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Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas: Round 2

We took a day after Round 1 to clean, do laundry, pack, and basically recover before heading out on the road Tuesday to go to Baytown for Christmas with Matt's family.

We even made record time! Less than four hours to get there WITH kids! We didn't stop once! Excuse my excitement, but this was a major accomplishment.

There were so many presents, but Avery and Landon wasted no time tearing into them. Okay, so it was mostly Avery doing the tearing, but Landon had fun watching. And chewing on boxes. We were SO thankful for each gift; our families are so thoughtful!

We got the kids to bed pretty early, and Matt and his dad had a Kinect party while I crashed on the couch at 9:30 pm. I was obviously exhausted because I didn't wake up until 9 in the morning. (Thank you Landon for sleeping in!)

Wednesday was a fun day of playing with new toys and just generally hanging out. We went and visited Matt's friend Adam that afternoon and got to meet Adam and Melissa's precious baby girl, Edie. And I took no pictures! Argh!

Matt and I taught his parents how to play Bohnanza after the kids were in bed, and his mom totally beat all of us. I won't be so nice next game :) I also joined in on the Kinect Adventure and Fruit Ninja fun. I'm a little sore today. That's kinda sad.

On Thursday we got to go to Moody Gardens in Galveston! Ava and Carrie joined us, and we all had a blast seeing the Aquarium and Rainforest pyramids. The Imax Bugs movie was a little bit of a downer, but it gave the girls a good nap, haha.

Avery just adores Ava and copies everything she does!

Hooray for the Moby Wrap! No strollers for us!

Shark tank! Aaah!

Matt was a trooper and carried the pink backpack all day.

Silly girls!

The Rainforest Pyramid was a little, uh, humid.

Carrie's fiance (and Ava's dad), Bubba, came over on Thursday night and we made crockpot hot chocolate. That stuff is SO. GOOD.

Nene's girls

We've had a really nice visit this week, and I hate that we only get to come down here every few months. I wish we all lived closer!

And now we're just waiting for Avery to wake up from her nap so we can go to Ross and Tiff's house for our annual roommate New Year's Eve extravaganza!

5 Years!

I love love love this man.

I’m so thankful that I finally gave in to his pursuit over six years ago.

I still remember being stunned on the gorgeous day in May of 2006 that he got down on one knee at Waterwall Park in Houston to ask me to be his wife.

And I will never forget saying “I do” in front of our family and friends on December 30, 2006, the best day of my life. I thought our wedding was beautiful, but I think our marriage is even more so.

He is the funniest, hardest working, most generous and faithful man I know. I love the life we’ve built together, but mostly I just love HIM.

While our marriage isn't perfect, I know we're perfect for each other. Happy FIFTH anniversary, Matt!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas: Round 1

Now that we're on the holiday downswing, I have some posting to catch up on!

We've had a super relaxing and enjoyable time celebrating Christmas with both of our families. The first part of the holiday was spent with my family, during which time there was never a dull moment. I wish Allison would post some dang pictures already because she got some hilarious ones. Since she's a slacker (haha), you're just gonna have to be okay with the ones I got.

{Christmas Eve Eve}

We went to my parents' for dinner (complete with Blue Bell for dessert!) before Matt and I took the kids out to look at Christmas lights. Avery calls the lights "fancies" and just gets so excited every time she sees them, so we thought she'd love our little drive. Um, she loved it alright. She loved having our undivided attention, which she used to tell us a story about a lion for an hour straight. The story went something like this: "Guess what the lion did?" "What did the lion do?" "The lion ate Landon." "Uh, yikes! Was he okay?" "Yeah." And then she repeated the story, changing out the fated lion dinner each time.

Anyway, we thought about driving through Interlochen or Highland Park to see good lights, but we ended up just looking at some different neighborhoods in our town. It wasn't a spectacular light show or anything, but we didn't have to sit in crazy traffic or drive 30 minutes away either.

{Christmas Eve}

I got one picture of Christmas Eve. We decided to let Avery forgo her nap and just watch a movie instead. Maybe that was a bad idea, but oh well. Live and learn.

I love Christmas Eve. My parents always have a big party at their house, complete with tamales, chips and queso, lots of dips, and more desserts than can fit on the counter. It is a feast of YUM. It's family, it's friends, it's food, it's fun.

And next year I will take pictures.

{Christmas Day}

We stayed up past 2am every morning the week leading up to Christmas (one night we even stayed up until 4), so by Christmas Day we were exhausted. (Whose idea was it to do a handmade Christmas?!?) We were still up with the kids by 7:30 though, and we started our family festivities.

We did stockings first, and then we opened gifts one at a time. (We did three gifts for each kid, plus some necessities in stockings.)

Matt and I don't buy each other gifts, we make them instead. He did so good this year! I mean, he usually does, but this year he really surprised me. I had this great pair of red cabochon flower earrings that I used to wear all the time. And then they broke. So he replaced them with 18 pairs of cabochon rose earrings in every color I could possibly want. I'm not even kidding. They're perfect! He also made a library check out system for my OCD self so I can lend books and DVDs without having to wonder where they went if they are, ahem, not returned.

I made him an iPod case, an "I love you because" dry erase board, and a collage frame of the kids with outlines of their hands. (Thank you, Pinterest!) I love the way they all turned out!

Our gifts for Avery were a magnetic dress up doll set (Costco), pretend medical kit (Toys R Us), and a Dr. Seuss matching game (Target). Landon got a Leapfrog activity table (Craigslist!), sensory ball set (Costco), and stacking cup toy (Target). They also got to open their gifts from Uncle Justin and Aunt Miriam! Avery loved her digital camera, and Landon was fascinated by his cell phone (while I loved the shirts they sent him!).

Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, we got the kids dressed up for church and then went to my parents' for breakfast with the family. My mom always makes baked French toast and Orange Julius on Christmas morning, so we devoured some sugary goodness before heading out to church. We had a great service worshiping with our church family; we even got to light the advent candle.

After church we went back to my parents' house and all the kids put on PJs again so we could have our Christmas "morning." We always do stockings in front of the fire in the living room before we move into the family room for presents by the tree.

Sneaky, sneaky!

Waiting not-so-patiently...


Looks like somebody's ready to try a sippy cup...
This was the first time I've spent Christmas day with my brother Aaron in over 5 years, so it was really fun to have our whole family together again.

Best game ever! Thanks, Allison!

Ugh, all that work and a stupid clip fell off! Sorry, Brittany!

Uncle Vernon, Aunt Tina, and Ral and Maddie came over for lunch (steaks, the best potato casserole ever, baked green beans, and blueberry jello salad), and the rest of the day was just chill. We stayed over there way too late playing Ticket to Ride (Aaron always brings over weird new games for us to play), and Avery finally put herself to bed on the couch because we were neglectful parents who kept her up well past her bedtime.

These kiddos got lots of fun things!

My precious niece, Evelyn!

Ah, it was a fun day with family and way too much food. We are so incredibly blessed to have such amazing family and more food and tangible things than we could possibly need. We don't take it for granted, and my prayer is that we're able to share those blessings with others.

Happy birthday, Jesus! And stay tuned for the post of Round 2 with Matt's family...