A Little Chute Christmas

Since we spent Thanksgiving with Scott's family we decided to spend Christmas with mine. We arrived late the night before Christmas Eve. Meadow enjoyed cereal and Sesame Street for breakfast the next morning.

I had bought everything we needed in Minneapolis and just packed all of it along in a cooler.

I was planning to make stamped cookies for Christmas. I got started first thing, Meadow helped.

I think Meadow was happy to help mom.

My parents had to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things. They returned with doughnuts.

This is definitely Brooke's family's breakfast.

Meadow decided to eat hers on the floor so my dad joined her, also my mom's legs.

Meanwhile, I started stamping my cookies.

I decided to make some pierogies with potatoes, cheese and sauerkraut. This is typically something we have with my family, but I thought I'd let Brooke's family have some.

My sisters aren't fans of sauerkraut. We didn't reveal this to them until after they ate a few.

They can go fly a kite. Sauerkraut is awesome, especially homemade.

I dipped the cookies in white chocolate, added sprinkles and they were done.

Meanwhile Blake had built a fort Meadow. She didn't want to come out when it was time for church.

My mom had to work so it was just the five of us for church. We sat in the "kids" area. Meadow kept trying to sit with the older kids, but they wouldn't have it.

The older girls were kind of pretentious.

Then we went to the Christmas Eve celebration with my dad's side of the family. Scott and I dropped everyone off while we parked the car. I had a feeling with all the people that Meadow was going to cling to me the whole time.

 When we arrived she was in the middle of a crowd of people dancing and showing off. 
Meadow sure had a lot of fun playing with all her second cousins.

Once her first cousins showed up she played with them too.

Marina wasn't ready to have her picture taken.


I think Mr. Mike is impersonating me.


We attempted a photo of all the cousins.


Eventually we got an ok one.

Nolan decided to sit at the picnic table to pray.

He couldn't tell that he had left the megachurch they went to.


Blake awkwardly held Harvey. I still think newborns are scary even after Meadow.

I agree.

Chelsea and her boys.

As soon as we got home Blake made the annual Christmas cinnamon rolls.

 Meadow got up bright and early. I guess she wanted a cinnamon roll.

Christmas tree rolls with Hanukkah sprinkles.

Gail thought they were just plain old snowflakes. Ha.

"Cinnamon rolls are not a breakfast food. Argh...munch"

They are for breakfast, but they don't make a breakfast. Just like corn is a side, but not the meal.

We then waited patiently for our siblings to arrive.

Every year more and more presents. 

Meadow took a little nap while she waited for her relatives.

They do exist.

It was after this first present she opened that Meadow really started to get the idea of opening gifts.

Marina was already an old pro. Those extra few months must make her wiser.

Nolan would get too shy to open his.

While Nolan got some courage Meadow threw paper in the air and ran around.

Gail must have found that or something else funny.


My mom always requests perfume.

I got Blake this year and bought hime not one, but two cast iron skillets. Lucky kid.

Now when we cook at his house we don't have to try to fit all the food in one 10 inch skillet.

Puzzle!



Yay! Meadow's first chopsticks.

Unlike most women I don't own many beauty products. I basically have a tube of mascara and eyeliner. With my new haircut I have been curling it more. A new curling iron was just what I needed.

You don't need much, beautiful.

At this point people just wanted to eat lunch.

But there was still more to open.

Once my Grandma and Aunt arrived we were ready for snacks.

These folks are pro snackers.

Beer, ham sandwiches, fluff and my pierogis were pretty dang good. It was Jeff's posole that stole the show and lit up few mouths. Of course I washed it down with some New Glarus.


A few more presents to open. Of course.

My cousin brought along his flying machine.

I think you call it a drone.

 Brittany and I had took the girls to the park and missed it.

Meadow played in too many puddles outside and came back soaking.

Once it was dark out I suggested we all take a walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Meadow didn't want to walk so she rode in the stroller. She fell asleep before heading home and stayed asleep in the stroller.

I eventually woke her up and she wasn't too happy about that.

I passed out with a bottle in my...oh wait that never happened. Psych.

With our Wisconsin State Park pass expiring soon we decided to hike High Cliff State Park. Our friends still have our Ergo, so, I brought along our Moby Wrap. Apparently its unsafe to carry your child on your back with one because we couldn't find any instructions on how to do it. We kind of made it up instead.

I had been to High Cliff numerous times in my adolescence, but never actually hiked the trails.

I had no idea what Meadow looked like wrapped behind me so I had Scott take a photo. I suppose this works.

She seemed to like it.

It was less a cliff and more of a small bluff that turns into a large steep hill. I guess you might call that a cliff. It's part of the same formation that Niagara Falls is formed from.

We decided to take the desire path instead of the actual hiking trail. One of my goals for next summer is to hike and camp the Superior Hiking Trail (not the whole thing of course, although maybe someday as a Mother/Daughter trip). Blake said this would be good practice.

I get a little nervous in these situations.

Some spots were pretty muddy too.

I'm not sure why Meadow has been not wanting to hike lately. I guess if she had wanted to we wouldn't have taken this route.

Then we made it to the top. Sort of.

High Cliff without any snow and mostly dormant vegetation was kind of spooky.



Then we climbed the tower for a better view.

But was it actually better?

I had no idea this area was once a quarry and mill for limestone. I mentioned this later to my sister Brittany and she didn't know that either.

Instead of going back the way we came I said we should go down and take the path along the lake.

This has to be the first time we've seen moss the day after Christmas.


Before we knew it we were heading back up the hill to the top.

Once we reached the top I let Meadow out to get at least some walking in today.

Blake brought her down to show her some caves.

The second one was too scary for her.

She didn't want to leave this spot.

This was my favorite part of the whole park.

We took a detour through the burial mounds. Meadow insisted on "fixing" all the trees on the way.

She basically whacked a branch against each tree she passed.


My sister texted us saying Morgan was planning to come over and was bringing pizza. We picked up a couple of pints of frozen custard and it was a party.

Then out of nowhere Morgan, Scott, Blake and I decided to get a drink at Cleo's.

That was my idea. A friend of mine from college had recently gone. I thought, "Why not?"

We all got mixed drinks.

We were the youngest group there. I guess that's what happens when you go to the bar at 6:00.

After I had a beer we made our way home.

When we came back home Meadow was snacking on ham.

So long Wisconsin, see you in a couple of days.

Back in Minneapolis we let Meadow open her gifts from both us and Scott's parents.

She had already started before we were ready. She has really been loving this "more presents" thing.

My Christmas gift from Scott was a Pendelton wallet. Perfect timing as my current wallet just broke.

I bought it from our friend's vintage store, Tandem Vintage. You should go there now.

I had made a few handmade gifts for Meadow this year: a doll carrier, that she tried out with her new doll from Nana, a knitted dress and capelet for her doll we got her last year, some crocheted baskets for her kitchen, pots and pans and utensils for her kitchen and bunk beds for her Mapletown/Calico Critters.

She was kind of spoiled from all her relatives. My parents got her a doll, a camping pad, new pajamas and a bathrobe.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!

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