A warm Christmas
We had a truly lovely Christmas this year, but before I share about Christmas, I need to back up just a little bit (and warn you that this post is LONG.) Remember how I've been such a slacker with uploading photos? Uh huh. Yes, it took until after Christmas to finally upload all my photos from the month of December. Remember how I promised to share those tree trimming photos? Well, here they are....finally.
Back in 2004, we began collecting the White House ornaments. This is the 2004 ornament, the first in our collection. They are scenes from Christmases past. They are so beautiful and delicate.
This is our "kid only" decorated tree. You can see that Madeline had an affinity for the bottom left portion of the tree. Caleb tried to put most of his ornaments at his eye level. Then he asked Daddy to help put some on the top of the tree when he noticed how bare it was.
After we returned home from church, we enjoyed a simple lobster dinner. The kids get such a kick out of giving the lobsters spoons and forks to hold before we toss them into the pot. After dinner, I made a strawberry birthday cake for Jesus. I was actually supposed to make it for Patrick's birthday in October, but I never got around to it. So when Patrick said he'd like to have one for Christmas, I knew I had a chance to redeem myself. One of our local restaurants makes it, and since we purchased their cookbook recently, we now had the chance to enjoy this treat at home. I didn't take any pictures of it, but we sure enjoyed it. (We even ate it for breakfast Christmas morning!) After we put the kids to bed, Santa's little helpers had work to do.
Madeline was the first to awaken on Christmas morning at 6:45am. I had to scramble to get Caleb up before she put on the tears. Why was mommy making her "wait" to see Caleb? As soon as I let her out of room, she marched straight over to Caleb, bypassing the tree and all the presents. It was as if she totally forgot it was Christmas. It was so cute. Patrick had to rouse Caleb from his slumber, and he was none too pleased. When Patrick reminded him it was Christmas, he sprang out of bed!
The kids had an abundance of presents under the tree, thanks to Bammy and Aunt Michele, Uncle John, and Lydia. We tried to stick to just three presents for each child. (Jesus only got three presents on His birthday, too.) And for our first year, we came pretty close.
Madeline's special gift from mommy and daddy was a custom made baby doll. This little doll is Chinese like Madeline, and she's also missing her left arm below her elbow.
Deb, Andy, Leah, and Joshua arrived around noon. Andy's parents, Phil and Marsha, were not far behind. The kids were so excited to see each other that they didn't even think of opening up more presents. They were able to wait for Phil and Marsha to arrive.
Madeline sported a new princess dress about every 30 minutes (thanks Aunt Michele and Uncle John). However, she kept the same princess shoes on most of the day (thanks, Bammy...but of course, in this shot, she traded them for Princess socks).
Once again, Deb outdid herself with wrapping her presents. I know her gift tag is out of focus on this shot, but trust me when I say that Rudolph is adorable...and he doubles as an ornament. So he's already on the tree. Joshua presented Madeline with her gift.
My girl has been in desperate need of a new ballet leotard and some ballet slippers that I don't have to cram her feet into. So Joshua and crew delivered. Leah, we'll she was pretty pumped about getting some new Leapster cartridges.
I'm easy to please. And I didn't really ask for much this year. But I did mention to my sister how I would love a bias tape maker so I can make my own cute bias tape for Madeline's clothes.
My sister also made me some really cute organza ribbon hair pins for my hair. I didn't take any pictures, but this is what they look like. Thanks sweet sis! Patrick surprised me by having my masters thesis bound. I've had several copies lying around in a box for (cough cough) twelve years. Thanks honey.
Patrick also didn't ask for much this year. I had a small 8x10 gallery wrap of Madeline done, plus some other photos of the kids. But the big surprise...Patrick and I will also be heading to Orlando in February to hear Andrea Bocelli perform. Oh, how we can't wait!
For Deb and Andy AND Phil and Marsha, Patrick and I bought them tickets to a Yankee Spring Training game. Now, before you go ahead and think they're all Yankee fans, you need to know this is a game vs. the Minnesota Twins. We may not all root for the same team, but we still get along quite well. *wink wink* It's going to be great fun this March.
So after all gifts were opened, it was just about time to head over to Vero Beach Disney for an early dinner. We were tickled to discover that we were seated at the same table as last year. It makes for quicker trips to the buffet and has a great view. The kids thoroughly enjoyed coloring.
Phil really enjoyed sitting next to Madeline. He kept her laughing.
I also had a chance to chat with my sis, which is always fun.
After a delicious meal, the kids all ran around on the lawn. If you can believe it, it was in the low 80s here. We haven't had a Christmas this warm since I lived out of state and came home for the holidays. The Christmas outfit Patrick won this year for Madeline at a silent auction...um, wasn't gonna happen. Since I had nothing that was warm weather and Christmas-y, I let Madeline wear one of her princess dresses to dinner...and a pair of shoes. You could hear this girl a mile away, click clacking along. It was hilarious. And did she take her shoes off when they were running around outside, playing pretend baseball and all? Nope. She almost lasted the entire time without getting hurt. But she had a small fall on some steps and quickly pulled her dress over her shins so I couldn't see her sratch (and make her take her shoes off.) Funny girl.
After running around a bit, the kids came in to watch some classic Disney tv. They even got to see Goofy.
Then we headed back outside for some more play time and an attempt at a group photo of the kids. The adults were a funny sight I'm sure. Nothing like a half a dozen adults trying to get the attention of a few little ones.
I had a hard time getting individual photos of the kidlets. Leah was elusive. Caleb, well, he was kind enough to stop for a moment...sweat beading down his face. And Madeline, I could catch up to her because of her shoes. However, she kept telling me, "I don't want my picture taken."
After dinner, Phil and Marsha headed home while the rest of us went back to our place. Since we knew several days prior that Christmas was going to be warm, we decided to heat up our pool for a fun Christmas swim. The kids had a blast. We also popped into the hot tub, which the grown ups liked more. The kids enjoyed the hot tub, too. Somehow, they still try to swim in it. Needless to say, a hot tub filled with kids is not as enjoyable as it is without. Regardless though, it was a nice treat.
All in all, it was a wonderful and relaxing Christmas. We are so thankful to have some family close by. However, our family in the north, Michele, John, Lydia, and Bammy was sorely missed. I hope your Christmas was as blessed as ours. It's hard to believe that 2011 is almost over. Next thing you know, we'll be celebrating Caleb's 7th birthday!