Our Christmas 2011 (In Pictures)

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So, we had a very crazy, very busy, very AWESOME Christmas this year that ended up being spread over three days.

Friday I got out of work early, Greg and I picked up Zoey and we headed to Walmart for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Apparently, everyone in Cortland had the same idea, but I was just thankful that I didn’t have to go there on Christmas Eve when the lines were sure to be even longer than they were. We also stopped by the, ahem, liquor store for some adult beverages to celebrate Christmas and Natoli’s market to get a couple beautiful steaks that were on sale.

Greg’s and my present to each other was a nice steak dinner with white russians after Miss Zoey went to bed Friday night. Because money was tight this Christmas, we decided to just focus on Zoey presents-wise and do something special for both of us, as opposed to buying individual presents for each other. Our solution was a nice steak dinner (with shrimp cocktail appetizer) after Zoey went to bed–because we can’t even remember the last time we were able to go on a date just the two of us.

The food was awesome because my Greg is just an amazing cook.

After we ate, were both so tired, we went to bed instead of watching a movie like we had planned. It was an early nine-thirty (read: hello parenthood).

Here’s what our dinner looked like:

Heck yeah, steak with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, corn and salad.

Saturday afternoon, Greg, Zoey and I went to Greg’s cousin, Kim’s house for a Christmas Eve party. Zoey was tired from not having an afternoon nap and she had a cough that was starting to worry Greg and I, but she still managed to charm everyone–especially her cousin, Lisa, who let Zoey play with her phone:

Zoey almost called a couple of Lisa’s friends and her boyfriend a few times.

We ended up having to leave kind of early because Zoey was getting super-tired and she was chomping on her binky like her life depended on it, which is a sure sign she is teething. Greg’s cousin, Kim (whom Zoey calls Aunt Kim), was kind enough to give Zoey a Christmas present before we left. Note to Aunt Kim–Zoey LOVES the little doggy you gave her that barks when she pushes on its tummy. Greg and I listened to it for quite a long time Monday afternoon.

We took Zoey home, let her open Aunt Kim’s gift and then we dosed her with some baby Advil to help ease the teething issue. Then she cuddled up in my arms and fell asleep. After she went to bed, I got to work making Christmas presents for my nieces and nephew (it was a very crafty Christmas at our house) while I sipped on a white russian.

The next morning, I got up early and finished wrapping Zoey’s presents and made sure her stocking was all set. This is what it looked like before Zoey came downstairs:

See that stroller? It wins the best present EVER award in Zoey’s book. She played with that all day yesterday. And yes, that’s a doll house. Girlfriend needed a doll house.

I have to admit, I was getting pretty excited about Zoey opening her presents before she even came downstairs with Greg. I couldn’t wait to see her little face light up when she saw all of her new toys. And I was excited to take a billion pictures. This year, Christmas for Greg and I was all about Zoey and watching her enjoy it.

Zoey didn’t really understand the whole concept of Santa this year and to be honest, we didn’t push it because 1. she has a fear of strangers right now, so taking her to the mall and making her sit on some old guy’s lap would definitely trigger a major flip-out and 2. we know she’ll be MUCH more into the whole thing next year when she’s a little older. But we still did the whole stocking thing because as my dad said, “Every kid needs to have a stocking.”

When Greg brought her downstairs Christmas morning, we showed her the stroller and doll house and then we sat her on the couch next to her stocking. We encouraged her to look through her stocking and start pulling stuff out, even though she was clearly still half asleep. Probably I was a little bit more into it than she was at this point.

And, of course, it didn’t help that ‘Santa’ had put a snack pack of Oreos at the top of Zoey’s stocking. Once she pulled those out, she was totally cool to give up the stocking in favor of breaking open the Oreos. Note that in all of the pictures of her with her stocking, she is holding a fistful of Oreos as well. She refused to put them down.

No one touches Miss Zoey’s Oreos.


Can you tell I’m all, “Look! See what else is in there?! What did Santa leave you?!?! OH MY GOSH! STOCKING STOCKING STOCKING!!!

“Guys, did Santa put more Oreos in here?”

 Then came the presents and I was practically peeing my pants with excitement because I couldn’t wait to see Zoey’s reaction to her new toys. She, on the other hand, was noticeably not as excited and although she did have a big smile when she reached out for a couple of gifts when Daddy handed them to her, she mostly just wanted to cuddle with me and drink some juice. Girlfriend still wasn’t feeling the best. Although we got through most of her presents, we didn’t push it and pretty much allowed her to open them when she showed interest (which is why she ended up opening her last three presents Monday when she clearly was feeling tons better).

