Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowy Christmas Celebrations

Well, we made it to Nana's and back again...and it was quite the adventure!

We decided to pack up the presents and food to take to Nana's because we didn't want her to be out on the roads when it was snowing. We left almost immediately after church. Our drive to Nana's was uneventful and it had only begun snowing. There was a dusting when we pulled in her driveway, but the snow was starting to fall heavier and faster. In about an hour, there were easily 2 inches on the ground and it was still coming. We enjoyed a delicious Italian Wedding Soup courtesy of Peter's mom as well as yummy crusty bread that Aunt Marian brought. It was the perfect meal for a blistery winter day.

Afterwards, we exchanged presents and ate desserts at the same time as to move things along since we could tell it was getting worse and worse out and we all needed to get home still.

Bella and Caleb have grown so much since we've seen them last. Caleb is quite the handsome little man and has the cutest pouty face!

Peter and I brought along a tiny Christmas tree that is usually found at my desk at work. It was the perfect addition to our festivities. See it under the lamp? haha...told you it was tiny! Andrew had the job of passing out presents since he sat near the pile.

Bella loved opening presents and would help everyone to unwrap their presents. It was so cute!

She was excited about every gift she received!

I put a green bow in my hair from the first gift Bella and I opened and forgot it was there for like an hour...oops!

Aunt Marian got Tim/Vasti and Peter/me awesome fleece blankets from Land's End. Tim can be seen below opening theirs.

Bella helps Andrew open the present that we got for him:

Nana with her knives that were a group gift from several of us:

Aunt Marian shows off her adorable new necklace from Matt, Ruthann, Wesley, and Zack:

Peter took most of the pictures today so I had to make sure to snap one of him opening a gift, too!

Bella and I show off our new bracelets (that match!) from Matt, Ruthann, Wesley, and Zack. :)

Mom is shocked when she opened her present from us (a Christmas tablecloth) because she couldn't believe that we remembered her saying last year that she really wanted one. Those are the best gifts to give! Things people want and forget they say. :)

Peter and Dad were talking here as Peter snapped a quick picture.

Tim opens a box of goodies from Mom and Dad:

After realizing that it was starting to get dark and time was quickly escaping us, we decided that we needed to be on our way. By this time, it was starting to become a whiteout. The roads were covered and the snow was till falling - fast and furious. We cleaned cars off, salted walkways and steps, and got everyone going. The drive home was slow. There were (surprisingly) lots of people out on the road, it was getting dark (and was completely dark by the time we got home), and many of the roads were untouched. We were probably out in the worst of it actually. Since the snow was falling so fast, it was hard to keep the roads clear. It is supposed to stop snowing by tomorrow and then they should be able to get a handle on clearing the roads.

There were some crazy drivers out there, obviously ignorant to how the conditions were. That coupled with the slippery roads made me nervous. I usually love taking pictures of snow, etc., but was too nervous to even do that! You'll just have to take my word for it. I was sure glad to arrive back at Peter's parents' safe and sound. We eventually heard from Tim and Aunt Marian and everyone else got home safely as well. What an answered prayer!

Now we are picking a movie to watch, grabbing leftovers for dinner, and preparing for a fun, relaxing evening! There's something so fun about being snowed in, watching movies, and hanging out with family. :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day at Mima's

Merry Christmas!

After an early wake up call, packing the car, and driving 5 hours, we arrived at Mima's! We had a great meal with tons of good food. Some of what we ate was: Chicken w/wine sauce, Tuna Lasagna, Asparagus, Salad, Veal Parmesan, Cookies, and Cake. So yummy!

Then we all gathered in the living room to exchange presents.

Obviously, Andrew is excited to see Peter again...

My lovely in-laws :)

Laura and Bill:

Peter must've been happy to see Andrew because this is the second picture he took of him!

Opening presents:

John-Paul with his new Star Wars book from Mima:

Laura adds more horses to her collection!

Andrew got some C.S. Lewis books. You can only see a piece of them though because Peter cut them out of the picture haha.

Mom and Mima opening the mugs from Matt, Ruthann, Wesley, and Zack:

Mima with her new mug. They were so cute with pictures of the kids on them.

Aunt Grace opening a bracelet from Matt, Ruthann, Wesley, and Zack:

Peter opening cologne from Italy from Mima:

Me with a new cookbook (bakebook?) from Mima :)

Laura opening the horse earrings that we got for her:

Peter taking a picture of John-Paul, and vice versa...

Aunt Grace wrapped Mom and Dad's presents with pre-presents. They weren't sure what was going on since each time they pulled something out, they were told it wasn't the "real" present haha. The "real" present was an awesome gift of pictures on a CD from old slides of Dad's.

