Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas, everyone!!! I hope that you all had as great of a Christmas holiday as the Ireland household has. Really, these past few days have been absolutely wonderful spending time with family and enjoying our second Christmas with Avery. My grandmother, Judy, came into town on Wednesday from Georgia and stayed with my parents. Chris, Avery and I met them at Bonefish for dinner on Wednesday night and then on Thursday she and my parents spent a few hours at our house so she could get some quality Avery time. Friday was a great day because Chris got off work at noon!!! I always love when he has short work days and we get to spend an afternoon together as a family. It's always a special gift for me!! :)  Avery and I met Chris at Chili's for lunch and then we took Avery to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shop. This was our third attemt at taking her to see Santa and it was finally a success! (that story is for another post!) Avery was TERRIFIED of Santa and cried the second Chris handed her to Santa. We snapped a few pics and the second Chris picked her back up she stopped crying. It wasn't like she gradually stopped crying- it was as if someone flipped a switch and she just stopped. Are we bad parents for thinking it was hilarious!?!?!?

Friday evening Chris' parents, Ed and Cheryl (and their dog, Holli) came into town. We enjoyed a night of catching up and eating pizza- my favorite!! On Christmas Eve day we just hung around the house and enjoyed eachother's company. Chris and I decided to host our very first Christmas at our house and my wonderful, amazing husband was the chef. So, he spent most of Saturday morning preparing all of our dishes for Christmas dinner. That afternoon we took a long walk through our community and down to the marina. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. There was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was about 65 degrees- not really Christmas weather, but it was still so very nice. That evening we went to our church's Christmas Eve candlelight service. My parents and grandmother met us there. It was a wonderful service and I'm so glad we were able to go this year. Growing up, we would always go to the Christmas Eve service with my mom's side of the family- it was always a favorite tradition of mine. I miss being with all of my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents during the holidays, but I am enjoying starting our own traditions. After the Christmas Eve service Ed, Cheryl, Chris, Avery and I drove around looking at all of the Christmas lights in our community. It was so much fun!!! Avery enjoyed looking at the lights, but I think she will understand and enjoy it more next year. 

Avery looking absolutely beautiful in her Christmas Eve dress!!! 
Christmas day was a fun and busy day. We started the day off with breakfast and then Chris put the ham and turkey into the oven before we opened gifts. Avery had SO many gifts and I think Chris and I only gave her one! She really got in to opening the gifts once Chris and I started them for her. She was great at ripping off the wrapping paper. I think she was slightly overwhelmed by all of the gifts, but we were glad she enjoyed herself. I have to take a minute to brag on my baby girl.... she really is the BEST little girl ever! With all of the excitement of opening gifts and taking a few breaks so Chris could work on dinner she missed her morning nap and was an hour late in eating her lunch. Not one time did she fuss!

Bailey loved getting her new toys and treats out of her stocking, too!

Daddy excited about his stationary bike attachment

Avery LOVED her new red wagon and sat in it all morning with her new toys.... so cute!!
 Round two: My parents came over at 11am and we had round two of opening presents. Again, Avery enjoyed all of her new clothes, books and dvd's. Keep in mind, she still hasn't napped or eaten lunch and she was an angel! After opening presents from my parents Chris hit the kitchen full force and I fed Avery lunch and finally put her down for a nap around 1:10pm. She didn't move an inch for her entire nap- the poor girl was worn out!!!

I love her Santa outfit from Mimi and Granddaddy!

My mom made this beautiful blanket for Avery for Christmas this year.... I'm so proud of her!!!! 

Round three: Grandmama and Aunt Tara came over at 1:30pm and we all enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner of ham, turkey, corn souffle, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, apple and sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes and so much more-- all prepared by the incredible chef, my husband!! Chris slaved all day in the kitchen and it was well worth it! Dinner was incredible! I'm so proud of him for all of his hard work. He truly loves to cook and this was the biggest meal he has prepared to date. I think he was pretty whooped afterwards, but it was fantastic! Avery continued her 2 hour nap while we ate. Round three of gifts began with Aunt Tara and Grandmama and again- Avery enjoyed all of her new gifts and did so great with the overwhelming amounts of toys and gifts surrounding her. We played a couple rounds of apples to apples and then enjoyed Chris' homemade pumpkin swirl cheesecake. YUM!!!
Preparing the last of our Christmas dinner.... YUM!

The delicious spread....
The family enjoying a wonderful Christmas dinner together

Giving her first baby doll a kiss....

Avery received her very first baby doll on Christmas day and she LOVED it!!! It was a huge hit!


Aunt TaTa!

Me and my Aunt Tara

Mom and Dad!!!

The Archer family

Avery riding in her new red wagon from Poppy and Grandmommy!

The Ireland Family 

missing Amanda and Brock....

They really do love each other!

The day also included ichatting with Justin, Adriane, Micah and Jackie.... facetiming with my sister Amanda and her boyfriend Brock, and some facetime with Chris' grandmother, Nanna and his cousins David, Andy and their dad, Uncle Dick.

Christmas with Justin, Adriane, Micah and Jackie via iChat!
It was an incredible Christmas and I would say that our first attempt at hosting Christmas at our house was quite the success!!!  Merry Christmas to you all!!!!!


A Lake Martin Weekend

Chris' mom turned the big 6-0 this past week (and I'm sure she'll kill me for posting her age for all to see!!!)  and to celebrate, Ed rented a house on Lake Martin.  Justin, Adriane, Micah, Chris, me, Avery, my parents and Adriane's mom all spent the weekend together just relaxing, playing games, and eating delicious food. Cheryl was so suprised we were all there waiting for her on Friday night and even more surprised that my parents and Jackie were there, too! Ed, Justin and Christopher pulled off an awesome weekend for Cheryl and we created many memories that will last a lifetime. I am so thankful that our families get along so well and that we had the opportunity to spend a weekend together with nothing on the agenda. Avery and Micah had a blast playing... well, let's just say, Avery had a blast chasing Micah around while he crawled as fast as he could away from her. Maybe one day soon he will enjoy playing with her! haha. 

I love this sweet nephew of mine!

Avery is a full time walker these days!!! She has officially left the crawling behind....

I seriously can't get enough of Daddy/Daughter photos!

The beautiful sunset Saturday night over Lake Martin

Avery loves being chased!

and then captured by daddy!

We loved playing with Micah all weekend, too!

gotta love Avery's new facial expression!

One of my favorite moments was reading these two precious babies a book! 

Aren't they so cute?!?!

Justin and Christopher had a blast lighting all 60 candles on Cheryl's red velvet cheesecake cake! YUMMY!

Grandmommy and her babies

Avery and Uncle J

Just before we left we gathered all of the balloons in a corner and put the kids in the middle. Though they both love to play with balloons, Micah wasn't too sure about being in the midst of them all. Avery, of course, loved it!

cutest smile ever!

It was a wonderful weekend and as soon as I can get a group picture from Ed I will be sure to post it. Happy birthday, Cheryl!!!!