Our holiday was wonderful, happy, busy - a little overwhelming at times - but great. To have our sweet girl home with us was all we really needed. But what we got in addition, was an outpouring of love from the whole family. Ruby soaked up all the love and attention. I was a little worried about all the (loud) family gatherings, running around, and busy-ness of the season, but she took it all pretty well. She loved seeing her grandparents and family members and had fun playing with our nephew Ryan and all her cousins. But, of course, her schedule is off. It has been off since she got her cold 2 weeks ago so there has been some later nights and tossing and turning. Found out we can not travel without a fan (or my new Dream Machine...love it!) She tossed and turned the most when we didn't have the white noise going on. I'm sure all the excitement had a lot to do with it, too.
Ruby's such a happy, easy going kid that we sometimes do more than we ever thought we would this early on, but we try to take our cues from her and adjust accordingly. Christmas eve was rather overstimulating and so we were super low key Christmas Day. Planned on heading to our home town, but she hadn't slept well and was up too late Christmas eve. She also still had a cold and was coughing through the night a few days in a row (b4 the holiday and through Christmas) so we just stayed home all day and chilled. It proved to be a wise decision and we all were glad for the extra quiet time and extra sleep. Saturday we piled up the car and headed to Harrisburg to see the family. Entirely too much to go into detail here so I will bullet point the highlights. Even still, I have no way of making this a short post. Ha ha, but then, you are all used to my rambling by now! -)
- Christmas eve church service was just beautiful. The church was all dark upon entering with only the cross lit up. A young couple dressed as Mary & Joseph walked up the aisle carrying a baby "Jesus", followed by sweet alter-girls wearing angel wings carrying torches to light the way. The whole procession followed, lighting candles up and down the aisles as they went. Ruby stood on the pew between Jeff & I watching in awe. She put her arms around each of us and played with both of our hair. It was a magical moment. We sang and she just loved that, too. Was really pretty good for most of the service, but a little restless at the end.
- Santa came in at the end during Silent Night and bowed down before the baby Jesus. You couldn't hear a pin drop. Ruby was crawling under the pew at this point (over an hour into the service) so I whisper, look, Ruby, it's Santa (to get her off the floor). We didn't really think she got the whole Santa thing but as the church was all calm and quiet, there is our Ruby going Santa! Santa! Oh. I guess she got it. LOL.
-Got home to a house full of family and my brother Jason cooked all the food in our absence and put out all the spread. I had prepped some but was going to miss church if someone didn't help. It really meant a lot to me to go so Jason took over. Thanks for saving the day, Jase! You are awesome!!! I don't know WHAT I was thinking, trying to entertain on Christmas Eve on our first year as a family. It was a bit much, but thankfully, everyone was there to help and it ended up to be a fun night.
- My mom was a huge help too and brought me all the last minute groceries I needed. What would I do without you??? Mom and I weren't supposed to exchange this year, but of course we can never resist. She gave me the yummiest smelling perfume ever by Juicy Couture called Couture Couture. You rock, Mom!
-Got to spend time with my uncle Kevin from LA who I don't get to see much. (Same uncle that hooked me up with the Disney contact and the reason I got my publishing deal). It was really great and he is such a sweetheart.
- A special moment was when everyone went to bed and Jeff and I set up Ruby's stuff from Santa. We were so excited! It was especially nice to have some quiet time with the hubby and exchange our gifts by the fire.
- We weren't supposed to exchange either, but then we both ended up doing it anyway. We gave each other a few small things and spent some time together. I was so happy. What we really wanted for Christmas was sleeping peacefully upstairs. And here we were, sharing Christmas with her! But then Jeff looks at me and says...oh, yea... there is one more thing. He runs upstairs and comes down with...a new MacBook Pro!!! WOO-HOO! I had to contain myself as to not wake up the whole house. My old Mac was seriously old and dying and I was so afraid of it killing over before I could copy all my recent pics and stuff. New one is fantastic and I really haven't had time to even discover all it can do yet. Thanks Hub! You are the greatest husband ever!!!
- Watching Ruby's sleepy and confused little self come to life as she opened up her first gifts was just the best. The first smile came when she saw her doll and all the accessories. She held her baby close and then got busy feeding her and brushing her hair!
- Christmas day was so nice to be able to relax, let Ruby take a good long nap, and then just to watch her play with all her new things. Happy and having fun. Comfortable in her environment and home with Mommy & Daddy (or Da-nee as she calls him when she doesn't say Pa).
- Saturday was a blast with the Kimmels at my Mom's house. Everyone just loves Ruby and she ate up all the attention. She's such a social bug and had a ball playing with Ryan and hanging with everyone. And, of course, she loves her Grandma. Was so great to see everyone.
-Sunday morning we had a real nice brunch with my Dad & Lynn. My brother and nephews were there too so Ruby & Ryan got to play some more. Dad had a guitar in the corner which Ruby was delighted to see also!
-Had another great meal at Jeff's parents later. Sunday was our Christmas with them and we spent 2 wonderful days with Jeff's family. It was really nice and Ruby loves her time with Grammy & Pappy! I had fun catching up with my sister in law, Tammey, too, and seeing our nephew Dailan.
-Tueday was sit around the house and chill time and we loved every second of it!
- Wednesday we went to my cousin Angie's house for the Furjanic family gathering. SO great! A fun time was had by all. After a bit, a few of the guys whipped out their instruments and Ruby was mesmerized! My cousin Michael let Ruby help play the violin by holding the bow and she was thrilled! The kid loves music. It's so great. And it was really cute to see her having so much fun. I wish I had brought the video camera! She loved watching Michael play and then she went over to the guy playing guitar (a family friend) and was tapping to the beat on his knee. She hung out with "the band" for the longest time. Sometimes dancing around, other times just staring in awe. My family is Croatian and they played some traditional Croatian songs as well as some pop and folk tunes. Mommy sang a couple tunes, too, but you have to be loud to sing with my family so I did Respect with my more bluesy voice. Ruby looked at me so funny, like hey, that's not how Mommy sings! She spent a lot of time playing with her cousins, too. She was having so much fun that I thought she would melt down upon leaving. But when it was time to go, she just took our hands with a smile on her face, said our goodbyes and headed to the car. Slept like a rock that night!
- Stayed home for New Year's eve. Nice & quiet. Got Ruby down early, but it was all Jeff & I could do to stay up till midnight! My how things change! At midnight, we each kissed Ruby on the cheek while she laid sleeping, then kissed each other and said goodnight!
- Last, but not least, we had a fab meal over at my brothers today for New Year's Day. The kids played together so well and it's great how comfortable Ruby is now. She can go and play in the other room with Ryan and I don't have to be right there. She would come out every now and then just to make sure I was still in the kitchen, then smiled and toddled back up to play. Of course, I went up to peek in and check on her, too, but didn't let her see! They were so cute in there just coloring together or Ryan trying to show her how to do something. We had such a fun, but relaxed day with them. Fun, but relaxed. Exactly, what we are ordering up for the new year!
Wishing you all a happy, fun, peaceful, and prosperous new year! And wishing those still waiting, a beautiful trip to Thailand to get your babies home!!!
[Ruby's favorite presents: Her new kitchen and Wonder Pet play sets all got her attention, but I think her favorite might have been the baby doll (from Uncle Jason last year) and the doll accessories kit we got for $9.99. She was pretty excited about the Disney princess shoe collection my Mom got her, too. Another big hit was the restaurant play set from my cousin Michael.] Christmas ornament pictured above - compliments of Uncle Bob.