Christmas and the handful of days leading up to Christmas were spent in Idaho at my parent's house. They live along the river so there are often visitors in the backyard. You may remember the skunk incident? This time we were graced by a mama deer and her baby. They were magnificent! Quiet, peaceful, regal and HUNGRY! They cleaned out the bird feeders and the rose bushes.
You can't imagine how close they came up to the house. It was like a private viewing at the zoo.
While Grace showed little interest in the Christmas tree (thank god!) she did show some interest in the presents under the tree.
You have to wait 'till tomorrow Grace!
She must have been excited because she barelyslept that night. We were up early on Christmas Day - not by choice.
A quick pic before we head downstairs to see if Santa came!
Grace opening her first gift...or trying to. She didn't quite catch on until the very end that there were goodies inside each beautifully wrapped package. A pretty bow seemed more than enough to her!
Each and every present she opened got a kiss. We think that means she liked it!
Santa even brought her a pair of skateboarding shoes...what every one year old needs, right?!
Her thoughts exactly!
One of the least likely contenders for best-gift-received....
....a pink elephant bookend.
He received a lot of ...err...extra-special attention.
In fact, Grace was enraptured with just about every gift. It was amazing how much attention she showed to each present! We think it was her way of telling Santa thank you!
With two birthdays (three if you count my sister's) AND Christmas all in the same month, each weekend in December is action packed. With Grace's birthday and my birthday both under our belt, I thought we'd have at least one weekend before Christmas to relax.
I was wrong.
We had yet to see Santa and for our family that requires a trip to Seattle.
On Saturday morning, we woke up early- REALLY early - to drive to Seattle. Multiple alarms were set for 3:30 in the morning. Why did we wake up so early to drive all the way to Seattle you ask. Court's company Christmas party was the night before AND we wanted to attend the Seattle Symphony's Tiny Tots performance that started at 9:30 am. We live THREE HOURS from Seattle so you do the math.
Grace was a total trooper at the holiday party on Friday night.
All dressed up and out WAAAAAY passed her bedtime,
we thought she would sleep soundly until our 3:30am wake up call.
She was up at 2:30 am and wouldn't go back to sleep. Here she is all dressed up for the Symphony at home in our kitchen.
Grace's waking up early was a bit of a blessing disguise. She was able to eat a little breakfast before we got in the car. I think the darkness, combined with a full tummy, allowed her to sleep the entire way to Seattle.
We arrived at Benaroya Hall with time to spare.
Our good friends, Joe and Aimee, joined us at the performance with their 10 week old daughter, Elise.
Dads and Daughters - a beautiful sight!
Although I felt like I was trapped in a Saturday Night Live skit, the performance was great.
Grace LOVED it! Well worth the early wake up call and long drive.
A yummy brunch with friends made it even more worthwhile for Mommy and Daddy!
With full tummies, it was time to Christmas shop! YAY!!
On Sunday morning, Court woke up early (again - poor guy) to go stand in the Santa line.
Grace did pretty well with Santa. I was probably more flustered than her - trying to get her hair just right, her dress straightened out all while dumping her into Santa's lap. Stranger anxiety has been at an all time high in the last few weeks. I could only imagine what she was going to think when she saw a bearded man dressed in red.
It was a long weekend for our Grace.
Even jolly old St. Nick AND a stuffed cow couldn't prevent her from rubbing her eyes.
I don't think she even noticed the enormous man in the red suit.
We even snuck in a few shots with Mommy.
Luckily, I was wearing a red sweater...just in case.
Have your heard? Good Morning America has had a TOTAL makeover. No more Charlie Gibson. So long Diane Sawyer. Hello George Stephanaopololoos or however you say it/spell it. Yes, GMA has a whole new cast and crew.
Personally, I can't stand Diane Sawyer. I feel like she talks down to everybody and her voice is SO ANNOYING. I think I have a personal grudge against Diane Sawyer because she replaced Joan Lunden (who I LOVED) after she (Joan Lunden) was fired for being too fat! Yes, that's right. Joan Lunden was fired for being TOO FAT!! (...so the tabloids say...) Ever since Joan Lunden left, I've been a devoted Today show watcher. I fell in love with Katie Couric (even with her short hair and teeth too big for her mouth) and I especially loved her when she lost her husband and sister all in the same year. BUT THEN SHE UP AND LEFT leaving me with the horribly loud and often times, tactless, Meredith Viera. While still light years ahead of Diane Sawyer, (that should just help you better understand how much I don't care for Ms. Sawyer) Meredith still gets on my nerves every-single-morning. And don't get me started on Anne Curry. UGH. Matt Lauer is what keeps me devoted to NBC at this point.
