We kicked it off with a visit to our favorite tree farm to find the perfect Christmas tree. It was freezing cold that weekend. Like, in the 20s, which it basically never is in western WA. So Mr. G declared that he was absolutely not cutting down our tree, and if we wanted one, it had to be a pre-cut. Ha!
We found the perfect tree - tall and narrow. Emphasis on the tall. Somehow we ended up with like, a 10 foot tree! Luckily we have oodles of ceiling height in our living room. I also remembered that they have a Santa at this tree farm. We tried seeing him last year, but he was on his lunch break. Not the case this year!
Ruby was NOT into sitting with Santa. In the pic she's asking for me, lol. She didn't cry, but she didn't like it. Funnily enough, after that day she would say, "Ho ho ho! Lap? Picture?" over and over. And if you'd ask her if she wanted to sit on Santa's lap and take a picture, she'd say, "yeah!!!". Goof.
So we took her to see Santa and get our "real" picture done in her Christmas dress. Mr. G had the great idea (not) to go after nap to the mall Santa on a Saturday. Which meant we waited in an hour long line right at dinner time. But Ruby was a total rockstar. She loved the reindeer flying over the center of the mall, and the people watching. When it came time to sit on Santa's lap for her picture, she was again, not into it. And offended by the camera's flash. So we ended up with our second annual awkward Santa pic.
Our plan was to take Ruby over to the Red Robin at the mall for dinner after. You have to go outside the main mall to get to it, and as soon as we stepped out the door we were stopped in our tracks by a HOARD of people. We'd forgotten about Snowflake Lane, a nightly music/light show they do out there. It was insanity. So we bailed and headed back towards home (where there's another Red Robin). It was after 8:00 before Ruby got any dinner, but she was totally chill! We were so impressed with her ability to hold it together in a weird situation, and so thankful. We were totally aware that not every toddler would put up with that!
At home, we decked our halls with our giant tree, our handmade stockings, a gingerbread man garland (because of the "five little gingerbread men in a row" song we learned at school), and the Pinterest felt Christmas tree.
Plus Christmas jammies, plates, Santa sippy, reindeer antlers and festive outfits. Ruby loved it all, but was especially obsessed with reindeer. In fact, she can now say the word "reindeer" incredibly well. Christmas comes out "ki ki", and Santa is just "ho ho ho", but reindeer she's got.
I tried to do as much shopping online as possible (ha!), and nearly broke my hand making many of the gifts as well. Ok, not really, but basically every nap time was dedicated to crocheting or sewing, and now my hand absolutely needs a break.
Ruby's handmade Christmas consisted of a dolly, play food for the kitchen Santa brought her, and an apron & oven mitts as well.
I also made a scarf for my step-mom. Did I mention my hand hurts? Ha!
Finally, finally the presents were wrapped, the cookies were baked. After going to two separate grandparent's houses last year, we vowed that Christmas would henceforth be at our house (or at least it would this year). So the house was cleaned, and it was finally Christmas Eve.
Ruby helped me check the mailbox for some very last-minute gifts (and our Christmas cards, argh!!!), in one of her festive outfits.
In case you're wondering, both Snapfish and the USPS are on my naughty list. Art.com and FedEx are on the nice list (and Art.com makes the most amazing photo calendars). In fact, FedEx delivered gifts at 7:00pm Christmas Eve. Talk about cutting it close! We were sad that they didn't knock when they dropped them off, as we had a box of homemade cookies all packed up to give the driver for being out on Christmas Eve.
Since we were hosting the next day, we wanted to keep our Christmas Eve dinner simple. So I surprised Mr. G & Ruby with a homemade Christmas tree shaped pizza. They both loved it so much - I think it may be a fun new tradition!
Ruby and I made pumpkin pies after dinner. Well... We tried to. I guess I overfilled them, but right after they went into the oven, one of the pies dumped custard filling all over the bottom of my hot oven. What a mess!!! I had to turn it off and wait for it to cool down so I could clean up and try again. Let me tell you - scrubbing out my oven was not what I pictured myself doing on Christmas Eve.
