Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Playing with one of the gifts Santa brought her.

Travis proudly displaying his new hoodie.
Travis got both Eva and I ornaments this year.

It was a very merry Christmas for Gizmo too. And I'm sure Gadget enjoyed laying in the wrapping paper watching it all, as usual.
Figuring out the pop toy Daddy picked out for her.
Our family on Christmas Day at Aunt Carol's house.
Evalee hanging out with her grandpa at Aunt Carol's.

Playing with all the other little girls (and Grandma).
She was very excited to see baby Brady. I think she would have tried to get him in her mouth if we wouldn't have restrained her.
I wasn't here for this picture, but it looks like they just got into a massive fight.

Pretty baby girl in her Christmas dress.

Reading a fantastic book about Grover with Uncle Adam.

Sooooo excited to go for a ride on her dinosaur.

Look at me everyone!!!
A serious moment with Baby Blues.

Her favorite thing about Christmas? All the tissue paper to eat.

Our family at the Kershaw Christmas

Sharing a giggle with the world's best nephew.

The result of some sarcasm, I'm sure.

Evalee and Alex playing with Eva's new workbench toy.

Molly and Travis were at odds for a while on this day.... :)

I really like coffee.

Grandma and her grandchildren.
One of Mommy's favorite presents for Eva -- a new Huskie hoodie!!

One wiped out kid at Furness Christmas.
Evalee checking out her new pillow.

Reading her new book with Daddy.

The three youngest great-grandchildren. This really captured how they were all feeling about this picture well.

Oh how the time does fly.

That Cody IS crazy.
Sharing a giggle with her cousin.

Us sister-in-laws
Mommy and Eva
Reading a new book with Grandma
Christening her new toy with a chew or two (and showing off her gunky eye)
Feeling like a big girl at her new table.

All smiles on her new pink scooter.

Grandpa had a keyboard AND a cell phone under the tree for baby Evalee. Exciting stuff.

Evalee's first Christmas

... was wonderful. On Christmas Eve we had an early afternoon Christmas dinner of complete with my favorite (mashed potatoes) and cheesecake bites (a MAZ ing). Then we changed tradition a bit and opened presents after lunch in the early afternoon. Evalee wasn't too excited about opening presents, as I anticipated, but by the end of it she was getting the concept enough that she was excited to pull things out of the paper as soon as she saw them (especially if they were books). The hit of the day was, without question, a Little People scooter with spots for people on the front that Uncle Eric got her. I thought the scooter part of it might be a couple months away from her interest, but I was sorely mistaken. We took it out of its packaging and she immediately wanted to hop on and go. The smile and squeals she gave us as we pushed her around the loop from the living room to the kitchen to the dining room and back is something I will never forget. Then we watched some Muppet Christmas Carol and took a family nap. Unfortunately we relaxed just a hair too much and ended up rushing a little bit to get ready and head out for the Christmas Eve service at church. I was a bit frazzled because I forgot her tights, hairbow, and Travis's pants, but my family talked me down from the ledge. Once we settled in for the service, my usual fuzzy Christmas feeling started. The Christmas Eve service will always be my definition of Christmas -- the cold, drafty gym filled with familiar faces, the bright lights on the stage, the curled hair and velvety dresses on the tiny little kids singing their hearts out for their parents, my dad's complaining about the pointless nature of a bell choir, the sarcastic comments exchanged breathlessly between my brother and I, and then finally the Silent Night sing-a-long, complete with the same melty little candle I was holding the year before. When the service was over, we decided to just head home instead of heading to our usual after church party at my aunt's house because the roads were so awful. Our little angel fell asleep for the night in the car.

Or so we thought.

As I laid our beautiful little daughter in her crib, dressed in her Christmas pajamas for her visit from Santa, she decided to wake up. And not just sort of wake up. She really woke up. And stayed up for another couple hours, excited crawling from present to present we brought home from Grandma's house, too excited to sit on a lap. Finally, around midnight and after over an hour of rocking, she gave in.

