What's better than family?
Well, OUR family. We have the best family! I'm not sure how we got so lucky, but we pretty much hit the jackpot. After adding our adorable little niece to the bunch, it has made it increasingly more difficult to be away from all of them.
Which is why our Arizona festivities were that much sweeter! After our time away (just shy of 5 months), a nice reprieve was much needed.
Splitting holiday time between families can be (honestly?) pretty horrible. Luckily for us, this year went smoothly, and everything fell into place without any hassle. We didn't have to torment ourselves over which event or house to choose, hurt feelings, or where to spend which nights and days. There were no family fights or splitting hairs, and in the end, we figured out (to further emphasize my opening statements) that our families are great. And no matter what happens, they help make things easy on us!
Greatest things about Christmastime at home:
No matter where you are, there are always great places to drive around and find vibrant displays of Christmas lights. This street in particular is NUTS. We had a lot of fun walking up and down - imagine living in a neighborhood like this! Every garage was themed and expensively decorated, and every house participated in the decked out displays. All in agreement to be fervently awesome.
Number two on the greatest-things-about-Christmastime-at-home list, is pictures.
Kodak moments abound (starting with the tree/wreath shots, which are abundant!):
A little lesser known on the photo op list, is the wrap-blinking-necklaces-around-yourselves-and-smile shot.
There are a million great things about Christmas. While Christmas in Arizona doesn't quite bring to mind drinking hot chocolate by a fireplace (although we HAVE had some cold Christmases in the past, believe it or not), there are other staples. Such as a candlelight Christmas eve service at church.
Or watching dad make caramel popcorn for the millionth time, and it's always just as magical. (I would include the recipe, but there's no way I'm giving that out to the general public. It's sacred. But I'll throw you a bone with some key ingredients.)
While this next issue can be different for everyone, one of the things that was incredible this year was going to restaurants we have REALLY missed, being on the other side of the country! Places like Mi Amigo Ricardos (REAL Mexican food), Little Sombreros, Si Senor (are you seeing a trend here?), as well as Cheesecake Factory and Old Spaghetti Factory.
Now get ready, cause it's baby time. No offense to anyone or anything, but our baby is pretty much the highlight of the world. It is SO fun to be an Aunt and Uncle for the first time, but it's a little hard to do our duties this far away! So we tried to get in as much Abby time as possible. After all, the next time we see her, she will be completely out of this stage...and into the walking/talking stages!
She is so precious. This past Summer, we spent a ton of time with Chris and Amy and little Abby. It's amazing how much she's already changed from that time to now. But it was so fun to be back with them again, and get some game-playing time in, too ;) we had many games of Catan, Dominion and Agricola! (Are we nerds, or what??)
We also got a fabulous new camera for Christmas, so hopefully you can look forward to fun new shots :)
We were really blessed to have so much time at home. I actually wasn't supposed to take off this much time off of work....but it ended up working out okay. Next year, with full vacation days and sick time, we should have a little more leeway! We felt refreshed, and even though we were pining for more time by the time we left, we got to spend a lot of quality time with our families.
Last but not least, we got to spend a very fun New Year's Eve at my parent's house. It was a great way to beckon in the new year, as well as our ONE YEAR anniversary! Hard to believe. We played games, had our annual bonfire, and dad had a giant tray of Sushi ordered (which is kind of awesome, and I think it should be a tradition!) as well as hot wings, and the caramel popcorn balls, of course!
Things got a little crazy, trying to keep the fire going BIG!! People were getting intense.... :)
We then transitioned into fireworks/poppers time!
Our ingenious picture idea:
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! :)