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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

And There You Have It...

Ah, Christmas. Is it just me, or does it feel like it was 3 months ago already? I truly love this holiday. I don't even mind winter....up until New Year's Day. But, come Jan. 2nd, I am ready for spring and for all the decorations to be put up till next year. Unfortunately, Canadian genies do not grant such wishes. Spring is a LONG. LONG. LONG. time away. (Except for the fact that we're off to Florida in a month!)

Christmas 2009 rocked. I think every Christmas is pretty awesome, and this one did not disappoint. We did things a little differently this year. We went (what we consider to be) super low-key. Low-key on the gift-giving. Low-key on the parties. Low-key on the decorations. It all resulted in HIGH-KEY enjoyment.

Every year I am frustrated with the process of Christmas and vow not to succumb to the commercialism of it all. And, it seems like every year I end up caving. But this year I was really proud of myself. We spent $50 max on Ellie. The only other person we really bought anything for was sweet Zach. There was no last-minute rush to the stores filled with psycho shoppers (because I NEVER fulfill my resolution to "shop early this year"). There was no wrap-fest, watching Richard sit on the floor for hours, getting all the presents ready. There will be no screams of anguish when the credit card statements arrive this month. And guess what? As far as I know, no one cared. I'm certain that Ellie didn't care. She got her Sesame Street camera and she's good to go for another year. She was absolutely thrilled to spend 4 straight days with Mommy, Daddy and all those other family members and friends.

Now, after saying all of that, I was actually pleasantly surprised that, for the first time, Ellie was into her presents. She didn't care if the gifts were $5 or $50, but she *did* care if they were given at all. For the first time ever, we were able to use her Christmas gifts as bribes, er, I mean incentives. "The faster you can walk in your walker through the church lobby, the faster we can get to the car, the faster we can drive home, and the faster you can start opening up your stocking-gifts..." And away she would run! While I'm not particularly impressed with Ellie's new-found love of "stuff", I am selfishly happy that she's displaying "normal" child-like behaviors. Ah, the story of my life.

We also *HOPEFULLY* started a new tradition this year, hosting Christmas Day Brunch with BFFs. The older I get, the more I realize that my "life-long best girlfriends" have become my family. I just can't get over how blessed I am to have family who are friends, and friends who are family. Grossly cheesy, I know, but true nonetheless.

It was a very Merry Christmas for us, though we missed our Southern Family a lot. But, hey, there's nothing wrong with Christmas in spring either!

I downloaded a few many of our pictures were centered around Ellie opening gifts. Terrible. Why is it that the present-opening is like the big fireworks-show of the night?! Anyway, here are a few snapshots of our holiday, mostly of my precious little elf. I really hope that each of you had a fantabulous Christmas too!

Playing with her new dolly

Grandma's got the ball pit. Now all we need is the Big Mac...

Forcing Zach and Ellie to hug. Yup, they really do love each other...

Nothing better than opening gifts in pajamas!

...and getting to open them on Mom and Dad's bed!

Getting a picture with all the "great grandchildren" is a gong-show. This was the best we could do! Despite its craziness, I love this picture. THIS is one of the main reasons we moved back here--so that Ellie could grow up with her cousins. Warms my heart.

We've been trying to combat Ellie's "W sitting" (what she's doing in the previous picture, beside the Christmas tree, except with her feet more spread that her legs are in a "W" position), because it's terrible for her knees and hips. In order to do that, we encourage her to take breaks by lying down. Grandpa helped make this particular "Ellie, lie down, please" time a lot more enjoyable! :-)