This year Ryan really "got it." He could tell you that Christmas was Jesus' birthday, and that Santa would be coming, and that his reindeer would pull the sleigh. He sang Christmas carols and nearly every night before bed he would ask for a dance session in which we played Jingle Bells (any version would do: Harry Connick Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, the BSO Pops, etc) over and over at least three times. He knew Santa would bring presents and when you asked him what he wanted he would say "Cars and trucks!" The weeks before Christmas were as fun if not more than actual Christmas day. But don't get me wrong, our Christmas day was wonderful, and thus the reason why I must detail every minute of our day (and the night before). Most of this is for my own documentation, so, be forewarned that I know it is a bit boring.
On Christmas Eve we went to mass at 4:30 with my parents at our local parish. We arrived at 3:50 and still barely got a seat. Ryan did really well considering that that we were seated from 3:50 to 5:30. We only had to take him to the lobby of the church once for a short break. When we got home I made Lobster Newburg for the first time. This is a tradition in Matt's family, and one he wanted to start for our own family. It was DELICIOUS and I will be happy to continue this tradition. Matt's family also always included Kentucky Fried Chicken with the Lobster Newburg. I could do without this, though am happy to oblige. But seriously, who needs KFC when you have delicious lobster?????
After dinner we had a Jingle Bell dance party, put out a cookie for Santa (yes, just one. Ryan's exact words were, "Santa need one cookie. I eat rest") and a big carrot for the Reindeer. Ryan looked out the window for Santa and asked, "When he comin' Mama!?"
We read the Night Before Christmas, and then Ryan was off to bed. Matt and I then filled stockings, and put the presents under the tree. I had already wrapped all the presents prior to Christmas Eve. Santa (and Ryan's out of town relatives) were good to Ryan this year!
On Christmas morning, Ryan woke up and was in no hurry to come down stairs. He came and snuggled in our bed for a bit, and then we went downstairs. He was very excited when he saw all the presents under the tree. He said, "dose [translation: those] presents for me???" and he promptly went to town opening them. We got the initial present opening on video and completely forgot to take pictures of this part. Oops! When I get around to editing the video, I may post it here...but that may be a while. His presents included a large set of Haba blocks, books, his first board game (Go Fish, thanks to Heather for the suggestion! He loves and actually plays by the rules) a puzzle, magnatrucks, and a Melissa and Doug mailbox.
My parents then joined us for breakfast, and I made very special Rudolph pancakes. Ryan knew exactly who it was when he saw them. He quickly ate all of the chocolate chips, marshmallows, some of the pancakes, and only ate the strawberry with much prompting. We also had an egg casserole and fruit.
After breakfast Ryan opened a present that my parents brought for him. As simple as this little garbage truck is, I am fairly certain it is his favorite gift.
We made sure to take our annual "Family Picture in front of the tree with our PJs on" and it actually turned out halfway decent. I can't believe how OLD Ryan looks here. Will he really be 2 in just a few days???
Ryan did not cooperate quite as much when we tried to get a picture with my parents....but, oh well. He was a busy, excited little guy!
After breakfast my brother and sister in law came over with my nieces and the kids exchanged gifts. It was a little chaotic, but thus is the nature of three small children opening presents on Christmas morning. Ryan loved his Elmo Legos and Recycling Truck from Auntie Cindy and Uncle John. He also loved Julia's cleaning cart, which we gave her, and was sad when he realized it wasn't his. Caitlin was excited about the microphone she got from my parents and enjoyed getting her rock star groove on. Christmas is magical with lots of little ones around!
After John, Cindy, Caitlin, & Julia left we had the late afternoon to ourselves. Ryan took a nap, and Matt and I watched an episode of Mad Men after cleaning up from the morning. When Ryan woke up it was time to head to my parents house. When we got there Ryan was VERY excited about his stocking. He went right to town opening that but had to wait until everyone else arrived to open his other presents from NeeNee and PopPop, and Auntie Catharine and Uncle Mark.
Eventually everyone arrived, including my cousin Chris, his wife Alissa, and their kids Saoirse & Patrick. We had a great afternoon being together with family and eating a delicious meal made by my mom. The best part of Christmas is definitely being together with family. We sure are lucky to have such an amazing family. Ryan may argue that the best part of Christmas was his train set (from NeeNee and PopPop), his Legos and BC sweatshirt (from Auntie Catharine & Uncle Mark), and his Cars sweatshirt, Mickey Mouse football, and coloring book (from Saoirse & Patrick). Ryan is a very loved little boy and as the years go on, I hope that he too comes to appreciate family time more than anything else.
After dinner, dessert, and adult present opening Ryan took a bath and got into his PJs. We headed home, fully expecting him to fall asleep in the car. But he didn't. He was too excited I guess. He did go to sleep easily though once we were home. When he woke up the next morning he came down stairs and said, "Santa bring presents again?" We had to explain that no, that would not happen for another year. He seemed fine with that.
Of all the wonderful gifts we recieved this year, the best gift will always be our happy, healthy, kind little boy.
We had a great day! I can't wait for next year! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
(If you made it all the way to the end you deserve a medal!)