Since our move back to the Midwest this past spring, we are seeing a little more of my family. But it never feels like enough, so it's so special to spend in-person time with them, and even more sweet this time of year.

My brother, parents, and Grandma Donna arrived last Friday night. On Saturday, they came over and my Grandma met Cooper for the first time! Goodness, that was so special to me. My parents and brother enjoyed more time to hold Cooper, especially since it had been about a month and a half since the last time they saw him. It's incredible for me to know how loved this little boy is.

Between Cooper's naps, we drank coffee, exchanged Christmas gifts, and had French toast and sausages for lunch. Cooper received so many thoughtful things, including the Jesus Storybook Bible, an adorable puppet, a bell toy I had as a child, and a few more beautiful books. He loved the tissue paper, wrapping paper, and gift bags, of course, crinkling them and tasting them. ;) He didn't nap as much as usual on Saturday, so it was more difficult to catch his smiles in photos, but we saw a few!

I helped my mom cast on a new knitting project, not that she needed help, but it was fun for me. And we just got to sit and be together as a family. We watched a few episodes of Talasbaun, too. For supper, my brother prepared steaks for us in his new sous vide, and then he and Nicholas seared them on the grill. With the steak, we also had smashed red potatoes. What an incredible meal. It always is, when my brother is the chef.

On Sunday, after church, Nicholas and I went home so Coop could nap, and my dad and Grandma came over. My dad offered to hand-grind some coffee (tastier and quieter!) and we got to talk and sip on our coffee, just the two of us, while my Grandma dozed. And then we all went out for brunch when Cooper woke up. He did so well at the restaurant, just sitting on his daddy's lap, fascinated by the menu and all of his Nicholas' food, intent on charming everyone. He was pretty successful, of course.

After the meal, we went to visit my in-laws. My mother-in-law served us a plate of treats with snowball cookies (made gf), sugar cookies, seasoned nuts, and dip with crackers. We had coffee in Christmas mugs, and just got to all visit together. We took photos of our four generations and of the family, and heard stories from my mother-in-law's childhood. The dogs had laps to sit in, and it was so cozy by the tree.

Nicholas and I headed back a little early so I could prepare a quick soup in the instant pot and so we could allow for some downtime for Cooper before bed. He is utterly fascinated by all the Christmas decor, especially the tree and the Christmas star we have hanging in our bedroom window. The photos of my boys by the star are now some of my most favorite photos ever. My family rejoined us, and after we ate supper and the baby was asleep, we all sat by the tree to talk and I flipped through some children's library books my mom brought.

Monday, we woke up to snow! While Cooper napped and my family packed up where they were staying, I went out for a solo snow walk. Is there anything better? It made me feel so, so thankful that we once again live where it snows regularly.

My family came over towards the end Coop's first nap and everyone got to hold and play with him a bit more. My brother made some mint chocolate fudge, and then my family packed up to drive back to Minnesota.

It was so nice to get to celebrate (even an early!) Christmas in person, and get to hug and talk with my Grandma Donna. It wasn't a particularly eventful weekend, but then again, having coffee, enjoying the company of those we love, and celebrating Christmas together a little early are much sweeter to me than a full schedule.

Other favorite little moments:

  • My dad put on the hat I knit for him immediately after opening it, and didn't take it off for a few hours
  • Snacking on homemade gf spice cookies my mom brought
  • Listening to my brother's new headphones
  • Receiving thoughtful gifts, feeling so very loved (silk pillowcases, books, yarn; a quilted runner and tree skirt, and a fabric banner, made by my mom)
  • My grandma wore a shawl I knit for her a few years ago
  • A virtual fireplace playing on our TV (I play it all the time)
  • My brother making Cooper laugh in the backseat of the car (not typically an easy task, since he doesn't always love the carseat)
  • My mom being super helpful in the kitchen, washing dishes, etc.
  • Sitting next to, hugging, and getting to spend time with my Grandma and introducing her to Cooper
  • Sweet baby smiles and seeing him so joyfully play with a the bell toy I loved as a child

And the last week has been a combination of meal planning, grocery shopping (today), and other little bits of preparation for Christmas, as well as trying to fully realize how special it is to have a little boy, a baby this Christmas, when last year I was only newly pregnant. Oh, how life can change drastically in a year.

P.S.⁠—Speaking of change, I do intend to write my annual year-in-review post, and oh my, this year was a doozy (in so many good ways).