Friday, January 3, 2014

All About Eve, Christmas Eve That Is

Piper's first ornament by Hallmark, love it!
I decided if I'm going to be able to post as many pictures as I want, I best divide my Christmas post into two different entries.  This first one will be all about Christmas Eve and the few days leading up to the wondrous event.  This basically begins with Piper's visit to the new Bass Pro Shop to visit Santa, peruses her first received gifts from a couple people at the office, and then finishes up with the Christmas Eve family festivities. I will write a second entry which will consist of everything related to Christmas day.  I took a ridiculous amount of pics over the holiday, so I figure this is the best way to make everything enjoyable for my readers. I don't want to overload you all with 900 pics in one post, that would just be nuts! ;-)

Papa showing Piper her ornament.
So, let's begin with the Santa adventure!

As you can probably deduce from her age, Piper had never met nor heard of Santa before this year.  Being that it was her first Christmas, I decided to go ahead and let her get the full Santa treatment by taking her to meet him, live and in person!  Most people thought I was crazy taking a baby so young to visit Santa, thinking she would throw and absolute fit and be inconsolable whilst sitting on his lap for their picture together; but I thought what the hell, if she throws a fit it will make for a funny memory and fantastic photo op.  I myself have hysterical pictures from my childhood where I'm bawling my eyes out, and obviously screaming bloody murder, while being scared shitless by the bearded lord of least that's what it looks like who I think he is in those old pics.  Funny enough, it was my dad playing Santa that year, something I didn't even learn until just a few years ago. The rest of the family, for some reason, thought I figured that much out after all these years of seeing the pic, but alas I had not.  Anyways, I figured if I lived through the terror of Santa when I was a child, so could Piper...although this would not be her dad in disguise, at least I hoped not, hehehehe.

Papa and Piper always have such a great time together!
Just recently we had a brand spanking new Bass Pro Shop open down the road from my office.  As part of their awesomness, they had free pictures with Santa all the way up until Christmas Eve.  So one day during a slow day at the office, I took Piper to get her picture with the big guy.  Of course Nana and Papa joined us for the experience, and boy what an experience it was!

Piper was fascinated by the large aquarium!

And she had a lot to say about all the fish!

When we first arrived at Bass Pro and began our trek to the front door, Piper went into overdrive.  You'd think we had gone to Disney World for all her joyous enthusiasm.  She was giggling, bouncing, squealing, and whipping her head all over the place to take in every single detail both inside and outside the store.  It truly was a sight to see her even more wound up and excited that usual.  And since we had arrived at an awkward time of day, there was no wait to see Santa, luckily for us.

My two favorite women looking beautiful together!

Nana pointing out the fishies!
There were lots of fishies to admire!
At first she was pretty nonchalant and calm about meeting him.  He had me hold her while he talked to her, trying to establish a rapport that would be conducive to a good camera session before having me hand her over for picture time.  Once I handed her over, she began to get anxious and cry just a bit.  But then she seemed to calm down, and although she didn't give the biggest of smiles for her picture, she also didn't go berserk and cause a scene.  As you can see from the photo, she was a bit tense, but altogether she took a great pic with Santa.  I'm sure next year will be a different story, but we've got a long time till then.

She did really good, almost not crying for the big guy!
After taking her pic with Santa, we went to explore the store briefly.  They have a ton of stuffed wildlife on display along with a giant aquarium.  Everything caught her eye, and she continued to squeal with delight and bounce with a spastic joy that made everyone take notice.  I think she may have been the happiest child on the planet during the time we were there.  She really is a hoot out shopping, as she loves to people watch. She loves attention from everyone who passes her, and she loves the overload of brain activity she gets from being around all the newness of the world.  In our family, we often talk about old souls and new souls.  We have decided Piper is definitely a new soul as she is wondrous about everything in the world, as if she has never experienced any of it in a past life.  That may sound strange to some, but it's something we believe in, and she fits the mold for the new soul personality type.  I'm thrilled she gets so much joy out of every new encounter, everything is novel and exciting.  I think she could watch a caterpillar crawl across a blade of grass for hours just for the entertainment value of it...guess we'll find out this Spring.

