized Christmas shirts (from Leah) and plates (from Liz). It sounds like a lot, but I think Santa did a good job this year cutting back on the crap and focused more on quality items that the kids could wear, read, need or use for years to come. Good job, Santa.
So yeah, that was our Christmas morning! It was so much fun, but over in the blink of an eye. Right around the time the last present was being opened, my mom arrived for Christmas brunch with my family, which we hosted this year for 10 adults and 4 kids (plus 2 dogs, 1 cat, a dozen fish and a guinea pig - all of which received gifts and a stocking!). We love our zoo and wouldn't have it any other way!
Hope you all had a very merry Christmas as well!