Given your premature arrival, you spent your very first Christmas in the NICU. Your Dad, Granddad "Jolly", Grandma and I all came to visit you, oh-ing and ah-ing over your crib. Jolly had brought you a newborn Christmas outfit for photos, but you were still so small that it looked like you had been swallowed by a red circus tent - but it was cute! Your Dad had his second big hug from you and we got a few family happy snaps of the three generations of Apperley men. You all look so alike it was scary. Even the nurses commented on it.
Daddy and Santa must be very good friends as you received a truck load of toys. They are all sitting under the tree waiting for you to come home. Sure, all the toys are bigger than you, and you'll need to get a bit older before you can play with them, but I know Santa enjoyed picking out your gifts and putting them under the tree.
After an hour or so of staring adoringly at your little face (and hands and toes and tubby belly) we had to leave to go spend our first Christmas in Denver with all the other Aussies.
It was a great day. Somehow we managed to get all 5 Aussie families in Denver at that time to the one house to celebrate Christmas together. We had a huge dinner, shared a secret Santa, and the big boys had a war in the backyard with their pellet guns. There were children laughing and playing, grown ups eating and drinking, and everyone enjoying that special time of the year together. However, you were a notable absentee. We all just kept reminding ourselves that you would be there next year, enjoying the wrapping paper and ignoring your new toys.
On boxing day, Daddy woke everyone up early to come visit you. You had just had physiotherapy and were wide awake! After changing your nappy, then changing it again because you waited until we wrapped you up and messed in it again(!) you had your first hug with Jolly. Well, I thought your Daddy looked proud when he hugged you, but your grandfather had this smile of pure joy on his face while he hugged you. He took a dozen self photos on his phone and swore he saw you smile when you heard your Daddy's voice. I don't know about that... But you were definitely peaceful. Or at least you were until you messed your nappy again. The smell was so bad that Jolly asked to put you back in your crib! I'm sure that will be a moment of pride in the future...
After we played with you for a while, Daddy drove us up into the mountains for lunch. The drive was lovely. We saw winter in all it's glory: towering white mountains, frozen lakes and snow frosted roads. We walked on water (well - frozen water); your Grandma was dazzled by the mountains - I think she was so snap happy that she ran her camera battery flat; Jolly saw some ice fishermen and had to pull over to have a chat; and your Dad and I dreamed of a day that we could have a family weekend away in the mountains. It was a good day.
You are growing so well, slowly putting on weight and learning to breath. We marvel at the little improvements that you make each day. We daily hear from our family in Oz, sending their love and prayers, and asking us to give you a little extra squeeze from them. You are truly spoiled with love.
While your first Christmas was a year earlier than we thought and not quiet the way we may have wished, it was so very special. Your Daddy and I are so very proud and fall a little more in love with you each day. Christmas is always a special time in our family, and now it is even more so as we have you to share it with.
Lots of love
Mum and Dad