OK so all the festivities are pretty much finished now so I’ll just get this taken care of with one big post. I didn’t take quite as many pictures this year as I have in years past. I usually don’t take many pictures when we are with Stephen’s side of the family because there are just SO many photographers that I don’t want to add to the picture request list and the thousands of clicks/flashes/fake smiles/posing etc. So you’ll notice as the post goes on that pictures taper off.
Christmas Eve my family came over to celebrate and open presents. Paula didn’t come down, but Cherie and Andrea were there as well as my parents. I baked a ham with a yummy molasses and brandy based glaze and we also had mashed potatoes, wild rice stuffing, green beans with soy nuts and bacon bits, and glazed carrots. Then we opened presents and took some pictures.
Bean of course got the most presents because I’m the first one to have kids on my side.
That day was actually a pretty rough day for us. Bean was having a REALLY hard time with the teething and being around extra people. She had two huge meltdowns where I just couldn’t get her to stop crying. I tried everything. Finally, the second time around I had Stephen run to the store and get some Tylenol Infant Drops and we gave her some of those. She was so much happier after that. I’m not one to get into the habit of drugging up my baby, but her teeth were really causing her pain and the other remedies we tried just weren’t cutting it.
After things were wrapped up with my family Stephen and I packed up the car and headed to Ruth & Eric’s for more celebrating. Eric’s family always does this big Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. We weren’t sure if they’d be finished by the time we got there. We got to their house and they still weren’t home. We’d been to Eric’s parents’ a few times before, but we usually followed another driver or rode with someone. So we went on a little adventure to try and find their house. We made a couple wrong turns, but eventually we found it. I was pretty apprehensive after the day we’d experienced bringing Bean into a house packed full of boistrous Italians, but she actually did really great. We didn’t have any melt downs at all. Things finished up there about an hour or so later and we headed back to Ruth & Eric’s house.
All of our girls went down for bed and then we stayed up for a little longer to chat, help Santa eat rum cake and make sure he left a note for the girls to read the next morning. The next morning it was time for presents. Stephen’s family does one-by-one present opening so we FINALLY finished that up around noon. Luckily Santa left us some sustanence in our stockings in the form of fruit roll ups, Odwalla bars, and Teddy Grahams because I think we would have been famished otherwise.
“Lizzie” helping to pass out presents.
Santa brought “Half-pint” her very own princess castle tent, which she very much enjoyed:
I think we all spent the whole day in our pajamas.
Some of Eric’s family came over and we had Christmas Dinner before Stephen’s parents headed back to Bakersfield.
The next day Ruth and I braved the post-Christmas crowds at their mall. I bought a couple cute shirts for Bean at Nordstrom, I found my bridesmaid dress for Paula’s wedding, and I got some cute jeans. We also had lunch at Tacone (I’m so sad ours closed!) where I enjoyed the United Steak of America sandwich (their Rosemary Chipotle mayo is the best) and some sweet potato fries. After the mall we headed over to Borders to spend some gift cards. We found some really great deals in the bargain bins to beef up our growing libraries. I seriously could have spent hours and thousands of dollars there, but I managed to walk away with $12 still on my card.
Saturday Ruth and I took Bean to check out a new yarn shop and a baby store in T.O. before heading to Target to pick out a present for Morgan’s baby shower. Stephen and I headed back to Bakersfield later that afternoon. When we got home we then hit up every Target in town to see if we could find a fake 7 1/2 ft Douglas Blue Fir because all the Christmas stuff was 50% off. We had no luck so we bought clothes and Disney movies instead.
This really doesn’t have anything to do with the holidays, but that Sunday we left Bean in the nursery for the first time ever and she did great. I didn’t get paged the whole time and she fell asleep right before we picked her up. She really is one of the best babies ever.
Monday and Tuesday were spent cleaning up the house and washing all the laundry from our trip. Tuesday night our friends Grant and Megan came over for dinner. I finally got to see her engagement ring and we all hung out for quite awhile. I made yummy split pea soup with some of the left over ham.
