These photos were taken by my old friend Ali of Alison Claire Photography at Gallup Park in Ann Arbor, MI less than two weeks before her wedding. Because of the timing, she agreed to do the shoot if we agreed to wait patiently for the photos.
I quickly snapped this picture of my little dress-up doll to send to my mom one day before Christmas to see which shoes she felt Sophie should wear with her dress (she bought it after all). We opted for the black Mary Janes, but I just love those white shoes Sophie wore for her baptism. Maybe they'll still fit her in the spring?
The two pictures below were ones Mike and I framed for family members as part of their Christmas gifts. The third and fourth ones are just cute. Thought I'd share.
Along with the framed photos and the pictures in the Christmas card, we gave family members a wallet of the picture below. It's one from their six-month shoot taken by my old friend Ali (Alison Claire Photography). I'll share more of those soon.
Do I regret not getting pictures of Sophie and Michael opening presents on their first Christmas morning? Nope, not really. I'm glad I was in the moment with them, helping them rip the paper and discover their gifts, and I will treasure the looks of surprise on their faces. Despite being so little, they did get excited by a couple of their new toys.
Mike and I bought the babies a couple gifts together, and then we both spent $25 each on presents the other didn't see until Christmas morning. This idea of Mike's was pretty fun, especially since we didn't buy gifts for each other this year (...or so I thought. Mike surprised me with a gift card for my mom--our part time child chare provider--and me to share for manicures and/or pedicures).
After some coffee and cinnamon rolls (intended mainly to get the house smelling yummy) we headed back to Mike's parents' house. For nearly a decade I've been waking up there with Mike, his brother Nick and sister-in-law Molly, and his parents. Mike and Nick would run out to pick up their grandparents if it was particularly snowy out, and we all would eat breakfast souffle, drink mimosas, and open gifts. This year we hardly missed a beat showing up with the babies just before the souffle came out of the oven.
Sophie with Uncle Nick and Aunt Molly
At around noon we packed up and headed to my parents house for dinner and presents with my mom, dad, and brother.
Michael with Uncle Joe
I was nervous about all of the driving around while balancing naps and feedings to ensure happy holiday babies, but it all worked out fantastically. It was a joy-filled first Christmas for all of us.
The holidays left a lot to be chronicled. Stay tuned for more...
Mike's parents are the hosts of an annual Christmas Eve party for friends and family, and we all looked forward to sharing this tradition with Michael and Sophie for the first time.
To best fit with the babies' nap and feeding schedules, Mike and I planned to be on the road for their morning and late afternoon naps which are both about an hour long (like the drive). That got us there around 11 a.m. with some time to visit with the family and for me to nurse Sophie and Michael before guests arrived.
A tradition at the party is for Gail to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the kids. Needless to say, it was a touching moment to see her share that with her grandbabies this year as well.
Then Sophie and Micheal "settled in for a long winter's nap" of about an hour. We woke them for presents. Hey, it's the holidays!
There are a ton of photos of friends and family from that day, but below is one of my favorites: Michael and Sophie with their great-grandpa and great-grandma.
We got our money's worth out of their Christmas pajamas, having used them for the Christmas card photos as well as their travel and sleeping attire for Christmas Eve...with a little accessorizing.
Mike and I hit the road with the babies at around 4:30 p.m. and spent some time together at home as a family, resting up for the big morning!
Mike went shooting this morning (sporting clays) and then out to help set up his grandpa's new computer this afternoon, so I had the babies to myself today. I mentioned to Mike that I kind of enjoy these pseudo-stay-at-home-mom days. It has me looking forward to the summer...which is only one semester and one week away, but who's counting?
Here are a couple moments I enjoyed.
Michael woke up before Sophie from their morning (and afternoon) nap and led the way in when she called for us.
It's amazing how quickly he can crawl, even in his sleep sack.
Sophie, for the record, is pretty much crawling as well. She only takes a few "steps" at a time and then seems satisfied to sit and play, but she has the basic idea.
And here's a typical sock situation around here these days. Sophie--zero. Michael--four. Sometimes Sophie has one on her foot and one in her mouth. Sometimes they both only have one on and the other two are who knows where. They'll hold onto socks through feedings, crawling, and while playing with other toys. They just love those things.
Similar transactions take place with pacifiers. For example, I might look in at two babies in a crib during a diaper changing to find the "boy" paci in Sophie's mouth and a "girl" one in Michael's hand, not sure whether it was a trade, revenge, or part of some game I'm just not young enough to understand.
I just thought I'd share a few pics that have been piling up in my phone. All of these are from the fantastic holiday break that Mike and I had off with the babies.
The blankets were gifts from our baby shower (unbelievably about a year ago already), and having set them aside while they were tiny, it occurred to me that Sophie and Michael were probably ready to play with them. And I was ready to see how cute my little cuddle buddies could be!