we spent a "first" Christmas down in san antonio, visiting mike's parents and grandmother. mike's dad had a company Christmas party but unfortunately, due to a babysitter's emergency and a house alarm that wouldn't shut off, mike and i stayed behind to watch the kiddos. so, we poured a glass of wine and watched Christmas movies! on sunday, we filled the stockings with care and after church, opened our first Christmas. the boys had a blast picking out the little dutch treats that gma had found in the little dutch store in michigan. i had a blast sorting through all the essential oils that my mother-in-law had gifted me and setting up my awesome new waterproof, shockproof camera for south america! we even squeezed in a trip to seaworld the night before we left! fun!
we came home to a full house...uncle vince had made it home from med school in st. vincent! the boys were beyond thrilled and even baby gabe fell in love immediately :) we attended the family "midnight mass", at 5:30pm, and the boys gladly went to bed early, after setting out cookies and milk for santa. it took them awhile to fall asleep...no sugarplums dancing here ;) Christmas morning was filled with surprises...wooden bird mobiles, handmade by nanny and paw paw, and a special surprise for us - a 1900's door handle from the now-demolished Jewish temple in marshall, that a former mayor had rescued and my parents snatched from an antique store! the perfect "first gift" to our future house. ...a house i've already started building in my head. :) anyway, it was a joyous morning and was topped off with a Christmas ham, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows, of course!), and mulled wine.
the very next day, my grandmother came into town and helped us set up for baby gabe's baptism weekend! my in-laws and brother and sister-in law arrived that evening and we all went out to dinner on the square. we walked around with the kiddos and showed them the Christmas lights and had a merry time. saturday morning was a big brunch at the house and then a (muddy) trek around the property, showing mike's family the greenhouse, chicken coop, pond, and the land that my parents gave us for our future house! we all broke for a much-needed nap and had more friends over for a big fish fry that evening. all the kids wrestled with mike that night and had a grand ole time. but on sunday, it was raining and cold, the boys were in foul moods, and baby gabe decided to cry the entirety of the sermon. not a great morning. but he finally passed out in his daddy's arms and ended up sleeping through his entire baptism! we got the boys doughnuts after church, said goodbye to gma, poppy, uncle keith, aunt abby, cousin daisy, and memere and headed home for a nap!
finally, on the 29th, my parents and brother watched all three kids and we headed out for a nice anniversary dinner and movie! a great end to a very busy and very enjoyable holiday season!