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Lilly’s First Christmas

January 15, 2012

I’m going to try to update you on a full month’s worth of material in just one post.  Hold on to your hats.

Mid-Decemberish, Lilly and I headed to Milwaukee for a few days to visit Nana, Grandpa, & the gang.  I have fond memories of baking Christmas cookies with my mom, grandma, & great-grandma, as well as aunts & cousins, and hope to recreate these special occasions for Lil as she grows, too.  (This is when I get a little sad that we don’t live closer to family – I hate for Lil to miss out on special memories with her family.)  Anyways, if I’m being completely honest, I’d intended to make cookies when I made the plans to travel in November… but by the time I actually got to my parent’s house, I was pooped and not too interested in cooking baking.  Fortunately, my sister took the reigns and was the motivating force behind the cookies this year.  Which, btw, I ate on my way home from MKE.  Oh, yikes.


Upon our return from Milwaukee, Lil and I had a week and a half to finish getting everything together for Christmas and to just hang out.  I was off for the entire month of December, and it was wonderful.  I was so happy to get to spend time with my girl, rocking out to Christmas music and watching her grow.

We returned to my parent’s house in MKE 3 days before Christmas, our car stuffed with the two dogs and Lil and all of the stuff that inevitably accompanies these three.  Jason requested a lunch break stop at Flossmore Station – because he’s on a mission to visit every brewpub ever made and because Lil needs a break to feed/get a clean diaper during the 4-5 hour car ride anyways.  But mostly the first reason. 🙂

So we arrived mid-afternoon.  I think our dogs were pleased to be reunited with their buddy, Comet (my parent’s dog), and the humans were all very pleased by how well the dogs got along.  They were pretty calm and cool during the entire visit, having only a few chasing/barking/growling matches.  Also, the three of them are really cute when lined in a row waiting for treats.  They match!

My mom’s Christmas decorations were over the top awesome this year, and helped to get in the Christmas spirit, despite my coming down with some sort of coldy-sinusy something.  It’s the second or third time I’ve been sick in the past two months, and I’m always amazed that Lil doesn’t get sick (other than a little runny nose or cough here or there).  Must be the super-immunity that I’m passing to her (amazing).


Friday was spent shopping for last minute Christmas gifts, and then my mom organized a men’s paintball outing for my dad, brothers, uncle, possibly-future-brother-in-law, and Jason.  Because nothing says Merry Christmas like shooting people (especially family).


Can you believe Jason has never shot a gun of any kind before?  He looks like a natural.  I think it’s his grumpy old man vibe.


As a side note, we’re now considering purchasing paintball supplies & solving all conflicts in the woods out back.  Might be fun. 🙂

Christmas Eve was our first annual family broomball tournament, in which long lost second cousins emerged from outta nowhere wearing camo and college t-shirts.  (The first cousins were in grass skirts and top hats.) We somehow managed to field 7 teams of 4-5 member each, and had some pretty rad team uniforms out there, if I do say so myself.


Aren’t we all a sight to behold?


And my skillz!  Oh!  Let’s just say that my broomball skillz helped plant my team firmly in last place.  We’re blaming it on the fact that 1/2 of our Christmas-sweater-wearing team was sick, but it’s probably more that we’re all totally out of shape.


Jason did bring his A-game, though.  And his sparkly Santa vest.  So there’s that.

In the evening, we headed to my parent’s church for a candle-light Christmas Eve service.  (And also for the animal sightings — this year’s Christmas mouse during the children’s sermon didn’t let us down… especially with all sorts of cheesy puns.)  Then, to my grandparent’s house for food, presents, and the standard show-off-the-baby routine.


Lil’s nana bought her a special plaid dress for the occasion.  (We actually made Lil try on 4 in the store before I ultimately chose the plaid.  She is such a trooper.)  So, of course I had to get a picture of the plaid pants duo with my plaid baby (my grandparent’s awesome plaid pants make an appearance every Christmas).

