Mitchell's first Christmas was a wonderful one! I was a bit apprehensive after our Thanksgiving experience (multiple car trips, sleepless nights, etc.), since we were going to have approximately the same travel schedule, except in reverse, but he did great and we all had fun. We aren't in the same city as either side of our family, but we're fortunate that either family is just a relatively short car ride away and we can negotiate visiting both when it's necessary. I'll make this post a two-parter so it's not horribly long!
We started off our holiday with two nights in Birmingham. Getting to see our joyous neice and nephew enjoying themselves helped ease the sting of missing Christmas' biggest fan, John Reid Garrett. As I tearfully noted to John on Christmas day, this was the first time that his absence from our family gatherings was so conspicuous to me. Well before his health prevented him from moving around at will, John often preferred to stay back in his room and do his own thing, so we didn't always see a lot of him when we were all together at my parents' house. The exception was Christmas - he never missed being right in the middle of things - and I'll never forget how excited he was all day on December 25. From the first moments of opening stockings to the last gift he would open, his exclamations, fist pumps and other expressions of excitement for what he'd received never ceased to bring a smile to my face.
This is a really old picture, from the same year that Erin posted a picture of on her blog, but it is doubly appropriate this year since it also shows his allegiance to the two teams he held dear. Here he is sporting a new Alabama sweatshirt AND a new Texas belt buckle that he'd just opened. His first and true football love was "Attabama", and of course, he started pulling for "Tey-sas" after Rainer went to school there. I have no doubt about what team he'd be pulling for in the National Championship game next week, but I can only imagine the discussions that we'd have had with him about them playing one another in football! I miss so many little things about John all the time, but Christmas will probably always be the time I'll miss him the most.
As for our little one, Christmas Eve brought the emergence of his first little tooth! I have been feeling for it becuase it was obvious that it was coming - drool, restlessness, chewing, all the classic signs - and even that morning I hadn't felt it. We had brunch with some friends and Mitchell was not exactly his normal, pleasant self, and then he slept for two hours that afternoon, so I should have known that something was up! It wasn't until we were out to dinner later that evening with my parents that I was able to feel it poking through for the first time. Incidentally, he went out with us way past his normal bedtime and seemed to have a ball. There were lots of pretty ladies for him to smile at and flirt with, and Erin pointed out that all the activity was probably really fun for him! On Christmas Day he got up and played and then went down for a nap about 10:30 and stayed asleep until after 1:00. I'm not sure that I've addressed this on the blog, but he is not a napper, so John and I felt like that nap was our Christmas present! He's been pretty sleep-deprived lately, poor guy, so I know it made him feel better to get that tooth and be able to get some good rest.
Here are a few pictures to recap the Birmingham trip. We ate, drank and made merry!
Christmas Eve play time; Reid wanted a picture "with" Mitchell so I positioned him behind where Mitchell was playing. I told him to say "Ho Ho Ho" when I took the picture.
Mitchell on Christmas Day - pre nap, but already looking drowsy!
Cousins in their pjs' on Christmas Eve
Ann Edwards with her very realistic pink razr phone on Christmas morning. We won't go into her little mishap involving this phone and my parents' stairs. I'll just say we're glad she (and the phone) are OK!
Round Two: Christmas Night at our house (Mitchell gets a haircut), and Knoxville. Coming soon!