Friday, December 27, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas!

This Christmas was better than I expected. I knew it was going to be great. I mean, I have a one year old daughter. And, even though it technically was not her first Christmas, it was the first one where she was old enough to respond and understand on some level the excitement and spirit of Christmas. Yet, even though I expected it to be fun going into it, nothing could have prepared me for how magical it turned out to be. From the sparkle in her eyes the moment she saw the Christmas tree lit up for the first time, to her love of the Christmas songs we sang all month, to the very last present that she so eagerly tore open--Christmas with Klair was incredible.

Sam was also able to take almost the entire week off, which was a pleasant surprise. I have really enjoyed having him home. With all of his traveling for work the past few months I feel like it has been a much needed reprieve. The amount of family time that we've been able to have is a heaven-sent blessing.

One particular blessing happened in a simple yet beautiful moment. On Christmas Eve Klair woke up from her nap and Sam and I both went into her room to get her. She was already sitting up in her crib (she's been doing that a lot lately--either sitting up or standing when we come in for her) and as soon as she saw us a wide smile crossed her lips and she started babbling excitedly.  You could tell that she was pleasantly surprised to see both of us greeting her after her beauty rest. Her crazy-fluffy-bed-head-hair bounced around as she spoke to us in what we call "Klairinese." I imagined that she was recounting her dreams, or... perhaps divulging the secrets of the universe? Regardless, it was adorable. I lifted her out of her crib and she immediately nestled into my shoulder. Then, she went to her "dada" and gave him the same affection. My heart was filled with such pure love and joy in that moment as we played with and talked to our happy, bright-eyed daughter. I couldn't help but feel that this is what heaven must be. This, this is what Christmas is all about. 

Apart from spending lots of quality time as the three of us, we've also been enjoying this Christmas break by celebrating with family. These pictures were taken on Sunday after church at Sam's parents' house. We coordinated our Christmas reds for church and  had our Christmas party with our Duke family that night. 

I love these photos of Sam and Klair.  They capture the essence of their relationship so perfectly. Also, doesn't he look dashing in a bow tie? 

We had so much fun celebrating Christmas that night! Delicious dinner, great company, good conversation... and of course lots of presents :) It all  made for a lovely evening. 

Here is a video of Klair opening her favorite present of the night. Thanks Grandma and Papa Duke! (she also has her pajamas that they got her draped around her neck because she loves scarves. Apparently I wear them all the time and she's picked up on it...)

On Christmas Eve we had Sam's brother and his family over for breakfast. Klair has two little girl cousins who love her, and it was really fun to see them all play together. After her birthday, our celebrations last Sunday, and opening some presents Christmas eve morning, Klair was a certified professional present un-wrapper. She destroyed that wrapping paper. She was so excited about the prospect of opening presents that we had to keep her away from the tree. If I wasn't watching close enough she would make a bee-line for the tree and rip wrapping paper off before I could intervene. 

We let her near the presents for this photo opp. Luckily this particular visit with the presents didn't result in too much damage. 

Christmas Eve night we had my mom, and my sister and her family over for dinner and a movie. We had pizza and brownies (my own personal favorite) because we wanted to keep it simple. Afterward we opened presents and watched Elf (because no Christmas is complete without it).  We really enjoyed their company and it was a perfect way to spend Christmas with my family. 

...And then it was Christmas morning. 
Complete with Christmas jammies!

Here's a photo of Sam with all of his stocking spoils. I may have gone a little overboard...? It just doesn't feel like Christmas without some treats. 

This is a video of Klair unwrapping her talking dog. It  demonstrates her rapidly developing skills in the art of unwrapping presents:

We felt that Rosie needed some treats, and Sam even wrapped them up all pretty.

Sam's self-proclaimed two favorite gifts. His boots and his midi-controller keyboard. Immediately after taking this photo he put his boots on, and he played with his keyboard all day. He even wrote a song! He's impressive like that. 

After all of the unwrapping fun, Klair decided the best way to spend her time would be to climb into Sam's empty shoe box. A room full of toys and this was her first choice :) 

Sam saved my best present for last. For several days before Christmas one of our spare bedrooms became off limits to me. He told me my present was in there, and made me promise not to go in. And I didn't. Not because I wasn't curious because trust me, the thought crossed my mind. But I knew that if I went in there I wouldn't be able to lie if he asked me if I had peeked. I'm a terrible liar. Thus, I avoided the room like a plague.
And, although I had my suspicions, I couldn't have imagined it would be this awesome!
(Keep in mind, there was nothing in this room before)
... He got me a sewing machine! .... and a desk, a lamp, some storage boxes, and a picture frame complete with a picture of Klair.  Isn't he sweet?  He even placed all my craft supplies in the drawers. This space is so perfect and conducive to creativity. 
I love it.

I've been wanting a sewing machine for awhile now--not because I'm a sewer, but because I want to be one. This year I made Klair a quilt (well, to be honest I'm still working on it--I need to finish the binding) and it sparked a desire in me to sew more. After all, I have a daughter! I would love to be able to sew her pretty little dresses and patch up the holes in her knees. I'm excited to learn and I'm feeling hopeful that maybe I inherited some abilities from my talented relatives. 

This is me hugging my beautiful present. It seemed like the most logical thing to do. 

We spent the morning playing with Klair and all of her new toys (she would play with one for 5 minutes, and move onto the next). After her nap we went to a family Christmas party with Sam's grandparents and some of his aunts, uncles and cousins. 

While we were at his Aunt and Uncle's home, Klair randomly decided to climb their stairs. It wasn't a small flight of stairs either (they have a big, beautiful two-story home). Klair simply made up her mind to do it and took off. After conquering them she naturally wanted to climb all night. It was so fun to see her learn a new feat and find such excitement in practicing it.

Overall this Christmas (and all the excitement leading up to it) was amazing. We feel so blessed to have our wonderful families, each other, and our sweet little girl. She has brought so much happiness to our lives. We both enjoyed Christmas with her more than we can say.

We feel so much gratitude in our hearts for the birth of our Savior, and the opportunity we have had to celebrate Him. We have so much. He has given us everything.  Looking through these photos and reflecting on the last few weeks has given me a fresh perspective on my life. I am grateful. And, I feel inspired to be better--a better wife, mother, friend... a better person. I know that it's a result of the Christmas spirit--the spirit of Christ-- that has been very present in my life.

Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy New Year!
I hope this holiday season has and will continue to treat you well!


  1. Cute, cute, cute! You have such a sweet little family. Having little ones during the holidays brings so much joy huh? Wouldn't trade it for anything. :)


    1. Thanks, Emma! It's so true. The holidays have never been so fun!

  2. What fun!! Looks like you guys had a very Merry Christmas! You're little girl is so cute!

    1. Thank you! :) And yes, we really did have the best Christmas. Do we really have to wait another year to do it again?

  3. what a great christmas!! and yeah or a sewing machine! your family is adorable - and I LOVE your glasses!

    1. Thank you, thank you! And I know, I'm so exited about my sewing machine! I can't wait to get crafting on it! :)


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