Monday, December 28, 2009

Jam Packed Weekend

Well Christmas is over. All the planning and the shopping and the decorating and baking has hit it's climax and now it's back to normal life. In some ways it's so sad, but in others it is a relief to have it done. I'm especially glad the spending is done. Our wallets couldn't take much more.

Since we stayed home this year we tried to start some traditions that will hopefully last for many many years. Our Christmas eve was planned down to a T in order to get our non-sleeping, full of energy, little girl in bed so Santa could come. We purposely skipped a nap and planned on dinner at 6:30. I made a pot of chili, which I have not done in ages, it was really good. Then Ainsley got to open one gift. Clif and my mom got to open one as well. All three held new Christmas PJ's. After that we got ready and headed to Christmas Eve service at a nearby church.

I was not thrilled with the Christmas Eve service. I always try and make it to church, but things often come up and when they don't, well I'm tired and don't always feel like dragging my butt out of bed to make it. Therefore, when a church service is needed, I never know where to go. We chose this church because it is so close to our house. However, I've been there before and have not been very happy with the services. The church that I normally go to, if I make it, only had a candlelight service at 11PM and we didn't want to wait that late. The service was just very dry. The music was mediocre and it was LOOOONG. I expect a Christmas Eve service to be full of carols and Christmas stories and last less than an hour. We pushed an hour and a half on this one. I was really happy when it was over. We will have to find a new place for next year...maybe my resolution should be to actually make it to church on a more regular basis and then I wouldn't have to seek out a place on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, after church we drove around to see the Christmas lights. This was a lot of fun. We had printed a list of tacky lights in town from a local website and we created our own little tour. Ainsley was asleep 3 houses in. Everything was working out as planned.

We saw some amazing displays. I am in awe of this stuff. We can't even get our bushes lit up and these houses are incredible. I can't even begin to imagine how much time and planning it takes. The last house we saw before heading home even broadcast it's own radio station and the lights went to the beat of whatever song was playing. Amazing!

We then headed home and got Ainsley all snug in her crib. Then Santa was able to stop by for some cookies and leave all of Ainsley's gifts.

The next morning when Ainsley woke up she was a bit confused. I took her to immediately get a diaper change and started telling her how Santa came and left all of her presents and she got very excited, but when we got to the living room she was very let down. I said "Ainsley did Santa come?" and she said "Not yet!" I think she expected to see Santa in her living room. So we had to try and explain that Santa doesn't stick around, that he has lots of other children to visit. She seemed OK with it once the gift unwrapping started.

Last year, Ainsley only wanted to open gifts. She'd pull every bit of wrapping paper off a box and then move on to the next without even noticing what was inside. This time, she wanted to open and play with every present. We had to keep pushing her to open more.

At first Ainsley was not super excited with the Kitchen set she got...however, she played with it all day. Every so often she'd say "Mommy, you want more toffee?" or "Daddy, you want pizza?" then she'd go and make it. So I think it was a good call on the Kitchen Santa, thanks!

Christmas day was a very lazy day. We didn't get our of our PJ's all day. I haven't done that in a very long time. Clif and I made dinner and we ate around 5. Isn't the table pretty? We got to use our China for the first time ever.

After a very long day, Ainsley passed out on the couch...that never happens...while we watched a movie.

Saturday my mom left and Auntie Keek came to visit. We also met up with some friends for some dinner. It was nice to have a day to relax and enjoy after all the Christmas craziness.

Sunday my friend Carrie came into town with her family. She has a little girl that is 1 week younger than Ainsley. They have VERY different personalities, but they always seem to play well together. They stopped by the house for a bit and Ainsley and Addie played with the kitchen. Then later that evening we went to their hotel room where the daddies took the girls swimming in the indoor pool. Ainsley does not have a lot of experience in pools but she loved it. She had a perpetual grin on her face.

It was a busy but fun weekend. I'm so happy that we decided to stay at home, it was so great. I absolutely loved it. I wish that we had all of our loved ones closer so we could see them all on the holidays, but since that's not the case this is definitely the next best thing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

White Christmas - In more ways than one

It looks like this term will have a dual meaning for us this year. First of all, we are staying home for Christmas and we are all very excited about it because we will actually have a White Christmas. You know, every year we buy a tree and decorate and get ready for Christmas, and then we leave it all to spend the holiday with my family or with Clif's family. And that's always nice, but it definitely is not as much fun to decorate your own home and get ready for Christmas when you have to leave it all behind.

So this year, I was so excited about decorating because we're actually going to enjoy it. Here are some pics of the house.

Our tree, which has a gazillion ornaments on it. I've gotten one every year from the time I was born. My Grandma Pugh always did something special. She either made them or had them engraved or picked a special picture...but always our name and year was included. Then when she passed away my mother continued the tradition with always buying us one special ornament that had our name and the year on it. So the year my softball team won states, I got a little glove and ball with the year on it. Then when I joined a sorority I got a turtle with DZ written on it. When I was pregnant with Ainsley I got a hen sitting on an egg knitting. And so forth and so get the picture. It was always something special and meaningful. Decorating the tree is definitely my favorite part of Christmas decorations because I get to remember each ornament and what it means. We started doing the same for Ainsley, but considering my mom gets her an ornament and my in-laws get her some every year...we've decided to leave that tradition to the grandparents. Just like our grandparents did for us when we were growing up.