Notice all of these pictures were taken post-Oreo, which accounts for her cookie face:

What the hey are these?

 OMG with the cuteness, people.

So after Zoey decided she was done with presents, we took showers and got ready to head to Greg’s sister’s house for the morning. Greg’s stepdad, A.K.A. Poppy, was also there and there were more presents for Zoey to open.

Aunt Kim with Zoey

See Zoey’s stylin’ vest? Christmas present from Grandpa Emmett and Grammy Karen. The doll in this picture was from Aunt Jennie. Thanks, Aunt Jennie. Zoey loves it (and so do I).

While we were there, Zoey decided her cousin, Lisa, is the coolest person she knows. She kept smiling at Lisa like they were best friends–probably because Lisa had let Zoey play with her cell phone the night before. But doesn’t everyone need a cool older cousin to look up to? I remember my older cousins had bunk beds in their room and Duran Duran posters on their walls and I thought I was the coolest when I got to hang out on the top bunk with my cousins and my older sisters. Lisa is the cool older cousin for Zoey–and she has bunk beds too.

Lisa with Zoey

This is Zoey–post-Advil and pre-nap.

Zoey fell asleep on our way home from Kim’s house. When we got home, we tried laying Zoey on the couch, but (of course), she woke right up and insisted I hold her. So, Greg started heating water on our stove for the macaroni salad I had to make for dinner. Zoey decided that fifteen minutes is TOTALLY enough time for a nap (gah!) and we plopped her in her booster seat for some lunch while I worked on the last preparations for the homemade Christmas gifts. After they were finished, Greg wrapped the presents while I worked cutting up veggies for the salad.

When the salad was done and the presents were wrapped, we threw everything in the car and headed to my parents’ house for my family’s Christmas.

My poor dad just had double hernia surgery, so he was pretty much confined to his recliner in the living room for the day. My sister Colleen’s husband, Seth and my sister Cristy’s boyfriend, Nate, sat with my dad in the living room to eat while the rest of us (with little ones) sat at the dining room table that my mom had decorated specially for Christmas.

Them’s the good dishes.

Heck yeah, yum!

After dinner was done, we all gathered in the living room and opened presents. My family has a tradition when opening presents: we go one at a time from youngest to oldest. Each person opens one present and then another round begins. It definitely prolongs the experience and yes, there are pros and cons of it. Probably, Greg and I won’t do it EXACTLY like that at our house when Zoey is older, but my parents like seeing everyone’s reactions and it’s always been their sort-of ritual on christmas. I, personally, don’t like everyone watching me.

Zoey opening her very first kitchen set from my sister, Colleen, and her husband. By the way, Greg says thanks for the two hours it took him to put it together yesterday and he wants to know if you guys hate him or something. Many, many little pieces.

Zoey got a play kitchen set from Colleen and family, a Dora tent (complete with tunnel) from my sister, Cristy and her boyfriend, and a rocking horse from my parents. And Greg and I sat there wondering where in the world we were going to put all of this stuff when we got back home.

Grandma Hoose showing Zoey how to ride her new horse. The head and tail move when you squeeze the ear.

Cutest cowgirl (in her sparkly jeans) in the whole entire world.

And here’s my baby girl shortly before we went home for the night:

Such sleepy eyes.

Monday, we spent the day putting together and taking care of Zoey’s new toys. Turns out the Dora tent (set up) and her new doll house fit perfectly in the little alcove in our hallway upstairs–right outside Zoey’s room. The kitchen set is right inside the doorway to Zoey’s room and most of her smaller toys are downstairs in the play corner we created a few months ago in our living room.

Zoey opened her last three presents (Mr. Potato Head, a couple new books and PlayDoh) and she and I colored with the markers she got for Christmas (her first masterpiece is now hanging on our refrigerator). She played with her new baby stroller for most of the day, giving rides to her new dolls, a hand towel, a Christmas card she found on our kitchen table and her Dora radio. She tried her new Dora bath toys out in a bath before supper.

Today, everything is pretty much back to normal. Thank you so much to all of our friends and family that made this holiday extra-special. We appreciate it and we love you all.

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