Me with my hunny:

Mom inspects the apron we made for Mima. Hope it was up to her standards!

Mima being silly with her new apron:

Aunt Grace opening the coasters that we made for her and Uncle Michael:

Opening presents at Mima's is always more organized than at my parent's house. Both ways have their pros and cons and we enjoy getting to do each.

Peter and I again received many wonderful gifts, including, but not limited to: travel mugs, tea, soap, cologne, a cookbook, a photo from our wedding, cooking utensils, and a beautiful watercolor photo from Italy.

We are now back at Peter's parents house and are getting ready to have some pork roll! Peter and I haven't had any in a while, but it's tradition to have some while in Philly. We can't even find any pork roll to buy in the Pittsburgh area so we usually end up taking some home with us.
Traveling on Christmas and the entire week is always tiring, but we're so happy to be able to see our family and celebrate Christmas with them. Tomorrow they are calling for a huge snowstorm on the East Coast so we will have to see if we're able to see Nana and Aunt Marian tomorrow. We sure hope we can!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve In Hollidaysburg

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve! This morning we headed to Hollidaysburg bright and early. Peter needed a haircut so we wanted to make sure to make it to my dad's barber before he closed around noon. Peter dropped me off to do a little shopping (as always). I got a few last minute gifts and picked up a couple things for myself as well, haha. Then Peter and I headed to my parents and my sister and I went out shopping again. I can't believe how many people were out shopping on Christmas Eve. That's the first time in a few years that I've been out, but I guess stores are open and people are still finishing up with buying gifts.

Peter and I really miss being able to go to our own church for Christmas service so we decided to go to Grace Bible church at 6 PM. It was a candlelit service and was just wonderful to connect with the real meaning of Christmas.

Then we had our usual Christmas Eve gathering with my parent, siblings and their significant others/kids. My mom made a delicious dinner of stuffed shells, salad, and crab cakes. Yum, yum, and double yum!

We tried to making opening presents to not be as crazy as it usually is so that we could see what everyone gets, but it eventually got crazy. Not in a bad way, but just lots of people, lots of presents, lots of talking/laughing.

I'm not sure what Erik thought was funny, but I believe he was pointing at Mark in this picture...

And the presents begin...

Me and the love of my life :)

I think my dad is opening one of his several books that he received. Peter and I got him the new Tom Clancy book and he got 2 or 3 others books as well. No duplicates though! And nothing he's already read! He had just told my mom the week or so prior that he was about to end his last book. Talking about perfect timing! I'm sure the new books will keep him busy for a while.

Erik and Nichole...again looking at Mark and laughing...haha

Ashley got a "Modern Family" calendar from Mark, Jackie, and Christian. Dad asked it if was a record haha.

We bought Ashley the sunflower spoon rest and scarf while in Italy this past July. Hope she likes them because she can't return 'em!

Presents and trash quickly filled the entire living room!

Peter and I got a bunch of great presents including Euro Shams, sweaters, PJs, iTunes giftcards, the Willow Tree Nativity, James Taylor's Greatest Hits, and more!

After everyone except Peter, me, and my parents left, I spent some time putting our presents away in the corner of my old bedroom. We don't want to take them with us since we'll be back on Tuesday for a few days and can take them home then.

Then I put on my new PJs from Erik and Nichole and spent time hanging out with my mom in the living room. I always have to force myself to go to bed on Christmas Eve because we have to get up early to drive to Mima's. It's so nice to be with family and having a fun time. And it's only day one of our Christmas break!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Own Little Christmas

Peter and I always do our own little Christmas celebration where we exchange presents with each other. It originated from not wanting to pack our presents to each other, drive them all around with us and have them taking up room, only to bring them back home. I honestly love our time together alone. It's fun and sweet and just perfect!

We've also been taking an annual picture of ourselves with Cadi near our Christmas tree. It's always funny trying to get Cadi to look at the camera. We usually end up with a few of her running off or facing the wrong way. This year she did great, though!

Here, I thought we were taking another nice one, until Peter turned and was goofy at the last second. Wish I would've known!

Presents under the tree!

As we were exchanging presents, it started to snow! Peter tried getting some pictures, but it was a very fine snow so it was hard to pick up on camera.

Our beautiful tree. :) I think this year's was the best yet.

Peter loves musical snowglobes. A few years ago I bought him a musical snowman and this year I got a snowglobe that plays "Jingle Bells". I loved seeing his face when he opened it. :)

Peter bought me a beautiful teal dress. It was super cute on, too, but it was just a little too big. :(

New Gap pullovers for Peter!

We both enjoyed our evening together opening presents. I can't believe it's only 2 days until Christmas! Time flies! Tomorrow we'll be starting on our Christmas travels!