Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Part I

****EDIT***** - I keep forgetting to mention how much Addy is talking. She still has lots of signs, but has become quite a little parrot. We had a new speech therapist start working with her about 6 weeks ago, and she knew exactly what to do to make the language lightbulb turn on for our girl. Addy loves it when Miss Jennifer comes to "play" - she tries so hard, and is so pleased with herself (and the praise) for each of her efforts. She still has plenty of ground to make up (her language is still primarily parroting but is becoming more and more spontaneous), but her progress has been tremendous. We just love every moment of hearing her sweet voice, and are so thankful to Jennifer for figuring her out.

We have had an incredible weekend.

This is our first real Christmas away from family (there was one failed attempt, when we spent Christmas morning at our apartment in Virginia, but were on the road to New Jersey by noon on Christmas Day), and as hard as that can be sometimes, we are still so lucky. We have amazing friends - wonderful women with babies the same age as Addison, lovely husbands - and we marvel at the fact that we've barely known each other six months. These women have buoyed me in hard times, and smiled and laughed with me at just about every other moment. They love my children like their own, and the feeling is mutual about theirs.  We each bring something unique and different to the table, yet we compliment each other perfectly. This Christmas could have felt empty for all of us; none of us live close to our hometowns. Instead, we spent the past 4 days showering each other in love and joy and togetherness, creating memories and establishing traditions. We may not be related, but we are family.

We baked cookies. Or, we chatted and laughed and rolled dough in sprinkes, while the littles ate as many sprinkles as they could get their hands on.

On Christmas Eve, the Donato's hosted the first annual Christmas Eve Pajama Breakfast. As soon as the kids were up, we rolled out of bed, packed into the car, and drove to their house to eat breakfast. Pajamas and brushed teeth required.
 Mini coffee cups (of hot chocolate). Seriously, the cutest thing. thinkgarnish.com
The whole crew

We went caroling in Lexington on Christmas Eve. It was a festive 20 degrees, although we've gotten used to the 50-degree temps, and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
Don't you love her hat? I was feeling crafty and whipped it up - and she loves it. 
Lantern-lit singing? Yes, please!

 And then it was Christmas morning. Santa was good to the girls - just a few pictures because I was enjoying the festivities too much to spend a lot of time behind the camera.

And that completes Christmas 2011, Part I. Tomorrow, we'll pack our bags and hit the road to spend a few days in New Jersey, drawing out Christmas as long as we can. I hope everyone's holiday was as merry as ours!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holidays and escape hatches

Christmas preparations are in full swing.

If you take a bit of this...
And add a bit of that...
 And let it dry...
 You can end up with this:

Last year, we started doing homemade ornaments, and I love it.

We had a busy week, with a holiday violin concert for Chloe, and an office Christmas party for Pete. But the capstone was traveling to the Vineyard this weekend for some rest, relaxation, and time with Granddad and Helen. The Vineyard has become our escape hatch. It provides the opportunity to get away from the endless "to do" lists, the piles of things yet to be dealt with screaming at us from every corner, and just breathe. And sit in the woods (or in the house in the woods at this time of year) and read, or sleep, or think. And it delivered on every front.

 Note the matching earrings. Chloe was thrilled, and has vowed to wear them every day for the next week.

Chloe waited patiently for her game with Granddad. And even though I only meant to post one picture, I couldn't decide on the one I liked best - so - chess, a series:

I spent some time trying to capture, unposed, the love between my grandparents. And I think we got it.

And then it was back to reality again. But first, a quiet ferry ride during sunset, and an abundance of snuggles.

I also managed to get our Christmas cards ordered this week. Even though I love it, this picture didn't make the cut, so I can share it now:

Be merry.