I actually started doing the Christmas update in Carys's monthly letter before realizing it was way too long, so I pulled it out to a separate post. HOWEVER, I'm too lazy to change the verbiage, so this is written in the monthly "letters-to-Carys" style.
We survived your second Christmas - not just survived, but enjoyed and even thrived.
You loved the Christmas lights and greeted them with a "Whoaaaaaaa!" every time we saw them. Our neighbors had light-up animatronic deer that you ran to whenever you could, petting them and saying, "Neigh!" I don't know what deer really say, if anything, but it was too cute to correct.
You thought the Christmas tree was wonderful, and I never had to worry about you breaking ornaments or tipping it over. You would very gently and reverently stroke a branch or touch an ornament, and would point out "star" and "ball" when you saw ornaments of that shape.
You also quickly learned to point out Santa Claus and say, "Ho ho ho." I thought for a long time it was the red/white combination that you were recognizing, but you also recognized him from a black and white line drawing. Impressive! The real thing, however, didn't hold the same draw. We tried three or four times and ended up with an unhappy baby three or four times. Maybe next year!
You were okay if I held you, though - and Santa's expression could not have been more perfect here.
I don't think a single person opened their own presents when you were around. You were as excited to see a piece of paper in the box as you were to see a toy. As soon as the contents were revealed, your eyes got big and your eyebrows shot up and your mouth formed a perfect O.
The crowds at Christmas overwhelmed you a bit. We started the season off at my paternal grandma's house, where we gathered with grandma, my aunt and uncle and cousins and their significant others and children, and our whole family. You weren't quite sure what to think of the rambunctious trio of three-year-olds (yes, all three of my cousins had children within months of each other!), but you hovered at the outskirts of the craziness and darted into the fray here and there. Your favorite gift from Grandma was a robot. Your first robot!
(I stupidly forgot my camera at home so have ZERO pictures from this. I hate myself but will steal pics from my mom!)
We then did Christmas Eve at your Grandma H's house. You definitely can get quiet and snuggly around a group of adults you don't know, but you slowly warmed to everyone, especially your Aunt Ana. Your big gift there was a Cozy Coup car, which you literally dove into as soon as it was opened (yay to daddy for putting it together the night before!).
The next morning, on Christmas day, we opened your gifts here at home as a family of three for the second year in a row. You were still sleepy, but once you realized you got to rip a lot of paper, you got into it. You have used all of your gifts pretty equally - I'm not sure what the fave would be. Mr. Potato Head, maybe, or the baby and bottle, or the zoo, or the magnet book? It depends on the minute. But I'm happy, because you like it all so far. We're doing Want/Need/Wear/Read, where from mom and dad you get something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. It's a wonderful way to cut down on the insanity and consumerism of Christmas, which is so easy to get caught up in without even realizing it. And of course, you'll still get gifts from Santa and in your stocking. But it makes mom's life a lot easier!
We then left to go to Nana and Grandpa's, with my mom, dad, siblings, and sibling significant others. And a dog and a cat. As goes tradition, we enjoyed strawberry waffles in the morning and then did presents. Your favorite gift was a red sled, which your Aunt Kimberly used to pull you around the house. Grand plans were made to strap the sled to the dog - watch out! You also got a packet of fake snow that was a huge hit!
After your much needed nap at home, we ended Christmas at Grandma N's, which was actually celebrated at Carol's but is somehow still called "Christmas at Grandma N's." That was...pure insanity. There had to have been forty people stuffed into the house, with ages ranging from two weeks old to 86 years old. I, of course, reveled in the insanity, while your dad tried to hide, and you spent your time running between me, your dad, and your Aunt Kimberly. Your favorite gift was a tea set from your great-grandma - you immediately knew what to do with it, even though I don't think you'd ever seen me pour tea.
A few weeks later, we finished it up with an Epiphany Exchange with my family. It didn't start out like that, but we've done it that way the last few years so it will probably stick. We draw names and draw topics from a theme. This year the theme was the Wonders of the World, and I drew your Uncle Jared and the Pyramids at Giza. So I had to get him a gift that somehow - no matter how tenuously - related to the Pyramids at Giza. On the plus side (for me), it draws out Christmas longer. On the down side (for your dad), it draws out Christmas longer. No pictures of that either.
I'll close with this, and there's pretty much nothing I could say to top this.
I already can't wait for next year, little one.