|Tessa: Want to make a snowball? Nora: What's a snowball? I fail as a Canadian parent.|
We spent the 23rd and early on the 24th doing some last minute shopping for doodads and whatchamacallits to complete our gift giving and Christmas dinner.
On the 23rd, we spent some time at Laura's visiting with her and the girls. Nora just loves her cousins, and they love her. Tessa and Peter were there, too, and Tessa got a great Christmas gift from him- a Fender guitar!
I imagine this conversation between Nora and Ruby going something like this:
|I have never seen this much snow in my life!|
|Seriously? It's only just begun.|
Christmas Eve afternoon, we headed over to Nanny's house in the Pier to spend some time with family who I hadn't seen in forever- some who Brad and Nora had never met. Nanny isn't at her best right now. She has alzheimers, and it's getting more and more difficult for her to understand the world around her. I'm glad we got to spend that time together, even though I am certain that she didn't know me.
|Getting ready to go to Nanny's house.|
|Getting her baby doll (and other goodies) from Nanny. She loves it!|
|Princess with a recorder.|
After the party on MacLeod St., we headed back to Champlain Avenue where Nora got into her Christmas PJs, and we waited on Laura and the little girls to arrive. Once they did, Talia, Ruby, AND Tess got into their PJs, too, which matched Nora's. I love that Tess humored me with this. She's such a great "kid".
On Christmas Eve night, we had a nice evening in at Mom and Dad's house. Gina and Dylan came by for a few hours, and Dad and Dylan graced us with their musical talents.
|Family resemblance much?|
Once everything settled down, we got the Christmas gifts set out. Santa even stopped by with a few things for Nora, though he left most of her presents back in Tennessee for her to get when we return.
Nora woke up before 7 on Christmas morning, and I kept her busy until everyone was situated in the living room waiting for her to see the tree and the presents. She was a little shy at first with everyone watching her, but once we started opening presents, she got really into it. She wanted me to open each thing for her so she could play with it for a minute before moving on to the next thing
Her bathtub Ariel and her Little Mermaid DVD were probably her instant favorites, and I think we watched that movie 8 or 9 times between December 25th and 29th.
On Christmas Day afternoon, Laura and her boyfriend, Reg, came to Mom's house to eat. Mom made a traditional turkey dinner, and it was awesome. Christmas night, all was quiet. We got into our PJs, and Tessa gave Nora and me a mini manicure.
On Boxing Day, we went back to Laura's house to see her and the girls and all of the fun presents that they got. It's hard for little ones to share, especially their new things, but I think overall, they did pretty well. I didn't know this at the time, but it would be the last time we saw the girls before heading back to Tennessee. I wish I'd known that when we were there so I could have hugged them goodbye.
On the night of the 26th, we finally got to have our lobster feast that I always look forward to so much. We usually do it on Christmas Eve, but once everything had settled down for the night, it was too late (or rather, Brad and I were too tired) to indulge. So, we had our lobsters around dinner time. I hoped Nora would humor me and try a bite, but no such luck.
On the 27th and 28th, I got to spend some time with friends. On the night of the 27th, we went to see my Dad's show, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas", which is a "4 Men in a Tub" show. It was hilarious, as always, and I was thrilled that my old bud Leasa was able to make it. Laura, Reg, and some of their friends were there, too! On the 28th, Leasa, Bird, and I had a looong lunch together at Smitty's, catching up on the past year and a half. I love that even though I don't see them often, it's easy to fall back into step like no time has passed at all.
The 29th was our last day, and it was a quiet one spent at home (as most of our time was due to the weather), but I wouldn't have had it any other way. We had some more snags with our travel plans-- 2 canceled flights that set us back about 12 hours all together-- but in the end, it didn't make much of a difference. On the 30th, Dad drove us to the airport for our 2 p.m. flight, and we spent some final sweet moments together at the airport before taking off.
Some lyrics from my Dad's song, "Home for the Holidays" that sums up this bittersweet visit.
The livingroom glows like a memory
I can't believe I'm finally here
Man, you'd think things would change but thank God they're the same
From the carpet to the chesterfield chair
Kids around the organ, tinsel on the tree
Just as I had hoped it would be
Kiss me maw, the mistletoe called me
Home for the holidays
Home for the holidays
From Christmas eve until New Year's day
Friends and family together again
Home for the holidays
When the carolers stroll from the neighborhood
And the needles fall upon the floor
I will once again say goodbye to my friends
Though in my heart, you can be sure
I'm happy to be here, wish I didn't have to go
And when I'm gone I'll miss you all so
Lonely is the travelling
When home is where I'd rather be
With mom and dad and the family
Home for the holidays
I know the locals are over it already, but I'm actually going to miss this (for a little while).
So off we went, and I have to say this: My kid is awesome. Seriously. 11 hours in airports and on airplanes with hardly a complaint from her except for a near potty miss in the looong line through customs in Toronto. We received several compliments from people in regards to her happy disposition and good behavior. Proud Momma right here! Here she is, happy as a clam on our flight from Sydney to Toronto.
Once we finally landed in Atlanta at 11 p.m., Nancy and Kiersten were waiting for us. We got back to Nancy's house around 12:30 and went straight to bed. We got up on the morning of the 31st, had breakfast, and hit the road.
So, my kid who is ah-mazing on airplanes? She hates traveling in the car with a fiery passion. We were probably 15 or 20 minutes in when she started fussing and whining and crying and complaining. I think we made 3 or 4 stops to appease her between Atlanta and Knoxville, which is only a 3 hour drive, and she slept for the last hour and a half, so that was 3 or 4 stops in an hour and a half! One of those stops was in Calhoun, Tennessee, where Grandpa Sam's parents are buried. Sam and Brad are really into the family tree and genealogy in general, so we knew it would mean something special to Sam if we took some pictures of Nora at his parents' grave sites, especially since great grandmother Elinor is her namesake.
We finally reached our destination at about 2:45 in the afternoon, and I have to say, it was nice to be back among my own space and things. I'm always in a little bit of a homesick funk after returning from Nova Scotia, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.
We visited with family for a little while at Bo and Lea's for a New Years Eve dinner, and then we headed home again to get a sleepy little girl to bed. There was nothing sweeter than seeing her drift off to sleep on her own pillow with a little smile on her face and with her new baby doll tucked in next to her.
Once she was asleep, Brad and I found the stash that Santa left behind for us, and we got it all ready for Christmas round 2.
I've named this "The Christmas of babies and princesses".
Brad and I rang in the new year quietly at home with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on TV. The ball dropped, we kissed, and we stumbled into bed.... with Copper the beagle who is now deathly afraid of fireworks.
Happy New Year!