Yup, I'm finally getting to the post about my trip back to Virginia over Christmas. I'm slow. I own it. lol. Just a warning, this is going to be a super picture-heavy post with lots and lots of pictures of the adorable nieces.
So... first day home, shopping for food and finishing Christmas shopping. My mom was able to take the day off work and we just played. That night I made stuffed tomatoes which went over really well. I also got so see how much Aubrey has grown in 2 months and do a little cuddling.
Isn't she just too precious for words? I had to cuddle as much as possible while I was home because the next time I see her it just won't be the same.
Then it was Christmas Eve! Of course, the fact that I was home with my camera meant that everyone wanted photos (despite the fact that I am NOT a photographer!) We put Aubrey in several different outfits and I attempted to get pictures of Eraleigh. She has that 2-year old stubborness about not wanting to sit still, but I still got a couple. Just a little photo roll...
This was kind of a special one... when we went to pick up Nicole when she first came to our family, they brought her out in a stocking (and I still remember it, believe it or not!) So we put Aubrey in a stocking. We had to use my dad's, though... she's already too big for the other, smaller ones!
And in her blessing dress (they didn't get too many photos on her blessing day.)
And another of Eraleigh... Mom got her this cute little hat and coat so she'd look like the little girl in Miracle on 34th Street (which we watch together every Christmas Eve). She was totally adorable, but again wouldn't stand still so I just got what I could :-P
And then after the photos were over, it was time for our Christmas Eve baking! We actually toned it down this year. I made my soup but we didn't do too many desserts. Scotcharoos, of course, and then I made some chocolate chip and sugar cookies from pre-made dough. Here are Rick, Erin and I working on the cookies.
And I always love the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. I think that's when it's the most beautiful. Must be the Christmas magic :)
Are we done yet? Almost! A few photos from Christmas Day... I got pictures of both Nicole and Erin opening the scrapbooks I made them. I had told everyone not to expect anything handmade this year so they were thrilled. Nicole even cried over having the first baby book for Adorable-Niece-Aubrey which made it totally worth the crazy late nights to finish it up for her.
And then here's one of me opening my Cuisinart Griddler (and yes, I got this sucker home in my suitcase. I'm a master packer.)
And these are geode bookends from my mom, but it's actually a gift that's the result of an inside joke - they're my "magic rocks." I can't actually explain the joke, but I absolutely loved them. I got these home too... in my carry on. I had a bit of a scare at security when they were trying to decide if they were bludeoning objects. Apparently I don't really look threatening so they told me they weren't worried about it and to just not take them out of my bag until I got home (because I was going to bookend something in the airport. lol).
I gave Eraleigh this Melissa and Doug Cutting Food set. She LOVED it. She wanted to cut and cut and cut. And she did. It was a trip.
And last photo... Christmas dinner. We continued our theme from last year of picking an international cuisine for Christmas dinner and I actually cooked all afternoon (which upset my mom no matter how often I told her I totally enjoyed it. New knives were a bonus.) I made everything from scratch - a big pot of pasta sauce (I make a pretty good red sauce), a platter of fresh caprese salad, riccota gnudi and polenta lasagna (with ground turkey instead of sausage). It was all delicious, naturally.
And believe it or not, I didn't take any pictures for the rest of the break. We did our after Christmas shopping, of course, and just spent the last few days enjoying the chance to spend time together.
So that's the Christmas recap. And believe it or not, I even managed to upload photos (although I still need to do the ones from my birthday and Halloween). The photos are all here.