Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!!!

Our Christmas break started a little earlier than we expected when Andy's director let them leave work early on Thursday. We had just met Andy for lunch at Subway on our way home from Gymboree, and we were home about 30 minutes when he texted saying he was on his way home. We had already exchanged gifts, so it was a really nice surprise that Andy had laid out a card for me that contained a Visa gift card that he called my "mommy bonus," and that it would allow me to spend a little money on myself guilt free. It was really exciting for me and I went out that afternoon to get a manicure and pedicure. It was nice to get some time to myself and get pampered at the same time.

That evening, a work friend of Andy's stopped by the house with a present for Brady. We got some takeout from a Japanese hibachi place, which was awesome, then Brady got to open his gift. He got Brady the new hot toy that's an elephant ball popper. It shoots air from its trunk and the balls shoot out from the trunk. Brady had a blast with it and so did Andy's friend, Dennis. We finished packing the car that night, so we could head out the next morning.

We always have the best intentions of getting up early and it never is that early. I think we left the house around 9:30AM. It's about a 10 hour drive to Pittsburgh with stops, but not including traffic, so it can always get longer. The drive started out pretty well, but we hit a lot of traffic about 25 miles from a major interstate split and were slowed up for quite a while. We were in bumper to bumper traffic for about 45 minutes, going only 14 miles, when we saw the sign that said there was going to be one lane ahead. We were in the lane closing, so people in front of us were slowing down to merge and the left lane was slow due to the cars coming over. We kept going to the merge point, and it never came. All that traffic was due to a non-existent merge. One small signed caused all that and as soon as we and everyone else realized that, we were back up to the speed limit.

We stopped in Wytheville, VA to eat lunch and got back on the road. Brady passed out almost as soon as we hit the road and he insisted on being covered up in the blanket he sleeps with every night. Poor little Southern baby can't handle this cold weather.

Normally, we spend Christmas Eve with my parents and then spend that night at Andy's parents so that we're there on Christmas morning with them. This year, Andy's parents decided that they were going to go to Boston to visit his step-mother's family, so we still haven't seen them yet. We went to Andy's Uncle Buks's house on the ride up and had a great dinner with him and Andy's brothers, before heading up to my parents' house.

My brother, Alex, just got a miniature Huskey and brought him with him on Christmas Eve. His name is Karo, and he's only 3 months old. He's the sweetest little dog, loves to cuddle, and of course Brady absolutely loves him! They just chased each other around all day.

Alex's gift to Brady was by far the most exciting. It was large and when we brought it out, Brady gasped excitingly. He was a pro at tearing into presents by then and made short work of it.

I just love the fist bump in the air when he realized what it was. He loves cars and this quad was the perfect present.

The pro rider in action.

In addition to the quad from Alex, Brady got a LeapPad, several books, movies, and clothes from his Nana and Dubby. He also got a generous amount added to his 529 for college. He's a very lucky little boy.

Christmas morning was really relaxed since we'd opened presents on Christmas Eve. Brady was excited to have more candy in his stocking. I had gotten a cold a full week and a half before Christmas and was over it, but of course three days before Christmas, I developed a sore throat and by the time we made it to my parents' house on the 23rd, I had no voice. Half of the words I said from then through Christmas didn't even come out when I said them. Today was the first day I was able to be heard well. It's tradition to go to my Mimi and PopPop's (mom's parents) house for Christmas dinner with my aunts and cousins. Brady didn't nap the whole day and was pretty cranky by the end of the day. The only thing that calmed him down was a nap and then he was ready to join in the fun.

One of my aunts brought a box of poppers and the kids had fun popping them and retrieving the goodies that were inside. Above is my youngest cousin, Ava, wearing the crown from inside the popper and blowing the whistle.

Chloe donning the crown.

And of course, someone put a crown on PopPop.

Brady hanging out with PopPop after everyone else had gone home.

Playing with my old vacuum.

Riding one of the girls' old rocking horses.

The coolest part about this Christmas was that our friend, Nadia, who lives in Switzerland, had her baby girl, Leila. We're very excited for them and can't wait to visit them in the next few months once we get over to Germany.

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