Fantastic, fantastic Christmas. I remember Dad once saying when we were in high school, "Christmas is just best with little kids." I definitely understand what he means now. I loved explaining to Levi the reason for Christmas and watching him latch onto little bits of the story. And beginning new traditions that you know will last the rest of our lives is the kind of experience you dream about as a parent. Last year Levi was a bit too young to understand any of what was going on. Even presents were hard for him to grasp. This year he loved every second of the Christmas season and I was soaking it up too.
Mom and Dad found the neatest "Advent Calendar" in England, really a little house with 24 drawers. We started out decorating a little foam Christmas tree with our daily finds. Then we moved on to filling in a miniature nativity. Aunt Jenny arrived on Christmas Eve just in time to help Levi deliver "Baby J," as Levi called him this year, to his rightful spot.
Even Luke (a.k.a. Gaga, according to LT) seemed excited for the season. He certainly loved having the Grandparents and their dogs around. As many people/animals for him to watch over as possible is his ideal world. What a good lookin' boy he is. To think, when we got him one of his ears was floppy and he was 20 lbs underweight. A rescue success story!!
Love this picture. I'm pretty sure Dad thought was finished with the season in life when he assembled toys on Christmas Eve. Ha! The gas station he is putting together has been a huge hit.
Love these adorable slippers, gifts from our friends, the Twists.
We always say we are going to go "light" on presents this year, but when you add it all together it always ends up looking a bit ridiculous. But a beautiful scene nonetheless.
And so it begins...I learned a lot as a mom this Christmas. I tried hard to not go overboard, which is difficult on your first Christmas with a little child. I really thought I did a pretty good job, until we got to actually opening it. Now that I know they will want to play with every toy the minute we open it, and that had Levi gotten only his first toy (cool crayons from Aunt Jenny) he would have been completely happy, I will definitely be reigning it in even more. We are beyond blessed and I was definitely overwhelmed by the end of Levi's Christmas morning.
Opening his first presents in the stocking we bought him in Ethiopia....
Naturally he immediately lined up his crayons up. He is nothing if not organized. Also, that present below is wrapped in the annual Santa paper! (How does Santa do it!?)
This was funny. Dad gave Brad a vintage IU poster from when we were growing up. Brad still roots for IU and grew up a big IU fan, but he happened to actually attend Purdue. (And therefore roots for Purdue too - shocking!) We all laughed when we looked at the sweatshirt he had thrown on that morning.
The Radio Flyer wagon was a big hit, of course.
As were Levi's cuttable vegetables...
...which were then placed in the wagon, naturally.
Good thing we finally got him a play kitchen for all those vegetables he needs to cut....(Thank you, Craigslist, for barely used, already assembled kids' toys!!!)
Dad found the most amazing gift for Mom. Our Uncle Bruce called him because he had found a DVD of the exact episode of the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour on which Mom had sung as a college student! She performed Puccini's "Musetta's Waltz." It has been a famous family story for years. She was understandably shocked and we were all excited to take it to the Todds' house later for a viewing.
On our way to the Todds' for our traditional Christmas brunch. Good thing Levi remembered his shark hat.
Ready for the lovely meal Bonnie made for us. Bonnie also read a beautiful prayer that I think will now need to be read annually. Way to go and make me cry, Bonnie!!
Chatting with Nana about the view and the possibility of seeing cats. And I love the collection of Levi artwork, which Levi has sent frequently them in the mail.
The big Ted Mack viewing. I told Mom it must have felt like she had dreamed it and now was getting to see it. She said she couldn't even remember what her dress looked like, but she was pleasantly surprised by how she sang.
Complete with commercials....
Levi loved the tap dancer....
And there she is! Looking and sounding fabulous. After the viewing we followed up with a showing of Bob clogging on the National Barn Dance. Gotta say, my family is awesome.
Reading with Nana.
Levi's present time...A tractor and wagon! What more could a country boy want?
And this was too sweet. Levi got Brad's boyhood tiger, Daniel (named for the tiger on Mr. Rogers), in his stocking. It has become the lovie he never had and he calls it Tigie (like Daniel Jr. does on the new Mr. Rogers spinoff, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. How's that for coming full circle?). I always wondered when he would find a stuffed animal he loved and boy does Levi LOVE sleeping with Tigie.
Christmas would not be complete without trains...This was set up immediately.
Doing a little work with the drill Nanny and Papa gave him.
A white Christmas, and then some....
Aunt Jenny braved the cold too.
I am a terrible Mom. Jen and I didn't notice that one of Levi's boots had popped off until my Dad opened the door and told us. Thankfully, we had doubled up on socks. Yes, all his toes are still there.
The dogs keeping an eye on us while we worked on the "Happy Snowman" that Levi requested.
Levi loves his Aunt Jenny.