Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas in Florida

We spent our Christmas (and a few days before and after that) in Florida- where the low was in the 50's and the high was about 80 degrees. It was quite different from what we are used to here in Virginia during the winter, but it was a nice change. 

A few days before we headed South, we let the kids open their presents at home. It was a joy seeing them excited about this and getting to spend time together, so I'm going to begin with pictures of our Christmas at home before sharing our Florida pictures.


Our trip began with a stop in Starke, FL (a small town just outside of Gainesville) to have lunch with my college friend, Olivia, and her two boys. It was so good to see her and catch up since we don't get to spend a lot of time together these days. Being states away makes that a bit difficult, but I'm so glad our schedules lined up enough to spend a few hours together.

My has life changed in the 10 years since we first met at UF!

Then we drove to Gainesville and took the kids to the University of Florida, our alma mater, and let them run around the stadium a bit to stretch their legs before continuing our trip.

Go Gators! 

When Chris and I were engaged, we had a good friend take some engagement photos of us around campus. One of the photos we took together was with this "bull" gator- the kids wanted to see it and take a silly photo next to it. 

So glad we got to do that with them!!


One of our afternoons in Orlando was spent at Disney Springs. We took the kids to the Lego store and then had a wonderful lunch with family.


On Christmas Eve, we stopped in Tampa to see my mom, dad and step mom.

The first picture I'm posting of that trip is quite funny because, well, 

you will see...

Our son was using a small shovel to dig some dirt out of a pot my mom had outside on her porch. He kept throwing the dirt onto her porch, so when we told him he had to keep the dirt in the pot, this was the face he made. Lydia took this picture and happened to capture the moment. ;)

His unhappiness didn't last long though. Here he is with my mom enjoying a tickling sesh.

Family photo- the first of a couple that we took with family.



Next stop was dinner at my dad and step-mom's house.
The kids enjoyed some good food and opened some more presents.

One of the gifts they got were swim goggles- you can see that they thoroughly enjoyed wearing those around their house. :)

Ring Around the Rosie, anyone?

Family photo #2.

Before heading back to Orlando, we stopped at the Wiregrass Mall and took a family photo in front of this gorgeous Christmas tree there. This is the spot where Chris proposed to me 9 years ago! My how time flies!
It was fun telling the kids our story and being able to take all 3 of them to this special spot. 


We also spent Christmas Day at Chris' brother's house- good food, gift grab, and great memories. Here are a couple photos taken from that night.

Gavin was very excited to help Mema and Jim open their gift grab presents. ;)

Amy and Gavin having fun- Gavin kept asking her to pick him up to sit on her shoulders. I think he finally realized that was his last turn and she wasn't going to do it again (and rightfully so!). haha!


One of the places we wanted to take our kids was Sea World in Orlando.

The kids really enjoyed seeing all of the animals there and learning a bit about each one of them. They said their favorite parts were the orca show, playing at the kids play place on the nets, and watching the ice skating show.

Turtle Trek!

Our oldest, Tess, asked one of the guides at Turtle Trek a question and she was given an information card to keep because of it. 
Our collector of little things was pretty excited to take home that card!

We stopped to see the penguins...and man was that place cold! Needless to say, we didn't stay at that place too long before heading to see something else.

Orca show at Sea World- The last time I remember watching this was with my 4th grade class when we took a field trip to Sea World- in 2009. Much has changed about the show since then, but it is still pretty amazing what these whales are capable of. 
The kids were pretty fascinated by them.


Another part of the trip was spent with friends and a shopping trip to IKEA. There will be a post about that coming soon.

Here's Chris and Lydia, with her balloon hat that a lady made for her at Dave and Buster's. She got one-on-one time with daddy while big sis and I shopped at IKEA. Little brother stayed back with Mema and Poppie to spend quality time with them. :)


Family photo #3 with Mema and Poppie!  :)

It was quite a whirlwind of a trip with so many things to do and people to see. However, we are very glad we had the chance to do this with the kids and create some special memories together with everyone. 

Here's to a New Year coming very, very soon! Can't believe 2018 is just around the corner!

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Few More Pictures of Christmas Decor Around the House

Well, Christmas is just one week away! 
I still find that hard to believe. I feel like the older I get, the faster time flies (and I've probably said that a few times on this blog!) Ha!

We did manage to decorate a little bit in the kids' rooms and in the playroom. We put out some smaller trees in the bedrooms- one that the homeowners before us left in the attic (score!) and the other was gifted to us by my dad. We didn't go over the top with anything, and I'm not sure we ever would because that in itself could get a little overwhelming. Plus, there's always remembering to take everything down and I sure don't want to have to spend hours doing that. ;)

I took some photos to share for the blog, so here they are!

This girl loves to look at pictures from her, her sister's and her brother's baby album. It must be fascinating at that age to see yourself as a baby and probably wonder what it was like. She likes to ask us, "What did I do as a baby? What was I like?"
It's fun to have their books around for them to look at.

These nutcrackers are popular around our house. In fact, the fairy one needs to have her crown glued back onto her head. Oops!
No matter how many times I say she is not a toy, someone's little hands grab her to play. Haha!

In the girls' room, we put this cute little tree up. The girls love having the lights on at night when they sleep. 
There's something warm and magical about Christmas lights I think.

Our son got the Charlie Brown tree. He loves saying "Charlie Brown" whenever he sees it. We have another one downstairs and he just loves it!

Lydia took these next photos of our tree herself. She has really shown an interest in photography lately and takes some pretty decent photos.


She also wanted to take this photo of our December calendar. It's Christmas-y enough, right?

Lydia wanted to try out the camera timer, so we played around with that. :)

At our church, we did this fun activity with the kids! They got to use Mod Podge to glue pictures of the manger scene to wooden pieces. How cool is that?! I think the kids did a great job with it and had a lot of fun!

These two...;)

Our little boy and his fascination with books! The book he is looking at here, I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean, was a gift given to me from one of my students when I taught. 
It's really neat to see my own kids looking at the books that I once had in my classroom. :)

My kids are super excited about there being 7 more days until Christmas! This is definitely a fun age to have around the house at this time of year. I'm very grateful to have them and it's a blessing being able to share these moments together.

Merry Christmas!!