I love the Christmas season. I love the time with family, keeping up fun traditions for our girls, getting together with friends, all of the great food and if I am being completely honest I love gifts (both giving and receiving).
I am still working on what traditions I will keep going with the girls through the years but the ones that I have started so far are new Christmas Eve pajamas, a Christmas train where we fake them out to think it is bed time and then blow the train whistle and go look at the lights to music in Bella Vista on my train (Honda Pilot), our elf Nelson, a friends Christmas party at our house, memorizing a Christmas story related bible verse and singing Christmas carols to them while putting them to bed.
One evening we gave the girls baths and had them lay in our bed, noted that we would be going up to bed in 2 minutes and then blew a train whistle (on the phone) indicating that it was time to take a train ride. I made tickets for them and we piled in the car. We went to Bella Vista to a hill that has a manger scene with a lights show set to music.
The second week of December we headed down to Little Rock to spend time with Neal’s family and to do Christmas with them. It was a quick trip but we all had a lot of fun. We did dinner at a stir fry place that does the whole cooking production for you and the girls always love this. We went to a fun kid’s activity center for some fun and had lunch at one of my favorite places, Tazikis. We did Neal’s birthday dinner at a pizza place that has an arcade and picked up Neal’s niece and nephew, Will and Caroline. The girls always have so much fun with them and I really wish I had gotten some pictures of all of the fun that they had with them that night. And most importantly we spent half a day with Neal’s grandparents. Mimi and Papa are the sweetest people and I am so glad we were able to spend some quality time with them and exchange gifts. I got very few photos of the whole weekend and will make sure to bring the big camera next trip so that I can make sure to get some quality photos.
Below is one of our favorite photos of Nelson’s shenanigans this year.
On our way to Houston we spent the night at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine Texas. We have wanted to try this place out for a while and decided that this was a great opportunity to try it out and break up the trip. We did have a lot of fun but it was so busy that I felt like we may lose a child at any point. It was fun to do some swimming in December though. They had a fun story time in the evening, some good food options and a snow shower in the lodge throughout the day. On our way out we were able to see my cousin and her daughter which was a great addition to our stay.
Christmas with my family was ridden with sickness but we had a great time. Luckily the 4 of us avoided the flu like stuff and stomach bug that was going around. I really enjoyed the time that I was able to spend with my middle sister, nephew, parents and extended family. The highlight was Ella overcoming her fear of Santa (thanks to my Uncle who does such a great job every year as Santa at our Christmas Eve party). By the time Santa was ready to leave Ella was begging for him to stay and even gave him a hug.
On the way home we stayed the night at my Uncle Pat’s ranch. We all had a great time spending time with my family, Uncle Pat and Aunt Cheryl, riding on tractors, seeing cows and donkeys, riding around the ranch on the 4-wheelers and listening to music while sitting in the barn. It also made the trek back a bit shorter when we set out for home.
We left all of the Santa gifts back at our house as well as the gifts to each other. The girls got all of the gifts they asked for from Santa including an easy bake oven, a doll, Sofia the 1st figurines and a princess house that spins the princess figurines around. When we pulled into the driveway the girls got into a fight on the way inside and Ella got in trouble. She had to hug Reese and apologize before she got to see or open her gifts. She snapped out of it quickly and we had a great evening. My absolute favorite gift is my new Hunter rain boots. Neal really surprised me with these…I didn’t even ask for them but he knows the things that I really do want but feel like they are too excessive to ask for. I can’t wait to wear the new boots in New York with we take Reese this Spring!!