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Monday, January 23, 2012

Christmas 2011

Yeah yeah, I know, it's almost the end of January!  But I figured I'd recap our 2011 Christmas for everyone anyways, so indulge me ;)

Mr. L and I actually started our Christmas early -- like, a week early!  Since my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece were spending Christmas 2011 with my SIL's family, they decided to open presents with my family early while Mr. L and I watched via Skype!

We also let our nephew open his big present from us early, since it literally was big (meaning too big to travel in the car to SIL's mom's house!):

Lego Duplo Train set via Lego.com -- one of Bryant's new favorite toys!
It was kind of strange seeing Bryant experience Christmas morning on a random evening in December, but at the same time it was so great getting to see all of my family together in one spot.  I miss them so much, especially my sweet little niece I've yet to meet!

I love and miss them so much!
Fast forward to Christmas Eve -- Mr. L and I woke up bright and early at 6AM so we'd be able to Skype with all of his extended family who were at his grandmother's annual Christmas brunch.  We were all pretty amazed that even though Mr. L and I were 4000 miles away, we were still able to partially participate in this tradition =)  His extended family opened their Hawaiian themed Christmas presents as we looked on.  It was a little surreal and a little bittersweet, but we were so happy to see everyone and they were so happy to see us!  Later that evening, we opened Christmas with just Mr. L's immediate family via Skype, so it was a bit more low-key but still just as happy!

Our Christmas morning and evening were pretty lazy.  We woke up around 9, got some breakfast ready, gave Liam a Christmas rawhide and settled in for our first Skype date of the day, this one with my parents, brother Brad, Grandma, and poodles CiCi and Cocoa =)

Pigs in a blanket, cinnamon rolls, coffee, and Mountain Dew -- breakfast of champions! 
The poor guy thought he wasn't allowed to have the bone at first!
I was super excited for everyone to get their presents open, and Mr. L and I were of course excited to open ours!  We spent some more time chatting with them before we had to log off and call my other brother and sister-in-law for our next session.  We watched Bryant open another one of our presents and watch my brother and SIL open their gifts.

I was really looking forward to seeing Bryant get his second present from us -- Mr. L and I had made a few homemade audio books for him to listen to while we're stationed so far away.  Every year that we're gone, he'll choose three of his favorite books to send out to us a few months before Christmas so Mr. L and I can do more audiobooks for him.  When we're done recording, we'll mail them back to him in time for Christmas.  We're going to do the same thing for our sweet niece as well =)  My SIL said he absolutely loved this present and his face lit up while he was listening to it.  Love!

After we finished talking with everyone, we surveyed the mess that was the living room and sorted out the presents:

Some of our spoils -- pizza stone, Hickory Farms sausage and cheese set, a PedEgg, Game of Thrones box set, and a Shop Vac!
Mr. L's big gift this year -- a Keurig with his own special Mandalorian coffee mug that he's used approximately four times a day since Christmas.
My big gift this year from my parents -- a Kindle Touch!  I'm so in love.
Mr. L and I spent our free time in between Skype sessions mainly lounging around the house.  By the time dinner was ready, we moved our plates to the coffee table, set Liam up with his special dinner, and watched some Elf on DVD!

Christmas dinner -- ham, corn, mac and cheese, dressing and brown gravy, and green beans.  So good!
Liam's Christmas dinner -- a little bit of our ham!  It was gone in about 5 seconds.
Then for dessert, we had some of Mr. L's Nee Nee's homemade pumpkin roll!  Unfortunately she wasn't able to actually send us a roll considering our geographical location, but she did the next best thing -- sent me the recipe so I could make it for ourselves =)

Utter deliciousness.  We felt like it transported us back home =)
I think Mr. L and I both will agree that the best present of all this year was being able to see literally all of our families via Skype even when we were so far away.  And here we thought we wouldn't be spending Christmas with them -- silly us =)

I am a little sad that we didn't get a chance to really start any new Christmas in Hawaii "traditions" this year (other than Skyping the heck out of family), so I hope next year, if Mr. L is here, we'll be able to go to the beach or go surfing or something equally fun and "Hawaiian"!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?  Did you do anything special for Christmas 2011?

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