Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013 in a word: Healing.

It was the first time I had brought out the Christmas decorations since Seamus died. It was tough to open those boxes, since the last time I put them away he was the same age as Gus and Greta and of course I envisioned many more Christmases together.  "Do we hang his stocking?" is just one example of an emotional minefield we had to walk through. (Luckily the twins made sure no stockings stayed hung so it was a non-issue!) I felt a lot of pressure to have things figured out in terms of traditions and how Seamus would be honored without making us all too sad to celebrate.

Further complicating things is the insane nature of our lives and schedules these days - it's just nuts. We wake up and we run a million miles an hour all day until we collapse into bed at night. I'm sure any parent of young kids understands. I wanted to be really thoughtful about Christmas/Seamus' birthday, and I was feeling so guilty for approaching it in this half-assed piecemeal way.

With the help of my counselor, friends and family, though, I came to realize that Christmas traditions can evolve, and we don't have to have everything figured out right away. It doesn't have to be perfect because it will never be perfect without Seamus. So with that in mind, I was able to breathe again.

It was an absolutely lovely holiday. Katie, Barry, Stephen and Laura joined us for Christmas Eve dinner. Gris had originally planned to be traveling but her plans fell through so she was with us, too - a bummer for her but a bonus for us and for the twins. We had great food,  we listened to the John Denver Christmas album, Skyped with Dad and Hassie, talked to my mom on the phone (she was in New York with her family) and went for a walk around the block with the twins. On Christmas, we made French toast while the twins played with all their new stuff, went for a walk, stopped by the park, relaxed, and ate leftovers. For all the anxiety I felt as the holiday approached, I am actually sad that it's over!

Eric's Aunt Amy is an amazing knitter. Her latest gift to the twins was these Santa hats, which we got a lot of mileage out of this year despite the fact that the don't like to wear hats. Call it a Christmas miracle, I guess!

 Out for a walk on a foggy Christmas Eve. 

For Christmas Eve dinner, Eric made some spicy shredded pork. Gris and Laura collaborated on homemade tortillas (a Mexican-Guatemalan hybrid version, not that we would have known the difference!) It's amazing to me that last year at this time I did not know either of these women, and now they are practically family, hanging out in my kitchen speaking Spanish and cooking delicious food.

Katie and Barry found their Christmas spirit.

I wanted to get a family shot in front of the tree, but the twins were not cooperating. They violently protested when we took away their binkies...

…so we thought, if you can't beat 'em, join em.

First, the outtakes. 

There are probably 20 pictures in various struggling/wrestling stages.


Gus sampled the limes before we ate.

That one was little sour.

OK a lot sour.

Stephen and Laura have been together a year now. Awww...

Later in the evening, after baths, it was time to climb the presents.

For 1 year olds, the presents are much more fun before they are opened.

Christmas morning, the twins discovered that Santa brought magnets for mommy and daddy to step on,

also a fabric tube,

…and a tiny adorable furniture set so they have a place to relax and read, as well as something to climb on that is relatively safe. This picture shows you the extent to which we have to baby proof the living room if the twins are left alone in there for even a few minutes. Gus climbs EVERYTHING, and Greta is a few inches shorter but following his lead. So we prop up the couch cushions, flip over the chair to block the table which blocks the stereo, and move the other table against the flipped over chair to protect him from the chair legs. I swear that between this and the sea of toys and books spread over the floor it looks like a tornado just ripped through our house.

Finally, here's a video of the big Christmas morning reveal. I have a feeling next year will be quite a bit more exciting with less confusion on the part of the twins :)