Trying to hold back tears, I snapped a quick shot of Ant and Vinny heading back east a whole week before me. I still had to work at the preschool, the Christmas program and all, you know. How many times had we traveled, and just look at how grown up Vinny looks with his very own suitcase.
All ready for take-off. We bought these headphones so he could listen to his shows and movies, but turns out, they help Vinny out with his dislike of noise. He calls them his "airplane ears" and he insists on wearing them for take-off so it's not so loud. What a pro.
While Vinny was living the high life at Gramma's house, I was back here in Cali all by myself. Well, I did have Boomer. I really thought I'd be miserable, but the peace and quiet was respite. The house was clean, I caught up on my own shows, and kept really busy taking care of all that last minute Christmas shopping, laundry, and packing. But once that Christmas program and preschool party were over and done with, home I went, too!
My cousin Lisa has all the pictures from Valia. We welcomed baby Levi, Vinny and Blaise sang for the crowd, and Santa snuck by in a whirlwind visit to deliver some presents. It was a pretty special evening.
Vinny only asked for 2 things this Christmas, and never wavered from them. A "kwaw" ( the claw) from Toy Story (also happened to be a cheapy toy from the clearance aisle in Target that Vinny became obsessed with...he doesn't even love the movie all that much, but this is what he became fixated on telling Santa he really wanted). He also wanted a MaterHawk. Turns out Santa misunderstood and brought the wrong one, but that's OK. Mommy can turn the Mater pillow into a Materhawk pillow by adding some wings...I think. Hmmm.
So how did those two toys go from this:
Why are there no pictures capturing Vinny's excitement as he sees what Santa has brought him? Oh that would be because for the first time in his entire little life, he didn't come into our bed first thing. He went straight downstairs. We all (Anthony, myself, my mom, and dad) were all startled awake by the hysterical announcement that "Santa brought me a kwaw! Mommy, he brought me a kwaw! I can't ba-weeve it, he brought me a kwaw!" We ran downstairs as quickly as we could and no matter how much we tried to get him to even look at his other presents, the "claw" had him at hello.
Sure, I wish we had pictures and video, but I don't think either would have captured the bliss of that moment. This is one that, as Uncle DrJohnM would say, needs to be burned into the white matter. It was just that magical.
But it didn't stop there. Oh sure, there were more toys. But Vinny had only one other wish for Santa to bring him, and that was snow. Well, for you Vinny, a white Christmas. I can't make this stuff up. We seriously woke up to snow. It wasn't Vinny's first snowfall, but it was the first he truly wanted, remembered, and enjoyed.
All tuckered out after a long day of play!
Vinny's First Snowman!!
It snowed a couple days later, and this time it was perfect snowman snow.
How much do I love this?
Great snowman snow usually means great sledding snow. But alas, Vinny and his nervous fears got the best of him. One look at the hill behind Union School, the hill we all grew up sledding down, and he said no. Well, it was more like "I want Mommy," but that implied NO. Maybe next year.
Off to Babci and Dzadui's...to sing for Uncle Tommy. Vinny sang every song he knew. So much for Mr. Shy.
Later that night we headed down to Stella's to visit with Uncle Brian, Auntie Katie, and Patrick. Good thing we saw them Friday, because Vinny spent the rest of the weekend sick with his very first stomach bug. Poor guy.
Just when we though he was feeling better....
Feeling somewhat better, off to visit with Blaise and Baby Levi...could family photos be a thing of the past?
Checking out all of Blaise's toys in his enormous play room!
Awww, now that's more like it...
Vinny is such a seasoned traveler. I think Dzadui had him clocked at 14 cross country trips. Here he is coloring from the busy box from Auntie Laurie while we wait to take off. This was the first time he wanted to sit in the window seat. After the turbulence we hit heading into LA, I am not sure he'll want that seat again. I, on the other hand, was very thankful to have both of my guys on either side of me as our plane bounced around in what I thought was our final flight. Whew!
This really doesn't give the amount of luggage we brought back with us enough justice. 4 suitcases, a few carry-ons and bags, and 3 boxes of toys. Good thing we had the shuttle all to ourselves. Not sure anything else would have fit in the back!
Since this is the place I choose to document our family history, I must note that this trip back home was the best one to date. Perhaps it was seeing my dad hooked up to his "feed bag" until his pancreas heals, perhaps it's learning of my uncle's latest hospital stay due to his chronic nerve damage and pain, my aging grandparents, my aunts and uncles that come to the rescue, our friends that show unconditional love and concern...We all just seemed to appreciate one another more and enjoy each other more. We laughed, in the face of pain, emotional and physical, we laughed, and so this will forever be the best Christmas ever.