first {California} Christmas as a family of three

This year was our fist Christmas in Los Angeles. I'd have to say it was very different than years past, especially those in chilly, snowy Kansas City. We don't exactly get super frigid weather here on the dessert coast. This year was extra special as it was Ren's first Christmas, who is also the first grandchild, which made it even more special for the whole family. My in laws came into town from their home on wheels in Redding, California and my brother in law came up from Orange County to meet us in LA for our family Christmas. Aaron and I kicked off Christmas Eve by taking Ren to our favorite Malibu beach and having a simple Christmas on the beach. It was so perfect! We tried to keep Christmas simple this year. Before moving to California we decided to minimize and skinny down our stuff, keeping the basics and letting go of the clutter. Now, after having Ren, it is easier than ever to replace all of that space with lots and lots of baby gear and endless toys, but we really wanted to keep it simple.

So back to the beach. We took our gifts and a blanket and with the sun rising in the sky and the warmth of the day surrounding our chilly bodies, we had our first Christmas as a family of three. Ren definitely enjoyed the wrapping paper way more than the bath toys and board books we got him, and that made my heart smile. The sweet look on his face and excitement he got because we were at the beach watching the seagulls and waves crash on the shore was worth it all.

We then spent Christmas day as a family of 9 with both sets of grandparents and all the siblings. We missed my sister and brother in law who are serving in India this year {like so much that writing this makes me want to cry}. After opening presents, we exchanged our Secret Santa gifts. We get wayyy too into it and clap and scream and get wayyy too loud, but I think it's accurate to say that it is our favorite Christmas tradition. Malibu was calling our name around noon, so we headed to the beach and tried to build a Sand Man. Yes, that's right… a Sand Man. We don't get snow here so we attempted to build a very sorry looking Sand Man. This Christmas was perfect. We laughed a lot, cried a little and made the sweetest memories. Family is something that when I think of how thankful and blessed I am, keeps coming back to the top of the list. Ren is blessed to have family who love and care for him the way they do. I think that this Christmas will go down on the books as one filled with so much love and thankfulness. I hope y'all enjoyed your Christmas and felt all sorts of love.

Love, Jamie