Sunday, December 30, 2007

Only 366 days til Christmas...

Natalie and Abigail's first Christmas has come and gone. It's hard to believe. It was quite a Christmas, really, with grandparents and aunts and uncles everywhere.

Jo's mom, mema and sister all arrived on the Saturday before Christmas. My mom helped out tremendously, as usual, by cleaning and doing laundry. I promised her that one day she would come and not have to work so hard. She didn't believe me:-) She also cooked Christmas dinner which was good since I had declared I wanted nothing to do with it. If I had been in charge we would have had pizza and chinese food. I'm sure everyone was grateful to mom.

Christmas Eve we went to Aunt Reagan's and Uncle Jeff's for a joint celebration with Ben's parents and Reagan's mom, brother, sister-in-law, sister, and her boyfriend. Oh, and the two dogs and the cat. It was a lot of fun and Reagan prepared a feast. Yum, yum. Again, no cooking for me!

Christmas Eve was also very special as we instituted what I hope will become a yearly tradition. We attended the Christmas Eve 11pm service at Duke Chapel. It was really beautiful. The girls were so good. At first they looked all around and checked everything out. Then Mary Poppins, AKA Auntie Kimmy, managed to get them both to eat and to sleep. They slept through the pipe organ and even the Hallelujah Chorus. It was a beautiful service and a special thrill to be at Duke considering the girls' beginnings. It was also Ben's first time ever seeing the Chapel and he was quite impressed. I do hope this will be a yearly occurrence, although not necessarily at Duke Chapel since we had to get there before 10pm. We always went to Christmas Eve service when I was growing up and I loved it. The 11pm is my favorite. There is something so neat about getting out of church and it's Christmas Day. It's a feeling I love.

Christmas Day was rather quiet. We eventually woke up, hung out and opened presents. We had a lovely dinner prepared by my mom. Ben's parents also dropped by and Grandpa carried out a family tradition by reading the girls "The Night Before Christmas". It was really cute. He held them on his lap and read them the story. They loved it.

Poppy and Nanny arrived later in the evening which means all the grandparents saw the girls on Christmas Day. It really was a great day.

The girls received some greats gifts from everyone. Aunt Kimmy provided a very cool crib mobile with lights, sound, and moving parts. They really seem to like it. Nana AKA Gammy or Grammy (name change:-)) and Mema provided a great rolling toy that encourages children to chase it as they learn to crawl. They also bought the most beautiful Christmas ornaments, although those are mostly for mommy and daddy. Poppy and Nanny are donating money to the girls 529 plan. Grandpa and Ya-Yai got the girls the neatest banks. It counts the money (coins) as you put it in. The kids are going to LOVE them when they are old enough to play with money. They also came with a generous donation to their college fund. Uncle Jeff (NC State grad)and Aunt Reagan (UNC grad), who most certainly picked out the gifts gave the girls their first UNC T-shirts and the cutest onesies with their names on the back and "future tailgater" across the rear end. There were also finger puppets representing her trip to Africa.

Mommy and Daddy did pretty well too. We received a lot of nanny money as well as gift cards for dinners out and the movies. Everyone was very generous and we are very grateful.

Mommy and Daddy didn't do much for the girls this year. There was so little they needed thanks to the generosity of so many before they came home. I am trying to make them special little "lovies" - a stuffed animal/blanket combo patterned after the Lovie brand. I am making them out of a duck and frog (of course). It's slow going, but I'll get them finished eventually.

This Christmas was mostly about being grateful that the girls were home with us to celebrate. It was really wonderful having all our family around. I know next year will be really fun as the girls will be old enough to open their own presents.

As we celebrated the birth of Christ, we could not help but be reminded of the miraculous birth - and survival - of Natalie and Abigail. I sometimes read or hear stories of other 26-weekers and am constantly reminded of how incredibly fortunate and blessed we are. God has been so good to us. Above all, He has loved us so much that he sent his Son to guide and teach and save us. I am so, so glad He did.

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