Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Wow!! I have so much to catch you up on!! What a holiday season!! Many ups and some downs, but all around FABULOUS!!

Wednesday, John and Ava took a little road trip to Medina to see Gram. She hasn't been feeling well and John wanted to squeeze in a visit. I had to work and wasn't able to go.

Ava and Gram
Wednesday night, we went to visit Baby Sawyer and give him his Christmas present. I can't believe how much he has grown since the last time we visited.

He wasn't too thrilled with Ava holding him this time around. But it was time for his bottle!!

Friday afternoon, we went and picked up Aunt Emily. She spent the afternoon with us while we baked cookies for Santa and a birthday cake for Baby Jesus.

Enjoying hot cocoa

Baking Santa's cookies!

But the best thing came on Friday night! Ava, Aunt Emily, and I went to Detroit to pick up Uncle Nate!!!

Later that evening we celebrated Christmas with my mom's friend, Tracy. We had Chinese food and exchanged gifts.

Santa handing out the gifts

And then it was full on concentration while she opened her gifts.


Nana and her popcorn machine

Our first family tradition starts on Christmas Eve for lunch. We meet my dad and his brother's and their families at Fricker's for lunch. John had to work so he couldn't make it this year.

After Fricker's, Ava and I went to visit the cemetary and wish my friend, Tiffany a Merry Christmas. Her first Christmas in Heaven! I hope it was great!

Christmas Eve night, we move on to our next tradition...Church. And here is the standard picture in front of the Christmas tree. She was definitely more cooperative this year.

But the best story of the day comes during church. Yes, I said during. Ava was doing really well but was starting to get restless. So, she walked down to see Nana. Well, about 3 rows behind Nana was a man named John who goes to our church. Well, you see, John has a pretty big beard. And to a 3 year old who associates a beard with Santa Claus, well, guess what happened? In the middle of church, Ava yells "Santa!!!!" and is pointing to John. She asked to go sit on his lap. And so she did. And proceeded to tell him that she wanted a bear for Christmas. John was such a trooper and happily obliged. He said that is something he will always remember.

Ava and Santa (John)

After church, we stopped to visit some friends and then proceeded to tradition #3 of the day. Our entire family and including some friends meet at the truckstop at 10pm for "dinner". We've done this for many years. It started with about 5 people and has now grown to about 30-35 people. Ava did really well considering being up so late.

After the truck stop, we made it home around midnight. Granted, I had to basically pry Ava's eyes open so we could leave cookies and milk for Santa.

And then he visited!! Those are NOT all for Ava!! I swear! It's all of our family presents that we exchange as well. Everyone just brings them over early.

But Santa couldn't proceed without eating his cookies and drinking his milk!

Ava did alot better this year and was tearing into her presents right away!!

And enjoying her candy canes

Aunt Emily and her favorite, Jacob!!

After opening presents, we had breakfast, I attempted homemade donuts this year. They turned out really well! So YUMMY!

I love this dress I got for Ava for Christmas Day. I LOVE, LOVE the pillowcase dresses. I got it big so she could were it next year, too!!

We hosted again this year. We deep fried a turkey and put on the rotisserie. Uncle George came up for the day so here is him and John carving the turkeys. This picture cracked me up!! They are like twins!

Waiting patiently for presents

Blurry picture, but this was her FAVORITE gift! She hasn't put it down yet.

Ava and cousin Ryan

Uncle Nate was flying out early the next morning so we were sucking up as much time as we could. Here is Ava and Nate getting ready to fly to Florida. She told me I could come and visit. :)

A few family pictures, too.

It gets harder and harder to say goodbye to Nate. I keep thinking it will get easier. But, nope. I bawled like a baby all night.

Monday was spent recovering, putting stuff away, organizing. Oh, and a big 2.5 hour family nap in our bed.

We went to Medina on Tuesday to see Gram. She was doing REALLY WELL! We were so pleased. Will stopped by to visit, too. And Ava got to enjoy a tea party with him!

