Christmas ended up being very special. My dad booked a beautiful place on Whidbey Island big enough for the 11 of us. We all arrived at separate times on Christmas Eve and it was such a happy time. I honestly was afraid of Christmas, I didn't have any expectations, other than being excited that it was Hazel's first. But obviously being 7 months old she didn't have a clue what was going on! When we got there the tree was full of presents, we weren't doing gifts so that was quite a surprise. A few friends of ours had gone and bought gifts for everyone! That was so exciting, something to look forward to. We poured big glasses of wine and went and wrapped the kids gifts before they arrived. The morning was filled with laughter, lots of gifts, successful stockings we managed to pull off for each other, and some tears. It was an emotional few days but it was special, and good.
We spent a lot of time together, hot tubbing, playing, and watching movies. It was somehow one of the nicest Christmases. It won't ever be the same without mom, but we got through the first one, and I'm sure as the years go on, it will continue to change. New traditions will form as we let go of old ones that just don't make sense anymore. I'm just so thankful we got away and tried something new.