Ruby didn't want to go to sleep (maybe she wanted to wait up for Santa?) so I scrubbed, while Mr. G put her to bed. Then I had to get to work building the play kitchen
we Santa got her. That thing was no joke. But by the light of the tree, and with the Christmas Story marathon getting started on tv it was pretty fun playing Santa! Oh, and the pies baked perfectly after that, so we were off to bed.
Ruby woke just before 6am (barf) so I brought her back to our bed so we could sleep more. She & Mr. G snored away, but I never got back to sleep. So I got up, made some coffee and baked our traditional Christmas morning Monkey Bread, and made sure Santa's loot looked perfect. Finally, it was time for our little girl to see what the big guy had brought!
|First peek at the tree before coming downstairs.|
|She wasted no time getting into this bag!|
|We finally had to point out the kitchen to her, but then it was pure joy!|
|Time for stockings!|
|Serious unwrapping concentration.|
|Daddy and Braidy had to help her "opo" this one.|
And then I stopped taking pictures and we got to opening the gifts under the tree. Ruby got into ripping the paper and had herself a grand old time. The kitchen was a HUGE hit, and the crocheted eggs I made her seem to be her favorite. Which is good, because they were a major PITA. Ha! Once gifts were opened, we trekked up to the kitchen for our traditional Monkey Bread and eggs for Christmas breakfast. Ruby thought she'd died and gone to heaven with the sugariness of it. Then she went back to playing and we got to work cleaning up before family came!
As I stepped out of the shower, Mr. G came in to tell me he'd gone to start the ham, and smoke was POURING out of the oven!!! We're guessing there was some dish soap residue from when I'd cleaned it out the night before (that pie mess wouldn't come out without it, but I thought I'd rinsed it completely). But it was so strange because we'd cooked the pies and bread without a problem! Our house smelled HORRIBLE and was full of smoke, so we had to open all the windows. A bit later, he told me that it was ok and now the ham was cooking. So who knows what happened, but I guess this was the year we almost burned the house down. Twice.
When I was getting Ruby into her Christmas dress, she told me she wanted to go down and "cook eggies". Which is exactly what she did. And I died of the adorableness of it all.
Soon, our relatives came pouring in. My mom, dad & stepmom, Mr. G's parents and brother, and my older brother, sister-in-law, and niece were all here. The only one missing was my little brother (in DC with his girlfriend's family. I stopped taking pics again and just enjoyed it. Everybody brought food that we grazed on all afternoon. Ruby and her cousin Frankie (almost 5yrs) played together the whole time. It was the first time I'd really seen her play with another child, not just alongside, and it was so amazing.
We skipped Ruby's nap, and even though we could see her getting more and more tired, she was SUCH a little trooper. Her sweet, charming self the whole time. Not one single meltdown. It was more that I could ask of any toddler, and we all just marveled at her.
There was more gift opening, of course. Ruby played Santa. As long as you told her who a gift was for, she'd hand it to the right person. It was adorable, of course. Then more eating, drinking, being merry. Oh, and my brother brought these remote control helicopter things, which basically turned the men into little boys.
We Skyped our other brother. Talking to his nieces was the highlight of his night.
Ruby could barely keep her eyes open anymore, and just about fell asleep in Mr.G's arms. So he took her up to put her to bed, and she fell asleep mid-diaper change! That's a sign of a kid who enjoyed some Christmas, I think! Our family gathered their things, and everyone made their way out to go home. Mr. G and I cleaned up a little bit, but decided just to leave it and watch the last few minutes of the last airing of a Christmas Story.
All in all, it was a perfect day. A great shindig with the family. Everything turned out great, everyone got along and had a good time. And best of all, Ruby did. We couldn't have asked for anything more.
I hope that all of your holidays were as wonderful as ours, and merry everything from our family to yours!