Sam's parents gave us the ultimate gift by using their frequent flier miles to fly us to Dallas for Christmas.
We had a wonderful time! Anna loved jumping on the trampoline, blowing bubbles, making cookies and cinnamon rolls with Grandma, going to the zoo, eating enough candy to make her sick, watching Richard Scarry's ABCs about fifty times, and mostly just getting to play with Grandma Ruth and Papa Van.
Levi loved wrestling, growling, jumping, and laughing with his uncles, learning how to pull to a stand, snuggling with Grandma, rolling balls around the house, getting tastes of Nutella and other treats from Aunt Katrina, climbing stairs, getting his head rubbed by everyone, and knocking over Papa Van's towers of blocks.
Christmas Morning Pictures
Sam and I loved playing games (video-, board-, and trivia-) with the fam, running the inaugural JB (Jiggle Bum or Jingle Bell, depending on who asked) run and having Jacob school us all, watching football, going to the movies (True Grit and Tangled-- I loved them both), going shopping, eating at Joe T Garcias, eating Bluebell every night, cooking (Cubanos, mac and cheese, chocolate raspberry ganache cake), and most of all, letting other people entertain our children.
We also enjoyed our Christmas Eve pageant with Anna and Levi acting as the angels; Sam and I as Mary and Joseph; Van, Gordon, and Joe as the wise men; Katrina and Gordon as inn keepers and shepherds; and Jacob as Samuel the Lamanite and the sheep.
Before we left, though, we had our own little Christmas here in MA to give the kids their presents from us and from my parents. Anna got a little laptop (to entertain her when she wants our computers), and a doll she can take in the bathtub and a set of clothes for it. Levi got some cars, trucks, and a ball. It was a fun little preview of years to come when we just have Christmas at our house.
And one of the best parts about our New Year? Before Anna got up on the 1st, we packed up a garbage bag full of old toys to be rid of, and so far, she hasn't even noticed. Now THAT is going to be a holiday tradition.