So of course, she did not give us our usual way-too-early wake up call. Which wouldn't have been a big deal if we didn't have a day full of events to get to. So, after sleeping a half hour longer than we anticipated the longest she would let us sleep, we had to coax her awake so she could come out and see what Santa brought for her. It didn't take her long to catch on and soon we were off. We had a great time opening presents. I think her favorite of the presents we had left for her under the tree was the smaller Bert doll that Travis found for her at a second-hand shop. Her eyes lit up like she had bumped into an old friend.

Then we headed to Aunt Billie's for Christmas breakfast -- pancakes, casseroles, muffins, and lots of other things. Plus, coffee :). We had a nice time catching up with everyone. I was happy to see everyone, as I had only seen a few of my cousins twice this entire year. After we left there, we headed back home to regroup, shower, and pack for the days ahead. Talk about making a list and checking it twice. I was so nervous I would forget something important (especially after the tights fiasco of '10 the night before) but as soon as I was convinced our suitcase, IKEA bag, shopping bag, and duffel bag was all we would need for two nights away from home we headed off to the Parchert family Christmas. I was also pumped to get to go there this year since it hasn't worked out to go for the past several years. The afternoon was filled with hyper children and stolen pickle rolls from the fridge before dinnertime. Once we were stuffed to the gills, we said our goodbyes and headed off for the 3 1/2 drive to Virden.

The drive went pretty well. There was a rough patch of time where Evalee was not enjoying being in her carseat, and not being able to console her properly was frustrating me a bit too much, but after a rest stop rejuvenation we were okay to hit the road and finish out the trip. Luckily, she fell asleep about 2-2 1/2 hours into the drive.

The next morning, Evalee gave me a 6 a.m. wake up call, so we headed downstairs to play with Grandma's toys until Grandma and Grandpa came down. I was not very hesitant to accept their offer to play with her while I caught a little more sleep. The alarm we set didn't go off for whatever reason and Travis and I, once again, found ourselves scrambling a bit to get ready in time for the day. It all worked out and soon we settled in for some delicious Christmas breakfast with the Kershaw favorites and, I'm confident, Travis's definition of Christmas: witty banter around a table filled with hot homemade doughnuts, chocolate milk, and biscuits and gravy. Then we settled down for presents and Evalee and Alex were surprised with a dinosaur scooter and a tricycle, respectively. They were both very pumped -- so pumped, in fact, it took some convincing to get them to leave their bikes for a little while to open more presents. Evalee got SO many cool toys she still doesn't know what she wants to play with more. There was a consensus amongst all of us that Grandma and Grandpa went just a tad bit "overboard" on presents for all of us this year, but all the presents were very exciting and very much appreciated. I feel a little more like a Kershaw now that I have my very own Bunn coffee maker (and yes, it has been broken in already).

After playing and hanging out for a while with everyone, we headed down to Hillsboro for the Furness family Christmas. Evalee was excited to be in her element -- in a big crowd full of new faces to giggle at -- but she was starting to show signs of wear as she got a little clingy at times. It was great to see all the cousins, especially little Paxton. I can't believe how big he is -- he even weighs 2 pounds more than Eva already! Eva got spoiled again with more presents -- a pillow with her name on it that she loves to hug, a tree swing that we have talked about getting for months now (we're thinking about putting it up in the porch though, if it works out!), a singing book, and nesting blocks, among a lot of other cute things. We had our adult gift drawing exchange, which is always a guarantee for some good laughs and took pictures. Then it was time for goodbye. It wasn't as sad of a goodbye as usual, though, since we will all see each other again soon for Cody and Aby Lee's wedding in February!

After all four Christmases, we headed back to Williamsville to spend the night a bit closer to home at Adam and Molly's house. It was another early morning wake up call from Evalee, but it all worked out because she was able to get a lot of good bonding time in playing with Alex and his toys. He was nice a nice big cousin letting her play with his things, take bites of his applesauce, and steal a few of his Cheerios. He's going to make such a good big brother. Once we were up and packed and coffeed, we headed home.

