The Merriest of Times!

Since we’re still catching up, I thought I would share some pictures from our holidays.  We had such a good two weeks with all different parts of our family!  Nothing beats a full house at the holidays!

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My mom and Chris’s granddad (who now lives in Orlando!  Lucky us!) came over for Christmas Eve dinner and church with us.  Christmas Eve is one of my favorite services of the year, and our church does it spectacularly.  Don’t you love this picture of our church’s sanctuary?  One of our friends took it on Christmas Eve as they were setting up for services.  I just love it and think it captures so much of the spirit of Christmas.  Good job, Steve!

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I have no pictures of my mom on Christmas Eve, which is probably because she was tending to her Christmas cactus. Did you know a Christmas cactus is a real plant and it only blooms once a year on (you guessed it) Christmas? Well, I know that now because my mom showed up at my house carrying her giant Christmas cactus plant.

“Here,” she said, shoving past me into the kitchen. “Put my cactus in good sunlight.”

“You brought you own houseplant with you?” I asked.

“Of course! I’ve waited all year for it to bloom and I’m not going to miss it!”

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Christmas morning was a blur of gifts and laughter and sausage balls (my favorite Christmas morning treat!). Santa came in all his glory and left the kids just what they asked for – an American Girl doll and a Barbie doll for Gracie and Disney Infinity characters and Legos for Bean. Plus, he dropped off this super fun fort building kit. It comes with all these bars and balls that hook together kind of like tinker toys. You build whatever shape you want and then throw a sheet over it all and – voila! – a tent! I bet Mrs. Claus came up with that awesome gift idea…

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Christmas night, my sister and her family arrived from Atlanta and the holidays felt complete! I have missed her and her squishy little family so much! It was great to get my arms around them all again. Her kids are growing up just as quickly as mine, and I have to get my Aunt Katie snuggles in while they still let me!

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We had all kinds of fun with their family while they were here. We visited the Crayola Experience one day (the kids and I finally got season passes! Hooray!).

(Did I mention it was sunny and hot? Hahaha!)

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We went ice skating at a winter festival, which was tough for some of us… I fell flat on my face while ice skating. I don’t know what happened. I was upright and then my left skate somehow started to turn in towards my right and I couldn’t stop it and before I knew it, I literally belly flopped face down, arms and leg sprayed out like a starfish, on the ice. Bean whizzed by me, shouting, “YOU OKAY, MOM?!” Thankfully, my brother-in-law, John Michael, was close by (laughing, naturally…) and he helped me get back on my feet.

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We also went to Disney Springs and had a big dinner out at the T-Rex Restaurant. None of us had been before, and it was a hit! There were giant dinosaurs all over the ceilings and rooms and every 10-15 minutes, they would roar and come to life! I thought the kids were going to wet their pants! It was so fun! They also had this really great sand pit for digging up fossils while you waited on your table. Disney just knows how to do it, don’t they?

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Mostly, though, we just hung out together and that was the best part. I am so thankful for technology that has allowed my kids to keep in touch with Ginny’s. Through FaceTime, the four of them have really grown close and seeing them together in real life is just so special. I have a great relationship with my sister and I love seeing that relationship between our kids, too.

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Ginny’s family left on Thursday and on Friday, Chris’s family arrived! We spent a few days with his mom, her fiance, Charles, his sister, Annie, and her boyfriend, Justin. I took approximately 1.3 pictures while they were here. So, I went to Facebook to raid their pictures, but they took even less than I did! This is all I have. You’ll just have to trust me that we had a blast with them.

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Jackie and I went shopping on Sunday and we took Gracie with us for the full “Girls Shopping Day” experience. Gracie hung in there with us for the most part, and with the help of my iPad that she smuggled into her purse that she now carries with her everywhere. It was a really nice time with Chris’s family, just relaxing and catching up. I think that’s my favorite part of the holidays.

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The afternoon that Chris’s family left, we were cleaning up a bit around the house. After a solid week of company and Christmas, we were a mess! Gracie and I were in my bedroom, making my bed, and she says to me, “I wish we could have Christmas every day.”

“Yeah?” I said. “You like all those presents?”

“No, I just like having our family here.”

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That just about sums it up, Gracie Girl.

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