Well, here we are in 2011 and I for one can't believe it. I swear that Christmas snuck up and kicked me and then before I even recovered it was New Years Eve...how did that happen?
We have had a LOT going on over the past few weeks, so this is my attempt to update the blog for record keeping sake.
In a first for us, we decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. Natalie LOVED helping decorate the tree and playing will all the decorations. The tree and all the other decorations really take a lot of space out of our living/dining room; but I love it.
Frosty eventually moved outside
part of the mantel
Next was my brother's first annual holiday work party, which we were invited to. Because we had decided to skip Phil's holiday party and my work didn't have a holiday event this was our big chance to dress up and take some holiday photos like we have done in years past. (remember last year?) Because I was/am very pregnant my holiday outfit choices were limited (not like last year) but I sucked it up and got dressed up along with Phil and Natalie and smiled for photos.
Funny note about my outfit - when I got into the skirt, I said to Phil, "do you think this looks a little tight?" and he said, "All you can see is your belly so it doesn't matter". It is a good thing that he is honest and that I have a sense of humor. I lesser pregnant woman might have killed him.
This photo was taken after the party and after Natalie's bed time. Not a great combo, but it worked out and I'm glad that we documented the year.
Next was the Christmas holiday.
Christmas eve was spent at my Aunt's house having delicious minestrone soup and cookies. Christmas morning we hosted my family for breakfast and present opening. Natalie was up at 8:30 and ready for everyone to arrive at 9:30. We opened lots of presents and took very few photos of the festivities.
Natalie received too many presents and was a little overwhelmed. She took her time opening the wrapping paper and then just wanted to play with that toy and NOT move on to the next toy. She received, a kitchen set (my old set) with lots and lots of fake food (by far this is her most favorite present), a new guitar from Godfather (which she won't let anyone touch - except for Godfather), an easel and art supplies, puzzles, a Dora lounge chair, a kazoo, and a bunch of other things that I can't remember right now. She also had a great time distributing presents to everyone else. She helped me wrap almost everything and remembered who they were for on Christmas morning.
The madness of too many gifts
Wearing two gifts (apron and tutu) while opening another gift
Showing off her ensemble
Christmas evening we went to my parents house for dinner, more presents and more time with family. All in all a great weekend!
I took the last week of the year off of work and tried to take it easy most days, allowing myself one activity a day. One of the activities of the week was celebrating my father's birthday. For his Christmas/Birthday gift, my brother, Phil and I purchased him a new flat screen TV which was quite a shock to him. He was speechless when he opened it. We had spaghetti for dinner and banana cream pie for dessert and enjoyed celebrating a wonderful father, friend and grandfather.
Getting ready to blow out the candles
Christmas dress Natalie wore to the birthday party
For New Year's Eve, Phil and I decided to host a small party at our house. It was billed as the "start your night" at our house party - scheduled from 7-9 pm; hoping people would stop by and have a bite to eat on their way to another party which would last until midnight. What we learned (too late) was that we should have called it the "Joelle is 9 months pregnant - so come, enjoy, drink and eat, but LEAVE our house by 9:00 pm so Joelle and Natalie can go to sleep" party, because the 7-9 time frame didn't happen.
Also, in hindsight we should have hired a babysitter for the kids who came, because Phil spent his ENTIRE night in the basement making sure the kids didn't break the toys (his or Natalie's) and that everyone was getting along, while I spent most of the night entertaining people upstairs. It was fun, and I'm glad we hosted, but by 9:30 pm, I had lost almost all of my patience and was ready to / wanted to start throwing people out.
One of the best lines of the evening was when my mom came downstairs and this exchange occurred:
Mom: What can I help you with?
Joelle: I'm just trying to clean up the mess (it was like every toy was taken out of its box and left for me to clean up). You can help me by telling people to leave.
Mom: Well, dad is cleaning up the food, and I've been taking away and hiding people's drinks. I'm hoping if they can't find their drinks they will just leave
God I love her :)
After most of the people had left, my mom put Natalie in the tub and then into her pjs (again, love her), while Phil mixed extra drinks for the few people who were still around. After my parents left for the night, Natalie settled right down and finally got something to eat. Godfather and Auntie stuck around with us to celebrate the beginning of 2011. Natalie really enjoyed the group hugs, getting a new years kiss and saying "cheers" with her cup of milk. After GF and Auntie left we watched a few minutes of fire works and then all fell asleep.
Pretty good catch up post, don't you think?
And just because, here is one last photo of Natalie...