Christmas was only 3 weeks ago, but it feels like a lifetime! It's funny how quickly the busyness of life takes over and makes recent events seem like they were so long ago.
We finally took down the Christmas Tree and decor over the weekend, so I figured it was time to get the Christmas recap out of the way, too. I debated skipping it entirely. I put all of my favorite Christmas photos in a folder to crop and upload, and it was unknowingly deleted. (LIAM!!!) I emptied my recycle bin without realizing it, and now all my favorites are gone. I was so upset, but decided to move forward with the photos I DID have and there wasn't much of a shortage...they're just not as good!
Christmas wasn't perfect this year, but it was really, really good! There was a lot of schedule adjustment due to last minute time changes, so we didn't get to spend as much time with certain family members as we had hoped. But the fact that our holiday was filled with so many perfect memories made up for it!
I loved the fact that Christmas Eve was on a Saturday! Grant usually has to go into the office for a few hours on Christmas Eve, but this was the first time in many years that he was home all day. It definitely made it feel more like a holiday!
Christmas Eve was thrown off quite a bit. We were supposed to spend Christmas Eve with my family from 4-7, then spend Christmas Eve with Grant's family from 7-10. Unfortunately, the time changed for my family so we only had an hour with them before we had to go. That was a definitely a bummer, but it was still nice to see them!
At Grant's Nannie's house, we followed our usual Christmas Eve traditions.
We always start with a gift and new pajamas from mom and dad. That way the kids have something to play with and they can change out of their dress clothes!
Every year, since Dylan was born, Grant's mom has given each child a new ornament to put on our tree. She always chooses based on their interests and activities. They love this so much and one day they will have a bunch of ornaments to put on their own tree. This year, Dylan got a basketball, Lexie got a rabbit, Lily got a tiny ballerina (and an extra), and Liam got a monkey hanging on a number 3. They were perfect!
After visiting with Grant's family for a few hours, which included a few special out of town family members whom I have never met, it was time to head home. Despite the scheduling snag, it was a happy night with our loved ones!
Lily fell asleep on the 5 minute drive home, and refused to wake up for our Christmas Eve tradition of putting out reindeer food and milk and cookies for Santa. Trust me when I say that she was NOT happy about missing it!
While the big kids were getting ready for bed, Liam stole one of Santa's cookies and made a huge mess on the floor!
Shortly after, all four rugrats were snug in their beds.
A very exhausted Santa Claus was FINALLY able to visit our house!
On Christmas morning, at 8:30 AM, I was unable to intercept Lily as she raced to wake her sleeping siblings. It was our earliest Christmas morning to date!
Our Christmas morning tradition is to put on Christmas music, and let the kids open gifts one at a time. Liam goes first, then Lily, then Lexie, then Dylan, then we rotate back through over and over again until all of their gifts are unwrapped. As you can imagine, this takes forever but they love savoring each gift!
Although I won't share a picture of each gift, they all got everything they asked for (their lists were very reasonable) and a few extras, so they were thrilled. It was a lot of fun this year, because Liam was really into it and oohed over each gift!
Needless to say, the hit of the day was the Hatchimal. It was all Lily asked for!
The highlight of this Christmas, however, was Lexie's surprise Christmas gift. I can't even talk about it without tearing up!
This year, just a few weeks before Christmas, Lexie unexpectedly found out the truth. She was a great sport, but obviously had a lot of questions.
Lexie's Christmas list was very small, and she also added a Hatchimal to her list. We already had one, thanks to a best friend's mom's generosity, but as you know, they were impossible to find, especially at a reasonable price. We finally explained to Lexie that we were unable to find one, but we promised her an IOU, so she could get one right after Christmas. Lexie took it well, thankfully, but we still felt terrible, especially since it was her first year not believing.
Two days before Christmas, Grant texted me to say that I would never believe what's in his car. I had no idea, so he finally called to tell me that a dear friend found one and bought it so we could give it to her. He paid double the price, but refused to take any money for it. We were incredibly touched by his thoughtfulness and generosity, and knew that it would make Lexie's Christmas. It definitely did.
We hid that extra gift under the tree and didn't "find" it until the kids were done opening gifts. I got choked up before she even opened the gift, because she was so surprised there was one more just for her. As she realized what it was, the joy spread across her face.
30 seconds later, she was crying, because it meant that much to her. She truly wasn't expecting it. She hugged Grant and I, while crying, and kept whispering, "Thank you. Thank you so much."
I will NEVER forget that moment!
After the kids opened their gifts, they exchanged gifts with each other. Dylan, Lexie and Lily bought gifts for their family at their holiday shops at school, and Liam picked out gifts for his siblings.
Grant and I got some extra special gifts, too. Those little trinkets are always my most treasured gifts!
We also received some special handmade gifts from Lily and Liam. I love the presents they make at school!
We ended Christmas morning with stockings and a gift exchange between Grant and I. By the time we finished it was after 11 AM!
We had our traditional Christmas Day brunch, then spent the next hour hatching Hatchimals. I thought they were so dumb and overpriced, but I was pleasantly surprised. The hatching process was really cool and the girls play with them everyday!
Early in the afternoon, my parents stopped by for our gift exchange. My poor mom was really sick, so they didn't stay long. It was definitely nice to see them, even for a short time. This year, we gave my dad an engraved JORD watch and he loved it!
The kids loved all of their gifts, too!
After my parents left, an exhausted Liam fell asleep on the floor amidst the messy Christmas aftermath and the older kids happily played with their new toys.
That evening, we went to my sister's house for dinner with some of my family. It was nice to spend a bit more time with them and since there weren't as many people there, it was much quieter than Christmas Eve.
After dinner, we went over to Grant's mom's house to celebrate Christmas with her. It turned out to be a fun, relaxing evening! We got to see some of Grant's family and a friend joined us for a game of cards.
And then, things got crazy!
We arrived home around midnight, and Lexie was dealing with an allergic reaction. It had started on Friday night, at a Christmas party, after she came in contact with a real Christmas Tree. We got it under control with Benadryl, but you can see the faint spots on her face in the pictures.
Shortly after we got home, Lexie started scratching and saying how itchy she was and that her skin hurt so much. The rash kept spreading and her eyes started to swell. She kept sobbing, "Take me to the hospital! I need help!"
Lexie has never been to the ER, which, ironically, we had just discussed at Christmas dinner, but there's a first time for everything!
At the ER, she was diagnosed with an allergic reaction, and while we were there, they discovered she had strep throat. That surprised us even more, because she wasn't even sick!
We were in the ER until 4 AM because they didn't feel comfortable releasing her until she started to improve. It was definitely a dramatic end to Christmas!
There's definitely more to this story, which I will save for another time. Short version: Lexie appears to have developed a nut allergy! She had several more allergic reactions since then, all following times when she ate nuts. We finally put two and two together and allergy testing is in her very near future!
Despite its dramatic end, Christmas 2016 was full of wonderful memories! It was definitely one of our best Christmases ever!