Now that things have settled down a bit, I can finally take the time to write about our fantastic Christmas week back home! We were so, so fortunate that my work let me off for a whole week to go home for the holidays (total God thing). So, we packed up and headed out Friday, December 23rd. It took about 8 1/2 hours to get from our house in Louisville to my grandmother's house out on Beaverfork Lake--which is great timing! Since this was our first trip back to Arkansas since we moved in the summer, we couldn't WAIT to see everyone (yes, even you too Uncle Richard). We had missed everyone SO much and it was a very surreal feeling to be driving on familiar roads--definitely did not feel like it had been 5 months. We got to Mimi's house and were immediately met with smiles and hugs and "we have missed seeing you" and got eat some wonderful food. We woke up Christmas Eve morning, and started off the festivites with my favorite tradition--Homemade Gifts. Every year, my dad's family draws names (and you keep it a secret) and you have to make that person a gift. We have had everything from guns to wreaths to paintings to food. It is so fun to see what everyone comes up with! This year, I got my mom's name and decided to make her some Razorback pillows (which I will admit, I got the idea off of Pinterest). And ironically enough, she drew MY name and made me the most beautiful napkin rings out of some family heirloom brooches! I wish I had taken a picture on my camera to be able to post--look for it on facebook...i'm sure it will show up. lol. After that, we continued with our annual Christmas breakfast--peppered ham, cheesy grits, cinnamon rolls, etc...(all low-calorie foods I assure you) before ending with stockings and presents under the tree. Our stockings were fun this year because we all got treasure hunts to go find our big present! SO FUN! My big present turned out to be a sewing machine!! I have been wanting one for a while and my grandmother, the sewing master, was sweet enough to get me all decked out with all the materials I need to get started. I can't wait to put my creativity to the test! Christmas Eve night, we went to my mom's family, where we ate (again, all low calorie foods) ham and turkey and sweet potatoes and green bean bundles and the list goes on and on (oh how I have missed good ol' Southern cookin'). We do a gift card Dirty Santa game with everyone there and I walked away with a $25 TJ Maxx gift card--YES!
Christmas morning came bright and early and we celebrated with my parents first. We all watch each other open stockings and then we move on to the big presents...and boy, did my parents surprise us with a BIG present. They combined mine and Daniel's and got us an iPad--yes, you heard right. AN IPAD. Can I just say...total.shock. Yes, I know I work at the Apple Store and everything, but never in a million years did I ever think I would actually OWN one! It is so great! Daniel will be able to take it to class and take notes, it helps him with tutoring his students, and then I just get to have fun with it :) we absolutely love it! And can I just say that Facetime is the absolute best thing ever! Getting to actually SEE the person you talk to??!! That is perfect for us--especially talking to everyone a few states away! Christmas afternoon we went to North Little Rock and met Daniel's parents at the movie to see "War Horse." I really liked it---much more so than I was anticipating! Of course, it is a Steven Spielberg movie, but to be honest I wasn't too keen on going to see it. SO glad I did though! The day after Christmas, the 26th, we spent the day in North Little Rock again celebrating Christmas with all of Daniel's family--his parents, brothers and their wives, our nieces and nephews, and his grandparents. That was a fun day too! It was so great to see all of them--and the kids have grown so much! Plus, Sean and Kim just had a new addition to their family in November, named Audrey, so we got to see her for the first time too (she is a doll!).
December 27th was my parents 25th wedding anniversary! Congratulations to them! I feel like that is such a huge milestone in a marriage--especially in today's world! We were able to surprise them a little with a small family affair--a replica of their wedding cake and punch and some light snacks. It was really special. I am so lucky to be able to say they are my parents--such a great role model for me personally to look up to! And not only from a marriage standpoint, but also a parenting standpoint. Love them both an incredible amount--words can't describe!
The rest of the week was spent watching football and enjoying time and savoring moments with family and a few of our friends. And then, sadly....we had to head back to reality. We headed back Friday, December 30th and got in late that night. So now, we have rung in the new year (2012...Really?!) and are back at work. But, we are having a watch party for the Cotton Bowl tomorrow night (WPS) which will be great to see all of our friends up here again. Sooooo, that's all for now. Just wanted to share about our joys of the season. I hope everyone else had a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year!