Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We spent the week of Christmas in Westerville, Ohio (a suburb of Columbus), with my parents, Bob and Miriam (Grandma and Grandpa). Here is a rundown of the week with photos at the end of each day's summary.
On Sunday, we got into Columbus without much issue. As expected, Keira had her eagle eyes on the lookout for McDonals's on the drive down. We did stop there. Those people are marketing geniuses! At least she eats the food now.... I can't tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing. At least she is eating.

On Monday, we went to Schmidt's Sausage Haus in German Village. My dad worked from home for a half day, so he was free to join us for lunch. We were barely ready to go by the time he was done with his work anyway since we were enjoying our vacation. Ryan had the buffet and was able to sample their many sausages, both German and Americanized, as well as other German based sides. We all enjoyed massive cream puffs that we got to go, because we were so full. I also began working on my gingerbread cookie display, the dough needed to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Here are some pictures from Monday.

We are watching the train. Keira wouldn't pose for a picture. She loves trains.
These are Keira's footprints after a bath on the newly washed and fluffed rug.
Here are a few shots of Keira dancing.

On Tuesday, we ran around and did some last minute preparations for Christmas with my mom. My dad was working, so it was just us and my mom. We went to Easton, an outdoor shopping mall. It was pretty cold, but not too wet while we were there. We had a big lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. Once we got home, it really cooled off and started to drizzle/sleet, but that stopped. I felt the uncontrollable urge to go for a run, because I hadn't run in over a week and it was light and no longer precipitating. It was cold, and a bit slippery, but otherwise felt great. I also began the baking phase of my cookie display. I was getting quite tired at this point, because there are a lot of things to keep track of before the baking can begin to ensure that I have the right pieces and they are grouped on cookie sheets to cook the right length of time. Finally, I had the first tray in the oven (I didn't put any in until I had them all cut out and counted) While they were baking, I thought, it smells like a really nice candle in here! Silly me! I was just smelling my gingerbread creations. As you can tell, I don't make gingerbread too often to mistake the smell of the cookies for a candle.

California Pizza Kitchen Photos:
Soren is attempting to sit at the table already! The hostess was trying to help us fit the seat in and looked at what we did was just said, "well, I guess that works too". I think he would have fit in sideways better.
Keira eats pizza with a fork (dagger). At least she is eating something moderately decent.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve, so we spent the day preparing food. It was also very warm. I went on a run in the morning so that I could get cleaned up once for the day and be done with it. My cousin, Stephanie, came over around 2:30, and stayed for the evening. Sarah and David both worked, so they came over afterwards for a lasagna dinner. We were able to squeeze in a quick Christmas pageant before Soren, who played baby Jesus, had to go to bed. I was excited that everyone was willing to participate, even donning towels and bathrobes. Keira wore butterfly wings as the angel. David played piano and Ryan read the program. We did our present exchange with Sarah and David after Keira and Soren went to bed. I also completed the assembly stage of my cookie display. I didn't make any icing, because I was a bit burned out from the long day, and wanted to try to assemble them to make sure they would fit before making any icing anyway. By the time I had them all put together, I just left them that way instead of taking them apart to ice. I think it was still impressive to put together 9 gingerbread reindeer, a sleigh, trees, and snowmen. It was really fun. I did have dough that I cut into other shapes for eating.

