Home for the holidays.

I know that the holidays seem long over for everyone else, and that you have all settled into wonderful January’s full of resolutions made, and perhaps broken already.  But I just now feel like the busyness of the holidays is coming to an end and am finally digging out some pictures from our time with family over Christmas. We always see both families over Christmas, involving many long hours and the car, hours made longer by a carseat-hating city baby.christmas2016-2Don’t be misled by his innocent smile. He can hit decibels not usually created by the human voice when confined in a dreaded vehicle.

I didn’t ever get out the big camera while we were in Indiana visiting James’ family. His mom gifted us with two days of babysitting and dates, so we spent our time blissfully sleeping in and going out, and never remembering to take pictures, unlike the onslaught I shared after Thanksgiving. But when we were in Kentucky, I tried to bring it out to capture the precious time with my family.

Henry got his first man cold during the early days of break, necessitating lots of extra snuggles and nursing sessions, and swiftly undoing all our careful sleep training. Even if it meant some rough nights while there, and rough days of transition when we got home, it also meant lots of precious co-sleeping moments that we don’t usually have. He seems so grownup, this little boy, and some of my favorite parts of the break were the naps he and I took cuddled together.

My mom got a walker to stay at her house and amuse Henry and all future grandkids, and Henry loved it. We spent a lot of the break just playing “fetch” with him and making him scoot across the kitchen. This kid is desperate for mobility, but completely uninterested in any movement method that requires him to be on all fours. christmas2016-6And of course, I can’t come to Kentucky without getting my hair cut. My beloved KY stylist came out to the house Christmas Eve morning to trim my scraggly locks and she sadly confirmed that I have lost a good portion of hair. At least now what hair I have left is looking a little fresher. christmas2016-5Someone was prepared for the holidays with a whole array of seasonal pajamas:christmas2016-9Am I still making him wear Christmas pjs even though we are well past all 12 days of Christmas? Yes, yes indeed.christmas2016-11Usually, my mom organizes our traditional Christmas Eve party, complete with games and general revelry. But this year was a little different. My mom has spent the entire fall caring for my grandmother in her final days of her battle with cancer. As Christmas rolled closer, my little brother, his wife, and I offered to step in and plan the activities. christmas2016-17I am pretty pleased of those two hats that I glue-gunned together. DIY-ing with the best over here. We made our own Christmas version of Speak out, because nothing says Christmas like dental cheek retractors. christmas2016-8christmas2016-23Christmas morning with my tiny elf!christmas2016-22christmas2016-20…who was maybe slightly overwhelmed at the whole thing…christmas2016-30… but still pleased to rip open some boxes and chew on the paper.

It took us close to 12 hours to actually get through all the gifts, due to stops for nursing, naps, visits to my grandparents’ home, and finally – christmas2016-34christmas2016-36-the annual family photo shoot. Everyone participated, even if some pointed out that maybe we should try to have a more unique look for next year.christmas2016-64christmas2016-67christmas2016-86christmaspicschristmas2016-102You know, it’s a hassle traveling with babies. People like to gush at the joy of introducing a child to the world, and while that may be true, it is also a lot of work. There were more than a few moments during our endless drives where James and I insisted that were were done with traveling. jamsessionchristmas2016-1But then there were moments like that, where my tiny son snuggled up to my dad and kicked his feet to the music his grandad played. I saw my grandma, mostly unresponsive these days, break her silence to give a little giggle at Henry’s chortles. We watched our parents love on their grandson, our siblings on their nephew, my grandpa holding his great grandson and it makes all the trouble seem infinitely worthwhile.

On Monday we were once again in Kentucky to attend my grandmother’s funeral. It was sad and joyful and painful and good all at once. We sat around late that night, talking and laughing and telling stories, our whole family together in one spot for the first time in several years. And I’m reminded that whatever it takes to spend some time with family is always worthwhile.

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