I can't believe the holidays are over.
There. I said it. Every year they seem to go by faster and faster. Christmas of 2008 is a major blur. This is most likely due to the fact that Riley was only 20 days old on Christmas and I was incredibly sleep-deprived and too tired to enjoy all that the holiday season has to offer. But I was certainly awake and alert for Christmas 2009. This year was so fun and magical and memorable. This was the first year that Kevin and I truly got to play Santa Claus. Sure, Riley is still too young to know exactly what happened through the night as Christmas Eve gave way to Christmas Day. But she certainly did know one thing happened: she woke up to a LOT more loot one morning and had a day full of fun opening gifts and playing with new toys.
This was also the first year - EVER - that I was able to be with Kevin and his parents as well as my parents and my Grandma for Christmas. That is probably what made it the most memorable and emotional to me. Prior to being married, Kevin and I would spend Christmas Day apart. I couldn't stand the thought of spending the morning away from my parents - I just wasn't ready yet - and he felt the same in regards to his own family. So we would part ways a day or two before Christmas and reunite that night or the following day. Then, after we were married, we spent one year back home with my parents for the holiday, and have spent the other years up here with the Balaban family. During those years we would spend Thanksgiving with my family as a trade-off, but it still hurt on Christmas morning when I wasn't able to see them and hug them.
This year was incredible. They arrived on Christmas Eve and we were able to go to mass together - Balabans and Nichols' - and then back to our house for our traditional Christmas Eve gathering. They were able to see Riley open her gifts on Christmas morning. I was able to physically hug them and wish them a very Merry Christmas. It was perfect.
As for the Little Miss (more recently deemed "Little Boss" due to her rippening personality), she was a joy on Christmas, as you can see in the pictures below.