I know, I know… it’s almost MARCH, so it’s a bit late to be sharing our holidays, but I must! Having a baby on December 3 definitely made for an interesting holiday season this year. I was approximately 100 months pregnant with a house full of family for Thanksgiving, and was drowning in New Mama Land with a 3-week-old baby for Christmas. I wanted desperately for Oden’s holidays to feel intentional and memorable (and not for it to be all about the baby). It’s all sort of a blur, but I think we succeeded! In the chaos, John’s and my birthday were all but forgotten and the big New Year’s celebration involved cheap hats and noisemakers, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and a 10pm bedtime. Truthfully, I will cherish these photos, because my mama brain doesn’t remember much about those hazy newborn weeks. But I see lots of joyful moments, traditions, family time, and a happy toddler, and I couldn’t wish for more for any holiday. Take a look at a few bits and pieces from the Howe Holidays 2018!
First, since I couldn’t really go anywhere, my whole family visited for Turkey Day! My giant belly made our full house seem even fuller to me and we were certainly on Baby Watch the whole time. It was a tad frustrating for me to be the “hostess” but I wasn’t really allowed to do anything. My family made sure that I sat around with my feet up, and they let me to give orders while they bustled around like busy bees. They made most of the delectable feast, and my brother and sister-in-law even cleaned up afterward! I know I didn’t make it easy for them, but having my family together for the holiday meant everything to me.
Lucky loves the fuzzy white rugs in the house.
My kitchen assistant helped me with a pecan pie!
John made a delicious turkey, I made a corn pudding and a pie, and my mom and brother made the rest.
Which stuffed turkey will be ready first??
A lovely table setting, courtesy of my sister-in-law Angie.
THE CUTEST EVER.
Daddy’s food was better than what was on his own plate. He also had a frat boy moment at the table and yelled, “TOOT!” Please let me never forget that. He’s only 2 1/2 once.
The next day, my dad and Matt indulged me and hung our Christmas lights!
SWOON. Let the Christmas season officially begin!
My folks went home, but we had Matt and Angie for one more night. We dragged them to the light parade on Main Street! It’s a new tradition. Oden loved it. Not long after this night, Mo was born! (See his birth story here.)
Somehow, I managed to make cookie jars for neighbors.
Our sweet nanny, Tere, took Oden to deliver cookies to the Retirement Home. I want some kind of service act to be part of every holiday season for our family.
I miraculously got our Christmas cards/birth announcements in the mail before December 25!
We headed to a town called Midway to try to meet Santa Claus. While we were there, Oden decorated a cookie and made an ornament. He was very brave with Santa this year.
Morrison was unimpressed.
Oden’s favorite part about tree-hunting was playing hide and seek in the pine forest!
My mom and Oden made festive Christmas treats!
Oden added to our ornament collection. I hope to make this a new tradition, too.
Another act of kindness: we made cookies and Oden delivered them to our firemen friends.
We took family walks to see the lights in the neighborhood.
On Christmas Eve, some friends spontaneously brought us dinner and met Morrison. We would have had Chinese takeout but instead, we spent time with friends and enjoyed homemade food. Super special.
Before you think, “Poor John,” please note that HE chose our matching pajamas this year!
Another tradition: John reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” right before bed.
Someone stole a nibble from the reindeer’s carrot!
Describing Santa on the roof with “a lot” of reindeer. My heart.
Santa spoiled us. Oden got a basketball hoop and race cars and Morrison got a play mat.
Guys, these are the days.
They might have come from a can this year, but my Christmas cinnamon roll tradition continued!
Christmas is all about being lazy and playing with new toys!
John and I waited until Oden’s nap time to do our Christmas together and open each other’s gifts.
Very proud of his new robe. Such a big boy.
Looks like nothing compared to what we have back there now!
One of my favorite gifts- a necklace with my boys’ initials from a sweet friend. Somewhere after our crazy Christmas day, when Oden was snoozing away, we celebrated JOhn’s birthday with his favorite meal: a spectacular beef tenderloin and cheesy scalloped potatoes. Somehow I have zero photos of that!
New Year’s Eve looks a little different these days! The only ones pulling all-nighters were the newborn infant and his food supply (me). But on the first day of 2019, I saw this:
So obviously it’s going to be a fabulous year!
Truth be told, this was a pretty difficult time in our lives. Pregnancy hormones and then new-mama hormones and close quarters and exhaustion and anxiety about…well, everything made for a lot of tension in the house. But thankfully, I can look back on these moments I captured and see love and family and memories. That’s what I will choose to remember (and hope that my loved ones can offer me some grace for the unique circumstances).
On to the next holiday, which happens to be Mr. Oden’s third birthday! Excuse me while I write a stern letter to Father Time to slow it down, sir. Stay tuned!