And that's not even half of it. There are bags stuffed with wrapping paper and bows, boxes piled on top of one another in our entryway, and instruction manuals littering the island of our kitchen...but all of this mess means that we had a great Christmas.
It began with my side of the family on Christmas Eve. We first made a stop at Mamaw's house. (Big Mamaw to Ava...not because my grandma is large; it just means she's a great-grandma...) Ava wasn't quite interested in her present at first because at Big Mamaw's house there are porcelain cat figurines and china teacups to play with, but we talked her into it.
The first of many dolls this Christmas, but Ava has quite a preference for whatever gift Big Mamaw gives her. Last year she received a soft dolly with a rattle inside it, and she's slept with it ever since. This year, it's a doll that sits in a high chair and "eats" food from a spoon, all while making chewing noises or saying "Mama" or crying. It's a pretty creepy doll to us adults, which of course means Ava loves it.
Christmas Eve is always spent at my Great Aunt Florence's house, where we pile into her small kitchen and feast upon ham sandwiches, hot wings, potato salad, deviled eggs, chips and dips, desserts...and the traditional punch that is only made on this night. We fill our plates, eat, catch up with one another, and then open presents, which this year meant crowding around Ava while she opened presents.
Tasmanian Devil...or a blur of toddler-present-opening frenzy?
Christmas Eve was extra special this year because my brother spent the night with us. In the past, Jeremy and I have gone back to my moms after the family get-together to hang out with her and Matt. We'd sit up talking and laughing until midnight. Now that Ava is here and needs to get her beauty rest in her own crib, it's a lot harder to do that. So Matt came to us! We put Ava to bed, cracked open a few beers, made some French fries in the oven, and played some old school Nintendo games on the Wii. It was the perfect way to end Christmas Eve night.
Christmas morning was a flurry of activity, from brewing coffee - in my new Keurig, I might add! - to making pancake souffle to waking Ava up and finally letting her see what Santa had brought.
Eventually we made it out of the house and headed to Mom's for more presents and some lunch.
And no, Ava isn't in a special Christmas outfit...she has one, but slacker Mama (me) forgot to buy her some black shoes to go with it. It's a gorgeous dress too, from Maw, all pink and black satin plaid with a pink sweater to top it off...I will have to put Ava in it and get some pictures! This year though, because of the lack of shoes and since we were traveling to North Manchester later that day, I opted for comfort over style. Ava didn't care anyway! She rocked her jeans, pink boots and purple long sleeved tee.
Lunch was a quick affair, and then we were off for Jeremy's family Christmas up north. There were presents galore, a house full of family, and plenty to eat. Ava thoroughly enjoyed every minute!
Now we are left with the aftermath and it'll take us all week to clean up the mess. It was well worth it though!