Monday, January 14, 2013

Our Christmas

Better late than never, I guess.  And, if you know me, you know that really doesn't describe me at all!  As far as I'm concerned, if I'm on time, I'm late.  But in my defense, I've been working to get these pictures posted FOR A WEEK.  My computer is sick, and my internet connection is crummy.  I'm hoping to get a new computer soon, but there's nothing I can do about the internet.  So here goes.

It was Christmas.  It seems like forever ago now.  It was a fun time, an exciting time.  Mason had a two week vacation from school, and Seth had two weeks of vacation time left to use before the end of the year so he ended up being home with us for nearly three weeks.
For the only the second time since I married and left Georgia nearly 13 years ago, we did not make a trip to Georgia during the holidays.  The first time was the year my Christmas baby Hannah Kate was born.  And this time I was honestly just too tired to make the long trip, and the days just didn't work out for us.  Sometimes when I think about that, it makes me a little bit sad.  But I also know God's hand was in that decision a few months ago because only He knew how it was all going to turn out.
Since we were not going there, Pop and Mimi came here to see us.  They came the week before Christmas and stayed several days.
The night before they left, we opened the Georgia gifts.  They came loaded down!  I'm going to be honest.  It kills me to do this, but the pictures in this post just aren't going to be in order.  They didn't load in order, and it's just going to take me too long to get everything where it needs to be.  So that's just how it's going to be for now because I'm ready to get this posted so we can move on to bigger and better things.

I really think that I've always loved Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day, even as a child.  It's a day that was always full of tradition for my family, which I cherish.  There are some great memories on that day in years past.  Besides, I loved the anticipation of what was going to be waiting for me the following morning. 

This year was no exception.  This is a Christmas Eve that I will FOREVER remember.  It began with a trip that morning to the pediatrician (no, that's not why I will forever remember it).  Precious Ellie was diagnosed with a double ear infection and was on the verge of RSV.  I was not surprised at the ear infection, as she had not been napping or sleeping for several nights prior, and she had gotten so fussy and just was not her sweet self.  I was so hoping we would all be healthy during the holiday since we spent Thanksgiving with the flu, but that was not to be.  I was, however, thankful that Ellie was able to start antibiotics to hopefully be feeling a little better on her first Christmas day.

When I got home with her, I began cooking my dishes for Christmas day lunch with Seth's family.  I actually wanted to get up and have a large brunch with my own little family, a tradition I was hoping to begin this year, but that didn't happen since I had to take Ellie to the doctor.  So I decided to do it for supper instead.  There's just something about Christmas and brunch that's meant to be.  We had a breakfast pizza, grits and baked curried fruit (peaches, pears and pineapple).  Oh my, it hit the spot.
After supper and bath time, the kids opened a few more presents that had arrived in the mail from Georgia.  And I played around on my camera a little bit.  I should mention that rarely has ANYTHING I've tried from Pinterest actually turned out as advertised!  But here was an attempt.  Well.  Never mind.  For now.  That picture just jumped to the bottom of the post, and I can't get it back up here.  Oh my, I am so aggravated.  Well, you'll just have to see it later.  Okay.  Back to the presents.  From Georgia.  And another one just ended up down there as I was trying to resize it.  So you'll see it later, too.

At the bottom of this post, you will see a picture of Mason holding a spy kit.  That's one of the pictures that jumped to the bottom.  Well, here's a picture of him wearing some of the gear from the spy kit.
After they opened presents, the kids went to bed.  I stayed up and made a red velvet cheesecake.  It was the first homemade cheesecake I've ever made.  And, I have to say, it really was pretty!  And I think it was pretty good, too.  And not only that, but the top didn't even crack!  Of course, it didn't matter if it would've because I covered the top with a thin layer of more cream cheese-y goodness.  And guess what . . . the picture of that cheesecake is at the bottom of this post!

We actually had to wake the kids up on Christmas morning.  We had a short worship service at church at 8:00 so they had to wait until we got back to open their presents.  At this point, Ellie was feeling maybe a little bit better.  But I didn't even dress her in her Christmas duds because I just wanted her to be comfortable since she'd been so miserable the past few days.  And here are some Christmas morning pictures of stockings and opening presents and such.

