We had a wonderful Christmas spent in Louisiana with both of our families. It was a little challenging trying to pack for all of us with a 5 year old and a 1 year old constantly mixing up things from my neat piles in preparation for packing, climbing into the suitcases to play, and adding their own things to the suitcases.
Of course, it was hard to hide all of the presents from them. Rachel found a little bath toy that I was going to give her for Christmas. She was very excited about the box it came in!
Whew, it was a daunting task but we finally got packed. It was a long 9 hour trip in scattered thunderstorms. Rachel was tired of being in her car seat and cried for much of the last hour of the ride. We were all so glad to get out of the car for the night.
We spent some time with my Dad at his office. Nicholas always loved going there when he little. He would walk back and forth along the main hallway. Rachel did a lot of this too. Even Granddad walked back and forth with her for a while.
It was neat to see Rachel seem to recognize our family in a picture. She kept going over to it and pointing.
Rachel looking out the window at the rain falling outside the office. Yes, I really just wanted to show you the cute smiling bear on her bottom :)
Once Christmas Day arrived, we braced ourselves for the usual wrapping paper mayhem and stuffed bellies that follow. We start the morning with presents from Santa and us. Although we are away from home, this is kind of like our Christmas morning with our family. Then we head over to my brother's house for a big Christmas lunch and presents from my side of the family. Then it's back over to the Stuart's parents' house for a big Christmas dinner and presents from his side of the family. It makes for a very exciting day and the kids just loved it!
Santa brought Nicholas some Zoomorphs which are little plastic animal body parts that you can put together in hundreds of different combinations to make outlandish looking creatures.
The big red guy also gave Nicholas a giant fire truck...
...that actually shoots water...all over Grandmother...
Nicholas had to open a present or two for Rachel because she just didn't know what to do with them. But by the end of the morning, she figured out that there were goodies inside those pretty boxes and she started ripping open her own presents.
Rachel was overwhelmed with all of the new stuff to play with, both hers and Nicholas', because there is really no distinction as far as she is concerned. She rarely played with one toy for more than a few minutes before she was off with something else. By the way, how can she comfortably sit like this???
One of her favorite presents were bubbles. We usually have bubble juice in the back yard for outdoor summer fun but that is long gone. So Santa brought her a small bottle just for her as well as that cool Gymboree bubble blowing tool that always makes such great bubbles. She loved it!
We had a good time at my brother's house. Good food and good conversation. Granddad gave us a Wii for Christmas as well as a bunch of Wii games for Nicholas. So needless to say, we all had to get up and give it a try. It was pretty awkward to use at first but I can see that it could be fun once you got the hang of it. Stuart gave me the Wii Fit Plus (at my request!) so I guess I had better get used to the thing.
Rachel loved a little puppy dog that Grandmama picked out for her. It has a remote control with two buttons. One button makes him bark and wag his tail and the other button makes him walk. She didn't want to put her puppy down long enough to eat!
Back at the grandparents' house for more presents. Nicholas loves his Lego Power Miner sets. Although with 800 or so pieces in each of them, it may be a while before they actually get put together (with Daddy's help, of course!)
I have tons of pictures to still go through so I'm calling it quits for now. More on our trip to Louisiana later....