This past weekend we went to Atlanta to have Christmas with my side of the family at my sister’s house. My sister and John Michael have the cutest little condo in downtown Atlanta. It is just what you would picture for a successful, young couple to have. And Ginny has decorated it perfectly. When we got there, it was beautiful in its Christmas glory, with their huge Christmas tree front and center.
Twenty minutes into our visit and we had destroyed their house.
I blame my mom and dad. They went above and beyond for all of our Christmas presents this year (like every year!). It was really incredible! My favorite gift, though, was a Kindle! They gave one to me, my sister, and my Grandma. We all love to read and so that was the perfect present. Although, they also got me a label maker for my classroom, which I will geek out on as soon as I get back to school. I’ve already labeled everything my kids own in the 24 hours that we’ve been home.
Gracie got her first baby doll, too…
…which she promptly ate.
And Bean got an awesome Thomas the Train set. Thomas chugs around the track and there’s even a crane that lifts boxes onto the freight part of the train. Bean quickly figured out that the freight thingy could also carry Lightning McQueen and, suddenly, it was like two cartoon worlds collided. Bean was mesmerized.
We spent Saturday afternoon opening presents and spending time together. It was really nice and I actually enjoyed it almost more than Christmas morning itself because we stopped to chat or eat between rounds of opening presents. It just seemed a lot less frantic than Christmas mornings can be and it was nice to be able to pause and enjoy each other even more than the presents.
Although, some of the presents were pretty awesome…
On Sunday morning, we laid around and had a slow-moving morning, with breakfast on the couch in our jammies. Bean must have been in the Christmas spirit because he shared his bagel with Gracie. And Bean doesn’t share food, like, at ALL. It was a Christmas miracle.
Later that morning, my Grandma came over (she’s been staying at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Atlanta this week) and we opened presents with her, too.
Later, we all got dressed and went to the late church service at my sister’s church. I figure, I have about a year where I can dress Gracie in things like this before she starts protesting. I plan to take full advantage.
After church, the guys went to play golf with some of my dad’s old golfing buddies from when we used to live in Atlanta and my mom, sister, and I took the kids to two of the most Atlanta places you can go…
The Varsity is an Atlanta icon. They serve hot dogs and hamburgers, french fries and onion rings, Coke-a-Cola (of course) and their famous Frosted Orange, which are like orange frosties. Delicious! And we partook of it all! Even Gracie ate French fries!
After The Varsity, we headed to Lenox Mall to ride The Pink Pig.
Now, if you aren’t from Atlanta or even the South, this is going to sound very strange. The Pink Pig has been around since the late 1950s. It began as a little train ride at Christmas that went through Rich’s department store (back when Rich’s was still around). It hung from the ceiling and went through a pink winter wonderland inside the store and then it went outside to the roof top and you rode through an outdoor winter wonderland. My mom used to take me and my sister every year.
This is the original Pink Pig train that I rode when I was little.
Now, they have that on display and they’ve upgraded (or downgraded, if you ask me) to little trolley-like trams that take you through a tent in the Lenox Mall parking lot that is set up like a pink Christmas village. We waited in line for 45 minutes to ride a 2 minute train, but it was totally worth it. And I’m so glad it was my mom who got to take the kids for their first time because she’s the one who used to take me.
Later Sunday night, we met up with the guys at my Aunt Joan and Uncle Tim’s house to see them and my two cousins. My cousin, Abby, graduated this weekend from the University of Georgia (which I will forgive her for) and my cousin, Jake, is in his sophomore year at West Point. They definitely got all the brains in our family.
We don’t get to see my aunt and uncle very often, so it’s always nice to spend some time with them. Their house is beautiful and my Aunt Joan is one of the best hostesses. You can call her about an hour before you show up on her doorstep and she’ll still have a huge spread out for you to eat. I don’t know how she does it.
My Grandma is staying with them through Christmas and so she was there while we opened presents with Joan and Tim’s family. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to show pictures of this beautiful butterfly mobile they got Gracie. Bean got, among other things, this stretchy, slimy frog, which he keeps trying to feed his sister.
I actually have a pretty small family, but you’d never know it. I know I never knew it when I was growing up because the small little family that I do have is filled with the love and kindness of hundreds of family members. I think family is the same as Christmas. It doesn’t matter what day you celebrate or what kind of family you have to celebrate with, it is what you make it. And this weekend we made it pretty darn awesome.