Alternate title: Exhausting. OR: Magical, yet exhausting. Yes, that was our baby’s first Christmas. During my pregnancy, many people would comment on how I would have a new baby for Christmas and how wonderful it would be. Marcus and I would daydream about it. I am happy to report that it was extremely special, but nothing like I imagined. For one, I had expected to get all my worldly Christmas-y things out of the way before JP’s arrival. Yeah…that didn’t happen. While I have to say online shopping saved me, your Christmas card was made possible by me vigorously bouncing baby either in my arms or bouncer while sometimes writing with my left hand. And that sweet photograph on our Christmas card?-made possible by a grumpy mama, chilly 2 week old, and a annoyed daddy ;) My mom helped me make a last minute run to the mall and Kathleen held my unhappy little one while I got some baking done.
I mostly wanted to get all the shopping and such out of the way so I could prepare my heart for the coming of Christ. And while our Advent Wreath only got lit a couple times, I did manage to squeeze in decades of the joyful mysteries here and there. We were pretty diligent with our St. Andrew’s Novena most days, even if I fell asleep halfway through. James Patrick turned out to be the best way to prepare my heart for baby Jesus. His increasing fussiness (more on this later) reminded me of God’s incredible humility- to come to us through a helpless infant.
The days before Christmas found Marcus spending all his days off fixing the car so it would cross-our-fingers pass inspection this time. Yes, I am so thankful for good ole trusty rusty and my handy handy husband. Those days off, which I had imagined we would be wrapping presents, looking at Christmas lights, watching the classic movies, were put to a different use while I learned some important lessons..flexibility and looser expectations ;) But! We did have a memorable, bundled up walk through the neighborhood looking at lights-sipping on homemade hot chocolate to boot! And the smartypants phone sang us Christmas carols! New tradition!!
Christmas Eve was busy as we had some baking to accomplish and wrapping to finish. I tried to remind myself of those loose expectations as our little reflux-y baby cried all. day. long. Things were looking up, though.. the baby finally settled down for a nap and Marcus and I enjoyed a Advent Wreath candlelit dinner (leftover stuffed shells from those glorious friends who brought us meals! Thanks you!) . Then I was sure my heart would burst when Marcus read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke while I rocked the baby. He even broke out the guitar and we sang Christmas carols in sweet anticipation of the nativity. We bundled baby up and headed out for Holy Trinity’s 10:00 mass. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe a Catholic midnight mass. The music, the incense, the bells, the candles… James slept through it all and we were sure we would be able to put him right in bed when we got home.
Then came the part where that didn’t happen. James celebrated baby Jesus’ arrival by hanging out until around 3 in the am. He took a quick doze then was ready to party again by 6. Defeated, we just decided to get up too.. My normally good sleeper had no sympathy for the busy day that awaited us!
Here is where the magical part sets in- We had the sweetest, most intimate little family Christmas here at home. Then we went to my parents for a delicious brunch that gave me a second wind! After opening presents, we handed the baby over to many eager arms and we both caught a nap. We awoke to a very excited Cecilia & Thomas and celebrated with them for a little bit before heading to my in-laws. Insert more magic here! All 4 cousins together, handmade stockings by Nana Claire, thoughtful gifts from sisters, and I believe the men would say their highlight was the blow dart guns my FIL made them. Hilarious! My highlight was the insane amount of desserts and exchanging “I-promise-you-are-not-crazy” postpartum stories with my beloved Sis-in-laws. Oh my goodness, I needed that.
Christmas is just beginning!! Marcus started his 5 day the day after Christmas, so we’ve had plenty of time with both families and even a new niece (muuch more on her later) Us Catholics party Christmas style all the way through the Epiphany!!
Merry Christmas from the Crofts!!!