Christmas 2016

What a Christmas we've had!!  And we're not finished celebrating just yet!  

It's been challenging to get ready and prepare this year for Christmas.  We had sickness hit our girls - our Emmy was out of school this entire past week!  Ugh.  No fun.  There have been many a late night of shopping trips, wrapping and baking happening around here.  Through all of this, though, somehow, by the grace of a higher being I'm telling you what - we did it!  We - my guy and I - did it, together!!  

Christmas celebrations began with a brunch on Christmas Eve at my brother & sister-in-law's  home.  My SIL, JoAnne's raisin bread (something like the traditional Irish soda bread) is a coveted family treat that says "Love & Christmas!"  We enjoyed a relaxing morning with the family.  Thanks, Jeff & JoAnne!! 

Afterwards, I locked myself in my bedroom with wrappings a plenty!  This year Kurt and I wanted to try something a little different for our girls.  In lieu of a bunch of gifts - and More Stuff to contend with, organize, etc. - we chose to surprise them with an upcoming trip to Florida, including Disney World parks and Universal Studios of Orlando (and the wizarding world of Harry Potter)!!!  YAY!  The details and planning for this spring's getaway has been a year in the making!  I can't believe we were able to keep it from our girls - and a couple of times things slipped out by mistake, but we were able to divert attention and keep the secret safe.  We will be visiting with my sister and bro-in-law and their beautiful, amazing children in Miami.  Then we're off to Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast and Englewood area to visit with more family (looking at you, John & Kay)!  

Once we get a chance to see family, we are Disney bound for a whirlwind of park hopping, sight-seeing, and a chance for the four of us to soak up all things Disney related and Harry Potter-ish!  It's going to be a blast!!  The girls do not remember the last time we visited Disney (Alanna was 3 and Emmy was 8 mos.).  Now they are at a perfect age to enjoy the magic and make lasting memories, too!!

Getting back to the "wrappings a plenty," we were successful in paring down on the "stuff" for our girls, but there were some things that Santa just couldn't resist bringing!  Our Santa doesn't wrap everything.  Does yours?  We had a map of Florida to mark our stops and a countdown calendar with all the details drawn out to hang in the kitchen for the girls to check off the days in anticipation of the big trip to the land of sunshine!  We are all super stoked for the fun adventures to come!  This may just be our new go-to idea for Christmas!!  Our new family motto is "Less stuff, More EXPERIENCES."   

Christmas morning came, bleary-eyed and full of anticipation for the girls reactions!  As I suspected, there were shrieks of joy and lots of happy dancing!  Such fun!  

Later that night, we had a dinner party with my sister, Laura and her family: Kai, his girlfriend, Ana, Junah and Aria, who are visiting for the winter break.  And our dear friend, Woody was able to put us on his list of stops for the evening!  There were lots of games to play and legos to put together and loads of catching up to do!  It was a warm-hearted, wonderful evening with everyone.  I relish these times with my family and family-friends.   

These are the days to enjoy.  And enjoy we have!  How about you?  How was your holiday?  Do you have a similar motto to keep gift-giving pared down?  What was your favorite gift to receive or give this year?  I'm interested to hear from you!  

I hope you had a magical holiday with your own family!  Thank you for stopping by, friends!!