So now GMA has wiped out all the familiar faces and added a bunch of new ones. So that brings me to this question - do you GMA or Today? And because of this sudden change, will you switch networks to get your morning fix of news...and let's face it....gossip?
One of the highlights of being pregnant during the holidays is not having to put the lights on the Christmas tree. The box actually says that pregnant women shouldn't handle them. Aside from that "fun" fact, a pregnant woman is (usually - or in my case - always) huge, moody, cranky, swollen (or is that glowing?!) and obviously not mentally or physically fit to dress a tree with lights.
Fortunately, I am not pregnant this holiday season. Unfortunately, that means I was in charge of putting the lights on the Christmas tree...UGH...
As you can see, I like lights. A lot of lights. This tree isn't even 6 ft tall and I probably have 20 strands of lights on it.
I don't know how people manage to take really beautiful pictures of their Christmas trees. I always get the lighting all wrong. These pictures don't do her justice.
As for child proofing, we re-arranged our furniture to wrap around the tree. Can you see our couch 5 inches in front of the tree? The coffee table off to the left? Not the ideal situation if you want to say...oh I don't know...SIT ON YOUR COUCH...
but it is definitely doing the trick on keeping our precious ornaments safe and sound.
We'll see what happens when we get to Grandma and Grandpa's house next week.
Grace's first birthday party was held a few days prior to her actual birthday. On her real birthday, she sported a t-shirt from Great Grandma that had a big one on it in rhinestones. She loooooved it! She kept stopping dead in her tracks so she could feel the bumps on her tummy.
After a morning of eye appointments (for me and Court) we all went to lunch at Gasperetti's where Grace received her first Gasperett's birthday dessert. Court growing up went to Gasperetti's for his birthday and they would always write a special message on his dessert plate. Well, the tradition lives on....
Not exactly sure what that squiggly thing is supposed to be but...
We took a few pictures by Grace's tree. While Grace has changed significantly since the six month picture with the tree, I can't say that her tree looks that much different.
I still can't believe she is 1! Through out the day, I kept telling Court... last year at this time, we were driving to the hospital....last year at this time, my labor pains were starting to get pretty bad...last year at this time I was HUGE...Last year at this time, I had just received The Epidural and was comfortably watching Monday Night Football completely unaware that I was about to give birth in a few short hours to an angel.
As the day winded down and I began our nightly routine of getting Grace ready for bed, I started recounting all the things we did that day and I told Grace once more how I hoped that she had had a very special birthday. As I was giving her a bottle in our rocking chair, I realized that she will never be one again. She will never by MY baby again. And while I know we still have countless moments and memories to share, my heart does ache just a bit that my baby is no more. In her place, a lively, busy, curious, happy, beautiful toddler now stands. It's amazing and a bit heart breaking all at the same time.
The birthday party was a success. Exhausting. A bit more time consuming than I had planned on - but a success nonetheless. We invited only family to this shin-dig as it is a first birthday for crying out loud. She will never remember it and frankly, getting a one year old to sit through a party without falling apart is a feat in itself.
Anyway, I wish I could share a better picture of the birthday invitation but my scanner is on the blitz. (There is always something down around here.) This is the best I could do....
It is pink and green which became the "theme" of the party as evidenced by the photos of the birthday decorations below.
The decorations were darling (if I do say so myself)...
I wish I could claim that I slaved away making them...but I didn't. I did, however, slave away over the computer, scouring the internet for just the right birthday decor. Can I just say that Etsy is probably the best internet website second only to eBay?
No birthday party decor is complete without a Happy Birthday Banner...
And who could resist a year-of-photos? This was also done for me by a gal on Etsy. She is actually using the one she made for Grace as the "model" on her website. Yay!
Don't forget the ever important goody bag!!
The house was sufficiently "dressed" for the occassion....now for the birthday girl!
A pink tutu and I'm not sure if you can see it but on her shirt is cupcake with one candle on it! The cupcake frosting is fluffy just like her tutu!
The party started at 4 pm with dinner to begin at 5 pm. "Happy Hour" consisted of yummy snacks that my fabulous sister and loving husband whipped together. (Molly and Court were instrumental in making the party a success. A huge thanks to both of them!) While the adults ate, drank and made merry, the kids provided the live entertainment.
Grace and her cousins
(once removed if we are getting techincal)
Clara and Emily
Grace received a much needed lesson in sharing from Clara
and got buried in toys by Katelynne.
And finally, the moment we were all waiting for - THE CAKE! (The cake is a story unto itself but I don't have the time or the energy (tis the season) to explain it in full details. I will leave it at this. I made THREE smash cakes in ONE day before getting the final result shown below. Enough said.