Wednesday Andrea came over for most of the day. I’m not sure if I’ve said it here yet, but I absolutely love that I get to see my sister once a week now. She is such a HUGE help with Bean on the days that she is here. It’s like the only time I get a break. Basically on the days she is here all I have to do is feed Bean. Andrea will hold her, calm her down if she’s a little fussy, change diapers, etc. So I took complete advantage of Andrea being here so I could do some errands with an extra set of hands to help. We went to Macy’s to take back something I got for Christmas which was quite bulky and I would have had a hard time getting it and Bean into the store. Then she hung out with Bean while I tried on some clothes and helped me find the perfect jeans in a “short” length. After that we went to Target to get some more wrapping supplies and then to Albertsons to get stuff to make my contribution to that night’s festivities. The line at Albertsons was ridiculous. We were standing there for 30-40 minutes.
I was texting Ruth throughout our day because they were stuck on I5 in traffic and fog. The original plan was for them to get to our house around 1pm, but between leaving late and all the traffic mess they didn’t get to Bakersfield until much later and wound up going straight to my in-law’s house instead. Stephen got home from work and we packed up all of Bean’s stuff, the spinach artichoke dip for the New Year’s Eve party, fed the dogs and then headed over.
My mother-in-law wanted to do a very small and exclusive family party for their dad’s birthday apart from the slight chaos of the extended family. So we had a very quiet 3rd Christmas and birthday with Ruth & Eric’s family, Jim, Della and Jim’s parents.
Bean got to meet her Great Grandma Cay for the first time.
Happy Birthday Jim!
Della accidentally bought those trick candles. “Lizzie” and “Half-pint” tried to help grandpa blow them out, but eventually some water was necessary.
Ruth is sporting a pair of the wristwarmers I made for Christmas presents. One of only three knitted gifts I actually managed to get done this year.
After the birthday festivities were finished, we went to Stephen’s Aunt Nancy’s house for some New Year’s Eve partying. My spinach artichoke dip was a big hit. So here’s the recipe for those of you that missed the conversation:
Spinach Artichoke Dip
-8oz container of sour cream
-16oz cream cheese, softened
-16oz shredded parmesan cheese
-1 small bag/box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
-1 small bag/box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted or 2 cans of artichoke hearts in water (not the marinated kind)
Preheat oven to 400. Dice artichoke hearts or place them in a food processor. Mix with remaining ingredients and then place in a baking dish. Cover and bake 25 minutes, removing cover for the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve with sliced baguettes, tortilla chips or veggies.
Sorry I don’t have a picture, but I’m sure you’ve all seen this dish enough at restaurants and such that it really isn’t necessary. I’ve tried a few other versions of this dip and then came up with this one which combines a couple of them without including mayonaise which tends to make it really oily.
Anyway, after we rang in the New Year we headed back to our house with Ruth & Eric’s family for the night. Thursday we went back over for chilli and college football.
Friday Ruth and I ran some errands together and then the boys went to the music store for a bit. Then we went back to Aunt Nancy’s for another round of Christmas and birthdays.
Saturday morning I made Stephen do chores with me which he wasn’t too excited about. Things brightened up though when “Lizzie” and “Half-pint” joined in on the laundry folding action. Every time we came across a pair of “undies” during the folding process “Lizzie” got quite the kick out of it. At one point when she dived into our laundry pile she found one of my nursing bras and swung it around her head rodeo style while giggling.
After that we had a shower for Morgan and the babe. I won baby present bingo which means I get Starbucks a couple times this week. Bean was such a good baby and had fun hanging out with all the ladies. We can’t wait till Morgan’s babe gets here. They are going to have so much fun at Mammoth together this year.
After the shower Ruth & I went to Barnes and Noble for more book shopping. I got a really nice version of a compilation of Jane Austen’s works. I pined over more books, but managed to resist most of the temptation.
Then we went home so they could pack up and head back home. Stephen and I hung out at home for a couple hours before one last visit to Aunt Nancy’s for a little more time with the family. Today we still haven’t gotten out of our jammies and I’m planning to keep it that way unless Megan calls to say that she won the dream wedding package at the Bridal Show in which case there will be much celebrating at Rosemary’s later.