Nana showing Piper the stuffed bear.
Piper showing the bear who's boss!

Piper checking out his nose, she likes noses!

Okay, now on to the office gifts...

Before Christmas Eve, Piper received gifts at the office from two very special people in her life, Uncle Art and Uncle David.  In all truthfulness, neither one is an actual uncle, but I consider them family enough to have earned that title.  Art is one of my furniture reps that I've known and worked with for years.  David works in our warehouse, and is one of Piper's most favorite people on the planet.  She even calls him Dada sometimes, although I think it's because she is trying to say his name.  Regardless, these are two very special people to Piper, and receiving gifts from them was an unexpected treat that lit her up from head to toe!

Random pic of Piper lighting up, lol!
The first to deliver a surprise gift was Uncle Art.  It was so funny watching Piper try and unwrap it.  She had been told not to mess with the presents under the Christmas tree at home for a few weeks, so was stunned when she was handed a gift to unwrap.  She delicately held her hands back, afraid it was too good to be true.  Uncle Art sat her on his lap and helped her with removing the paper, and she sat there in silent awe. Eventually she understood this was a gift for her and that it was okay at this point to dig in.  Inside the wrapping was a Vtech Bear's Baby Laptop, a perfect gift for an expanding young mind.  She was fascinated, dumbfounded, and overjoyed with her new toy.  She played with it the rest of the afternoon, and I can see many years of enjoyment and learning ahead of her with this gift.  Uncle Art did good!

Uncle Art helping with the unwrapping. 

Notice the dainty hands not quite knowing what to do.
She was definitely excited!

Is it really mine?
Learning with Uncle Art!

He couldn't have chosen a better gift for such a curious mind!

She definitely loved the gift and it will continue to entertain and teach!
The very next day, Uncle David brought her a gift.  After her previous gift unwrapping experience, she now needed no coaxing to understand it was for her and okay to devour.  Uncle David plays the drums, so of course it was a drum of her very own!  Piper is very much into banging on things right now, and she loves a good beat and music, so she instantly took to the drum and proceeded to take the sticks wherever she went (see pics from Xmas Eve here in a bit).  Once again, she couldn't have been happier with her present, nor could it have been more appropriate for her rockin' personality.  Just as Uncle Art had, Uncle David also did good!

The drumsticks were quite the hit, too!
And they clack together!
Carrying them with her to check out the box, of course!
And taking them on adventures in the hallway!
Definitely a happy camper!
The following day was Christmas Eve.  Piper had no clue that more gifts were coming her way, and boy was she overjoyed with all the family hubbub, commotion, laughter, loudness, sparkly things, attention, goodies, and love.  I so wish I could have crawled up in her brain to grasp what was going on inside, for it must be quite astounding for such a wee one, but I will just have to be satisfied with the memories of her in her stunningly adorable Christmas Eve dress and all the pictures of the exciting time with the family.  Rather than put into words everything that occurred, for this section I will stick with mostly pictures and captioning...after all, they do speak a thousand words, right?

Piper with her cousin Larkin.
And with her Uncle Sean.
Notice the drumsticks?
Love the look her cousin Conor is giving her!
Trying to steal Nana's present!

Bows are awesome!
And wrapping paper is tasty!
Such a doll in her Christmas dress!

Still loving the bows!
Opening her second drum kit of Christmas!
Yes, I am as goofy as she is!

Drummer in the making?

Of course the sticks have to be taste-tested!

On to the next present!

Another bow, woohoo!

Mama's a dork!
Taking a chill break!

Uhoh, here comes the elephant!

It shoots balls!!!

She loves this thing!
What little girl doesn't dream of a pony for Christmas?

Such a princess!

And a tyrant, lol!

She loves her pony!

Photo op!
Opening her first firearm!
A limited edition Red Ryder BB gun, just like in A Christmas Story!
Yay, Christmas!
Yay, for more bows!

