Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Home at Last

In the last week, we've been to Texas, Kansas, and Roundup. We've seen both sets of grandparents, both sets of great grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.... and Ellie had three celebrations to commemorate her first Christmas. No travel glitches (despite flying through Denver on the 17th and 24th - completely missed the mayhem there, thankfully) or schedule hangups. Just a wonderful holiday. We spent lots of time with family and just enjoyed the relationships God has given us. We hope you had a wonderful holiday as well. Since we were gone and I haven't posted for a week (I decided not to even try with the dial-up connection in Texas), here's a recap of our holidays:

We left at 6am to drive two hours to the Billings airport. We had a 10:30 flight out and weren't sure what road conditions would be like, so we gave ourselves plenty of time. We met up with a family friend to drop off the car for the week and he took us to the airport. Our flight was delayed (oh - I guess that was a minor travel glitch), so when we landed in Denver, we had 10 minutes to run 35 gates to catch our next flight. We made it to the gate as they were about to close the door, but we made it. Whew. The flights were uneventful and we landed in Dallas safe and sound. Of course, Mommom, Poppy, and Uncle Robert were so happy to see Eliana.

Uncle Robert with Eliana.

Poppy spending some quality time with his granddaughter.

Things at my parents house were a little crazy this trip. They're in the middle of remodeling their kitchen and dining room. The project was supposed to have been done by Christmas, but, well.... a week before we arrived someone ran off the road and drove a truck into my parents' house. Yes, INTO the house. So.... there was a little re-working to do. Despite not having a kitchen (the fridge and microwave were in a spare bedroom and the dishes were washed in the front bathroom) and having extra furniture stashed in the rooms, it still felt like home, thanks to my amazing mom. There weren't the holiday decorations that normally adorn their home at this time of year, but I can't say that it was any less Christmas without them. It was just so wonderful to share part of Ellie's first Christmas with them. Thanks for letting us come visit amidst your remodeling, Mom and Dad. We really enjoyed it. Oh - and the house looks GREAT. Can't wait to see it finished.

Mom even let Leif spread out his computer stuff and build a computer while we were there. He was one happy boy putting together his new toy and then playing games on it for the duration of the trip. The computer even made it home in one piece after being checked as baggage on the plane. I'm not sure it's a good idea, but it worked.

Merry Geeking!

Thursday and Friday my dad flew us all (including Robert) up to see my grandparents in Kansas. This was Eliana's first time riding in a small plane and Poppy's first time taking Ellie up for a flight. She was fine for the flight, but really liked taking off and taxiing. She seems to have a need for speed - definitely Leif's daughter! It was also the first time my grandparents had seen Eliana, so it was doubly special to spend some time with them. We all had dinner with my Aunt Carolyn and cousins Jeff and Steve on Thursday night. Ellie was pretty much tired of being around new people at that point, so we finally had to head back to the hotel so she could go to bed. Again, though, it was so great to spend time, even just a little, with everyone. We flew back to Texas on Friday, but before we left Uncle Lyle and his wife Jan met us at the airport, so they could see Ellie, too. For such a brief trip, we really did manage to see everyone.

Mommom shows Ellie the world below.

The grin during takeoff.

Grand-Poppy with his great granddaughter before we ever stepped off the tarmac.

Grand-Mommom holds Ellie for the first time.

The cousins: Jeff, Elizabeth, Robert, and Steve

Saturday we celebrated Christmas as a family. We had our traditional Christmas eve dinner of crackers, cheese, and sausage and we opened gifts. To my shock, amazement, and delight, Robert made Ellie the cutest little coat - and a matching one for me! He's pretty much burned out on sewing these days, so the coats are that much more special to me. And seriously - there's nothing better than trying something on for the first time and having it fit perfectly. I don't know how he does it.

Bitikofer Family: Robert, Kathy, Eliana, Lauren, Elizabeth, Leif

Opening gifts - Ellie liked the wrapping paper AND the toy!

Sleeping in heavenly peace...

We flew out of Dallas on Sunday after church and made it to Billings and finally to Roundup at 1am on Christmas day. We stayed at Grandpa and Gayle's that night and went to visit Aunt Lillian first thing Christmas morning. It was amazing to see Aunt Lillian with Eliana. There are 101 years between them. Ellie smiled and grinned as Aunt Lillian held her. It was cute to see. Then we headed back to Grandpa's for brunch and opening gifts. It was just our family this year and we had a wonderful day. It was one of the best visits we've ever had in Roundup and I'm happy Eliana got to spend her first Christmas that way. Around 2:30 we got in the car to drive back to Bozeman. We opened the last of Ellie's gifts (from us) and enjoyed the Christmas lights and were happy to be home.

Eliana with great great aunt Lillian.

Grammee and Grandad with Eliana on Christmas morning.

It was a Merry Christmas indeed.


Anonymous said...

I love the picture of the two of you with the santa hats. She's a silly girl and we already miss her (and her parents of course). Love, the Momma

Jaime said...

Again, I have to say, Eliana is one of the most adorable little girls I've seen and she's so photogenic!

I can't believe your Aunt Lillian is 101! She looks great!

Anonymous said...

sounds like an amazing Christmas! glad you had such a wonderful (and relatively uneventful) journey (or should i say "journeys" plural?)! i missed you while you were gone from your blog(s)! - tam

Angie said...

Y'all packed a lot into such a short time!! I need to see a pic of you & Ellie in your matching coats!! Merry Christmas!