I know I am terribly behind, but I have been focusing all my freetime (as if there is an abundance) on getting my pre-baby to-do list in order. Since Christmas was, as usual a complete whirlwind of multiple days and locations, I am going to get it documented in steps. So Christmas Part I included Christmas Eve at my Dad's house in Corvallis. We were supposed to go down Christmas Eve morning and return that night at Rory's bedtime but the threat of more snow pushed us to leave on the 23rd. So we packed up in a matter of minutes and made a mad dash south....with the rest of Portland. It was insane. It took us 5 1/2 hours to get there and was a more sketchy drive then any over the pass we have taken. Between the ice, snow, ruts in the road, and LOTS of people it was just plain maddening. But, we made it and rory was a champ. We did have to resort to plugging in the laptop and letting her watch a Dora episode to get through hour 5, a first that I am just fine with- at that point I would have done anything to keep everyone in the car sane. In fact, Rory might have been the most patient! Anyway, we made it and Rory got to spend the night at Papa Stan and Grandma Linda's much to her delight. They have fun toys and different books and lots of adoring attention. We spent a frantic but fun day on the 24th running last minute errands, visiting with family, eating and opening presents. It is always fun when rory gets to spend time with the boy cousins, the 3 of them are just so cute! Rory got a recorder (thanks aunt madi- you too someday will have children!) and perfected her surprised oohs and aahs look with each present. Just when she thought the fun was over she was told to wait with daddy while one more was brought in. this picture captures her displeasure of having to wait- too funny. The grand finale was that my dad had renovated (I mean top to bottom redone) the doll house that he had originally made for me. I think as much as rory loved it, it really was a gift for me. I remember it distinctly (and wish we had taken before pics) and it has been stored at my parents house and then my garage (where it briefly served as living quarters to a nice family of mice) for the past 20 years. It now is amazing. My dad fixed up all the broken parts and then added additions of gaurdrails for the stairs, a whole new floor, a new patio etc. He also repainted the entire thing, gave it a new roof and updates such as accent walls, river rock fireplace (used to be brick), hardwood floors, and handmade tiny shutters. It is truly beautiful and will be cherished! The best part is that it is big and open so all three cousins can play in it (literally) at the same time. So that was a great way to finsih the day. We then decided to head home early due to yet again the threat of more snow so we missed Owens pageant and hit the road. Since we didn't wait to leave until rory's bedtime and we had to leave aunt madi in corvallis the ride home was a bit more stressful then the way up. It started with the realization that the dollhouse was not going to fit in the jeep- I was fine with that, but as I loaded Rory in the car she noticed it's absence and started her lip quivering inquiries about where "Rory's big house" was. It was heart breaking, I was so glad my dad had left for the pageant- I am not sure he could have handled the pathetic sobs from my daughter. So that is how we started the trip home and 4 hours later as we pulled in we answered for the 9 millionth time "the doll house stayed in corvallis- Grandpa will bring it to you next week" Seriously the longest car ride EVER. It felt so good to be home we let rory run around a bit (even though it was already super late for her to be up) and just cherished the good feelings of being in our house with our tree and our kid on Christmas Eve. With all the snow outside it really was a very peaceful feeling. Pat says next year we are staying home, but I would do it all again if it means getting to spend time with everyone- we are just so lucky to have such great family!