We had a wonderful Christmas! It sure went by quickly. Carl took off most of the last two weeks of the year which made it even more special. Plus a lot easier to manage two kids since I am accustomed to our new school routine. It has been so nice having everyone home together.
Our Christmas break started with a visit to the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills mall. Evie and Henry loved hanging out in the Bass Pro Shop. They did a terrific job creating Santa's Workshop. We ate lunch and then got some cotton candy before taking a stroll around the beautifully decorated hotel.
Carl took Evie on a hike and Henry and I went to get his haircut. We then went to Shogun's for our 12th Annual Christmas dinner except it was lunch this year. That might have to be a new tradition - lunch is less expensive plus you have all day to re-hydrate from the salty food. Evie surprised us by eating everything and Henry stuck with his Ritz crackers. Maybe next year, Henry?
On Christmas Eve, we made our annual Fresh Market run - it is so fun to get out in the hustle and bustle for our shopping when we only need a few things. Carl loves the filets from Fresh Market and the coffee. I love the salad dressing and snacks. Our kids picked out a candy treat that made them pretty happy! Evie wore her elf suit and passed out candy to all the people working on Christmas Eve. We came home and spent the afternoon hanging out before church. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite services of the year in our church. Our Altar Guild does a beautiful job decorating the church and the music is gorgeous. It can be a challenge to keep the kids happy and content because it is a long service and they are excited about Santa. Henry and Evie did fine but were thrilled when it was over! We came home for a quick dinner and Santa preparations. Evie and Henry thought Santa needed a pile of cookies and carrots.
Evie woke up before 6 on Christmas morning which NEVER happens! We waited for Henry to wake up and then rushed downstairs to see what Santa had brought. Henry was thrilled with his blue kitchen and bicycle. Evie was infatuated with her American Girl doll - Isabelle. It was a wonderful Christmas morning. Both kids really love Santa and were thrilled with their new toys. We opened presents, ate a yummy breakfast and enjoyed some time together. Carl was feeling a bit under the weather so he went to bed for a bit. I did a few things to prepare for the rest of the day. Carl's parents arrived that afternoon and Carl was feeling better. We had a little happy hour before opening more presents. Evie and Henry are really loving presents these days. It was a fabulous day! Henry went to bed while Evie and Isabelle stayed up to eat dinner with the rest of us. Christmas always goes so quickly!
Friday morning was looking like our best outdoor day so we headed to Smith Park to check out the Tennessee House. It was pretty incredible and cool to imagine living there many years ago. Next, we went to Martin's BBQ for lunch. The weather was still holding up so we headed downtown to The Mall to walk around and enjoy the crisp air. Tennessee winters are cold but if it is just cold then we try to spend a little bit of a time outside. Friday night, I made some Chicken Tortilla soup and then we had some birthday cake to celebrate Carl. He always chooses ice-cream cake!
Saturday, was a pretty nice day too so we went to the arboretum for the the kids to ride their bikes and get some energy out before it rained. It started drizzling right as we were finishing up. Lunch at the Local Taco was next on our agenda. Henry loves his cheese dip! We spent the rest of the day watching football.
Carl's parents left on Sunday morning and Carl took Henry to the doctor. He had been acting fussy for a few days so I decided something must be wrong. His tubes are gone and he had an ear infection. Poor buddy! We spent the day just resting at home.
Monday, Henry was better so went to the Adventure Science Center! It was crowded but really fun. We had a blast and spent the day getting some energy out.
Tuesday, we did a few things around the house and then my parents arrived for Christmas Round 3! My kids sure are lucky to have so many people that love them and select such wonderful gifts! Henry and Evie racked up with lots of fun toys. We had a wonderful time watching them play with their new toys. Carl prepared some filets for dinner and we enjoyed another delicious Christmas dinner.
Wednesday, Carl had to work for a bit so we took the kids to the mall for a bit and then to McDonald's for lunch. Not my favorite restaurant but the kids love the HUGE play place and they needed to get some energy out. We played some games that afternoon - Evie is really good at Scrabble. Thanks Aunt Libby for that fun game! Carl came home and we had appetizers for dinner. Evie thinks it is fun to have a "bowl dinner." I love appetizers for dinners and little bowls make everything more fun. Carl and I scooted out for a little New Years Eve date while my parents babysat for us. We went to see Wild and it was so good! I cannot wait to read the book!We stayed up to ring in the New Year with my parents.
Thursday, we woke up and had a lazy morning and then a big meal that afternoon. Southern tradition prevailed and we had pork tenderloin, hoppin' John, greens and cornbread. Evie and Henry ate cornbread. Ha! My mom and I took the kids on a bike ride while my Dad napped and Carl watched some football. Henry is such an encourager! I hope he keeps that part of his personality as he gets older. It is so sweet to see him encourage Evie even though she is the Big Sister. Evie prefers her scooter to a bike ride so that encouragement went a long way. We came back for a special New Years Day dessert - ice cream sundaes and then spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Friday, my parents left that morning and Carl came home to work since it was quiet day in the office. I am not sure what else we did that day but I remember a pizza party and a movie.
Saturday, Carl and I cleaned the house and took down the decorations. Carl is sweet to take care of that HUGE chore for me. I put everything up in early December and he takes it all down. Cabin fever was starting to take over - so we headed out for a few supplies.
Sunday - our last day with Carl is being spent relaxing and enjoying the time together. Evie and I watched Troop Beverly Hills together and now Henry is watching Stuart Little 2 with me. I am going out tonight with some friends to celebrate a special birthday. Fingers crossed, I get to go - we have to cancel our last two fun activities due to sick kiddos.
That wraps up our Christmas vacation! Lots of time together and with our families. A big thank you to our families for coming to visit us so we do not have to travel at Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and that 2015 is off to a fabulous start. Make it a terrific year!