Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas in CT #5: Christmas Walk

I promise, this is my last Christmas post. I wanted to make sure I got it all down!

After eating and opening and laughing and yelling some of us decided to walk down to Branford Point -- the beach that's less than a mile from my Grandma's house. It was gray and cold and windy but it was so pretty. I always forget how beautiful the trees and sky are in the winter in New England. It's something I really miss.





A look down the Branford River.

Yes my friends, that is the Atlantic Ocean. Smooth as glass. Okay, technically it's Long Island Sound. See how there are no waves. Like NO waves. At all. Now do wonder why I'm just a little overwhelmed at the ocean out here and the waves? This is what I grew up with people!

My cousin Tami and her dog McDuff.

Uncle Paul!


And the whole group! (minus me)

I miss the Connecticut shoreline a lot. Rocky and pretty with lots of islands and fisherman. I do not miss the bitter cold though. All I can say is WOW.

Christmas in CT #4: Christmas Day

We spent Christmas day at Grandma With the White Hair's house (my grandma). Almost the whole family was there (we were missing Dan and Miki and their boys, the other California cousins). Tyler and I hadn't been back for Christmas in 7 years (the first Christmas we were married) so it was awesome getting to spend it this year with my crazy family. Lots of yelling, laughing, eating and lounging.

Uncle Paul and my cousins Stephanie and Kimberly.

My mom imparting some kind of gravy wisdom to my uncle.

At this point both of our kids were slightly over-whelmed, tired and cranky. I think all the people and all the excitement kind of freaks them out. They are used to getting up, spending the day with me just the 2 or 3 of us and hanging out at home. Sadly our kids make lousy travelers.





And of course no Christmas would be complete without the poppers and the crowns and the jokes and the yelling between my Uncle Pete and his wife Carol. The food was delicious, too!





My cute old grandma. She's seriously the healthiest one in the whole family and she's 88.

We all had a good laugh at Carol trying to read the jokes from the poppers.



We FINALLY opened presents! And of course our kids were once again spoiled beyond reason with toys and clothes. (Oh, and I forgot to mention the FlipVideo camera my dad got for me and Tyler. It's AWESOME!!!!)




Some of us decided to get a full day's use out of our crowns.




The kids were exhausted and had a fabulous Christmas thanks to everyone!

Christmas in CT #3: Christmas Morning

I think Mattie Rose was the first one to wake up. Since every single floor board in my parents' house creaks I heard her and followed her downstairs! She was beyond shocked at all the presents lined up on the couch and under the tree. It didn't take long for everyone else to mosey downstairs so the present unwrapping could begin!

Lia wearing her jammies from left by the elves on the bushes at my mom's house. All the kids got Christmas jammies to wear on Christmas Eve. She blends in pretty well with Santa's wrapping paper, too.


I think he's opening his Star Wars movie here. Tyler and I caved and convinced Santa that it was okay for him to watch.



Max got SO many presents! He got a periscope and other explorer toys, movies, blocks, clothes, a CAL football helmet that he specifically asked for from Santa (came with a jersey and pants, too) and an Ironman costume, too.


Lia was kind of hard to shop for this year. Especially since her birthday is a lot closer to Christmas than I realized. She got some fun new Melissa and Doug food toys, princess dress up shoes and clothes, dolls, movies, shoes -- tons of stuff! We had to ship 3 big boxes home plus fill a duffle bag with all their toys.


Mattie Rose got something I've always wanted, my whole life, and never got (I'm just a bit jealous). She got an American Girl doll! And she was beyond excited. She got lots of outfits and shoes and a few other accessories to go with it. She named her doll Lucyanna (no idea where she came up with that).






Danielle and Mattie got matching Yankees shirts. Apparently, despite Bob being a huge Red Sox fan, Mattie is a Yankees fan. Smart girl.


After we opened presents we had a great breakfast of homemade french toast casserole and got ready for the drive down to Branford to spend the day at my Grandma's house (Grandma With the White Hair).

Christmas in CT #2: Christmas Eve


After a few last minute runs to the store and frantic wrapping it was time for Christmas Eve. I had been so busy this holiday season with photography that I feel like it snuck up on me. Luckily before we flew to Connecticut we got in a visit to the Temple here in San Diego to see the lights.



Christmas Eve we spent at my dad and Margret's house. Danielle and I have spent Christmas Eve with my dad pretty much our whole lives. We used to go to our aunt's houses, alternating each year. There would be LOADS of delicious Italian good -- pasta, fried calamari, stuffed shrimp, lobster, pastries. I have such awesome wonderful memories of stuffing myself silly, sitting around listening to cousins speak Italian and opening presents. Things are a little different now that we are older. This year we spent Christmas with my dad and Margret and her family. My dad made amazing pasta with shrimp and muscles, lobster tails, baccala (dried cod that is soaked for 3 days and is boiled and shredded then mixed with capers, olives, celery, parsley, sweet and spicy peppers and roasted peppers, lemon juice and olive oil -- it's one of my favorites!!) and stuffed shrimp. Margret made this delicious tilapia that Tyler really loved, and pigs in blankets that the kids went bonkers over.


And then, before the kids burst with excitement and anticipation we opened presents! Of course my dad and Margret (and Margret's family) totally spoiled our kids. Lia got dolls and clothes and a microphone and a walking, talking, purring kitty. Max got a Buzz Lightyear costume that he is obsessed with, some games for his Leapster, new Crocs. We left with bags and bags of stuff!






After that we made the 45 minute drive back to my mom's house in West Hartford so we could wake up and spend Christmas morning with Mattie Rose (something I hadn't gotten to do in 3 years). Tyler and I finished wrapping gifts and we set them all up on the couch.



Before we had left for my dad's the kids picked out cookies for Santa which were promptly eaten, as well as carrots for the reindeer. I think the reindeer even left some (marshmallow) poop behind. And Santa left a little note for the kids, too.


I almost couldn't sleep that night thinking about the kids and how their faces would look on Christmas morning. I swear Christmas is so much better, so much more meaningful when you have kids. By meaningful I mean that I can feel and see the meaning of Christmas so much more easily by looking at them and trying and to help them feel the spirit of the holiday.