Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Christmas Story

Happy 2016!  I decided to start the new year off right.  By getting some help.  One thing I have really missed has been keeping the blog current.  I've been complaining about this for far too long.  My biggest hang up has been how long it takes me to chase down all of my photos and up load them.  So I put on my big girl pants this morning and marched myself right into the Apple Store as soon as it opened.  

I'll admit it, I'm intimidated by that place.  (I'm afraid that makes me officially old!)  All of the smart, tech savvy workers in their matching shirts... don't get me wrong, they are super friendly.  Perhaps a bit too friendly for my taste.  It's probably my suspicion that they see me walk in the door and they think, "Oh how sweet, this middle aged lady needs some help."  So rather than admit that I'm totally that lady, I breeze in and out with whatever I'm looking to purchase but have never asked for the help that I ACTUALLY need.  But seriously, a store without cash registers is NOT to be trusted!  Just call me Aunt Mildred!

How stupid (and vain) is that?  So 2016, I swallowed my pride, took the bull by the horns and got myself some help.  I took Todd exactly 8 minutes to show me what to do.  And here I am, back in the blog saddle.  Geez, looks like I should have swallowed that humble pie about 2 years ago.  Lesson learned.

Well, now that problem is solved, I can get on with the good stuff.  Christmas 2015.  I have a bold declaration for you:

Christmas 2015 was my favorite Christmas in all of my 43 years.  Actually, I would say it was tied for first place.  I have a favorite childhood Christmas from when I was about 6 or 7 that was purely magical as our whole family gathered at my Granny and Grandpa's and Santa made a mystical appearance and is forever engrained in my memory as "the best."  However, this Christmas (as an adult and parent) is right up there with it.

I am a traditionalist and do not like to stray from the norm too much.  I love holding onto things that have always been a certain way.  So when we started talking about packing up and heading to Florida on the 22nd of December, I just didn't know how I felt about it.  I can tell you the Florida in December part was totally up my alley, just not the waking up in a different place and not being at our own church for Christmas Eve part.  That was a big pill to swallow.

However, when a friend of ours offered us to stay in their empty condo in Naples, how could we say no?  

We traded in our traditional Christmas tree and hauled all the gifts down south.  We drove 19 hours...

for this bit of lovely.  It was a white Christmas after all.  This is the kind of December white I can get behind.  The weather was unseasonably warm with every day being 86-88 degrees.  We spent Christmas Eve at the beach and all day Christmas day.  It was wall to wall people.  Shoulder to shoulder.  And it was a blast.  Everyone was in a festive party mood.  Singing carols on the beach, wearing Santa hats and setting up tents with buffet dinners for their families.  We boogie boarded, we built sand castles, collected shells, and read books.  It was restful, playful and utterly delightful.

We visited a local church for a candle light Christmas Eve service, came back to the condo and had finger foods and opened a few gifts.  Santa came and brought a type writer, boxing gloves and Pokemon cards.  We went back to the beach for a second glorious day and headed into Naples for a lovely seafood dinner.

Although this picture makes us all look like lobsters, I assure you we were just the right shade of pink!

On December 23rd, Steve and I celebrated the 13th anniversary of our engagement.  As Steve told the kids about "this girl that he fell in love with 13 years ago" and how he asked her to marry him, Turner's response was: "So, why are you married to mom then?"  

Our final day in Naples we took a three hour dolphin tour.  It was beautiful.  It was a magnificent way to wrap up that portion of our vacation.  We had just the right amount of relaxation and adventure and celebration and focus on Jesus and family.  

On the 27th we loaded up the van and drove three hours north to Orlando where Gramma and Papa are snowbirding.  It was so nice to transition to some family and some fun in Orlando.  

We had a great day at the water park at the time share.  It was a ton of fun and the kids made some friends which allowed Steve and I to read, relax and visit with Gramma and Papa.  I love the beach and its a real treat.  Its also a lot of work.  All of the sand, the packing and unpacking of stuff.  I rather prefer a day at the pool.  We headed into Celebration, FL for dinner and to watch it "snow" that night. 

 It was perfect.

The next day we headed to Universal Studios to check out the Harry Potter world.

Let me strongly suggest you NEVER go there the week of Christmas/New Year's.  It was downright miserable.  Except for the fact that the kids loved every second of it.

Well, maybe not every second of it.  We might have run ourselves a little ragged.  And then there was a *little* incident with some people who cut in front of us in a 2 hour line for the Harry Potter ride. It takes a lot to get me in a confrontational mode.  My justice button got pushed and let's just say, my inner beast was unleashed.  That's a story for another day!  

We spent the next day at the pool until 3 pm (milking every last glorious 88 degree moment).  Sadly and with tears (mine) we hugged Gramma and Papa and every Palm tree I could get my arms around and headed onward to Atlanta for the night.

It really was one of my favorite Christmas' EVER!  I am so thankful for every second of that trip.  I hope this is one of those magical childhood Christmas memories for our whole family!

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