Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Here I have been saying that it hasn't really felt like Christmas this year with no snow, no family coming in to celebrate with us, and not being in Guatemala. However, that whole sentiment changed Christmas eve. First, there was church with the acting out of the Christmas story, my children shouting "AMEN!" after every prayer, and singing Christmas carols. Then Mommy and Daddy got to play Santa's elves after the kids went to bed. Finally, there was Christmas morning with the kids pure joy and excitement. What a wonderful holiday the Merrill family had -- our first all together and in the US. Amen.

The tree Christmas Eve

Garrett was awake and happy at 4 am. Mommy and Daddy buried their heads in the pillows until about 6:30. I opened the bedroom door and the little man came charging out. He ran into the living room and stopped cold, just staring in amazement in all that was there before him. I wish that Chris and I had gotten it on video, but all I have are still pics. Here he is with his new kitchen. (Elena was a little slower in the wake-up and therefore about a minute behind him in discovering what Santa had left beneath the tree.)

Look, Daddy, a cup.

Monkey see, monkey do. Elena showing us the kitchen had a cup for her, too.

Let anyone try to tell me that there isn't a Santa Claus and I will show them photos of my children's faces on Christmas morning. Pure joy. Love it.

Elena feeding her baby doll a bottle (it empties as the baby "drinks") while she sits in her stroller. Elena has been pushing her dolls all around the house. What a good mamacita.

Little Miss Too Cool sitting on her new bike

I love how tender my hubby can be with the kids. I know that I'm a bit impartial, but I think he's the world's best dad. Here he is opening a "puz" (puzzle) with Garrett. If you look at the background you can see a pear that the kids were munching on. They got chocolate and fruit in their stockings, took a few bites of the choco, and then spent the rest of the morning nibbling their fruit! How many years do you think we can pull off that coup?

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa for all our food and kitchen gadgets. Now we can really get cooking!

Can you feel the excitement in the air?

Of course, the box that the toys come in always make the best toys.

Christmas happens ...

all over our living room. :)

Pretty princess playing with a dinosaur. Just when I start to wonder how to raise a girly-girl she pulls something like this.

Caught by the camera

Handsome boy cooking in the kitchen. He was some concerned when he woke up from his nap and the play kitchen had been moved from the living room. Thankfully everything was still there.

My pretty princess with her pretty princess Barbie, Cinderella.

Hmmm, how does this thing work?

Maybe like this?

Where did Daddy go? I brought him a soda to share with me.

Right before this picture Garrett looked at Elena and said, "Pretty princess, Sissy. Hug." Awwww. Just melts a Momma's heart.

My tough guy sitting on his new bike. Can you tell that he is about to fall asleep sitting up?

I spent most of the afternoon, and a chunk of Christmas Eve day, in the kitchen preparing our holiday meal. Our holiday dinner menu was:

  • Roast turkey (9 lbs) and gravy (Wolfgang Puck recipe with sherry and white wine -- yummy!)
  • Cranberry-orange relish
  • Parker House rolls (my first attempt at making bread from scratch)
  • Dressing (plain Pepperidge Farm, blah. Need to change that for next year)
  • Maple roasted butternut squash
  • Green bean casserole from scratch
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pumpkin bread with cinnamon cream cheese spread
  • Peppermint chocolate pudding pie

Yeah, we had a lot of food for just the four of us, but I wanted to cook a good 'ole traditional meal. As a self-critical cook, I still have to say it was all pretty delicious. I just need to work on the timing of getting all the food cooked and ready at the same time. Next year I'm going to spice it up a little bit and try to make a traditional Guatemalan tamale to have with the meal. We also meant to have the kids drink hot chocolate, but they were hopped up enough on other sugar and just the excitement of the day that we decided to forgo that Guatemalan tradition. We'll figure out how to put our traditions all together as the years go on. We've got lots of time to get better.

What a wonderful, joyous holiday we had. We are sad that we did not get to celebrate with any friends or family, but our day was pretty darn near perfect. We hope that your Christmas celebration was equally special and joyful.


Our Ohana said...

Looks like tons of fun. Toby was supposed to get a kitchen too, but we couldn't find one anywhere. The kids looks soooo cute.

Barb said...

Sounds and Looks like a wonderful day! The kids are adorable. They had the same jammies as my boys. :) Your dinner sure beats the chinese we had. I decided not to cook this year but I missed it.

Happy New Year!

Kim & Dave said...

fun pics!

Your meal sounds "yum-o," as Rachel Ray would say!

Kim said...

What a great day!!! I love the looks on their faces. :)

Our Family of 5 said...

What a blast. Must be the year of kitchens. Sophia got one too and it amazes me that it keeps her busy longer then 5 minutes. Happy New Year to you all.

Katie said...

Awww....looks like it was the perfect day with your darling kiddos !!!

Amanda said...

Hi, I received your holiday photo card today. Your kids are adorable. It looks like they had a fun Christmas.

Donna said...

Hi--love the pictures and it looks like it was a wonderful holiday! Happy and Healthy New Year!

Donna and ava

Jaime and Mitch said...

Awww they are beautiful! I'm glad you had such a Wonderful Christmas!!

Jaime and Mitch

Anonymous said...

Hey there Merrills--
Well I hadn't checked in on the blog since christmas eve so it was a great treat to the see the pics of the kids. We had CHristmas 2 weeks earlier with my family so Christmas was VERY small at the Cipperley house. 2 presents for Nathan and one for each of us. That was fine with me though----less to pack next week! That's right, next week the big ole moving truck comes to pick up our stuff. I made Christmas dinner for just the three of us too. WAYYYYY to much food for just three people. Felt great about doing it though---so I know what you mean there. Okay---so like I said, the craziness starts next week, then we stay at my mom's house starting on or around the 23rd of Jan...then CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME:) Shogatsu Omedeto (Happy New year) See you soon. Meg, Ben and Nathan