Now that they're over, I figure I'd best get around to writing about them. We stayed home for Christmas again this year, partly because it's so relaxing and enjoyable to not travel and partly because we embarked on the potty-training adventure (which has gone really well and that's all I'll say about it so you don't have to read a TMI post).
Thankfully Ryan's semester was not as stressful as last year's, so we were able to purchase our tree at the traditional time for my family - the weekend of my sister's birthday. Gareth had a great time. Every tree was "too big tree" unless it was 2.5 feet tall and the owner of the tree farm even let Gareth "help" cut down the tree. Too bad we didn't have the camera with us! Here's the final result:
My mom sends us little gifts for an advent each year, which Gareth gets really excited about opening, even when the gift is a washcloth or a pair of socks for someone else. (We have an awesome video of Gareth and Ryan playing with socks, but I have to figure out how to upload it still. ) My advent gifts that I look forward to are the ornaments that she and my dad make for us.
These is one of the ornaments they sent this year. Gareth had a great time playing with the "car Christmas" (he tends to call Santa Christmas).
My brother and sister-in-law were able to come up and join us for Christmas weekend. Lucky them, they got to be here for the most snow we've ever seen in our two winters here! (It was only 3 or 4 inches, but that's way more than we ever had last year.) They arrived Christmas Eve in time to catch the end of the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol, which is a tradition from Ryan's family. We finally broke down and decided we couldn't go another year without it and purchased it - our splurge of the season. Gareth, of course, enjoyed the extra attention of two more adults and even climbed into bed with them one night, which meant that no one slept well.
Christmas morning we took our time getting up and ready. My family's traditional cinnamon roll breakfast is too sweet anymore for us old fogeys, so we always make Ryan's traditional breakfast - blueberry breakfast bake. That and some Christmas grapefruit are a delicious combination. Then we commenced the gift-opening. For this part we follow my family's tradition and open gifts one at a time so that we can all see what everyone else gets and to stretch out the fun. Gareth could have been content (not truly understanding what happens on Christmas) with his first gift, a Lightning McQueen car. He carried it around all day and had to have it at naps and bedtime. He received lots of puzzles as well, which he enjoyed dumping out and leaving for others to clean up, which is what he also did with his new Hungry Caterpillar game.
He's since started to figure them out and is playing with them more and more. He also had fun playing bowling and trains:
Auntie Cinira and Uncle Matthew gave us Polar Express and it is Gareth's new favorite movie. I should have known, since he loves trains so much. Yes, the rest of us received gifts as well, but that's just not as interesting as a cute kid, now is it? Matthew and Cinira introduced us to a cool card game called Bang. Christmas was full of late nights and good food and fun.
Ryan and I love to do puzzles at the holidays, so of course we had to purchase three new puzzles (since we don't have tons yet).
This is our challenging one for the year. 2000 pieces. We almost finished it in time for the New Year, but ran out of steam on the sky, so we finished it the next evening instead. We've had a wonderful holiday and hope all of you have as well. And, since it'll probably be another month or so before I get around to posting again, here are some pictures of Gareth enjoying having his Daddy home: