31 December, 2012

Christmas Visits and Visitors

One of my favorite parts about Christmas (okay, there are SO MANY to choose from!) is going to visit friends and having friends come visit!  Last year our visiting was kept to a minimum as traveling with a 7 week old was rather challenging...but this year it was a blast taking our Little Bit along for the ride. She was such a trooper!

On December 23 (or Christmas Eve Eve as we like to call it) my girl cousins came over to decorate ginger bread houses.  We used to do this when the girls were younger when I baby sat them after school.  But now that they're grown up we expanded the fun to all the cousins!

The rules: must come in your jammies, no make-up, bring all your gross Halloween candy, HAVE FUN!

That afternoon we made it over to our friends Kevin and Anne's house for a Christmas open house.  Many of our playgroup and bible study friends were there with their families.  It was so fun for all the kids to play together and to see everyone dressed up instead of our usual Tuesday morning juice-stained sweats.

That night we went to my grandparents house for our traditional Big Christmas Dinner!  Everyone in my Mom's family gets dressed up in our holiday finest for a catered dinner on the Christmas china!  Eric and I got demoted from senior seating at the adult kids table back to the actual kids table with Evie and my little cousins.  Hey, someone has to be able to use a knife at that table.

Per tradition, all my aunts and uncles exchange their gifts, and give and receive gifts to my grandparents.  Once they're done, we all get to open a Christmas stocking from my grandparents.  We usually get little note pads and necklaces but this year I got a UD ornament!  And we always, always, always get an apple and an orange!

Then there was Christmas Eve, Christmas Morning and Day, and the day after Christmas which you've probably already read about....

But Christmas NIGHT  we drove out to Grayson, Georgia to have dinner with Eric's parents and their friends.  They celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with this family every year.  They even had a little gift waiting for Evie!  Her very own tea party set!

Dinner ran super late (why does the roast always take an extra two hours when you're on a dead line?) and we didn't get home until almost midnight.  Evie stayed up until about 10:45 when we got in the car.  What a trooper! She slept in until almost 10 the next morning.

The day after Christmas Joey and Crystal came for a visit. It's their last trip to Atlanta before their baby comes in March!  They were our first over night guests in the house. The last time they saw Evie she was a tiny Little Bee! So good to see them (and to talk blogging and photobooks with someone who doesn't think I'm crazy!)

David and Paige also stopped by to see the house and to let the kids play together for a little bit.

That night Eric's friend Stephen was supposed to stay the night but their wires got crossed (what does this expression even mean?).  They guys met up at the REI scratch and dent sale in the morning instead.  Eric got a steal on some shoes, bike rack, and a Columbia jacket for Evie for next year.

Later that day Eric met up with Mark.  I was hoping to join them, as I love catching up with Mark (and Stephen, too!) but Little Bit was down for the count.  Next year, guys!

We missed our usual visits with Elisabeth, Billy and Katherine, but E&B welcomed a new baby at Thanksgiving so they kept their Christmas travels understandably minimal.  We missed you!!!

Whew!  I *think* that about sums up our Christmas season!  

Oh, no, I just remembered we had a cookie exchange party.  Pretend I wrote all about it...dream about cookies. Okay. Done!

Merry Christmas!!!

EDIT:  So, wow, I am a terrible friend!  Rosemary was home for Christmas! Yay!  We had a reunion of the old crew at our house for an event we titled "Holiday Bullshit" on our shared Google calendar.  Just beers, snacks, and good old fashioned hanging out.  Miss this SO much!

Christmas Continued 2012

It's not uncommon for Christmas in my family to last a full week (as it should!!!)
David and Paige drove up from Savannah the day after Christmas.  We'd saved gifts for my parents, our sibling gifts, and the stockings for their arrival.

(Obligatory picture of Evie McFly)

We had another big family Christmas dinner (Dad...where is the iPhoto photo of us leaned back at the dinner table?!?!).  Evie didn't even make it through dinner.  Poor thing was (and still is) exhausted from all the Christmas fun!  As soon as dinner was over we did presents AGAIN!

 Zachary and Connor had so much fun playing with all the boy toys.

My mom got another pair of bunny slippers!  It's tradition :)
(Don't worry, that's not really an iPad on the floor, it's the picture of one from the packaging of Evie's FisherPrice iPad case)

Then it was time for stockings!!!!  My mom always manages to save the best for last!  I mean, that shark hat?  So adorable.  Evie got a cupcake hat and mittens. Oh my! So cute!

All the guys received a bacon themed apron. Each one a little different and perfect for the recipient. Eric's says, Carpe Bacon

Sam and Katie asked for a cute picture with Sam modeling their new apron....

 And then my dad said, "Oh wait...let me photobomb it!"

 And we celebrated Alex's birthday a day early since we were all there.  26 on the 27! (Almost a golden birthday like Katie and I had this year!)
It's a family tradition...no one in my family gets an actual cake.  Alex always gets Fried Dough!

And then it was time for more Crustashes...

Christmas Day 2012

After a late night at Christmas Eve dinner, Evie slept in an extra hour (wa-hooey!).  We started the morning with a light breakfast and Christmas morning prayers around the advent wreath (week #2 didn't stay lit so we traded it with #4).

 Then it was time for presents!!!  Evie opened them...

 and carefully.

 YAY!  An  ND shirt from Aunt Leeann and Uncle Dan!
 And new bath toys from Santa!
 And a water table for this summer!!

Eric and I exchanged a few small things from each other.  Our main gift was the new water filter.

After we wrapped up (no pun intended) gifts and family time at our house, we headed to my parents house for our traditional jammies-all-day brunch and gift exchange.  My grandfather dressed up like Santa for photos with the great-grand kids.

Of course there was the Surprise! Santa came! photo on the stairs!
 And brunch with my grandparents

We enjoyed hours of exchanging and opening gifts. Eric and I got most of the things on our wish list (the rest of our every day dishes and silverware to complete our set of 12).  But we each had a few surprises!   

Evie was spoiled, as expected, with a Melissa & Doug shopping cart, recycled plastic dishes, and a whole kit of toy food!  (She got my old wooden play kitchen earlier in the week).  She also got a Little Tikes picnic table.

My mother always finds a few surprise gifts that make us laugh.... like Katie's Crustache Crust Cutter.  Many tiny sandwiches and laughs were had by all :)

Christmas Eve 2012

Then one foggy Christmas Eve....

My parents and family used to host a ridiculous Christmas Eve open house: appetizers, desserts, wine, you name it.  Everyone just came and went before or after Mass.  It usually rendered us exhausted and half drunk / half asleep for Midnight Mass.  

This year my mother kept it simple:

We had a formal sit down dinner with my parents, Eric's parents, my brother Alex and his girlfriend.

(photo courtesy of my dad's iphone)

My parents made a delicious dinner and Eric's parents made homemade pies for dessert.  The evening was quiet compared to years past. But I'm glad Eric's parents still joined us as I always love when my parents and Eric's parents can share a holiday meal.

After dinner Eric's parents graciously took Evie back to our house so we could attend 9:00 Mass with my parents at their church.  Eric's parents are awesome for sitting through the 4pm children's Mass at their parish so they can take of Evie while we go to Mass...two years running. ( I like this tradition!!!)

(photo courtesy of my dad's iphone)

As soon as Eric and I arrived home and relieved his parents of baby sitting duty, we played Santa.  We quietly arranged all the family Christmas gifts under the tree and went to bed.

Merry Christmas!!!!