Next to the tree, I decorated the TV stand a bit. Nothing much.

Here are our stockings, which I LOVE!!! I just bought them this year because we've never had a need for them before. Now hopefully, next year when baby brother arrives we'll be able to get him one to match. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a pet stocking for Brinkley. I did find some on line but by the time I looked there it was too late to get it here by Christmas. So I think Gatsby and Brinkley will be sharing this year.

I hang the cards on the banister, high above little fingers reach. I did not get around to sending cards this year. I tried...I got my list mostly ready, but never got a chance. I hate not sending cards, so there is a slight chance I will snap a great picture of Ainsley on Christmas day and get them out afterwards. So if you get a Christmas card from me next week...well, sorry it's late. And if you don't get didn't make the cut. Kidding...just didn't send them.

I have two nativity scenes...actually I have three. I just couldn't find a place for the third one. All three my mom gave me. These are kind of out of the way from Ainsley so she's not all over them all the time. She does like the little one though. She carries baby Jesus around and talks about his birthday.

Here is one of Ainsley's advent calendars. We bought her a very cheap one, which you'll see in the next picture, and then decided she needed one with chocolate. Christmas wouldn't really be Christmas without it.

This is the island in the kitchen. Funny story about the bowl. I bought this like 3 or 4 years ago to put on our coffee table with floating candles. Well that idea kind of sucked. It was just messy. So this year I said to Clif "I think I will buy gold ornaments to go in the bowl." Well I pulled it down from the cabinet tops and it already had gold ornaments in it. Apparently I thought of this a year or so ago.

Notice that the cookie plate looks much barer than before. And there is the other advent calendar.

These are Ainsley's Christmas place mats. The Rudolph one was Clif's when he was a little guy.

Ainsley helped me put up these clings on the window. She loved helping me with it.

These are the White House ornaments that Clif's parent's get us every year. They are so pretty that we don't want them to get lost on the tree so we try and display them elsewhere. Unfortunately, I did not get a great picture of them...but they really are pretty and unique.

This is the plate and cup for Santa's cookies and milk. I think Denise bought this for us last year. Who knew they made such a thing? As a kid we just put ours on a napkin.

Finally, here is the wreath. Why is it inside my house? Well, I made this wreath a few years ago, and I thought I should buy a new one this year. Well, I never found one that I really liked at a price I liked, so it never got done. I hung this one inside while I was looking and never moved it. Since our lights outside were a big bust this year, I figure we'll just have decorations inside the house.

The second type of white Christmas, is actually a white Christmas. We got a ton of snow dumped on us this past weekend, and it doesn't look like it's going to be gone by Christmas. Let me preface this by saying I am not a snow person. I like snow if it is pretty and I don't have anywhere to go and if it goes away quickly. However, now I have a child and children love snow so we bundled ourselves up on Sunday and took Ainsley outside. Warning: you will laugh at these pictures...please keep in mind that we live in Richmond, VA and that we get a snow like this maybe once a year...but more like a few times a decade. So I don't buy snow gear for any of us. I realize she looks like a little ragamuffin.

She wore tights, leggings, jeans, 2 shirts, a jacket, a thick vest, some of my gloves wrapped with Ziploc bags and duct tape. She did have a pair of snow boots which were handed down to me from a work friend.

The dogs love the snow and are constantly asking to go out in it.

Clif taught her to throw snow balls...though with the Ziplock bag hands, it was tough.

I think she had fun. However, she was done when we decided to go inside. There was no fighting to stay out longer. She couldn't walk because the snow was up to her thighs. Mostly she liked to eat the snow and make snow angels.

Here's a video of Ainsley's first snow angel...

Clif also started to build a snow man but it turned into a snow sofa. Whatever, Ainsley liked to sit on it.

Well that's about it. We are busy, busy, busy getting ready for Santa's arrival. I probably won't post again until this weekend where I'll have lots of Christmas pics. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and I wish you could all be with us.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Cookies

This year I let Ainsley help with the Christmas cookies, so beware if you eat any cookies at my house...we lost an egg shell in some batter, we melted Hershey kisses all over our hands and we did LOTS of taste testing.

Sometimes Ainsley is very into the baking...other times not so much.

We only made three types this year: Chocolate Chip (which I have to say are the best I've ever made...I am not really a baker, so sometimes my stuff does not turn out the best), Peanut Butter Balls and Peanut Blossoms. I may still make sugar cookies so Ainsley can decorate them, but it will really just depend on time. We'll see.

Ainsley was very good about unwrapping the Hershey kisses for the Peanut Blossoms

She only ate every 3rd or 4th one.

Ainsley loves the peanut butter balls...they are definitely her favorite.

Here is the finished product, but right now it's not so pretty...the plate is mostly gone.

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