Lilly opened her first round of presents.  And, to be honest, I was really surprised by how into it she was.  She had her eye on the prize… or at least on the wrapping paper.  She could have (and did) play with the wrapping paper forever.  She was slightly less concerned with what was in the actual packaging.


The next morning, Lil woke up to a ridiculous amount of presents under Nana & Grandpa’s tree.  I find myself still amazed and enchanted by the number of packages under my parents tree each year, even though I personally know Santa now. So much work to make such a special morning… and once again, my mom Santa nailed it.


I wonder if our tree will ever have that many packages beneath it?  (I am charmed by the idea of a simple Christmas in which each child only receives a few gifts, but am fairly certain that I don’t have the self-restraint to participate.  Even this Christmas, I said I wasn’t going to buy Lilly much because she is more interested in her own hands than just about anything else… and she’s still got unopened presents under the tree!)


We see a lot of this little tongue these days.  I think someone is learning to move it, hopefully in preparation for eating real food!


It actually took us a few hours to get around to opening all of the presents.  Lil had to take a nap mid-present opening because the excitement was just too much. 🙂


Yes.  I just posted a picture of my pajama-clad, showerless self on the internet.  Sigh.

I made brother Robby the best homemade Christmas gift of all time, the beard-hat.


I’ve been admiring these things entirely too long, but couldn’t handle the $40 price tag on the knit ones on etsy.  So, I bought a $4 hat from Target and sewed a beard-shaped piece of fleece to it.  (There is a separate moustache piece attached to the beard above his lip, so when he talks, the whole operation moves with his mouth.)  I’d really like to know if brother Robby has been walking around my alma mater (where he attends college) wearing this little number.


Overall, it was a really great morning.  We got some super gifts (and hopefully gave some super gifts).  My sister was this year’s DIY-er, topping my DIY beard hat with a sweet little quilt made of different textured materials for Lilly and a photo album compilation of all of my pregnancy posts for me.  I can only imagine how long that book must have taken her!  And it was something that I was meaning to do, but would never have the time to do myself.  I really treasure that book… so thoughtful.

Also, my mom got me a carpet cleaner.  Do you think she’s trying to tell me something? 🙂


After we exchanged presents at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve, we headed back to my grandparent’s house for Christmas dinner.  I dressed Lilly in a little green dress and her striped hat, and she was the cutest little elf I’ve ever seen.  I put together the outfit on a dare from my cousin, who promised to don her own elf costume if I made one for Lil.  Promise fulfilled!  Two little elves at Christmas dinner!


I should mention that this Christmas was also really special because Lilly got to meet three of my cousins that she hadn’t met yet.  So it was super-fun introducing her to them, and I think they (especially my cousin Catherine) were quite happy to hold and play with her.


Such pretty girls!  Cousin Catherine moved to Colorado and now we don’t get to see her much… but she’s gonna graduate from college soon, and I really think she should start looking for jobs in Michigan…


We barely remembered to take a family photo.  But here is one:


The day after Christmas, we celebrated with my mom’s family.  They are all so funny – we laugh so much.  This year’s most hilarious moment was when my cousins revealed to my aunt that they had been secretly stashing toys within her little town of Bethlehem display…  there were tiny transformers amongst the village shoppers, green army men hidden in the buildings, and lego guys hanging out with the angels atop the buildings.  So. funny.  (Also funny is the fact that my aunt may actually have more character figurines in her tiny town of Bethlehem than there actually were people in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.)


The following day, we left Lil with Nana and went out for 4 childless hours.  Awesome.  We all know I am crazy about the girl, but there’s something strangely liberating about going to Target without having to pull the infant carrier from it’s perch in the back seat.  I felt so light!  (probably because I was no longer carrying 16 lbs of baby and another 10 of gear.)  It’s also nice to have some time alone with Jason.  We still like each other.


And then, we were home, and Lilly’s cousins & their parents came to visit us.  Poor little Lucy was sick the first day, but Lil was entertained by her cousins Peter & Thomas in the meantime…  Luckily, Lucy recovered quickly and was able to play on the second day of their visit.  It’s really cool to see the bigger kids – whom we’ve adored since they were tiny babies themselves – love on our little one.  They are just so sweet with her.  We didn’t do too much in the two days that they visited, but I think it was a pretty good visit anyways.