I love my sweet angel!

A pic with her cousins Larkin and Haven.
Just couldn't get Piper to smile, ugh!
And one with her sole male cousin, Conor.
He adores her!
I have a ton more pics from Christmas Eve, but decided it best to only feature ones with Piper in them.  If I decided to post the rest, you'd all never come back, lol.  I'm so grateful that my niece Maggie took over taking pics with the fancy cam.  I so rarely get to sit back and enjoy the festivities without being interrupted with picture taking.  Plus, I then actually get to be in a few here and there.  So many times there are no pics of Piper and I together, so it's nice to have some of just us for a change.  I so wish I had gotten a couple of shots with Piper in front of the tree with her other cousins Maggie and Anna, but I guess I missed taking those...oops!  Oh well, next year.  It's hard to think of everything with so much commotion going on. I do my best, though.

Oh geez, I've just now realized I've completely forgotten to mention the new addition to our family, Snowbelle! This year we decided to begin a new tradition for Piper, Elf on the Shelf.  I'm sure most everyone by now is familiar with this holiday tradition, so I will not go into a lot of detail about its origins or meaning except to say that your family's elf is sent by Santa during the month of December to keep tabs on whether your child is being good or bad.  Each night the elf returns to the North Pole to inform Santa of their behavior.  The next day you must find your elf, as they are always located somewhere different around the household, proving their nightly rendezvous with the big guy in the red suit.  The elf we received from Santa was a girl elf in a sparkly red tutu.  We named her Snowbelle, and even though she arrived late due to the ice storms in Texas, which she so kindly helped out with, she was no less enjoyed by all of us.  Piper found her curiouser and curiouser, and when she discovered her sitting amongst her Santa goodies Christmas morning, well let's just say that was the kicker.  I'm sure as Piper gets older she will be even more enthusiastic about Snowbelle's whereabouts and adventures to the North Pole, so I'm definitely looking forward to her being with us during Christmas seasons to come.  Here are some pics of Piper meeting Snowbelle for the first time, and then several of Snowbelle's whereabouts the days leading up to Christmas.  I probably should have just put these in another post, but I'm already behind and this was part of the pre-Christmas adventures we had this year, so it's fitting to go ahead and add more to the mayhem!

Piper's first encounter with Snowbelle.
The plastic casing was a blast and a half!
She looks a bit shy doesn't she?
Showing Snowbelle her tutu!
I think she wants her to put it on already!
And she's going to help with that, lol!
It's important to establish eye contact on first meeting :)

I think she likes her hat!
Making sure Snowbelle knows who's boss!
And her tutu!

And the hat comes off, bonus!

She has a flavor!

And enjoys full mouth kisses!
Serious kisses!
She also enjoys wrestling matches!

Finally Snowbelle had to escape to her initial watchful perch.
And then we found her on the tree playing with a birdie!
Here's another perspective of her tree perch.
And another one.
Then we found her playing in the garland on the stairs.
And then in the plant in the hallway.
And then taking a ride on the carousel horse with fairy Barbie!
Looks like they're having fun, huh?
Christmas Eve we found her on the rocking horse.
And Barbie was found waving goodbye, how sweet!
I think Snowbelle will be very happy here with our family!
And here is a precursor to Christmas you see Snowbelle?
Oh my goodness, I think that about covers all things leading up to Christmas day.  I know it was a lot to take in all at once, but work has been hectic and time has been fleeting.  My top priority was to soak it all in, enjoying the moment with Piper and my family, and then come back and write it all up later...mission accomplished!  I'm excited that I caught so many images on film, it's nice to have the option of taking lots of pics in this modern day of awesome technology.  I'm sure Piper will someday love perusing the pictures documenting her first Christmas, I know I will cherish all of them forever.  Now on to the post about Christmas day, yay!  It'll take a couple of days to complete, so you'll have plenty of time to recover from this post, don't worry.

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And for those of you who have made it to the end, here's a cute video of Piper riding her Christmas pony!

So dang adorable!

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