Thursday, December 27, 2012


Awww, Christmas is over.  We had such a lovely holiday.  At the beginning of the season I made a vow with myself to really focus on what was important during the holidays.  Not the gifts and commercialism of it.  I wanted the family and tradition part of it.  I'm very happy to say, that is exactly what we did.  Yes, there were gifts...but they were thought out and meaningful.   I really thought about each present I bought and knew it was something that would make someone smile.  Most were bought locally or ordered from Etsy and I felt good with every purchase.  (Except stocking stuffers...those were all bought at Target, I'm not perfect)  We spent quality time with all our family.  Simply being together.  Wonderful.  It was nice to take a little break from writing to spend more time celebrating the holidays, but now I feel like I'm bursting with words about the past few days.  And, of course photos.  I even busted out the big camera again.  Ever since I got my phone, I use the camera on it most of the time.  However, big holidays call for the big camera...

The holidays for us always officially start on December 21st which is my mom's birthday.  Ava was so dramatic in saying "I can't possibly make Grandma a birthday present, it's just tooooo close to Christmas"  I think all birthdays should be special, whatever the date.  Especially my mama who made every one of our birthdays growing up something to be celebrated.  Ava came around and did make her a gift and we all went out to celebrate with pizza and of course cake!
It was a four layer chocolate and cookie cake...delish
We went to Tarantinos Pizza, one of our favorites.  For any local Bozemanites you remember this as the old Village Inn.  It so takes you back to your childhood when you are in there.  Except now, it's our kids begging for quarters (I think my aunt must have dropped a hundred bucks on quarters for these kids!!) and the adults sitting at the table enjoying beer and pizza.  Lots of fun.
Having fun with the Wiki Stix, Jae handing out quarters and little Jacob had fun without quarters!
The weekend was then all about some holiday traditions we have started within our own family.  These are ones I hold close because they are just ours.   I'm sure other people may do them...they aren't original or anything.  I mean they just aren't ones I've taken from my own childhood.  First...Saturday morning we all snuggled in our bed to watch the Polar Express.  This is my favorite holiday movie to watch as a family.  For the last couple years we've checked out the book and rented the movie to have before Christmas.  Well, I finally hinted enough and Matt went out and bought us a copy of each to keep, yay!  Such a great story and even better to watch while cozied up to my babies. Later, that evening we went for a drive to check out all the Christmas lights around town.  Complete with hot cocoa and Christmas music in the car.  We don't put up any outdoor lights, but I sure enjoy checking out everyone who does.  The weekend was so wonderfully mellow.  Because I was keeping the holidays simple this year I didn't have anything that needed to get done...we got to spend the final days leading to Christmas just being together.  We made ornaments, did some baking, watched holiday shows and played in the snow.
Banana chocolate cake and cinnamon rolls

Peppermint Kiss brownie bites

Our tiny snowman.  Snow was not great for snowmen
Matt and I even got an overnight date night!  We had been invited to our neighbors surprise birthday party.  The girls got to spend the night at Grandma's and we got to dress up for an amazing three course, private dinner at Plonk.  It was fantastic...each course paired with a different wine, starting and ending with champagne.  So classy and fun.  

And then it was Christmas.  Two days full of family and food.  Times better expressed more with photos and less with words.  Our holiday...

Christmas Eve with Matt's parents.  Good food, good company and lots of gifts.  They tend to spoil us rotten.
Bathing beauty in a new suit, Ava looking very European and Matt's new amp & just got a little louder in our house.
 Getting things ready for Santa and the gang.  Sprinkling our reindeer food in the driveway and putting out cookies and milk for Santa.

Christmas morning.  This is by far my favorite.  I remember the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning and even as an adult, I feel it.  It helps hearing little voices coming down the hall.  Making them wait just a few extra minutes so I could make coffee, put on the Christmas tree lights and of course music.  I told them to go peek and let me know what they saw.  They came back with excited squeals of "Santa was here!"  Yes he was.  And, he ate the cookies and left a note.

The girls didn't get a ton of gifts from us, but I was so happy with everything we found for them.  Gifts that will hopefully last them a long time.  Judging by their smiles and hours of play with them so far, I'm thinking we did well.

 Two of my favorites...a handmade bunny & wooden doll bed...both I found on Etsy

Gifts for our furry friends...don't want to leave them out!

The best gifts of all....homemade by my girls of course!

"Made with love"  That's the best kind of making

 And, fun with Matt's mustache sucker...

After a breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls and playing with toys, it was off to my parents for our crazy Christmas celebration there.  Complete with grandparents, great grandparents and LOTS of cousins.  
Steve totally won the ugly sweater contest that we didn't have

The girls!!

Oh, this little guy just melts my heart

My nephews and Matt being the annoying  nice uncle

What pretty ladies!

My parents opening the gift from all of us...

Success!!  They LOVED it!!
 For Christmas at my parents house, we all stay in our new pj's that my mom gets us every year.  We used to go out first thing in the morning, so the jammies made sense.  Now we go later in the afternoon and stay through dinner, but the pj's stay on.  Love it.  It is always crazy.  So many people, kids, presents being torn into, more food then any of us could eat, mimosas & hot toddies, laughter and love.  A whole lotta love.  We are blessed.  We all have each other and have the good fortune to spend the holidays together.  After, we came home and put very, very tired little girls to bed and crashed out.  Christmas over.  

The day after Christmas, I always make sure to take off work.  It's the best day to just stay home.  The girls and I didn't leave the house all day.  Everyone was content, playing with new things and relaxing.  I was half tempted to take down the tree, but stopped myself.  I figured I should squeeze out a few more days of the Christmas spirit.  Then it'll be done, time for a new year and a fresh start.  

Matt got me a beautiful book for Christmas.  It is about food, Italy and a woman who traveled around there to learn all about cooking Italian food.  It is one of those books that you just want to look at and feel.  Thick paper, amazing photographs and writing that makes you feel like you actually are in a little village in Italy cooking with someones grandma.  I have only just started reading it and am so excited about it.  It had me at the very first line...

It's gonna be a good one.

I hope your holidays were merry.

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