Clare got a basketball hoop from Aunt Katie and Uncle Andrew. She and Uncle Robby developed a trick shot, which involved throwing a ball from the top of the stairs over the balcony. Robby nearly broke several of my Mom's Christmas decorations. Clare did not break anything.
Clare has absolutely no interest in Santa Claus. I have stocking hanging over the fireplace, but I decided not to tell her that Santa comes down the chimney to fill them. I think it would just scare her. She keeps talking about us being "nice and safe" in our house, and the thought of an old man with a huge beard coming down the chimney would probably not fit into her definition of being nice and safe.
I had big plans to make all sorts of Christmas cookies this year, following in my grandmother's footsteps. It didn't happen. Katie and I did decorate sugar cookies with Clare, though. She took a minimalist approach: maybe five sprinkles on each cookie she decorated. "That's enough," she said. Okay then.
I did manage to keep my tradition of watching Love Actually. Priorities.
We had several other Christmas celebrations besides the one in Evansville: The Exley Christmas on the 21st, Christmas Eve brunch with Ben's side, Christmas Eve dinner with my sister and brother-in-law, and Christmas day with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, and grandmother. I was hoping to minimize Clare's expectations for presents from the get-go, but with four-plus Christmas celebrations I am afraid I have not been successful. I did buy her presents from garage sales this year, so at least there's that. It was a really lovely Christmas, though. Good food, good conversation, spending time with most of our immediate family members. Christmas morning with Clare was a blast - it was fun to see her so excited. She especially loved her doll stroller. She knew what it was right away, and started shrieking with joy. We also did a Google Hangout with my brother, who is in England, and Clare and Robby played basketball again over the computer. Since I was actually shooting the ball for my brother, he missed a few more times than he might have otherwise.
I remember when I would stress about plans for New Year's Eve. It was almost never as fun as I thought it should be. That is one great thing about having kids - it is an excuse to not to make plans. Especially when you have an infant. Come to think of it, I probably will be up around midnight, but hopefully I'll have slept for a few hours beforehand. And maybe I'll even sneak in a glass of champagne. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and maybe even do something cool and fun on New Year's Eve. (Anything will be more cool and fun than what I am doing.)
|Every time she cut out a cookie, she said "Makin' cookies..."|
|Christopher and Grandpa Steve on Christmas Eve.|
|This, sadly, is the only shot I have of her in her Christmas dress. Notice the mouthful of food.|
|The stockings were hung by the chimney with care - and Santa came!|
|And left presents, too. Including a baby.|
|Clare on Christmas morning.|
|I had to get a shot of Christopher in this outfit. (He was being changed due to a diaper incident.) Clare wore it at her first Christmas, too, when she was six months old. It fit Christopher this year, at two and a half months.|
|Clare "helping" Christopher open his presents.|
|Christopher meeting his Great Grandma Jean.|
|We've adopted the English tradition of Christmas crackers, which come with these lovely crowns. It looked cute on Clare, I am not sure about the rest of us. Although I have to say, my 86-year-old grandma pulled it off.|
|Christopher with his grandparents, the day after Christmas.|