Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A {long} look back…a very Merry Christmas!

We spent an extended holiday in Texas as usual for Christmas.  I was nervous, as usual, about the flying aspect of the trip.  I can report that the kids did AWESOME!  We drive to Charlotte (2.5 hours away, assuming no traffic, which can be bad at times!) so that we can have a direct flight to Houston.

We spent the first night in Houston to recover from our long day of travels before heading to Waco to spend time with Clay's family.  Before our drive, to Waco we had brunch at the yacht club in my parent's neighborhood.  Oh my goodness, Connor got his money's worth at brunch.  I cannot even remember everything he ate that morning, but it was a lot.  I seriously worried that we'd be pulled over allowing him to get sick on the car ride!  That evening, he couldn't figure out why he wasn't too hungry for dinner!

We had a wonderful few days in Waco.  We celebrated Bobby's retirement after 37 years with Farm Bureau.  We got to see some friends and meet their newest additions.  We went to the zoo and even got to have a behind the scenes tour where we got to meet the orangutans who are currently not on exhibit and we got to pet the three rhinos!  Debbie and I went and visited the new Magnolia Market store.  The kids loved all of Deb's candies and Christmas Bingo.  The weather was abnormally warm, even for Texas, so we took many walks and trips to the park.

After saying our goodbyes, we got back in the car on Christmas Eve to head back to Conroe to spend the next few days with my family.  Levi started asking about the twins (his cousins) as soon as we got to Texas, so he was excited for them to be there when they woke up on Christmas.  Twins and Santa?! What a great morning for a 4 year old!  Ha!  During the rest of our stay in Houston, we went to the Children's museum, visited a brewery, visited Great Grandma, had a date night (!!), got haircuts at the mall (and rode the carousel).  We also went on a boat ride and of course visited the doughnut store.  It rained on us a bit there, so no golf cart rides, but the boys did manage to get to the park with Grandma and Grandpa!

Our trip home was also fairly uneventful.  We did have about an hour delay in Houston due to weather in Charlotte, but the kids took it like champs.  Thankfully they learned of the ground stoppage as we were stepping on the plane, so they stopped us and deplaned so we could hang out in the airport vs. being stuck on the plane!  We made it home just in time to watch the Aggies play (boo to that game!) and had more gifts, as Santa had visited while we were gone!

And now all that in way too many pictures/captions...

Making holiday treats!  We were getting ready to do chocolate covered pretzels, which I always made with my Grandma growing up.  Fun memory!

Just walking through the airport like a big girl.  (And dragging her blankie as usual...bleh!  Thankfully we have multiples, so this one went in the washer as soon as we got to Texas!)

Ready for take-off!  The plane was a 2-1, so Connor got to sit across the aisle from us in his own seat.  Clay sat right behind him.

Abby spent a lot of time being passed between Mom and Dad the last portion of the flight.  We took off at naptime, but girlfriend refused to nap.  (I can't complain though -- she was great...just got a little antsy!)

Apparently she takes her clothes off when she is bored!

Celebrating our arrival to Texas!

Crazy hair and Blue Bell!!

Getting ready for brunch.

Enjoying the park after we got to Pop and Deb's!

Getting ready to go to Pop's Retirement Party and she really wanted to wear her Chuck's.

Thankfully a quick distraction walk outside worked and we got some more appropriate shoes on.  I had planned on tights for her, but it was too dang hot!  Oh, and that is my dress from when I was little!!

Presenting Pop his plaque.  (Glad the photo bomb in the background smiled...ha!)

Abby had to check it out, too!

Kids were excited about some CAKE!

We played Christmas Charades.  I forget now if this was "Holly and Ivy" or "Cranberry Sauce" but I was dying laughing at his clues.  They made perfect sense in his mind!

ZOO time!

Abby mimics everything her brothers do.  It's pretty dang cute...most of the time.

Clay's friend from church growing up works at the zoo.  She brought us into her office to meet a few "friends" of hers.

She even ended up taking us behind the scenes to meet a few more special animals!

This dude was one of my favorites.  He was just checking us out.  She told us some very interesting facts about him, too!

She called the Rhinos over to let us pet them!!  How cool is that?!

Someone was pooped after that fun day!  I think we were barely out of the parking lot when this happened.

Opening presents!

I love the show Fixer Upper, so I was very excited to head to the new store!

We went to see our sweet friends, the Sasser Family.  Jennie's parents live right by the river, and thankfully it was low, so the kids could go have fun and throw rocks.  Of course, it didn't take long for them to get IN the water!

Throwing left handed here...must have been watching Levi!  Ha!  By this time, I had Clay's wallet and phone in case he had to get in after someone!

AND...she saw her brothers get in, so she had to, too.

Jennie's dad took them on a spin around the yard on his tractor!

Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus!

And now we are back in Conroe...with the TWINS!

Abby and I went to visit Great Grandma.  She was taking care of her "baby" when we got there.  She was watching TV, just patting his little bottom.

Swimming on Christmas Day...really?!

The Roller Coaster was a big hit!

Lunch at Black Walnut Cafe with Uncle Barry!  YUMMY!  Abby was eating the marinara sauce by the handful.

"Mom, take a picture of ME!"

At the brewery with the boys!

Connor found some buddies to play football with.

Abby testing out the new night-time vision spy glasses.

Brothers went to a movie without her...she was NOT happy to be left behind.  She kept saying "RIDE!" over and over again.

After the movie, the boys went with my parents to see Great Grandma!

Future Vet?

Future Scientist?

Pretty intense game of twister!

Date night...$1.99 margaritas at Los Cucos.  They don't have stuff like that in VA!

I went to the movie for the first time in almost 6.5 years!!

Meanwhile, back at home, the kids were starving for attention…ha!

Waiting for brothers while they got their hair cut...someday you will, too, princess!

We did lots of fishing!

I cleaned out a box of stuff my parents had...enjoyed finding pics like this!

Yummy toes?!

Doing his lego set all on his own!  (Jan, that house in the background is still waiting for you...!)

Thank you, Netflix, for the fun countdowns for the boys!  We watched a few while sipping cider.  I had plans to go to bed early that night, but then we started watching Making a Murderer on Netflix, and I won't admit how many episodes we ended up watching!


One last pic to round up our wonderful time off...making silly faces!  I love how they are all hold hands.  I honestly did not ask them to do that!