In front of the Christmas Tree
There truly is something magical about experiencing Christmas through the eyes of a child. This year was in many ways, Ivy's first Christmas, in terms of being able to understand more of what was going on. I would say she certainly caught on to the idea of "presents" quite quickly and the enjoyment of opening them! We kicked off the month with Westmont's annual Christmas tree lighting, complete with pictures with Santa, cider and cookies and carols from one of the choirs here on campus. The month was full of parties, making fudge, receiving more goodies than we knew what to do with, and preparing our hearts for Christ's coming. Ivy helped me decorate our Christmas tree this year. Being 8 months pregnant, I took the simpler route on many traditions, and decided to go for a very non-busy tree. We put on white lights, and some straw ornaments. I let her decide where to put them and they all sort of ended up in one small little area at the bottom of the tree. It was spectacular. And it was nice to have less ornaments to take down! We were in desperate need of our 3 week break and were so excited to finally pull away from campus in the pouring rain on December 18, car filled to the brim with all we would need to survive away from home for 11 days with family down south.
We spent December 18th - 23rd at my mom's house in La Canada. Many hours were spent indoors due to all the storms. We read, worked on the computer, visited with friends and welcomed my sister Molly and her friends who caroled at our house. A tradition they have kept going since high school! We had a wonderful celebration together, with Molly, Em & Luke and my Grandfather George Gordon. (Turning 100 in March) He re-finished my childhood rocking chair and gave it to Ivy for Christmas. It was a very special gift from an incredible man. We left on the 23rd and made our way further south to Placentia to spend time with Jon's family. We were especially excited to reconnect with Jon's oldest brother Nate, his wife Mailin, and their two boys, Luka (3.5) and
Mikah (7 mo.) The last time we had seen them, Luka was 1.5 years old. And we had never met Mikah! It was great to be all together as a family for the first time in many years. We enjoyed trips to the park, and attending a theater in the round production of "Peter Pan", complements of Roxanne.We loved being with all of Jon's family, including sister Abbi, and brother Dan, who is married to Hannah. Dan is now a firefighter and he welcomed us to his station in Stanton on Christmas Eve. We took basket rides up in the truck and had Christmas Eve dinner at the station. It was great.
We had a wonderful time, and were also ready to return home. For our birthday gift, Roxanne kept Ivy a few days longer at her house. Jon and I returned to Santa Barbara alone, and had some much needed together time. We nursed our colds, got fabulous Mexican take-out, watched some movies, and had 2 Ivy-free mornings and nights. It was wonderful. We also began tackling a few items on our to-do lists, in preparation for Baby Young! Roxanne brought Ivy back to us on New Year's Eve day. Our New Year's was the quietest we've had in a while. With all three of us under the weather and just needing some R&R, we gladly hunkered down for pizza and a movie and spent the first day of 2011 at home resting and watching some football.
We are looking forward to what this new year will bring, and are especially excited to meet baby. We continue to talk about "when the baby" comes with Ivy, and to have baby related conversations about what the baby will eat, that when it cries it means it's hungry or tired, and that she is going to get to be a big sister. She seems excited on this side of things. But I am sure once baby is here and needing to be held by mom and dad much of the time, we will be singing a different tune. But I am sure she will do just fine. We are in for a full month in January, with me celebrating my 35th on the 18th and Jon's 37th b-day on January 28th, and baby probably somewhere in between! Stay tuned for the arrival of Baby Young: sex still to be revealed and name yet to be determined!