The week before, we had a very nice gathering with Shaun's family. It's always a lot of fun and full of joyful noise when they get together. Here's a few shots from the day...
On Christmas morning, Shaun, Ava & I got all gussied up to go to Christmas Mass
and were happily surprised when we walked in to see the Christmas trees that we had adorning our dance floor at our wedding reception, now decorating the sanctuary area!
(We had donated them to the Church.) It was a wonderful reminder of our Wedding day and all of the gifts we'd recieved this year.
I gave Shaun the "gift" of singing his favorite Christmas song, "What Child is this?" for the Offeratory Hymn and truly tried to do my best both for him and for Our Lord. We came home and were joined by our Pastor, his sister, our friend Fr. Hugo, Br. Alexander and my Mom for Christmas dinner. (can you believe I didn't take ONE picture?)
Ava on the other hand DID recieve gifts!
From her Grama (Shaun's Mom) she recieved a sock monkey and a puzzle block toy.
From her Godmother she recieved a cool Lamaze toy box/cubes
From her Godfather she received a super cute outfit and sunglasses/goggles
From Nana (my Mom) she recieved a HUGE "My First Teddy" bear, lots of board books, Snowseal stuffies, and a puppet set.
From visitors she recieved "The Night Before Christmas", "Goodnight Moon", "Snowmen at Night" story books and lots of hugs, kisses and time reading to her.
From Mommy & Daddy she recieved a few videos (for later), and some special/sentimental books. (We've been opening them as we read them to her) She loves to be read to!
From Daddy & her sister Cheyanne she also recieved recordable story books, so when Shaun's away & Cheyanne isn't able to visit, they can still "read" her a story goodnight and she can still hear their voices.
For Christmas dinner we enjoyed a lovely dinner of ham and turkey, mashed potatoes, "Lokitis family stuffing" (my grandmother's recipe), baby carrots with cranberries and brown sugar, sweet corn, butternut squash, string beans with garlic and a big beautiful salad! I love cooking for everyone and getting a chance to share our blessings.
My mom made her famous cheesecake (the reason I can no longer order it in restaurants!) and we just had a lovely quiet day with good company. In the evening we drove up to visit with Cheyanne and bring up her Christmas gifts. Ava was happy to see her big sister.
The 2nd day of Christmas Shaun's family came for an impromptu visit and we enjoyed the lively company of Shaun's Mom,
his sister Mary and her two daughters (Grace & Hillary),
his brother Paul
along with Auntie Crystal
and their seven children, his Auntie Louise, Uncle Dave, their grandson Jason and his daughter. It was a beautiful time and our home was filled to the brim!
We truly had a joyful time!
Shaun's work schedule changed, so I've been lucky enough to have him home during the days and get to spend lots of one on one time this week. I fall in love with him more each day when I see how much he loves little Ava.
It's moments like these that remind me over and over how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband and father for my daughter.
Today on our 1st Anniversary I was surprised to check on Ava and find a beautiful card from Shaun waiting with a smiling baby in her crib. And even though unfortunately he threw his back out a couple of days ago, he still made time to go out (in pain) and get me beautiful red roses (to remember my bridal bouquet) and put them in a vase nearby me while I was sleeping.
I woke to such a lovely surprise!
We went to Mass and again I was able to sing one of Shaun's favorite songs "O Holy Mary" for the communion meditation (with a sleeping Ava in my arms). This was very special because I had SO wanted to sing it on our wedding day during our consecration to Mary and was unfortunately unable to. I had been so disappointed last year and so now I felt that I was finally able to give both Shaun (and Our Lady) this gift and offer our marriage again to Our Mother on the day when we celebrate her Motherhood, "Mary-Mother-of-God". Returning to our pew I saw him kneeling with tear stained cheeks and knew I couldn't have given a better offering or anniversary gift.
My mom also surprised us by replicating the cake topper to our wedding cake (ours got ruined by accident) to share tonight. Thanks Mom! A million times today I found myself thanking God for his love for our family. We are so incredibly lucky for our family (and friends)! Knowing we have been so blest, we are wishing the same for all of you in this New Year!