It’s true wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas

lulu and milo xmas eve

milo reading xmas eve

milo stocking stuffers xmas morning

life aquatic xmas morning

milo passy xmas day

milo and grandpa xmas night

baby maker

milo fedora

apples to applesThe Swickers had four Christmases this year, all packed neatly into one week of celebration.  The night before Christmas Eve, Laurel slept over and we spent Christmas Eve morning snuggling and reading Christmas books.  My parents drove up from Florida over the weekend and spent the rest of the day enjoying Boston with Laurel while Milo and I got all packed for the rest of our celebrations.  Christmas morning was very special because we got to open presents, just the three of us.  We’ve never had that opportunity on December 25th  before, and it was really cool.  Milo got some balls, a shape sorting toy, some books, and some special Star Wars guys.  Ben and I both bought each other movie posters from Etsy (He got ET, I got Life Aquatic) and some other goodies like DVDs for him and some reusable snack bags I had been wanting.  Milo got a beanie and some snacks in his stocking, and was unable to wait before diving in.

After we opened, we got dressed and headed to Ben’s parents’ house for another round.  There were lovely gifts, happy family, and good food.  Milo got a huge play tunnel and some Toy Story figures that he went nuts for.  Ben’s mom gave me a beautiful mama necklace with M and E initials.  We had a good dinner and spent time with my brother-in-law, his sweet girlfriend, some great grandparents and cousins.  It was a sweet way to spend Christmas day- no rush or pressure and lots of love.  We headed home to our house in the late afternoon, where my parents, Laurel, and Julianna were waiting for a Christmas night snack.  I loved going from one family to the next, with everyone in their Christmas outfits and good moods.  With my parents, we opened gifts again (while watching Muppet Christmas Carol, naturally) and were showered by too much love- a dapper camel-colored suit jacket from Lulu for Milo, new Pumas, some maternity dresses.  My sister Julianna works at Saks in the kids department, so Milo and Elliott have some very cute coordinating outfits for the spring.

The next morning we loaded into the new family truckster (did I mention that my car broke down last weekend and we bought a new crossover van-type thing the week before Christmas?) and started the drive to Delaware to Christmas no. 4.  We were super comfortable in the new car, despite the ridiculous traffic that made the 6 hour journey about 11 hours long.  When we finally got to my aunt and uncle’s house, we got to see my Papa, cousins, and the last sister, Emily.  Being all together is SUPER rare, so we really had a great time.  My sweet cousin Reece personalized mugs for us (I’m “baby maker”) and we watched movies, followed Milo while he ran in circles, opened presents, and ate a delicious dinner.  My sister Emily gave me a necklace that has a tiny picture of my standing on the beach when I was very pregnant with Milo, and my aunt and uncle got us a family membership to BJs, which is AMAZINGLY exciting.  I can’t wait to get stocked up before Elliott gets here.  Milo got a rocking fedora that I think my Papa picked out.

My Papa  gave all us girls some sweet figurines that belonged to my Grandma. We also got some dove ornaments that will represent Grandma on our trees for the rest of our lives.  It was hard to see Papa and my mom and aunt so sad while we opened presents together, but it was so nice to be with them and give Papa hugs and have him surrounded by family.  My mama made us beautiful keepsake recipe books that had copies of my grandmother’s recipes, and we opened them together and flipped through them and smiled at her classic notations like “add more flour” or “cook until done.”  I was worried that the mood would be heavy, but it was more bittersweet.

My absolute favorite part of the vacation was the night we all piled around the table and played Apples to Apples.  It’s not my favorite game, but I was playing it with my favorite people, and we laughed and laughed and laughed.  My uncle took drink orders and brought out snacks, and we explained what some of the cards meant to my adorable cousin, and we had such a great time trying to trick each other and figure out who played what card.  It was the perfect ending to the four Christmases.

We drove home in traffic and Milo puked and our plumbing is messed up, so no showers or laundry until Monday, but I have sweet pictures and good memories of a family-filled week to hold me over on this snowy weekend.  I hope I never, ever forget how lucky we are to have so much love in our lives.

I didn’t want to repeat too much, but there are MANY more Christmas pictures on my instagram feed.

Here are recaps from Christmas 2011: Happy Christmas No. 1 and Happy Christmas No. 2


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