Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Carter Christmas 7 | Goodbye CA Carters

We knew our time with the California Carters would be short, but it absolutely flew by. In addition to spending time with our amazing nieces (comprehensively photographed in previous posts) was a real gift. They are absolute treasures and we wish that we were closer or able to visit more frequently. As a bonus, today we got to go on a couples' lunch with Ash and Courtney and just have some time away, sharing about our hopes for the new year. Heath and Courtney assembled a delicious dinner — flatbread pizzas and a spicy pasta dish. Heath, Ash and Mac took a siblings' retreat to Starbucks and we all ended the night with a game of Apples to Apples, which Grandad won handily.

It was a nice end to our time with the west coast side of the family.

[maddie experimenting with my camera]

[so long shot of baby eva]

[my new favorite picture]

As our last day as a fully assembled family, we also had family pictures on the agenda. Grandad, a closet photographer, tried to capture us all at our best. :-)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Carter Christmas 6 | Mom & Mall

After our big day in the city, everyone needed to chill. Heath and I took this opportunity to have lunch with my mom, who was in town spending Christmas with her brother, sister-in-law and cousins.

We met her downtown and enjoyed a leisurely lunch catching up on all our respective holiday fun.

From there, Heath and I made our way to the Natick Mall, a massive shopping center with more stores than you can believe. We put some of our recently acquired gift cards to new use and enjoyed watching Maddie throw coins in the fountain.

We ended the day with a nice dinner at Legal Seafood.

Carter Christmas 5 | Boston!

Grandad, ever vigilant on, informed the family that Sunday looked to be the day with the most moderate temperatures — prime time for our trip into the cit-tay.

We started with lunch at Houston's and then proceeded to walk a small section of the freedom trail. We ended up at Boston Common where Maddie took to the playground with lightening speed.

It was an overcast, but beautiful day in the city, best showcased in pictures...It is important to note that some of these pictures came from Aunt Mac and Grandad.

[boston at her wintry best]

[family shots]

[playground — 'nuff said]

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Carter Christmas 4 | Snow Day

It probably isn't shocking for our blog readers to hear that Tulare, California doesn't see a lot of snow in any given year. For this reason, the mounds of snow in Nana and Grandad's yard was extremely interesting to Maddie.

Eager to help her enjoy her first real snow experience, the family and dogs trooped out to throw snowballs, make snow angels and build a snowman.

[maddie's snow angel]

Carter Christmas 3 | Christmas Day, Part II

Our Christmas Day happened in two parts. There was the actual Christmas Day, detailed in the previous post. But, as I stated there, Christmas festivities don't really begin until the little ones arrive and, needless to say, they weren't ready to open gifts post-flight.

They were, however, more than ready the morning after. Eva was so excited, in fact, that she woke up a little too early and daddy (Ash), had to bring her downstairs to sleep it off a little.

Soon and very soon, though, we were all up and ready to dive into our Christmas presents. Maddie was Nana's little assistant, helping pass out stockings and gifts to all of us when not preoccupied with her own presents.

Heath and I received many wonderful gifts, but two in particular stand out. One, not pictured, is a cookbook of recipes from 19th century Chicagoans living on Prairie Avenue. It's historical, it's Chicago and it's's like a Heath trifecta of gift giving and Nana totally hit the nail on the head. The other top-notch gift is a new stockpot that can hold enough to feed 20 — something we've been needing for awhile.

Uncle Heath and Aunt Wendy (Thais — long story!) were very excited about our gift for Miss Maddie. Luckily, she was excited too. It was a themed gift that included a Curious George book about camping, a tent and a Disney princess sleeping bag. We know she liked it because we were asked to put the tent together right away and she is laying in the sleeping bag as I type this.

After all the gift opening, Nana was busy in the kitchen, preparing all sorts of delicious treats. This flour-y concoction would go on to become the most incredible rolls you've ever tasted. Our meal also included turkey and stuffing, cherry salad, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and other yummy foods.

Aunt Mac and Maddie had their own snacks to prepare. A new tradition with the grandbabies is to decorate little birthday cakes for Jesus. Maddie had a lot of fun with the icing and sprinkles.

Next post: Our snow-y adventure.