Hannah Kate thought it was so funny when she pulled some undies out of her stocking!  I don't know why.  But she couldn't stop giggling.

This picture just cracks me up.  Mason was showing Ellie was all was in her stocking.

After we opened presents, we went to PawPaw and MawMaw's house.  I'm not sure what the girls are laughing at, but Abbie was showing them something on her new Ipad.
We ate lunch and then had to wait a few hours for Avery and Beau to arrive from Houston before opening presents.  There's nothing like an exciting game of Twister to pass the time!
And then it started raining, and the power went out!  It was still out when Avery and Beau arrived.  And mean ole Aunt Julie wouldn't let anyone open presents until the lights came back on.  It was Ellie's first Christmas, and I wanted pictures.  Yes, my camera has a flash.  That isn't the point.  I also wanted to see what everyone got!  My children nor my niece were particularly happy with me at this point.  So PawPaw went to the gas station to get some gas for the generator.  And right about that time, electricity was restored.  So the opening of the presents got underway.
Barry, Ashley and Abbie gave everyone t-shirts from their camp in Cocodrie.  Yes, Ellie got one, too, but she was actually napping when I took this picture, and I didn't want to wake her up.

When Ellie woke up, we opened her presents.  Here's her shirt!

Mason got this really cool electric scooter.
And, yall, I'll be honest.  Several days later (meaning after January 1), I dressed Ellie in her Christmas dress before I took down the last tree and took her picture!
Oh, and this would be the little Christmas buffet (ham and cheese melts, baked potato soup, broccoli salad, spinach and artichoke dip, pepper jelly cream cheese spread) I served the night we opened presents with my parents . . . you know . . . BEFORE Christmas . . . again, some of the pictures that should've been at the top.
I cut the cream cheese in the shape of a Christmas tree and covered it with pepper jelly.  I think next time I'll use green pepper jelly.  I used red because I wanted the chopped parsley to show up.
These yummy ham and cheese melts with a poppyseed glaze on top are actually courtesy of Pinterest and are actually some of my favorites!
And here are the Georgia presents.

If you're looking for a great gift for some of the boys in your life, big or small, this is it!  We have this in Mason's room for now, and it's a lot of fun!
Yeah, I don't know what's up with this, but before I knew it, this was walking around the family room.  I guess he was bored.

And now Ellie is ready to take a road trip!  First stop . . . Georgia!
And yall will never believe what Hannah Kate got.  Another one.  Meet Marie Grace Gardner.  She joins Emily Bennett.  Now there are two American Girl dolls in our house.  Can I just tell you . . . Hannah Kate still hardly knows what to do!  Remember when the Today Show was giving away American Girl dolls at deeply discounted prices . . . well, folks, it was the real deal.  It's my understanding that Cindy's Flower Shop had to close their doors a few hours one morning because they couldn't be interrupted because they were trying to win a doll.  And they did!
Well, look-y here.  It's the red velvet cheesecake I made!
And the picture I was trying to recreate from a Pinterest idea.

And the spy kit that came with the glasses and mustache you saw earlier.
And so that was some of our Christmas in pictures.  As for me, well, I received the BEST. GIFT. EVER. on Christmas Eve night . . . but that's another post for another day real soon.  Promise!

And, as for Ellie, well . . . I took her back to the doctor last Monday.  The first round of antibiotics did not heal the ear infection.  So we started another round.  As of today, she is doing a little better . . . sleeping better, at least . . . but I'm not convinced her ears are completely healed.  I foresee another trip to the pediatrician in our near future.  And the weekend after Christmas, Hannah Kate had a flare up with her asthma.  I don't know how, but we managed to stay out of the emergency room this time, and she is doing much better now.  So between the ear infections and the asthma, I really am glad we were here for that and not in Georgia.  Again, God knew where we needed to be.

So last week Mason returned to school, and it's back to life as usual.  Or is it . . . exciting things are coming!  (And, no, it does not involve another baby . . . just to clear that up in case you're wondering.)

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