It was glorious to be home again, but wonderful to have had the chance to see so much of our families. It truly was a magical first Christmas as a family.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

First Haircut (officially)

Evalee and Mom got their haircut with Brian, Mom's hairdresser since she was 15, today. Evalee was so excited to sit with mom insisted on watching the man with the scissor's every move. We eventually got her some bangs, so it was successful :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Preparing for the big day

The Kershaw house has been full of Christmas spirit this month. We started off the season with our usual search for a Christmas tree. This year we went to a new lot, and I was a little nervous since it meant breaking tradition. However, the lot we went to was great, although the trees were a little yellow from the rains. We settled on a short and full tree for Eva's first Christmas tree. We were going to wait to put up the tree until after we got the carpets cleaned (man are they gross!) but I was just plain too excited to wait. So, the tree went up and the carpets will have to wait :). We have had much better luck with keeping the cats and the baby out of the tree than I ever could have hoped for, given how the cats were with it last year. But just to be safe, Daddy attached the tree base to a big piece of plywood to keep it a little more sturdy. That being said, our little girl does enjoy rolling under the tree, looking at the lights, and occasionally pulling off a needle or two to chew on.
Having a baby has really brought a new level of joy into the holiday season for me. I am more excited to see her open her presents this year than I ever have been about opening my own. It truly is better to give than to receive. It has been so hard not to give her a couple of her presents early, but I have resisted (can't say as much for Grandma Adams). I can't wait for this weekend. I have no idea how she'll be -- if she'll open the presents, not care about a thing, get more excited about the boxes than the toys inside, you just never know. But I don't care. However she will be, will be a memory I cherish forever: our first Christmas as a family.
All the holiday preparation hasn't distracted me enough to not notice how much Eva has grown up in the last couple weeks. She loves to pull up on things and is getting much more daring in terms of exploring on her own. She likes to play in the kitchen right now, which is great for Mommy since I spend so much time in there cooking, cleaning, doing dishes, prepping bottles, etc. Her favorite room in the house is still the bathroom, specifically the bathtub. Yesterday I watched her fly down the hallway while I was baking, so I finished what I was doing and went after her to find her. I found her in the bathroom next to the tub, pulling off her clothing and giggling. She was not pleased when I explained to her that 2 p.m. is not bathtime and she'd have to wait a while to get in.

She also loves to try to make us laugh by starting games of peek a boo, hanging upside-down, and swinging by her arms around the house. Her laugh has become a deep, belly laugh that warms your heart on even the most frustrating and tiring of days. She has started wearing some of her 12 month clothes because her little round belly was starting to pop out of the bottoms of her tee shirts. She seems to really be growing fast lately!

I'm really looking forward to a weekend filled with laughs and family!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

8 Months Old

You are 8 months old today, Little Miss Evalee. You have been so busy growing up this month. You spend your days crawling around the hallway, kitchen, and living room chasing your beloved cats and pulling all of Mommy's pots and pans out of their spots, trying to squeak as many smiles out of us as you can along the way. Just this past week, you have even started pulling up on some of the furniture. You now love to stand at the bathtub in your diaper, watching the water fill up in sheer excitement and anticipation. Your speech has also become more animated and complex, as you are putting together new sounds and making faces with each dose of ramblings. You love to talk, especially when Mommy is on the phone. (Unless, of course, the person I am talking to starts talking to you. Then it's the silent treatment). In the past couple of weeks you have really been getting into the Christmas spirit by listening to your The Night Before Christmas recorded book from Grandma Adams and Uncle Eric. Every time they start to read, a huge grin spreads across your face that could melt an iceberg. You have also been totally on formula now for a couple of weeks, which is a whole new world for Mommy and Daddy. It is definitely convenient at times (like in the middle of church), but Mommy is still pretty bummed that it didn't work out for you to nurse for just a little bit longer. Oh well. That's life, I guess.
You are a funny, social, amazing little girl, Evalee, and I love watching in person you are becoming. If you would just stop pulling out my hair every time I hold you, everything would be absolutely wonderful. I love you, Ernie :)