Shane and I spent Christmas in Portland with my family, taking it easy at my brother’s house, doting on sweet little Elise, enjoying the warmth of good food and being with loved ones.

Elise made out like a bandit, and had more gifts to open than any of us (as is to be expected, with a face that cute).  One of her favorites was this little car/music machine from my parents.  I’m sure Mitch and Kathryn will quickly tire of the sound of the chugging ignition, the trumpet horn, and the front bumper keyboard, but it all makes Elise smile, so I imagine they’ll say it’s worth it.

Elise also loved her new Kleen Kanteen water bottle from Great Grandma and spent all day toting it around with her.

Shane and I got her the most adorable little wooden tea set, and she and I enjoyed several carpet tea parties throughout the day.

This tent was a big hit as well, and she spent much of the morning crawling in and out of it, peering out the door with that ‘come-and-get-me’ look of hers.

Post-presents, we headed out into the clear, crisp day to enjoy some fresh air and give Elise a chance to burn off some of her Christmas-Day adrenaline at the nearby park.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching a movie, playing with all our new toys, and preparing a lovely Christmas dinner.  I spent every moment that I could with Elise, knowing that next time I see her, she will again be much changed.

I was looking through my new 50mm lens much of the day, and while I’m still figuring out how to make the most of it, I can tell that it is opening up all kinds of new photographic possibilities for me.  Thanks, Shane…

And so, Christmas has gone as quickly as it came.  I am dealing with a mild case of the post-holiday blues as I think about returning to work tomorrow, but I am so grateful for the short time that we did get to spend surrounded by loved ones.  It really was a very merry Christmas.