Apart from totaling our van, it truly was the best Christmas EVER! We spent a week at Reid's parents house, and it was awesome. Their house is so calm, so relaxing. We played games, watched movies, watched the grandkids play together and fight together, ate some delicious food, chopped down the Christmas tree (the highlight for Reid), made ginger-bread houses, devoured all the goodies that their neighbors brought by, sewed, quilted and finished Christmas gifts and other projects, read tear-jerking Christmas stories, and really enjoyed each other's company. It was the perfect break for me. Reid's parents are SOOOOO good at playing with the kids and keeping them happy, it truly feels how a vacation should feel. Here are a few of the highlights:
playing in/resting on/eating the snow on the way to the Cutting of the Tree
Reid in all his tree-cutting glory
Reid's tough sister, Karen, hauling the tree to the truck
Eliza had to put herself down for naps most the time since her mom was too busy not being a mom :) I love that she fell asleep with her hand on this little keyboard.
Eliza did great this vacation considering that she was getting this. I figured she was just going through a growth spurt, but no, my little 4-month old was teething!! The other one has all but broken through now, too!
Poor Christopher had to watch princess movie after princess movie with all these girls
I started these dresses last year. I luckily cut them out to be one size too big, so this year they were only one size too small...and i had enough fabric for Eliza's make-shift attempt at a dress, too! My good friend Candace gave Eliza those gold shoes which matched the gold in the dresses perfectly!!
Grace and cousin Ella had a blast together. Ella gets Grace out of her comfort zone in many ways, which is great! And Grace was thouroughly exhausted at the end of each day spent with her.
Christmas Eve was sooooo great. We did a brief and chaotic reenactment of the Nativity. Grace was Mary--she was so solemn, and so serious--it was great! Abby was a sheep, since she's mastered the baa sound and was wearing white. Christopher was Joseph, and Ella was the angel who sang "Silent night....sleep in heavenly pee..." and, of course, Eliza was baby Jesus. It was short, yes, but very, very sweet.
Oh, and Reid was an ass.
Although Grace "gets" the whole idea of Santa, she still wasn't too excited about him bringing her anything. If it is possible, i think i maybe went too far with the "Christmas is about giving to others" concept with her, 'cause the only thing she got excited about was what other people were getting--which is really sweet, and really not too surprising about my attention-hating, big-hearted 3-year old. So, Christmas morning, after waking up a semi-bright-eyed Abby at 7:30am ,we had to literally drag Grace out of bed, so that her cousins (who had been up for over an hour) and sister could see what Santa brought. She was too tired to be excited about this Santa dude that she already didn't care for, and she was way more interested in what he'd brought Abby than what Santa had laid out on the chair for her.
Abby loved her little (garage sale) tea set :)
Grace eventually did wake up and decided to show interest in her new Dorothy dress and shoes that she'd "asked" Santa for. Again, she wasn't really that interested in asking Santa for anything, so when we sat down to write him a letter (since talking to him was out of the question) she finally agreed that she'd like some new Dorothy shoes. And since i'd found this dress for mere pennies after Halloween we thought we'd just repeat last year's success--yes, we gave her a Dorothy dress and shoes again. But, as we'd suspected, she absolutely loved the shoes and especially the dress--She wore it for 5 straight days !! (which is probably really gross and i should probably delete that...)
It was so fun watching all the kids Christmas morning. They'd open a couple presents and then run off for an hour to play with them, then come back for breakfast, and then open another gift, and then run off again to play some more, and then come back for lunch. Needless to say, they didn't open all their gifts that day, so we ended up taking the rest of ours with us to my parents house for Christmas: Take 2.
Reid and I had agreed not to spend any $$ on each other this year for many reasons. I, however, found a brilliant way of still giving him a wonderful gift and obeying our one rule. I created a FREE photo album on snapfish (courtesy of Oprah). I was so proud of myself that I'd gotten Reid something that i knew he'd LOVE and that had only cost me the price of shipping! I was sure this was MY year to "out do" him (i know it's not a competition, but i'm on such a losing streak, it's hard not to think of it that way!) but i was W-R-O-N-G!! Although he did LOVE the photo album, it didn't make him nearly wet his pants the way I did when I found what he gave me
Reid surprised me with something i've been wanting since the day Grace was born (something that we'd planned to get for like our 10th anniversary)! I have never, in my life, been so surprised to receive a gift. He is usually no good at doing things like this without me being in on it, so i could not believe my eyes when he sent me on a treasure hunt Christmas morning that lead me to my very own REAL camera!! I feel so insanely spoiled
I can't begin to count the precious moments I haven't captured on film because of the stinkin' delay on my old camera, or the potentially AWESOME photo shoots that have turned out crappy because of my over-powering flash. I am so excited to learn how to use all of the awesome features it has. So, thanks babe, once again, for out-doing yourself! As I've told you one BILLION times, I LOVE MY NEW CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!
Side Note: we spent days 9 and 10 in SLC with Tom and Jana, Reid's bro and his wife. She was just days away from delivering their first kid--a boy--so they missed out on all the festivities. We had a great time with them, and although we don't have any pictures of that time, we do have pictures of their baby who was just born on Monday!! He's the cutest thing in the world, and we're so insanely happy that he's here and that he's healthy and that all those would-be complications miraculously (and i mean that quite literally) disappeared!