We hope your holiday was just as great as ours!!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Lights Before Christmas

Wednesday night we joined Lisa, Olivia, and Morgan for our annual trip to the zoo to see the Christmas lights. The Toledo Zoo outdid themselves! They were gorgeous!

Ava loved them! She kept saying "so pretty". She did really well. We bundled her up in the stroller and she just snuggled in.

Morgan was kind enough to share her hot chocolate with Ava. Let's just say that made Ava feel super important. She kept calling it her coffee.

We didn't get to see many of the animals because it was just too cold for them to be out. But I love the monkey's! I wish I could have seen the real deal!

Way to go Toledo Zoo! The Houghtaling's and Feather's had a great time!!!!

Uncle Carl comes into town today, Uncle Nate comes into town tomorrow. Ava's walking around the house singing "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus". Tis' the season!!!



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Baking, Wrapping, and a little Disney on Ice

What a "relaxing" weekend!! It was nice to slow down a little and focus on our family and Christmas! We did have a party Friday night that Ava and I attended. But I forgot my camera so I have no pictures. But I guarantee we had a fabulous time! Thanks for hosting, BJ!!

Saturday, Ava and I never got dressed. And it was FABULOUS! We were busy all day, but on no time table. So when we took a 2 1/2 hour nap with a dirty kitchen, it didn't matter. Ahhh....

I wanted to bake with Ava this year. I envisioned her on the little stool next to me and stirring and mixing. Um, that didn't happen. She lost interest after she opened about 5 Rolo's.

So, it was up to me to finish making the Houghtaling cookie list. I followed every recipe to a T and let's just say FAIL. Apparently 4 minutes on 350 was too long for the Rolo's...
My No Bake cookies that never set. Even after 6 hours in the refrigerator.
My Peanut Blossoms were the best, but the chocolate chip cookies didn't make it out well, either. My batter was too creamy and they came out in a big clump. So we now have a tupperware dish full of baked cookie mix. Still taste YUM though!!
And MY wrapping is complete!! I'll have a few more gifts this week as Nate's ordered gifts will start to arrive. I'm such a good sister. :)

Today, Ava slept until 8:15. This was after her coming up to me at 9:20 last night stating she was ready for bed. I had to have her repeat it like 4 times. She went right to sleep last night and climbed in bed with me around 3:45. And then slept in. I woke up a few times to make sure she was breathing!! Haha!!

We had tickets to Disney on Ice today. So, we loaded up with Nana and Aunt Emily and headed to The Huntington Center. What a great show! I loved it!! Ava was hot and cold. She loved Tinkerbell, but hated the monkey from The Lion King. As a matter of fact, over dinner tonight, she told me "I no like monkey, but I like Tinbell". Haha!! Here are some of out pictures!

We came home and just relaxed for a couple of hours AKA Mama took a nap. Ava didn't really lay down because she was asleep before we were even out of the parking garage.

After it was dark, Ava and I took a ride around the neighborhood to admire the Christmas lights. This house on Wynn Rd. is AMAZING! It's set to music. We watched for about 20 minutes.
And then I turned around to check on Ava and....
Apparently, it was boring for her. :) I guess she's still too little yet. I signed up to take snack in for her class on Thursday. I wanted to do something cute, but it's so limited with what you can take in because you have to watch for food allergies. So, I made a concoction of what I had in my cupboards...

And bagged them up!

What toddler doesn't love all of this???? I bought stickers to put on the outside of the baggies and gave Ava the leftover stickers. And then I realized how quiet it was...I was cracking up!!
But this was my favorite!! I love those toes anyhow, but after the stars on each toe! **SMILE**

Bless that little girl! We are having so much fun getting ready for Christmas. She asks about Santa about 568 times a day. She keeps going out to look at the pool because she is getting the North Pole and the pool confused. Apparently, Santa lives in our pool. Poor guy! It's freezing out there!!

Hope you had a great weekend!!