Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ella's First Christmas!

For those of you who read the last post, I just wanted to let you know how it went. Our family and friends were completely wonderful with our decision not to 'go all out' with spending money for Christmas gifts. We did, in fact, have gifts for our parents, brother and sister, and grandparents, but they were all done by Simply Sassy Designs (my fledgling business).

For our parents, we made a grandparent's memory book...custom designed, written and illustrated by me. We gave it to them and they are to fill out the prompts and will give it back to Ella one day. It was 20 pages of memories from their own baby days to high school to their wedding and life afterwards. All of our parents loved it and hopefully will create a keepsake for their grandchildren to cherish for years to come.
For others, we gave picture frames and plaques like these:

(*On a side note, these and other custom designed gifts are available for sale. Contact me if you're interested.)

We had a great time with both families, and Ella was a champ through everything. We went to Burlington, NC where my parents have moved temporarily on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed some quality time with them 23-25th. We had our traditional Christmas Eve lunch. We killed some time between lunch and when we were supposed to be with our family at Barnes & Noble sipping coffee and unwinding. Then we went to Aunt Lou's...my father's aunt. There we were joined by 15 other family members and had dinner.

Mom wasn't feeling well, and ended up going to the emergency room because of a number of issues. It was a pretty unfortunate turn to the evening, but she insisted that we didn't go with her and Dad...she didn't want Christmas Eve to be ruined for all of us, so we stayed at home with the baby and made the most of it, although our hearts were with them. We had my cousins over for hot chocolate and a reading of our favorite Christmas story, Cosmic Christmas by Max Lucado. After the story, they left and we went to bed.

On Christmas morning, my aunt Karen knocked on the door with a French Toast casserole and we enjoyed it before heading over to Duke hospital to spend time with Mom and Dad. She had had some IV fluids and X-Rays done to determine what was going on, and seemed to be in much better spirits.

After we finished our visit, we hit the road to Hendersonville, NC to visit with Brandon's family. We spent time at his aunt and uncle's house with the cousins and Papaw before we went to visit his other grandmother in the nursing home.

We finally went back to his parent's house and exchanged a couple gifts. John and Pepper really blessed us with DVDs of video and pictures we took of our trip to Israel in 2006. We spent the rest of the night watching that and another movie on the projection screen at their house. It was really fun.

That night Brandon and I were given a priceless gift...SLEEP! We had Ella upstairs with Mama Nissi and she did the 4am feeding. We got uninterrupted sleep from 1am until 10:30am, and it was a huge blessing. We woke up, had a late breakfast, and went for a long family walk/jog before getting showers and going out to a wonderful steak dinner. Later that night we came home and played Toss Across multiple times, and I believe Pepper took it to all of us.
Here are some other pics of Ella's first Christmas...

Opening up Uncle John and Aunt Pepper's gift to her...

Looking pretty darn cute in it, too!

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