We’ve finally recovered from the Christmas holidays! We had a great time celebrating Christmas morning with just the four of us this year before traveling home to visit with our big families. It was quite different than past years where we were traveling back to the Chicago area, but I have to say it was kind of nice and quiet. We thought it was important for our children to have memories of Christmas at home as they grow up, so we were anxious to start our own traditions as a family of four this year and have them wake up in their own beds Christmas morning (one tradition we both had growing up). I have to say this year was an absolute blast with the kids. It was so much fun to witness the pure joy on Ella Rosie’s face Christmas morning!
On Christmas eve, we went to mass and then ordered delicious Chinese food from a hole in the wall with 5 starts that we recently found. So good. After we ate, we let the kids open one Christmas present from us. Ella Rose opened her Lego Duplo which she loves! It was her first lego set and she plays with it all of the time. I’m sure there will be many more of these in the future. Owen opened his Wooden pop up toy which is his favorite! These were both winners for our kiddos so that’s been fun to see. Then we put out cookies, milk, and reindeer food (oatmeal and sprinkles) and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. Ella Rose was so excited to set this by the fire place on our “You are Special,” plate which we use for special occasions like birthdays and now Christmas eve. On Christmas morning, the kids woke up early and Ella Rose was so excited as she ran into the living room yelling, “look at this!” as she saw all of the presents. She was so excited to see a doll house from her grandparents, a blue scooter, a balance bike, and a barbie car, all which she asked Santa Claus for. It was so awesome to see the pure joy and excitement on Ella Rosie’s face and was definitely the best Christmas yet so far. Owen got books and puzzles and we jazzed up our collection of toys for boys with some trucks 😉 . We are looking forward to future, amazing Christmas celebrations with our children.
Another tradition we’ve started over the last couple of years is a visit to the Denver “Chriskindl” German market. They have gifts, chocolate, ornaments, brats, and so much more. One of the best things about this market is that they sell strudel! Oh my goodness, such a delicious memory that takes me way back. My grandfather owned a bakery and used to make cherry strudel which was my favorite. However, since he passed, I have not been able to find this strudel anywhere except here at this market. So every year, I have to say, I greatly look forward to enjoying it there. There’s also ice skating across the street which we hope to do next year with Ella Rose! We did not partake in the ice skating this year since she had just recovered from a broken arm. Here’s some pictures from our time spent at the “Chriskindl” market. I’m glad we found this little traditional Christmas gem.
After we spent our Christmas eve and day at home, we left to visit both of our families. For this trip, we brought our new travel stroller, the Zoe XL2 Deluxe Double Xtra Light Weight Umbrella Stroller. This is, by far, one of the BEST purchases for our kids! After a lot of research on the best umbrella strollers, I came across this one; and after our first trip, we discovered it was amazing and perfect for travel. It is so light and folds so easily! We were extremely happy with this purchase, anything to make traveling with kiddos easier- yes, please! First, we went to South Bend, IN to visit Brendan’s entire family. It was such a fun visit with all of the siblings and cousins reuniting. Brendan is one of five, with his siblings all over the country, so it’s nice to all get together with our children. There were 7 kids all under the age of 9 (5 of them being under 3)! So it is definitely chaotic, but so much fun! We all played games, enjoyed the time with the babies playing, and went out to dinner for Grandpa’s birthday.
Next, we headed to Chicago to see my side. I’m one of 4 and my siblings live a few blocks in each direction from my parents (just like everybody loves Raymond) 😉 . It’s always great to see my family too, and I miss them so much. On my side, there are six kids between my sisters and me and it is very busy since all of them are boys, except our Ella Rose. There’s much more tackling at my house between all of the cousins, that’s for sure. So Brendan and I are definitely used to the chaos both being from big families, and can’t wait to have a big family of our own. When visiting my family in Chicago, we went downtown to Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderland, Brendan and I had a night out with our friends in the city, and spent New Year’s eve at my sisters. We had such a great visit with everyone and love seeing them for the holidays! Can’t wait to go back again.
Here’s some pictures in the weeks leading up to Christmas with the kiddos.