Friday, December 31, 2010

A Very Special 1st Christmas

There is nothing quite like experiencing Christmas morning through your child's eyes. All of the years that you snuck into your siblings room and tip-toed downstairs at 4 in the morning just to hear your parents say that it wasn't time yet, but secretly smiling because they were just as excited for you to experience the magic of Christmas... I finally get it. Even though Liam is only 11 months, I still couldn't wait to simply watch him as he crawled up to the new rocking horse. 
The magic is pure joy that if you could bottle and sell you would be a billionaire ten times over. And if I did not receive a single wrapped gift this year, I do not think I would have noticed. Because this Christmas, this very special first Christmas, is a tiny glimpse into what is to come. And I get butterflies just thinking about it.
When Margaret called to discuss the perfect present for the cousins, we both agreed that the personalized chair from pottery barn was at the very top of the must have list. Our visions of Liam crawling up into his special red chair and reading fairy tales or pulling up to watch the latest Disney movie before bedtime could not have prepared us for how much he fell in love with the little boxy chair at first sight. It is the perfect size. The perfect spot for a milk night cap. The perfect spot to climb and waller. His very own lounge to watch Baby Einstein. The perfect great-grandmother gift.
I am not sure what it is about the stocking that I am so in love with. Maybe it is the hunt for the tiny treasures all year. Or the fact that my mother always made the most incredible stockings. The stocking hunt is contagious and Ellen's stockings never disappoint. I am still amazed at all the wonderful items she collected. All the fantastic 'finds' in all the most unlikely places! There was a boo boo gator (because bunnies are so outdated!), an odd ball, silver slippers, a key finder, jack black wash, a God winks book, iPod speakers, coffee and don't forget candy canes.
Just as we pulled the last of the loot from the toe of the overflowing stockings, the oven bell rang and we all knew what that meant. Ellen's famous Christmas morning bran muffins. Liam took a bite of everyone's muffin and even saved room for a couple of little smokies (which by the way he comes by naturally). Then he had his very first taste of cow's milk and man was it tasty!
I know, a classy Heineken glass
As soon as his little tummy could hold nothing more, it was time to explore what 'Santa' had left. The tunnel system! It is no surprise that Liam's interest was in the ball pit.
When we finally coaxed him out of the balls, he crawled through the entire system. Whew! What a workout! With all the ways to setup this system, there are going to be hours and hours of fun to be had for months and years to come.
As in many families, it is the youngest siblings job to pass out all the presents. This just happens to be Bill at the Robinsons. He does his job very well... sorting through the mounds of gifts under the tree. We are so blessed to have so many carefully wrapped packages. There are always rules to the game of present opening in each family. Your processes and procedures have been crafted and perfected over the years. In order to savor every moment in the unraveling of gifts. In order to ensure that you do not miss a thing. Or someone doesn't open your gift that you so carefully chose without you getting to view their reaction. The Robinson family has created a round table of gift opening. Each person opens one gift as everyone watches on. It took me a couple of Christmas mornings to master the art of patience but it truly is a fantastic way to open presents. Who wants to yell from across the room... thanks for the____? or look around after the frantic flying wrapper to ensure your gift was received? However... we messed with the system a little this year! Liam brakes all the rules and it was his gifts that were ripped into first. The frantic flying wrapping paper was in full force as he tore into each gift.
There was a pair of his very own moose pants with a matching red polo pull over.
A Little People nativity scene which mommy totally fell in love with. 
And a very special recorded Christmas book from Mea and Pop. We thought that he might be a little young to fully enjoy this special present. But we were wrong. I wish I would have recorded his reaction when he opened the book to hear two familiar voices reading the very first Christmas story. And with every page he turned, those little dimples got deeper and deeper.
I was overwhelmed with emotion. That one of the smaller gifts turned out to be one of the greatest gifts of all.
Aunt Nolie completed the set with her very own version.
And then, when it was time for a morning nap, the oldest turned into children as we all began to unveil purses...
And Maui Jim Sunglasses, a signed Masters flag by none other than Phil Mickelson...

BBQ tools...
A Kindle...
Her very own set of sexy, Audrey Hepburn gloves...
And the most amazing piece of carved furniture.
I cannot believe that I forgot to stage the photo of everyone's signed copy of George W's new book. Yes, he signed them to each of us. Bruce is still keeping his secret of how he accomplished this task or his upcoming golf game. But what an awesome gift!

