This was our first Christmas with Gwendolyn and even though the holiday was pretty insignificant to her, it was very significant to us.
Christmas is a time for 'family' and this year has been all about growing our family. What a joy to have her home with us!
Christmas was in Santa Fe this year. Andrew's parents live there and I'm always amazed to see that no matter what direction you look, everything you see in Santa Fe looks like a post card!
The adobe houses are the color of a golden honey graham cracker and the sky is the bluest I've ever seen. The sunsets are so intense that you'd think they weren't real if you weren't seeing them with your own eyes!
The food is so good and the art is so amazing that I hardly notice that there are virtually no conservatives, angled roof lines, or plush green lawns. Eventually, that would bother me but for a few days every year, I'm very excited to be in Santa Fe!
Gwen had no idea what all the fuss was over presents.
The festive paper and brightly colored ribbon and bows could have just been the newest package for diapers or baby wipes for all she knew! She didn't know that each box held a small treasure -- something to eagerly anticipate, dream about and, ultimately, joyfully unwrap.
We plunked her down in the middle of all of our packages to snap this picture but only one package was hers. We showed her how to tear the paper and she delicately complied with our instructions.
Finally, her gift was revealed and it couldn't have been a better present because it was a towel and washcloth from her Daddy's childhood neighbor and dear family friend in England (Pat and Dilys) and it met all of the specifications of a beloved "lovey". I can't think of a better first present! She loved it!
Christmas Dinner - Clockwise from the left: Granddad, Daddy, Gwen, Mommy, Uncle Chris, Michael and Granny. We had beef and lots of veggies with apple crisp for dessert.
After dinner, we put the dishes in the dishwasher and Gwen helped. Of the 400+ pictures we took during this trip, this one is one of my favorites. Be sure to click on it to enlarge it. I love the way it shows all of us engaged in an ordinary task. Working together as a family. It's a good picture!
For most of this year, I've dreamed of the moment I would hold Gwen near the Christmas tree and see the soft glow of the lights reflected in her dark, shining, eyes. I got to do this on Christmas Eve and she was so beautiful that I had to choke back tears. I didn't have a camera handy but I'll remember how she looked forever anyway. Just as I remember how my son looked 17 years ago when I saw the glow of his first Christmas tree reflected in his eyes.
Andrew's mom is really special. She paints and sings and always takes such good care of her family. Gwen loves her "Granny"!
Gwen's Uncle Chris is pretty special too. Here he is modeling a bicycling accessory. We were really excited to get to meet his girlfriend, Kate, and we're not sure how we managed to not get a picture of the two of them together! It was fun to meet Kate after hearing so many fun things about her.
Gwenny's Granddad is pictured here. He enjoys historical novels and Santa came through with many good choices for him this year! Gwen didn't care too much for his books (no pictures) but liked playing with his glasses or going on tours of his house with him. Her two favorite activities were learning how to work the light switches and observing the chiming of the clock!
This was Gwen's first Christmas with us but Michael's last Christmas as our "kid".
You always hear people talk about how quickly time flies but you don't realize how true those words are until you have a child and watch him/her grow up! It doesn't seem like it's been 17 years since Michael's first Christmas.
Many people emailed me and asked to see a full length picture of Gwen in her Christmas dress. Here it is. The dress seemed a bit large for her but it was super pretty anyway. I hope you agree. :)