Sunday, January 11, 2009

What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

Well, it wasn't blogging, was it?? :-)  We spent Christmas and New Year's in FL with my family. All 4 generations were together at some point during Christmas and Christmas Week: my grandparents, my parents, aunt and uncle, my sister and her family and us.  My folks have a big house and we filled it up.  Truly the best part of it all was after the hustle of traveling and Christmas Eve/Day had passed and the family all just hung out together and played with the 3 girls.  Having our daughter at home with us at long last was really the best present I could ask for, and Christmas was even more meaningful as I held my daughter throughout the candlelight service.  (Not that I had a lot of time to reflect, what with trying to keep her from crawling up to the pulpit to see Pop-pop as he preached or from chewing on the candles.)  

Since then, we stopped on our way back to NC for a nice overnight visit with another family we traveled with to China.  Their daughter is so adorable and it was great to see how well she has handled the many adjustments she's faced in the past few months.  We really enjoyed the time to chat and catch up with L. and S. -- we appreciated their hospitality and are looking forward to hopefully making a stop at their house a tradition when we go see my folks!  

Anna Kathryn definitely enjoyed her first Christmas with us.  I have no idea how, or if, Christmas was even celebrated at the Poyang SWI, but in any case, she was less than 2 months old last Christmas and wouldn't have had a clue.  She liked Alie's gift from Santa more than her own, but we figured she would need to grow into it.   She did chew on the baby Jesus several times and was intrigued by the angel, which lit up when you pressed down on it, and the song "Away in a Manger" played.  AK does love the musical toys!  Emily had great fun later on making up lots of stories about the Bible characters.  

She cooed and squirmed through Christmas Eve service and got to meet a sweet girl in my dad's church who is also Chinese.  She was interested in our birthday party for Jesus for the first few minutes and actually listened to my dad read the Nativity story from the Bible, then proceeded to empty our stockings systematically.  Hee hee.

Anna Kathryn took a little while to get used to everybody (velcro baby at first), but eventually was toddling between people and blowing kisses and getting hugs.  She absolutely loved playing with her cousins:  Emily was so patient with her and willingly shared lots of her new toys.  Alie, at 4 months, didn't do much but look at AK.  She did cringe a bit every time AK came too close, since a lack of fine motor skills  and an abundance of curiosity meant that Alie got bopped in the head a number of times by AK.   AK's favorite word is "mama" and she kept looking at my sister (we do resemble each other, and sound a lot alike) and saying, "Mama?" with this quizzical look on her face.  Too cute!  She played a lot of peek-a-boo with Nana and is now a fan of riding on Nana's scooter with her.  She loved romping with Pop-pop, and totally charmed my grandparents and aunt and uncle.

Big news:  she took her first steps on December 29th, to much applause and cheering from the entire family!

She rolled with the changes in routine and household pretty well, especially considering we had just completely changed her routine when she started daycare.  The last few days of the trip she was somewhat cranky more often, but mostly was her usual good-natured self.  She just didn't sleep as well away from her crib.  We tried to keep her routine as semi-normal as possible, but it really wasn't possible.  But, I think she loved being with mama and daddy and the family all day -- I know I loved it!!  Eventually, she did run out of steam.  

So, pictures.  I have LOTS, thanks to my sister giving me copies of her files to add to my own.  That was part of my mental block about even getting around to posting about Christmas. I'm definitely going to have to post in installments.  

Added at 10:30:   Today is Mark's birthday!  Unfortunately, the Panthers lost last night and he has a bad cold, so the celebration was rather subdued.  I feel so blessed to celebrate another year with him!  Happy Birthday, honey!


The Gang's Momma said...

Aaaaaw, it all sounds so fun!

And I'm jealous: Li'l Empress's fave words are Baba and Bicah (her big brother!). When she really needs me, she won't take anyone else but she rarely says Mama. She's a Mama's girl, without the words!

Sorry about your Panthers. A loss on a b'day is a double whammy!

Nicole said...

Sounds like you all had a good time! I love the pic of AK asleep with her blankie in her mouth, very cute!