Stephanie with Soren
Christmas Eve Lasagna with Broccoli Tree
Sarah holding Soren
Gingerbread Cookie Display- sleigh with all 9 reindeer, three trees and 2 snowmen. It was finally finished!
Christmas day was very fun. It started with a 2 hour present opening for Keira and Soren. Keira took her time with her presents, because she wanted to take each toy out of it packaging as she went. Those people in China sure can tie a toy to a box! She was so cute, because as she opened the toys, she would say, "take this with us" or "take this home" because there are lots of toys at Grandma and Grandpa's house that stay there. She was very excited about all her dolls and dresses. Soren didn't really know what to think, but I think he liked the lights of the tree. He got several toys that Keira was more excited about than him. The main present that they both received was new coordinating monkey bedding for when Keira gets a big bed and Soren moves in to her room. The room is already jungle themed, but will now have pink and orange monkeys for Keira and blue and orange monkeys for Soren. Keira stayed in a big bed (a trundle bed from a daybed) this week, so hopefully the move will go well for her. We are hoping Soren's new bedding helps her realize that the crib isn't hers anymore, but it will also be nice for him to have something new and boyish. After Keira and Soren did their present opening, Ryan and I exchanged our presents with each other and my parents. We made a scrapbook for them as well as Kris and Linda (they received theirs last week before going to Germany, but we will do a Christmas celebration with them next week once they return). Ryan received an iTouch and I received a new updated Garmin Forerunner to replace my old one that was not working its best anymore. Sarah had spent the night and David stayed down the street at his girlfriend's parents house, so they were both over for a wonderful lunch. That evening, the guys went to a movie while my mom, the kids, and I tried to go to the zoo to see the light display. While the zoo's website stated, open 365 days a year, it apparently did not apply to the evening light display. When we got there, it was closed, and a secondary check of the internet showed that it was indeed closed on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Keira was quite disappointed that she couldn't see it. She didn't want to go initially, so we got her all excited, and had to take her to McDonald's instead. I felt like I should have been in Christmas Story or something running in to get her a happy meal. We stopped over to visit with the John and Victoria and their family next door instead.

Webcam to Germany to talk and see Kris, Linda, Greg, Ellyn, Bailey, Avery, Bryn, and Lleyton-

Keira couldn't really reach the big table to eat Christmas Dinner (my dad's yummy prime rib) sitting in her cute little chair. Eventually, she did join us on a booster seat to eat at the table.

On Friday, I had a hair appointment with Crystal, who is John and Victoria's daughter in law. It was very conveniently planned, because I had learned through Facebook that I had an unofficial HS reunion that evening. We didn't have a 10 year, so this was an odd number to be doing it. It was at BoMA, downtown. Ryan and I got all dressed up for it, even though a ton of people just wore jeans. I was a bit bummed out that I had changed out of my brand new Christmas present jeans prior to going, but it was fun to get dressed up anyway.

Here we are after my hair appt. Keira was being a 2 year old and didn't want to pose with us.

We eventually grabbed her. We didn't get a terrific picture of all of us in front of the tree, but here was the least bad photo.
Ryan and I are all ready to go to the reunion. We didn't take any photos there.

The week flew by. It was already Saturday, and we needed to head back to Michigan. We spent the whole morning packing the car and getting ready. I did get to go on a run, and it was oddly warm, about 55 degrees when I ran. My dad and I both wore shorts, and I should have had short sleeves on because I was hot. We are especially thankful for all of the gifts that we received and needed to be very careful about space usage in the car to get everything home. Once we were all loaded up, we hit Chipotle for lunch and Graeter's Ice Cream on the way out. Ryan had said before we came down that he wanted to get ice cream there, and it was the last day and we finally made it over there. I felt like there were still a ton of things that we could have still done. We didn't make it back to the zoo to see the lights. We made the drive back in record time, only stopping for gas partway through. Keira, Soren, and I slept most of the way, with the kids not waking up until we were close enough that we could just make them wait until we got home.

On Sunday, there was no power at the church so we went in late, and only met for an hour. It was cold and dark at church, and at one point, the whole family was out in the foyer together instead of in the chapel. Due to the lack of electricity, Keira was just being too distracting for others to hear the speakers, and of course, Soren needed to nurse, as always during church. You would think that only being there an hour, he would be ok, but it was not the case. We spent the rest of the day at home digging ourselves out of all the dirty laundry from last week and finding places for the new things in our home. We are looking forward to Ryan having this next week off to ring in the new year and celebrate Christmas with Kris and Linda once they return from Germany. We will hopefully get Keira's "big bed" out of storage and get her set up in that. Soren isn't quite ready to move in yet, due to his inconsistent sleeping habits. Hopefully that will improve soon!