Christmas with the Bakers is not a one day affair, but more like a week long celebration. We started at my Aunt Luanne's on Tuesday the 22nd. We usually get together with her on Christmas Day, but this year she was going back to Wisconsin to celebrate with all the Dunlaps. Because Luanne and her kids live in Colorado, we are lucky to see them a lot. Lu and I have grown to be more like friends rather than just aunt and niece. Braeden got his first Christmas ornament from his "great" aunt Luanne (the first of many presents for the little guy.) I don't think he will need anything new for a while.
On Wednesday night, we got together with the Staebells for our traditional fondue dinner. We have been having fondue on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. My family has been kind enough to move our annual dinner to the 23rd because Chad's mom's birthday is on the 24th and we are usually celebrating with them on that night. I always love getting together with my whole family. Unfortunately, it is rare that we are all together, now that we have grown and moved our separate ways as we journey through life. That is why I really cherish Christmas and the holidays. Our fondue dinner was filled with lots of great food and drink, lots of memories and more laughs than I could count. I love my parents, brothers and sister more than words can tell. I feel so lucky to have them in my life and even luckier to call them my family.
Christmas Eve was a very busy day. Luckily, I was somewhat organized with my shopping this year, so I wasn't out finishing up any last minute gifts. We met Chad's family for mass at 4 and Braeden took a liking to the man sitting next to me. I think it was because he was wearing glasses and Braeden wanted to grab them. Overall, he was good in the packed church. After mass we headed over to White Fence Farm. This is a restaurant where Chad worked there for 9 years and it is also where we had our rehearsal dinner, so it has some sentimental value. Chad's family has been eating their Christmas Eve dinners there for years. As usual, Braeden did great at the restaurant. He loves eating out (he must take after his mom :-) After dinner, we went back to Chad's parents house to open gifts. We also took a 4 generation picture with Chad's grandma. As always, it was so much fun to hang out with Chad's family. I am so blessed in so many ways, one of which being that I have awesome in laws. Everyone had a great Christmas Eve, and Chad's mom, Michele, had a great birthday.
Luckily, Braeden has been a good boy in his first 6 1/2 months, so he got a visit from Santa. I think his parents were more excited than him this year, but I know that will change in years to come. After we opened our stockings and Santa gifts, we headed over to my parents house for our big Christmas morning celebration. My parents always go WAY overboard and this year was no different. We were showered with way too many gifts, my mom made her awesome monkey bread and we got to enjoy being together. This year was kind of exciting for me and my siblings, as Travis organized a group gift from the 4 of us. My parents have been watching this old tv for years, so we got them a flat screen. They were so surprised and so excited. It was so fun to do something big for them, as they have done sooo many great things for us. One of my favorite gifts to give out was to Travis. He is notorious for not dressing warm enough for Bronco games. I am always teasing him that he should wear a snuggie. So, this year, Trav received a Bronco's snuggie from his nephew, Braeden. Doesn't he look cute :-)
Christmas afternoon, we went over to see Chad's big extended Denver family, which is always a great time. The family is huge, probably about 50+ and growing. There are lots of little ones running around and I know there will only be more and more as Chad and his cousins have more kids. I am definitely looking forward to the years ahead when Braeden is running wild with the rest of the kiddos.
Overall, it was a GREAT Christmas. I think Braeden (and his mom) were exhausted, but it was worth every minute. I can't wait until next year when Braeden can walk down to see Santa's gift on his own. I love this little boy and I am sooo excited to have him in my life. So many good times to come. I love you Braeden. Merry Christmas!