Wednesday, December 26, 2007

lots o' photos

We spent Christmas eve and morning at my parents' house, as usual.

My mom's table. It was all very lovely.

Wayne, Grandpa, Brittani and Maya wait for dinner.

My dad.


Maya and Heather--blurry, but I like it.

The companion to my white elf. This one is on my mom's tree.

One of the homemade ornaments from when we were kids.

Christmas Day!!!
The loot:

Dad looking groggy...

Aaron (my brother) isn't ready for the light.



Chaos ensues...

Maya really likes the American Girl doll that Nana sent her:

Wayne. Electronic Battleship.

Using my new toy (a tripod!).

Sofia, Heather and Ben (taken with my other new toy. speedlight)

My sister and nephew.




Paige and Ben.

Wayne and Aaron...Battleship is way high tech now.

It snowed (but didn't stick)

At my grandparents' house.

Paige. Eyes open. Talking.

Sofia and Maya with their new loot-- iPod shuffle for Sofia and
American Girl Doll (Nicki) for Maya.

Heather, Ben and Dad. Leapster.



Maya and Grandpa. Maya loves her animal books.

All in all, it was a great holiday!

Brittani got a new camera, and Paige got the 80GB iPod Classic. They were happy, though Paige got a Nano the night before from her dad. She's got a lot of iPods. I wish I had a picture of Brittani's face when she opened her camera. Priceless.
I got a tripod, speedlight, lenspen, two Rachael Ray cookbooks and The Kite Runner and a whole bunch of soaps from Bath and Body Works. From my parents I got jammies, a laptop case (so needed). Wayne and I also got $200 in Home Depot gift cards from his mom and my parents. Nice. My grandparents gave me a nice little angel statue for the garden.

We got Wayne Electronic Battleship, cologne, jammie pants and a new espresso machine. He's using the machine like crazy; I'm glad we got it for him. We got it the Sunday before Xmas; Maya and I left early to get to the mall by 7, but it wasn't open until 8. We were home by 9, and Wayne never knew we left. We got back in our jammies, and he didn't get up until 10:30. We felt so sneaky.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday traditions

This week has been crazy, as I'm sure it has been for everyone.
We are, what?, 3 days before Christmas. Yea!
I was done with my shopping--and wrapping--last week. I feel very on top of it this year. We had the money to start shopping the day after Thanksgiving, which is earlier than usual.

We started off the month with the Santa Parade through downtown, which Maya's Brownie troop participated in. It was FREEZING fricking cold. 32 degrees and snowing off and on. Luckily there was no precipitation during the parade.

My parents with Ben and Sofia...shivering.

I love this picture of Maya. She looks so...rosy. She loves that scarf; one of the moms from the troop made them for the girls.

We have several traditions that the kids really look forward to every year:

Tree Hunting

We got our tree from the tree farm we've gone to for, wow, 13 years. We didn't go for three years because they had weird hours and only were open a few days for short hours. They oversold for a few years, so they had to cut back hours to make up for it. Well, we went back this year, and it felt like being home again. It's called Cox Christmas Trees, and it's in Eatonville. This article pretty much describes our experience at Cox, too.

Though, this year I didn't pick the tree. My older kids and Wayne actually over-ruled me and persisted until I caved in to their choice. It feels weird to be screaming, "THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY" in the middle of Norway Spruces. Apparently it was a coup.

See how sweet they look before they take over the world?

Paige is adamant that this is the one (it isn't).

I am adamant that this is the one (it isn't).
Brittani stands by it, so we don't lose it.

The saw is the weapon of the fierce Christmas Tree Coup.

Maya has the map...

THIS is the one. See how pleased they look?

And the best part?

and candy canes...yum!

Tree Decorating all together:
Blurry, I know...

I love my girls...

This ornament is older than me (I am circa 1971) and hung on our tree when I was a kid; my grandma had some, too. They were either red, white or green. I love this elf.

Every year Nana, who lives in Louisiana, sends each of the girls an ornament. This was Maya's ornament this year; she LOVES it(I'll get pics of the other two later):

Santa Pictures

Almost every year, our kids have had their picture taken with Santa. I have pictures of Paige sitting on Santa's lap from 4 months until age three, at which time she began to scream and cry at the idea. I picked it back up again when she was 6, and we were with Wayne and Brittani. Brittani had never had her picture taken with Santa, and that first year--1996--Brittani melted down and didn't get her picture done. That picture is Paige all alone. But in 1997, we started to force it. We may have skipped one year due to finances. I have the pictures--most of them--framed and scattered around the house for the holidays. I get so sad when I think of the day when I won't get a Santa picture with all my girls. I dread the day that Maya may have to do the picture on her own; I hope that never happens.

Anyway, here is this year's Santa picture:

This is the one I really wanted to get prints of, though. You should have seen the scene that Paige made when I told the guy I wanted prints of this one:

Christmas Baking
This is our fifth year of doing a marathon baking session at our house. My mom brings her Kitchen Aid over, and we have dueling Kitchen Aids. This year we cranked out:
sugar cookies
applesauce cookies
pumpkin cookies
bon bons
magical kiss cookies
rocky ledge bars

Hm. It seems like we made more. Mom is making linzer cookies at her house today, and I am making some cookies with a cookie press. I've never used a cookie press, so we'll see how it goes. Paige says the press is hard to use (she makes them with her stepmom every year).
Paige and Heather picked up Brittani and Maya from school early, so they could all help make cookies.

Busy, busy, busy

Bon bons-- a recipe my mom has grudgingly made since around 1980 (off and on). They are tedious to make, but it helps to have Paige and Heather do the dipping.

Sugar cookies (this was a recipe from my Southern Living cookbook, and Brittani said it was really hard to work with).

Christmas eve, we will head to my mom and dad's and celebrate our holiday there, as we have every year. I have never spent a Christmas morning away from my mommy and daddy. I swear, I'm not overly attached.

However you spend your holiday, may it be festive, fun and joyful...