Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Festivities

It's hard to believe that Christmas is over already. I don't think I'm ready to take down the decorations yet. I feel like we just got home from Texas and I still need more time with my Christmas lights!! Maybe later today we'll venture into town and I can buy some more to stash away for next year! Really... you can never have too many lights. (Unless they're colored lights... then that first strand might to be many...)

Well, I know you're not here to read about my obsession with lights and garland, so here's the rundown of our Christmas festivities:

On Sunday we drove to Billings on our way to Roundup. Leif's brother Eric had a gift for Ellie and he wanted to play racquetball with Leif. So we met up at the mall (ack! Do you KNOW how many crazies are at the mall 2 days before Christmas!?) and had lunch, then went to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. That was Eric's gift to Ellie. She got to pick out a bear (or in her case, a kitty) and an outfit, and they stuffed her animal for her, right there in front of us! And Ellie is completely enamored with her kitty. She hugs it and cuddles it and totes it around - and leaves it mostly naked because she thinks the clothes are for her, despite the fact that she is WAAAAY to big for those little pants!

After the Build-A-Bear experience, we split up. Ellie and I stayed at the mall while Leif and Eric went to play racquetball. Ellie isn't much for crowds, so she stayed strapped in the stroller while we walked around stores. In fact, Ellie is so anti-crowd that Leif tried to let her walk around holding his hand and she walked for a couple feet, then clung to his leg, and finally just said, "Stroller! Stroller!" because there were too many people. Poor girl. So we wandered around until I found a wonderful little coffee shop that was sequestered from the rest of the bustling mall. I was getting a pretty bad headache and figured we still had an hour to kill before the boys were done playing, so Ellie and I settled into an empty seating area of the coffee shop and passed the time - I with my coffee and she with the oh-so-handy-when-traveling-with-toddlers portable DVD player and a Baby Einstein. After about an hour, Leif called to say that his glasses had gotten broken during the game and they were going to Costco to fix them before heading back to the mall. About the same time, the DVD player battery died. I was still feeling pretty dizzy and headachy, so Ellie and I headed out to the car to wait for Leif to return. Ellie got to sit in the driver's seat and thought she was just so cool. It was grand.

After our stop in Billings, we continued on to Roundup so we could spend Christmas Eve day with Leif's family. We stayed with Great Grandpa and Gayle and Ellie made herself right at home. She got to spend a little time with Great Grandpa:

And play with Brownie:

And read with Grandad:

And spend time with Grammee:

And read books before going to bed. For the first time in a looong time we slept in the same room as Ellie (though she went to bed hours before we did) and we decided that we'll try to avoid doing that in the future. She is a noisy sleeper!

On Christmas Eve, we awoke to a little voice saying "Mommy! Mommy!" Leif got Ellie some milk, then we all snuggled together in bed until Ellie got so wiggly we all decided to get up. It was Christmas Eve!! We started off the day by visiting Great Aunt Lillian, who is 102.

Ellie made herself right at home there, too. Aunt Lillian had stuffed animals for her to play with.

She even let Ellie play with and try on her necklace! And Ellie does love necklaces...

After visiting Aunt Lillian, we visited Chris Wanner. Then we headed back to Grandpa's for lunch and gifts! Ellie had fun opening gifts, but got tired of that after a while and decided just to be the center of attention instead:

It sounded like a snowstorm was coming our way, so we decided to get on the road a little earlier than originally planned, but not before we took a family picture for the holidays:

Despite some nasty road conditions through the Bozeman pass, we made it home safe and sound on Christmas Eve. We put Ellie to bed and went to bed ourselves. Then we woke up the next morning for a beautiful white Christmas!! We put on the Christmas music, sat down to a scrambled eggs and toast breakfast, and enjoyed our morning. After breakfast I read the Christmas story to Ellie from her Children's Illustrated Bible.

Then it was time to open presents!!

From Mommy and Daddy Ellie got a baby doll and a little stroller.

They were fun and all, but quickly discarded for her gift from Mommom and Poppy... A Little People Airplane!

After all the gifts were opened, I think Ellie had the most fun playing in the wrapping paper:

In the afternoon the Taylors came over for Christmas dinner. They brought turkey and dressing and yambake... Mmmm!

Ellie and Corinne had a great time playing together (though Ellie is finding it increasingly difficult to share her toys). We adults had fun playing, too! We played Chronology - if you've never played it, we definitely recommend it. It's one of our favorites. You can play it while you're distracted, and each game goes pretty quickly. So it's perfect for parents of little ones.

We ended Christmas day with a family time of snuggling in bed and reading our own books. After a while Ellie got off the bed, curled up on the floor with a blanket and said, "Night night." It was precious. She went to bed without a fuss and Leif decided that this was the best Christmas ever.


Jaime said...

I love the picture of two little girls in Christmas dresses. So cute.

You might have mentioned this on your blog before, but what camera do you use? Is it for advanced users? :-) Your photos always look so clear and crisp and great!

Elizabeth Wickland said...

We use a Nikon D80 which is a DSLR, so we can switch out the lenses and adjust all the settings to get things *just* how we want them. Leif is much better at it than I am and I'm glad that it has an auto setting as well!

Jenn said...

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas - minus the mall episode. Seriously if you are ever "stranded", call! I'm sure our little girls would love to play together...and my house provides coffee treats and less crowds!