This year Christmas was very meaningful, and very very busy!
The Christmas spirit was so strong and overwhelming throughout this whole month of December. It started out with all the treats and gifts we received in the NICU, almost every single day we would show up and there would be another Christmas present or bag of candy in baby Katea's room. Most of them were from parent's who had a NICU baby in the years past and had to spend Christmas in the NICU. They were giving back, and sharing the Christmas spirit by sharing their stories, their experiences, their support and love, and a gift with us parents that were going through it now. Those little meaningful gifts made a big difference for me, and it's something that I will do from now on every year for Christmas....give back! Also, about a week before Christmas there was a mysterious package left on our porch. It was a huge gift bag with a present for every member of our family. We had no idea who it was from, because whoever left it just knocked and ran. By the time we got to the door, they were gone and all we saw were the gifts. There was a card inside the bag that read "Your family is such an inspiration and an example to so many. You are always in our thoughts and prayers....XOXO....Merry Christmas, Your Secret Santas" Those were the first presents under our tree. We are so grateful that someone would do that for our little family....we only wish we knew who it was so we could thank them!
Christmas morning our kids came in our room to wake us up at 8am screaming "Santa came! Santa came!" We made sure everyone in our house was awake and then we all headed to the living room to see what Santa had brought. It's a tradition for us, before we let the kids open their gifts, to talk to them about the true meaning of Christmas. Ova asked them questions and explained to them that the most important part of Christmas wasn't about the gifts, it was about Christ. After the Christmas talk from dad, he offered a prayer....then the kids passed out the gifts.....
Daddy helped Tala open hers...
Mone opening his...
Tala was spoiled....who lied and told Santa she was a good girl?? hahaha j/k
She got a barbie from our Secret Santa, a blonde princess doll from G-ma Tea and a brunette doll from Santa Claus!
We let the kids play with their toys for a little bit, while we cleaned up all the wrapping paper and stuff. Then we all got ready to go to church. Our church was at 11am and it was a beautiful, spiritual program. I especially LOVED the musical numbers....they always fill the room with such a strong spirit!
After church was over, I went to the hospital to see baby....and Ova went home with the kids to get them ready to go down to Lake Shore to my parent's house. Ova really wanted to go to the hospital with me, but he's been sick with a cough and runny nose....so it's better if he just stay away from the hospital until he gets better....just so he doesn't get baby sick!
Ova and I got the best present ever....it wasn't something material....it was our precious little miracle baby Katea! (The onesie she's wearing is from one of my mission buddy's Hermana Armga....she sent a little Christmas package for my family...she's so sweet! The little tag on our gift says 'Mom and Dad's best present ever')
I got to the NICU at the perfect time....right at the same time Santa came. I think it's so neat that Santa took time out of his busy schedule to make sure to visit the preemies...he went from room to room and took pictures with every single baby there! And Santa is no exception....he had to scrub in and use hand-sanitizer just like everyone else! :-)
I didn't have much time to spend there that morning, I just wanted to stop by and kiss my baby girl on her very first Christmas, and help her open her gifts. She had quite a few gifts under her tree that morning when I got there. She's very loved and spoiled and she got lots of fun and cute things for Christmas this year! I laid everything out on the chair to take a picture for her to see when she gets older!
She got some really cute books, so I spent a little while reading them to her. After about an hour, I had to go so I could meet Ova and the kids....so we could head down to Lake Shore! I was so excited this year that all us siblings, spouses and kids planned to make time, at the same time to be there together. We haven't done that for the past couple years....we all go down on Christmas day, or Eve.....but not necessarily at the same time. This year we made a point of it, and it was so nice to have EVERYONE together all at once....and to let all the grandkids play together! I loved it! Gramma & Grampa had already opened their presents with Leka, Safi, Fanga and Misi Pou on Christmas Eve, so all these presents were for the grandkids! Spoiled much?!!
Of course we all sat around the family room and before any presents were opened or even passed out, Grampa Makai gave a little Christmas advice. Talked to the kids about what Christmas was about and told everyone he loved them. He talked about how blessed we are, as a family to have our little miracle baby Katea. I totally cried the whole time. He challenged us to be better people, and to make time to go to the temple more often....by going more often, we will be happier people and we will be blessed. After my Dad talked, he gave all the adults a chance to say something....we just went around the room saying Merry Christmas to everyone. I cried like a baby.....just so extremely happy for everything I'd been blessed with, but so wishing my baby Katea could've spend her first Christmas with us!
After everyone was done talking.....Uncle Misi had all the kids sit on the floor in a circle and he passed out all the gifts to the kids. Everyone was so excited to see what they got from their Aunty's and Uncle and from Gramma and Grampa.
After opening the presents, we ate, visited and just enjoyed everyone's company!
This is Gramma & Grampa with the newest additions to the family....born in 2011 (only missing baby Katea)
And a picture of Gramma & Grampa with all the grandkids.....15 were there, 1 in the hospital and 1 in heaven! :-)
I was so glad we all made time to be together at the same time.....it makes Christmas so much more special to spend it with family!
After we left my parent's house, we were hurrying home because we thought we were eating dinner with Ova's family.....but when we got here, nobody was here...Tea was sleeping in the living room and Ma was sleeping in her room. Nobody had come for Christmas. :-( Ova was sad, especially since Ma is here with us. She's 89 years old this year....we should ALWAYS plan to be together on the holidays, especially for her. It was so sad to see her laying in her room on Christmas night, no Tongan food, no family to visit.....that is something we need to focus on for next year! Celebrate the holidays with her while she's still with us, because someday when she's not here anymore....we will regret not taking advantage of those opportunities! That's why I feel so grateful and blessed that Ma lives with us. I'm so lucky that my kids know their great-gramma on a more personal level....they are comfortable with her, she yells and disciplines them.....that's not something all her great-grandkids can say, and I know I am blessed to have her!
Since nobody was here, I decided to go back to the hopsital to spend a few more hours with my baby girl. She had a good day on Christmas! I just held her for a few hours and spent time with her. She is what Christmas is about.....faith, hope, miracles, love.....I'm so grateful for her!
Merry Christmas Everyone.....and Happy Happy New Year!