Thursday, January 16, 2014

Family Togetherness

All in all, Ellie and I spent 11 days in St. Petersburg in December. Of course, we did actual Christmas celebrations with our families, but one of the nicest parts of our extended stay was just being able to be around everyone for more casual visits more regularly. Ellie has formed such awesome bonds with her extended family in her short 21 months, and it was great to see her further building those relationships. Each new family visit was always met with joy: "Papa's House! Aunt Heather's House! Kelley and Phyllis! Nonnie!" etc, etc. I love to see how much she loves her family, and it's clear that they love her just as much.

While we were in town, we stayed at my dad's house. There, Ellie examined the Christmas decorations, including some of my favorites from my childhood...

Playing with the little nativity that I used to love to set up as a kid. Ellie liked to pretend it was "windy" and have Papa blow them all over! Apparently strong wind gusts are a real problem in Bethlehem this time of year.

...learned where the cookies are kept...

"Cookie? Please? Help?"

...hung out by the front window to wait for Auntie Heather whenever she was due to stop by...

"Aunt Heather coming!"

...practiced piano...

She's got skills.

...made Christmas cookies with Papa...

This girl is CRAZY about her Papa. "Papa hold you?" (how Ellie asks to be picked up) was a VERY common refrain during our visit.

...wrote the Great American Novel...

Or is she just checking Facebook?

...and did a little reading in the glow of the Christmas tree.

Love this kiddo.

We also spent a day at my mom's house (a/k/a "Grammy," "Bunny," Beeny" or "Binny," depending on Ellie's mood and current chosen pronunciation), where Ellie hung out by the lake...

You're looking for fish in the wrong direction, kid.

...was serenaded by Grandpa Gary on the porch...

Ah, country life.

...and perfected her model poses in the light of the setting sun.

I'm not even joking, this is what she does when you tell her to "strike a pose." We have Auntie Heather to thank for that!

We also visited Auntie Heather's apartment (my first time seeing it!) to hang out with her and her cat Rodney, who was exceptionally patient with a point. Somebody can only grab your face while laughing maniacally so much, you know?

Heather and Ellie, my two favorite girls!

We also stopped by Gramz's house for some quality time (and hugs!) with Gramz and Nonnie.

Ellie and her Great-Gramz

And, last but not least, we had dinner with Aunts Kelley and Phyllis...

Ellie and Kelley!

...where Ellie learned the "Y" of "YMCA"...


...and kindly picked up the tab.

Hey, thanks, Ellie!

After dinner, she also managed to get all the adults to sit in a row on the curb, played with her new horse toy from her aunts, and laughed at "Silly Phyllis." That kid, man.

As always, thanks so much to our family for making time to see us. Although we may be on vacation, they generally are not but they always clear some time in their schedules to fit us in, and I really appreciate that. I know Ellie does, too!


Dad/Papa said...

Such good times. I miss you guys.

Lauren said...

How fun and love her little hand on hip pose :-)