Today Paolo turned 15 months. And he is sooo a 15-month-old. As in, he is very, very busy and expects me to entertain him every minute that he is awake. So I try, but he lets me know when he’s not entertained to his satisfaction. Loudly.
So, most of my normal chores and activities have fallen to the wayside. Including this blog. Since I did not send out a Christmas card this year either, I thought I’d post some fun pictures of what our holiday was like this year.
We planned to drive up to Rochester, Minnesota to visit my aunt’s family and my grandma for Christmas. So we had our little family Christmas here on December 23rd. We had a Neopolitan Christmas dinner (meaning all seafood) and opened our presents. Paolo mostly liked playing with the wrapping paper, ribbons, and discarded boxes. Except the miniature armchair that we bought for him. He love love loves having a mini big-boy chair; especially for reading books and watching videos.
Our plans were tarnished, though, when we woke up on Christmas eve. A big snowstorm had clobbered the Midwest, and there was no way to drive safely from Iowa up to Minnesota. So we ended up having to stay home and celebrated Christmas Eve again, without our relatives. It was still a fun, snowed-in day. And that evening, we video chatted with my family while opening the presents we had all exchanged. Which was really awesome, almost like we were able to spend the holiday together. (Since then we’ve started video chatting through our Xbox Kinect, which is way better, because you can basically talk through the TV. I wish we had set it up over Christmas!)
Then, on Christmas Day, Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) stopped by. A little later, when the roads were drivable, we went down to Des Moines to have Christmas dinner with my Aunt Jackie and her family. She already has such a big family of her own; it was so nice of her to have us down, especially at the last minute. Even though our plans to go to Minnesota for the holiday didn’t work out, we still had a fun and festive Christmas.
The day after Christmas, I picked up my dad and brother Zack from the Des Moines airport. As excited as we were to have them come for a visit, it was for a sad reason. My Grandma Main passed away three days before Christmas this year. At 90 years old, she had lived a good life, with nine children, dozens of grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren. It was especially hard watching my 94-year-old grandfather, aunties, and of course, my father, mourn her passing. The funeral was held the Tuesday after Christmas, in my father’s hometown of Storm Lake. The mass was said at his childhood church and the reception was held at the local Knights of Colombus hall. I didn’t snap as many photos as I would have liked, but I did take this quick picture of my dad and grandpa at lunch, just after the burial. (What you can’t see in this photo is that Paolo is sitting across from my Grandpa here, doing his best to make him laugh. Paolo just loves his great-grandpa; when we go to visit, Paolo just follows him around and laughs.)
Dad and Zack stayed with us through the New Year. We had a good time. On New Years Eve, we picked up a few groceries and had lunch at the local co-op. Then, they took Paolo with them down to Des Moines to visit Grandpa, leaving Giuseppe and I on our own for the afternoon.
Which was glorious. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves! In a small town, in the middle of winter, there is not too much to do on a whim. But we managed to have a great time. We first stopped for coffee in a little diner downtown. (Just the two of us! No baby food fights or mess to clean up!) Then we went to see the third movie of the “Focker” triology, “Little Fockers.” It was hilarious. After, we went to a quick cafe` for mid-afternoon treat. We had a such a lovely afternoon, it was so nice to know that Paolo was off with his Gramps and Uncle Zack, having fun, while Giuseppe and I were able to have a little quality time alone.
Then, for New Year’s Eve, Giuseppe was on call, so we planned a night in. After putting Paolo to bed, we started a championship, winner-take-all, five-hour-long game of Monopoly. (I know, the exciting life we live! So glamourous.) But it was really fun! Twice, though, during the game, the electricity went out due to, yes, yet another holiday snow storm. It became so cold in 40 minutes without electricity, that we were getting ready to go find a hotel. Luckily, we didn’t have to. Long story short, a couple hours after our midnight toast to the New Year, I WON the championship. I was very pleased with myself.
On New Year’s Day, Dad and Zack were supposed to leave, but due to – surprise surprise – weather conditions/mechanical plane problems, they were delayed for another few days. So we had a few more days of holiday fun before they flew out that Monday.
Then, on the Feast of the Epiphany, there is the Italian tradition of La Befana, a scary old witch that leaves chocolate in the stockings of good children. (See my article on La Befana at Our Mommyhood.) Paolo had fun digging through the Befana stocking, even if Giuseppe is really the one who was excited about the chocolate.
The next day, January 7th, marked the official end of our holiday season. I took down all of our Christmas decorations and tree. Our house looks so empty (and orderly!) now.
Paolo just woke up, so it’s lunch time. Maybe during his nap tomorrow I will be able to tackle thank-you notes and answer email…
Happy 2011 everyone!