This is the lovely little snow-covered house we arrived home to after Santa's visit. And I should explain our 3/4 curtains-no blinds on the windows. You see, out those windows is a beautiful view that we really don't want to shut out. The curtains are placed precisely where Jess and I can see over. (When my mom and sister visited, they had to jump to see. :) ) Just before we went to bed, in the wee hours after wrapping way too many presents for our spoiled girls, Jess snapped this out Annabelle's window:
I know, right? We pretty much want to live here forever.
My sisters were so clever this year. Danielle gave the girls a giant stack of Clifford the Big Red Dog books (ebay score), and Rissa gave Belle a Clifford dog. She was mildly thrilled, as you can see.
This was Lou's first Christmas of sort of understanding the concept - rip it open to find STUUUFFFFF! Here, Rissa gave Lou a Llama Llama book and maybe the most awesome llama toy ever in the world. She walks around with it going, "Mama Mama. Mama Mama." I secretly covet that stuffed animal at least five times a day.
Just days before Christmas, Annabelle suddenly decided she wanted three things, and three things only:
1. A Merida barbie. Fail.
2. A Giselle (from Enchanted) dress. Fail. This doesn't even exist. Santa hoped just the DVD would suffice.
3. A toy vacuum. Yay! Grandma Cheney was giving her one.
So on Christmas Eve, Jess found himself at Target, staring down a wall of Barbies. And girlfriend got her dang Merida barbie. She couldn't have been happier about a gift. She didn't say a word about the missing Giselle dress. But get this. When we got to Papa's house that afternoon to open gifts, she proudly carried Merida in. And when asked, "So Santa brought you a Merida doll!!?" She said, quietly, "Yeah. But not the Giselle dress."
Of course we're all big fat huge suckers...
...And Grandma Cheney pulled a giant rabbit out of her hat. And look! Santa brought a Giselle dress to Papa's house! Silly Santa! (This is actually the dress that Courtney, my youngest sister-in-law, wore at my wedding. How's that for perfect?) She practically swooned.
After Papa's, we paid a visit to Gram, who had food and wassail waiting for visitors. We stayed for hours, letting our girls entertain her and erase some of the loneliness of her day. She really is the most lovely person. And see those little elfin slippers? I KNOW. Grandma Cheney found those in New York. I die every time I look at them.
The girls got incredibly spoiled this year. I had it TOTALLY under control. But then Black Friday came and swallowed a certain Daddy whole and suddenly we had a six foot teddy bear in our garage. I KNOW RIGHT? When we finished wrapping up Christmas the night before, we stood there shaking our heads, knowing it was too much, neither of us willing to relinquish our all star gift (him the giant bear, me the dollhouse I bought six months ago). But the morning of Christmas was so busy and full of fun that the dollhouse literally went unnoticed in the window. Before we knew it, we were out the door to Papa's, and we decided we'd open the dollhouse that night.
After our visit with Gram, as we drove home with the girls fast asleep in their seats, I said to Jess: "I'm going to put the dollhouse away. They really did get more than enough already. They can get it for their birthdays. We'll have a mid July dinner party, and they can get the dollhouse together." He protested because he knew that it was the gift I'd been waiting to give them for forever, but when I assured him I was totally serious, he agreed.
So when we pulled into the garage (for Christmas I got A GARAGE, A GARAGE), Mrs. Grinch ran into the house, grabbed the dollhouse, and hid it. Where it remains to this day, waiting for July. Besides - what could be better than Christmas in July?