We chose to celebrate our own little family Christmas on New Year’s Eve.  We opened presents with Lil in the afternoon.  She was dressed in her Christmas best for the occasion, of course.


We started the present opening by Skyping (that’s a verb, right?) Lilly’s grandparents in Jersey so that they could watch her open the gifts that they sent her.  We are loving that all of Lil’s grandparents are tech-saavy enough to be able to communicate with her in this way.


Once again, paper reigned supreme as most interesting item!  She was such a champ opening her presents, pulling at the paper and crinkling it with her fingers.  And she was so blessed to get such wonderful presents…  I really appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness this year, and the fact that most of her gifts were not of the super-annoying variety.  I could compile a list of her faves (okay, mine, really) if anyone thinks that would be interesting/informative.


The dogs had a pretty great Christmas, too.  I made them new dog beds (just a piece of 1.5″ foam inside a zippered pillow cover made of fleece).  The dogs love the new beds.


They were also given a present each – Jezzie dug right in and began ripping the paper.


Barley, on the other hand, was a bit more cautious.  Presumably, he was afraid he’d get in trouble for ripping stuff up.


After a bit of prompting, though, he began unwrapping his bone.  You’ll be happy to know that both bones were thoroughly enjoyed by both dogs.  They’re really good at sharing.


Back to Lilly.  Jason and I bought her a few gifts – wood rattles, bath toys, etc.  And we decided we’d each get her something special.  I bought her Itsy Bitsy Yoga.  It’s no secret that I love yoga, and this book came highly recommended.  It’s a series of song/movement combos that are geared for different stages of baby development.  Basically, it gives me something to do with her, and she really enjoys the movements.  I wish we had had it since last July!  Really fun.

Jason’s special gift?  A beer-themed onesie and pint glass for his little brewing assistant.  I like to give him a hard time about it because it’s not really age-appropriate or baby-appropriate gift (maybe the onesie is?), but I do like the way that he includes her in whatever he’s doing in the kitchen, whether it’s making beer or cooking our dinner.


I also would like us to start the tradition of giving homemade gifts – this year, I made Lil a block using different fabrics and she seems to enjoy feeling the different textures.  More on my recent craftiness soon (I hope).

In future years, I hope to prepare a nice meal together & chat about goals/resolutions for the new year.

This year, we were supposed to go to our friends house for their awesome annual New Year’s party, but we were exhausted from the sickness, travel, and visitors of the previous weeks, and Lilly had a case of the crankies from a small cold.  So we ate crap for dinner and didn’t make it out of the house.  Oh well.  I think Jason and I may have had a minute to say Happy New Year! to each other between Lilly wakings… her poor little nose was so stuffy, and if I remember correctly, she was awake from about 2-4:45am that night, and Jason slept in the guest room for his first sleep of 2012 so that one of us could get enough sleep to deal with Lil in the morning.  I know, we’re party animals.

Phew.  Caught up from the holidays, and it’s only the third week of January…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2012 7:16 pm

    Not quite sure where to start – so much in there!

    You obviously have a wonderful close (if not close in actual miles) family who are game for a laugh, fun and socialising.

    Thanks for sharing it all, and I am sure Lily will appreciate such a detailed record of her early life.

    So when are you planning on sharing Ireland with Lily?

  2. mom permalink
    January 15, 2012 11:52 pm

    Love all the photos but my favorites are Lilly’s tongue-in-gifts and Barley’s wide-eyed gaze as he watches Jezzie rip open her gift. He really looks scared/surprised that she is doing it! Funny!!! We loved having you guys and this year was exceptional….rest assured, no mountain of gifts every year.

  3. January 16, 2012 2:12 pm

    Looks like an awesome time! Her dress was precious! Carter was right there with Lily and the wrapping paper. Ripping it was great fun!

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