Wow. This is probably the world’s latest Christmas post. A month late? Shame on me. Well all I can say for myself is that it’s for good reason…the first full week we were back in town (last week) I got three different projects in from three different clients on top of my ongoing work. So needless to say, I’ve been busy! And what a blessing to have work – Ryan and I are both still getting work every day. Thanks for your support!

A little tidbit about our Christmas celebrations before we begin. As I mentioned before, the night everyone arrived (Ryan’s whole family stayed with us) I happened to get violently ill with some sort of 12-hour bug. I can honestly say it was the worst night/morning of my life. So the next couple days I was, shall we say, less than chipper. I left Ryan and his family in charge of pretty much everything (baby, house, food, cleaning, etc) the next day and – don’t know how except for sheer willpower and desire to see the last Olde Golden Christmas parade – I did manage to [briefly] get out and about that day despite my predicament. That night (17th) we had our Christmas party and I was still pretty miserable so I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. But I know everyone else seemed to be enjoying their time, ha.

Okay so without further ado, this post is just going to be photos and captions. Your favorite! Please enjoy thoroughly.

Enjoying downtown Golden's Christmas parade – a yearly tradition for Ryan, me, and now Sonora!

Opening her first gift!

She wasn't quite so sure about it.

But she was a fan of the fun hat her Auntie Rhonda gave her!

Mostly interested in eating wrapping paper, of course.

And she chooses to play with one of her old toys. Lovely. Also, please note pathetic me just laying there. That was me the entire night after a full day of laying in bed. Miserable. But I still had fun!

The next morning we all went to church. Sonora is wearing her Christmas dress and doing her favorite activity – assisted walking!

That night we all took Ryan's parents out to Denver Botanic Gardens to enjoy the lights festival.

The whole fam (except for Ryan, the photographer). We all loved this walk through the gardens.

The lights were so pretty! I think this will be an annual tradition.

The next day we went to Tabernash/Winter Park for the day. Ryan stayed back to work while I went skiing with Rhonda and Jared. Jared was too good for us so he went on another run and waited for us while we lollygagged around taking photos of ourselves and texting people.

Such a beautiful day...once again, sunny! I guess my track record is improving.

A little surprised by the flash as she gorged on her first spaghetti dinner.

Super excited!!

Quick break to share a bit about the second part of our Christmas celebrations.

After Ryan’s family left, we packed up and headed to Michigan early Friday morning (23rd) at 4:30am. The timing worked awesome for traveling with a 9-month old and her new car seat worked wonders, too. Sonora didn’t complain at all on the way there except for a little fussiness when we put her back in her car seat after each stop (shocked! amazed! loved it!). We made it to Chicago in about 17 hours to spend the night at Ryan’s parents’ house while they were in Las Vegas since it was late in the evening and I wanted to get a good night’s sleep. The next day we took our time leaving for Michigan because my mom got sick with a similar bug (how weird…must have been going around) and we arrived late afternoon on Christmas Eve. And now here are the photos from our time there, keep enjoying!

Holding hands with her cousin Arianna before the present opening ceremony begins.

Arianna and Sonora enthralled with their new dollies (Sonora's gift to Arianna)

Playing with the gift Arianna got for her...a fun, {mostly} self-propelling alligator.

Hanging with Grandpa.

Once again, enjoying something other than her presents. (although I guess technically that went in one of her presents so I'll give her that)

I love this little sleeper on her! I just want to smoosh her.

Morning playtime with Grandma.

A special gift from Grandpa - baby hippie clothes he picked out himself. I guess he does really love her if he willing goes shopping for a pink outfit.

Now she is a spaghetti fiend.

Playing with her buddy, Grant.

I found this car at Goodwill for only $4!! I wanted to take it back to have a second car but decided to leave it at my parents' for her and Arianna to enjoy when they visit. I also found a mini floor kitchen for $4 and normal toy kitchen for $12. I love the thrift stores in Michigan...they practically GIVE stuff away.

Leah and I love it when we see girls do kissy fish face at our age. it's so cute. So we thought we'd try it out for old times' sake.

Don't worry, Sonora is enjoying a ROOT beer. We had another family outing the next week where we took our parents to the Electric Cheetah for a nice dinner out and quality time together with everyone. Then we went back to Nathan & Heidi's for games.

Taking Sonora sledding for the first time on a real hill.

Sadie had a fun time romping around in the snow, too.

Dino ball-popping fun.

Loving her sink bath!

We spent a couple weeks in Michigan, spending quality time with my family and friends. Lots more photos were taken but mostly I just savored the time I had with my family and best Midwesty friends. Oh, and with all the free babysitting, I had several girls’ nights and we even “partied” the night away on New Year’s Eve with our friends – we are such wild parents! Oh wait. Then we went back to Illinois for a few more days to mix some business with pleasure – I had a social media meeting (see, I am using Facebook and Twitter for some professional gain, too) and a photo shoot. But mostly it was just more fun with family and friends.

Fun time at the park with her good pal, Bud! (and his mom, Faith, who happens to be my good friend. funny how that works)

Peek-a-boo!

Slide fun with Daddy.

First time in a big tub!

Touch!

On Saturday I'd hoped to meet up downtown with a couple of my Twitter mom friends but due to poor planning on my part, I had to cancel. Sorry, ladies! Instead, it ended up turning into a lovely family excursion with the inlaws and we all went to Lincoln Park Zoo to enjoy the beautiful day.

Crazy mirrors.

The monkeys were hysterical. Sonora loved them!

Checking out the gorilla with Daddy.

Our little family. Aren't we just precious.

Dinner with friends has changed quite a bit since last year...

So that was our trip! And now I still have SO MANY MORE posts to do. Oh my goodness. Not only have I been taking thousands of The Precious but I also have her slightly belated 10-month post AAAND…photos of our house! More on that later, kids.

Love,
Laura