Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nia's First Christmas

Christmas morning
I was raised in Columbus, Ohio, but home for me now is right outside of Washington, D.C. where my parents have relocated to this year. I haven't been back to Columbus for Christmas since 2008, and it's strange to think I may not ever go back there for Christmas again. 

Christmas 2008 in Ohio
This past Thursday we packed up our things and headed to D.C. via bus. I was a bit nervous about how Nia would react to the bus, but honestly she did well. We packed her in her PJs and kept her well-fed. We arrived in D.C. right before midnight. 

I test-drove Nia's Christmas dress before we left NYC
When my family was here for Thanksgiving Nia was a bit unsure about them - my parents especially. She had cried the whole time Uka and I were gone while watching Harry Potter. Thankfully, this time she got more acclimated to them but still cried pretty bad when my brother held her.

The one member of the family Nia absolutely loved was Tanner, our family dog. He's 10 years old and here's a picture of when we first got him:

Nia bonding with Tanner
Tanner and Nia's tummy time
Now about that Santa pic . . .

It was taken at Tysons Corner Mall in Virginia on Christmas Eve. We were about the 30th family in line, and I actually went to get my eyebrows threaded while my parents waited in line with Nia (I could hear her shrieks about 50 feet away). Nia's used to my sister Ariane since she lives in Harlem too and sees her often, so when Ariane rescued her she calmed down. They were able to get this shot while waiting in line:

As we got closer to Santa Nia was getting more and more restless. She had a teething ring she was playing with and we distracted her with the decorations nearby while we took it away. Once it was our turn we let the photographer know Nia was nearing a meltdown and she advised us to back Nia into Santa. If we approached him face forward it might be disastrous. This completely made sense and it worked! 

We used a stuffed bear to distract Nia from looking up at Santa and to make her look at the camera and my family started singing to her. I stood to the Santa's right (left if facing the picture), and he noticed Nia kept looking over to me so he used that to his advantage and used his hand as a shield on the left side of her face to keep her gaze looking up at him. We were able to get the cutest shot of them "gazing" into each other's eyes this way, but when it came time to select the pictures although we ordered 3 copies it could only be of one pose. We decided on the forward facing shot since in the future we think it'd be best to see her head-on with Santa.

Now I don't expect to make annual visits to Santa. I think I only have maybe two pictures max with Santa during my entire childhood and waiting in line is a real pain. I can't even imagine what Macy's lines would be like! I may venture next December to ABC Carpet and home like I mentioned earlier since they have a very authentic Santa, but his visitation window is so short which caused me to miss him this year.  

The Family (LIVE!) Christmas Tree
On Christmas Day I dressed Nia in her BabyLegs and Children's Place Christmas onesie. She only lasted about one hour in her outfit before she pooped it up. We immediately washed it but when I put it back on her the same thing happened. I blame it on the disposables - we were using them on this trip and since we've been using cloth, we rarely have blowouts (an updated CD post is forthcoming . . .)

Here she is being held by Ariane:

When it came time to open presents Nia was more interested in the wrapping paper than the actual gifts! 

Video of the wrapping paper meltdown

My parents know how much I abhor electronic toys that make noise, but they gave Nia one anyway! Since then I've found the off button on the back so I think I'll keep my sanity. 

Here she is playing with her baby radio while being held by Uka:

What was very interesting to me about this toy was that it played Jackson Five! Whatever happened to Twinkle, Twinkle Little star???

Nia also received clothes and teething rings. 

For me the best part of Christmas is the food! My parents had a very yummy menu:
  • Honey baked ham (from THE honey baked ham store!) 
  • Turkey 
  • Greens
  • Green beans 
  • Candied sweet potatoes
  • Mac & cheese (although my mom objected, I doctored it with fresh ground pepper, cayenne, mustard powder, garlic and fresh bread crumbs and it came out GREAT)
  • Cornbread
  • Rolls (my dad makes THE best homemade rolls!)
  • Waldorf salad (Uka had never had it before, but decided he liked it) 
  • Christmas punch (an concoction of sparkling juice, Sierra Mist and thawed frozen strawberries)
  • No-bake cheesecake
  • An assortment of homemade Christmas cookies  
The two things that were missing were stuffing and cranberry sauce, but I guess that can be considered too Thanksgiving.  Everything was delicious!

I have a bit of a habit of taking pictures of my food, so here's my Christmas plate (I ate 2!):

After we ate everyone got the itis, even Nia! I was helping my dad out in the kitchen when we looked over to the family room and saw this:

Can you spot the baby???
Other things we did during our time in D.C:
  • Watching Lord of The Rings (it's an annual tradition, but we only made it through the first movie)
  • Playing Wii (well really only my brother and Uka!)
  • Watching Inception (my parents and brother hadn't seen it yet) 
  • Going to D.C. to "see the lights" (there actually were none to see and I stayed in the car with baby) 
I'm sure many of you heard about the awful snowstorm we got here on the east coast and yes, it was pretty bad. Our bus was one of the last to leave D.C. as the rest were canceled. It got pretty dangerous along the way and we were stuck for 30 minutes in the snow coming out of the Lincoln Tunnel but after 11 hours we made it back home. In the end we think the bus was the best way to go because Amtrak and planes ended up getting canceled too. 

Overall, Nia had a fun first Christmas!  


  1. Nia is SOOO cute, i love the one with her in the leg warmers!!! I hear you about holiday travel. I was so worried about our three month old Dax in the plane, but he slept so good! I thought for sure he would wail and I would be THAT mom. Dax is a temperamental little guy and screams when others hold him so i totally know your ability to sense when a meltdown is about to happen! happy first babies christmas!

  2. My sister and I were in DC today!! My parents moved away from my home town of Detroit too and relocated to Hot Springs, AR. I still consider Detroit home as that is were I am from. My sister is still there thankfully, so I have a reason to go back including close friends since the 4th grade. It is kinda weird when they leave my home and for me the house I grew up in.
    I did disposible diapers and found that the only brand that Christen did'nt have blow outs were pampers. I know it is frustrating as they are the most expensive brand and the disposibles are best for you all.
    As long as you have the BM babies travel very easy. CC traveled with me all the time and never cried although she bf'd the entire flights.

  3. Really cute post and I love her leg warmers! I also thought that was a great idea to back her into Santa! Looks like you guys had a wonderful Christmas.

  4. Emma and I enjoyed the video. So funny how she reacted to you taking away the wrapping paper. Love all the pictures. Her Christmas dress is sooo cute!! :) I love smocking on dresses. Very creative technique to the Santa photo. I'll have to keep that in mind next year for my baby's first photo with Santa. The food sounds so yummy! I want a plate right now!! :) I enjoyed all the photos and hearing all about your wonderful family Christmas! :)