I always seem to stress and get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle during those last few days that lead up to Christmas and then the holiday comes and goes in the blink of an eye and I feel as though I didn't get to relax and enjoy it.
This year I made it a point to chill out and not sweat the small stuff. I really wanted to cherish every moment since this was Reagan's first Christmas.
We did have a wonderful holiday. My only disappointment was that we didn't have Nick with us Christmas Eve and first thing Christmas morning.
Ever since his Dad and I divorced, we had agreed on the holiday arrangement. We alternate who gets him Christmas Eve. Last year, we had him Christmas Eve and first thing Christmas Morning, so this year he was with his Dad. As you will see, there are very few pictures of him. He got to our house with just enough time to open his gifts before we had to leave and head to my parents. It all worked out, it just would have been nice to have all the kids together to open their gifts.
These pictures not the greatest and I didn't even attempt to edit most of them. The light was horrible and I was forced to use my speedlite(which I never do) and when I did not use the speedlite, I had my ISO cranked up to the max, so they are pretty grainy or noisy, but at least I captured some memories....right?
Sarah was especially excited when she saw that Santa left a note in her favorite colors, pink and purple! She was also happy with her decision to leave him a few oreos in addition to standard Christmas cookies. It appears that Santa loves oreos as much as Sarah does. He also eats them just like her.....licks the filling and leaves the "lids".
Sarah had to show Reagan how it was done as she was a little unsure what to do with all of these wrapped gifts under the tree. After four years, Sarah is a pro:)
The giant pink and purple legos were a big hit with both Sarah and Reagan.
Santa left Sarah two packs of M&M's in her stocking and the minute Sarah emptied her stocking on the floor, Reagan scooped them up. She has never had an M&M(to my knowlegde), but she was drawn to them and once she got them in her little hands, she would not let them go.
It was either the smell of the chocolate or the sound that they made when she shook them, but they were the highlight of her morning. I love the shot of her looking at Sarah and touching her face as if to say "Hey, stop looking at Mommy and help me open these things so I can eat them"
After she gave up on the M&M's, she moved onto Santa's leftover cookies. She started eating the cookies on the plate and then I realized it would probably be a good idea to feed my frustrated and hungry baby girl some breakfast.
While I got breakfast together, Pat put up the princess ball pit and as soon as the girls saw the balls go in, our familyroom turned into the set of wrestlemania! There were balls flying everywhere, lots of giggles, a few headlocks, and some serious staticky hair!!
Before long Nick joined us and opened his gifts too! He was thrilled with his new guitar. He got his first guitar last Christmas and has been taking lessons for a year now and he LOVES it. Reagan jumped in to help him open his gifts... I think she was hoping to find more M&M's!
After all the gifts were opened and we got everything cleaned up, Reagan put on her pretty little Christmas dress.
Just as we were getting ready to head out the door to go see my parents, Reagan decided to jump in the ball pit one last time!
This was such a special holiday for our family as we have waited so long for Reagan. It felt so good to finally have her here with us after the many Christmases of the past that were filled with waiting and wonder. It was definitely a holiday to remember.
I did find myself getting a little wheepy at times when I looked at her. The memories of her humble beginnings and her orphanage are never far from my thoughts, but they were especially close this Christmas.
I couldn't help but to think of how different her life would be if she were still in China and I could not stop thinking about the many children who are still there waiting for forever families. Many who will never get to experience "Christmas" as we know it.
My trip to China changed me in ways that I can't even begin to explain, but it has definitely given me perspective on life and the things that really matter. We are so fortunate for all that we have and I am trying hard not to take any of it for granted.