Sunday, January 27, 2013

Christmas in Atlanta

We went to Atlanta to visit my family on Christmas afternoon.  We stayed over a few nights and got to see all three of my brothers.  Here is Cecilia with my parents' nativity - my grandmother painted the pieces.  She never got to finish all of them before she died... but she had painted the most important ones first - Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, of course, and the three kings, a shepherd, and sheep had been painted.

Here's their tree.  They waited to open all their gifts until we got there.  I told them to go ahead with their own gifts, but apparently my mom didn't let them, ha.  it is always fun to open gifts in a big group, though.

My grandmother painted some ornaments too... this one was always my favorite when I was a kid.

Snacks!  We had cheese and crackers, apple slices with a caramel cream cheese dip, and... eggnog, of course.  One of the cheeses was a specialty cheese from Kroger with apricot in it - yum!!

Tim forces Gabby to enjoy the festivities.

And there are the yummy snacks we had during present-opening.  I got to them too late to get a photo of them before we'd mostly destroyed them...

Caroline and Cecilia opened some rustic dollhouse furniture from Gramma and Grampa.

Lucy opened her own toddler dollhouse family my mom got her from the teacher store.  We were laughing at the box, which called this product the "safe and soft" "white family."

Lucy waited very patiently but attentively as Uncle Stephen extracted a baby doll from its box.

Caroline was very excited to get a mini American Girl doll and the set of books - the doll shares her name!

Still waiting!

Caroline was very happy about the Caroline books and doll!

Cecilia gives Uncle Tim a high five after he gave her a book of children's Bible stories.

She really loved this stuffed horse from Uncle Stephen - she carried it around for days afterward.  She named it "Pinta" because it is a pinto horse.  Caroline named hers Pinta pronounced with a long i, ha ha.

Lucy got this adorable soft nativity from Uncle Tim.  I love the little cloth figures, and they all velcro inside the stable.

Here they are opening something big and heavy from Gramma and Grampa...

What is it???

Here's Caroline's expression once she realized what was in it - the Magic Cabin tree fort!

Chris and my brothers Tim and Stephen

My parents open their gifts on the piano bench

Lucy shows off her cute Christmas outfit.  All of my kids have been able to wear this at Christmas, although I thought Lucy might be too big for it by her second Christmas since the older girls wore it on their first Christmases... nope, it fit her fine in length!  The funniest thing about this is the tag in this outfit says size 3-6 months.  Ha!

Me opening my super-comfy kitchen floor mat from my parents - yay!!

Then my other brother and his family decided to come over that evening too instead of the next day... so we had another round of present-opening!

Our birthday cake for Jesus!  The older girls and I made nativity cookies a couple days earlier, and we brought them along with the eggnog cake I made and then set them up on top.  They sang Happy Birthday to baby Jesus and then got to eat cookies and cake with their cousin Julianne!

The next day... here's Lucy with Uncle Stephen in the sunroom.

Just as popular as any of their gifts was Uncle Tim's Marble Works toy from when he was about seven years old...

Here's Caroline with her doll.

Mike and family came back for dinner the next day, too... trying to get a photo of all five granddaughters proved to be quite difficult!  This was really the best one I got!

This one actually had everyone looking, but Mike had to go get in the way, ha ha!

Lucy looks up, but Chloe and Julianne have lost interest...

And now older kids are okay, but neither baby is looking...

...and then Dutch has to walk through and interfere.  He doesn't like to be left out.  luckily, Julianne doesn't mind dog kisses.

Caroline tries to move Dutch out of the way.

Lucy tries out Uncle Stephen's new fishing reel.

Chloe was thrilled to sit in this little decorative sleigh until...

Lucy joined her.  That was the beginning of the end of the world, apparently!

Lucy figured she'd done something wrong and climbed out to figure out what was wrong with Chloe... she's looking up at somebody, like, "Who, me??  I made her howl like that??"  Ha ha!

"Nyah, nyah, I get the sleigh all to myself!!"  Chloe was too upset and so as soon as she was out of the sleigh, Lucy climbed back in.

Then Chloe decided there really was room for two.

And she and Lucy even made up for their misunderstanding.

Uncle Stephen poses with the girls the next day before he left.

And Lucy got some time with Tim, Grampa, and Gabby.

She actually loves to sit in laundry baskets and sometimes even cries when we take her out.

Trying to learn "gentle touches" with animals...

We had a great time visiting, gifting, and eating to celebrate the first few days of Christmas!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Christmas Stockings!

Normally I wouldn't think stockings need a whole post devoted to them, but... Chris gave me a new digital camera for Christmas, and these are some of the first photos I took with it, and they are therefore in a different folder than the rest of the Christmas morning pictures!  So, here they are with their stocking loot...

Birds are a popular theme in our home... we studied them in depth last year and the girls are pretty interested in them; Caroline has requested a bird-themed party this year for her 8th birthday!  Each of the bigger girls found a bird wristlet and a bird water whistle in their stockings.  The water whistles really, truly sound like real birds!  

Caroline got some personalized cards to write notes to people.

She also got a set of 50 new colored pencils, as you can see!!  My kids go through colored pencils like crazy, and not just for school work!  They also each got a new set of watercolor paints, and lots of Trader Joe's candies, as you may see in the pile...

Lucy was able to dig into her own stocking with Daddy's help.

Here's Lucy's stash of goodies: a new straw sippy cup (I cannot find one that doesn't leak - any tips?  I only put water in them, but recently she *tries* to shake them so they will leak a lot!), a fruit puree pouch (a special treat; she thinks these things are so, so cool), a couple board books, and Nibbly Fingers, which I found at Target - and I will be buying more!  What a handy, non-junky, portable snack that I can keep in my purse!