We had quite the busy holiday week this year, but it was really a very nice holiday! My (Christie's) aunt and grandma were in town for the holiday, so we got to do a lot of stuff with them, and we also got to spend time with most of Ian's family as well.
Christmas day was busy busy busy! We opened presents with my family in the morning, went to Ian's grandparents home for gifts and dinner in the late afternoon, and to Ian's parents home for gifts at night. It was a full Christmas Day, but lots of fun.
There are lots of photos to load, so please excuse the loading time!
Here are some photos from Christmas with Ian and my family!
And here are a few good ones with my family. The blonde is my mom, the other women are my aunt Carla, and my grandma Rae. (They are my dad's sister and mother.) Then of course there is me, Ian, and my dad :)
Then everybody ripped into the gifts! There were LOTS of great gifts all around. The highlight for me was getting to see my aunt's and grandma's faces when they opened things, since usually we are not together for Christmas. I gave them purse organizers (I buy them from this store), and I took this video as they were opening them. It is worth a watch... I love how my grandma squeals "no! noooo!" when my aunt tries to rip her wrapping paper for her. LOL.
Here is dad with the vintage Motorola radio Ian gave him! My dad worked at Motorola for about 30 years, so this was very meaningful to him. It looks great in his office, too! Ian got him TWO radios, but he opened them separately. This was the first one, and it actually still WORKS!
I gave Ian a Christmas stocking stuffed full of edible goodies from Cracker Barrel, which he really enjoyed. He also made out with a bunch of Blu Ray discs this year including The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Band of Brothers, The Planet Earth Collection, and 300! I gave Mario Kart for the Wii too. He is a happy man.
Ian gave me the Wii Fit, which I am very happy about!! My parents gave us a bunch of games and accessories to go along with the Wii Fit. My aunt also gave me a very nice photo book of the cruise we took in April, and some nice earrings. Lots of great gifts this year!
My mom got a couple of BIG surprises this year. My dad gave her an iPhone and I gave her the entire X-Files series on DVD. She was totally shocked at both gifts!
Besides the radios, my dad got several sweaters from me, and some blu-ray discs from my mom.
My aunt and grandma got some additional surprises besides their purse organizers. I gave them both some scrapbook pages I made with family photos from the cruise - for my grandma, they were to add to the book I already gave her... and for my aunt, she got a book of her very own with the new pages in it, which she had no idea about it was fun to watch them look through the pages! Ian and I also gave them both a copy of our yearly calendar - this year we combined and did one together.
So all in all, it was a really nice time opening gifts with everyone!!
In the afternoon we headed to Ian's grandparents home. I don't have much in the way of pictures from there (Melissa, maybe you could send me some?)... but it was a nice time too. We had a turkey dinner with all of his grandma's usual fixings like her famous mac n' cheese and her mandarin orange jello. Then we all sat around in the family room for gift opening. It was a secret santa type of thing this year, just not secret. Everybody had a name. I got Melissa so I gave her a Ross gift card... and Ian's cousin Chris had me. He got me a barnes & noble gift card and some other goodies including mint-creme-filled chocolate. HELLO! He knows me better than I thought! :) It was very sweet of him. Ian's grandma also gave me a gift card to Cracker Barrel... yum!!
It was good to see Melissa again too. Ian took some very cute pictures of us because we realized that we really didn't HAVE any! Here are a couple of them:
I will definitely have to scrapbook those. We look cute together :) Yay for my sister-in-law... I got lucky with her. She's a keeper :)
Later that evening, we got together at Ian's parents house. No pictures from there either. It was me, Ian, Melissa, and their parents. We had a very nice gift exchange where I received not one, but TWO... FIBER OPTIC PENGUINS. Now that was something I didn't see coming! Tee hee! They will look awesome either outside or in our windows next Christmas. They light up and change colors! I got lots of other goodies from his mom as usual, and it was really nice. We gave his dad this big tool set he had been wanting, and it was nice to see him happy about receiving his gift.
So that was pretty much it for our Christmas day. But the week was not over! With my family in town, we had made plans to stay at The Stanly Hotel over the weekend. This is the 3rd year out of the past 4 years that my family has stayed there at Christmas time. I hope this will be a tradition we keep. There is something magical about that place at Christmas time. It is so beautiful, and no place has ever made me feel so... Christmas-y :)
When we got up to Estes Park we first went to our favorite little jewelry & antique shop. We know the owners well, and we picked out my diamond there. They got to meet the rest of my family and everything, and we shopped around a while and chatted with them. Then we headed to the hotel for check in. As we were pulling up to the hotel we had a real treat - a huge herd of elk were hanging out on the lawn! Ian snapped some really great photos of this herd of elk with the hotel as a backdrop.
Now for my favorite part. That night, despite a VERY cold and windy evening (about 8 degrees with a wind chill of -10), Ian was outside taking awesome picture after awesome picture. He took these awesome night shots that showcase the Christmas lights on the hotel. I totally treasure these because I just LOVE how this hotel looks at Christmas, and now we really have it documented. He just did such a good job with these pictures. It's hard for me to choose my favorites but I'm TRYING to cut them down here :)
Aren't those just awesome? I love it. Sunday morning he also got some daytime shots showing the lobby and some of the building. I just love how it is decorated inside, and I love how the bright white hotel looks against the striking blue sky.
That's finally it for pictures :) We had a nice time Sunday going back to the jewelry shop too. They are helping us put together a nice gift for my dad that we will give him either for his birthday or Father's Day... and we also talked to them about my ring. There is a possibility I might be switching my brown diamond for a white one... and they were totally fine with that. I just love them.
So our holiday was busy but wonderful. We hope everyone else's holidays were enjoyable too!