My cup runneth over with the abundance of joy this Christmas. Each hand-picked gift was absolutely perfect. There was so much. So much giving. So much love. What a wonderful Christmas world!

And even though it was their Christmas, they graciously shared with the house down the street... where the Johnson and Stone families were celebrating. We filled up this new home with the aroma of a prime rib Christmas lunch, joyous laughter and precious family memories.
And the legacy continued. A legacy that loved his children more than anything in the entire world. That was completely filled up by his family. His wonderfully amazing family. A family who loves together. Who laughs together. Who learns and teaches and grows. Together. And we all felt that warm presence. We see it in each other and we hold onto it so tightly. Liam walks to him... and he watches with a proud smile.
After a nap and a fully charged battery, we headed back for a Robinson Family Christmas dinner. Complete with yet another treasure... A 3 Margaret dressing. And turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn bread... the works! We sat around telling stories and watching the show that was Liam. wink! 
I have to say that Liam is so blessed when it comes to great-grandmothers. They are all 3 incredible with him. And Liam just lights up when he is around each of them. I think he knows how wise they are and he sees that sparkle in their eyes. They let him get away with just about anything which is why he knew he wouldn't get in trouble for stealing Grandmother Billie Love's cane. Each time she entered the room he made a break for it. Out of all the Christmas toys to play with, it seemed his favorite item was the cane. And he had us all dodging as he whacked it around. Watch out for a man with a cane!

What a beautiful first Christmas. 
I could not have dreamed up a more perfect family. A more perfect son. A more perfect life. And as we prepare to wrap up 2010, I am reminded of an incredible journey that has led us to this very moment. And I close my eyes to save it. To lock it away into a memory to recall in many years to come and smile upon. Thank you to each member of our awesome family. I am so proud to be a part of your lives. To share your joy and ours this holiday season and to share in a little magic that is Christmas 2010.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Canned Christmas Eve

Since we spent Thanksgiving in San Antonio, Liam's first Christmas was to be celebrated in his Mea and Pop's winter wonderland. Ellen decorated every room in the house with special little treasures. She even put up two trees filled with ornaments. Bruce had a beautiful wood burning fire going and of course the kitchen was loaded with homemade treats to give us reasons for new year resolutions. The aroma of Christmas filled the house and it was perfect.
Christmas is a time for family and good friends. Visits surely have become more complex, but we managed to fit in as many sweet friends as we possibly could. I took Liam over to Aunt Lesa's and boy was he just thrilled to meet GiGi's girlfriends! Lesa had kitty cats and dogs and snacks (a little popcorn ___) and even a extra large frothed tree with retro lights! It was so fun for Lesa and Kerri to meet Liam for the first time, I mean.. about time, right? He figured out pretty quickly what he had been missing! You cannot help but be in giggles with these two. I absolutely love them both! We were only missing Cha Cha!
Buck was so patient

We then met our daddy at the Kingman's for a Robinson family tradition of tamales and tortilla soup. Whenever you are in Liz' kitchen you are in for a rare treat for her middle name should be Betty. Her chocolate pie is second to none and Bill waits all year just to get a taste. I cannot believe that he has suckered her into baking him his very own. He is still savoring the pie!
I had to go back for a second helping of spinach tamales because my precious son devoured an entire tamale and a half!
The Veldman's joined in on the fun this year. Malinda is such a joy to be around and Liam must have felt it too as he leaped into her arms. He is so blessed to have all three of these women surrounding him with lots of love and kisses!
And we cannot forget about Bob the Great! It is so comforting to be under his roof, knowing that if anything happens - you'll be in terrific hands! He always tells the best stories and that distinctive voice you would know anywhere!
Christmas Eve was one big party and Liam got to stay up until 9pm to fit in all the fun! When we got home we all got into "moose pants" and curled up by the fire to listen to Bruce read the real Christmas story from the Bible. It is one of my favorite traditions and it is a wonderful reminder for all of us.
The littlest was snoring away when everyone turned into Santa's elves. Popping up 4 tents and 5 tunneling systems complete with a colorful ball pit! Mea and Pop outdid themselves on this one. It went from one end of the living room curving around into the dining room! What a playland!

We all rushed to bed knowing that a very special, first Christmas morning awaited.