Sunday, February 9, 2014

Christmas 2013

We spent the holidays in KY with our families for TWO whole weeks! (Dec. 18th-Jan. 2nd.) What a blessing! We are really enjoying Twitter's vacation policy.  Jeremy took about 2 1/2 weeks off at Christmas and it was no big deal (at least not this year.) He said most of his coworkers in the design dept. took off one week or more. We flew out of Oakland's airport which is only six miles from our house vs. flying out of San Francisco. We flew Southwest airlines from Oakland-Vegas-Louisville. Overall the flights went well and we had no problems with late flights, missing baggage, or anything like that. The flights were completely full. The airports were crowded. I can't imagine what it would be like even closer to Christmas! We elected to not buy Caleb his own seat. It actually worked out pretty well because then our whole family could take up a row of three together. Caleb is at the most challenging age ever for flying. It is very stressful and not fun. Of course we plan as much as we can to make things go smoothly, but it is still difficult with him. I do not feel that I can fly with both kids by myself yet. Of course, we had way more luggage and carry-ons for a Christmas trip home so it will be quite a bit easier to fly in the summer. Flying Southwest worked out very well for us since they are one of the few airlines that don't have baggage fees. We were able to check six bags at no cost (two per ticketed customer.) This came in really handy for Christmas. I checked a large foot locker filled with outgrown kids clothes to give to my sister-in-law and friend. On the return trip, I filled it with presents. Even then, we still mailed back two large packages. This year was a HUGE learning experience for how to do Christmas when flying in from out of state. Overall, things went very well, but I also learned a few things that will hopefully make it easier next time.  

Emily with Dinkney and Poppy after our night out to see The Nutcracker

We arrived in Louisville late Wednesday evening and spent a few days with Jeremy's family. Mom and Dad picked us up for a week long trip to Bowling Green and brought us back to spend the last days in Louisville. (Thanks for the van pick-up!) We were lucky to get to spend a week with each family.

My Dad and my boy

Celebrating my birthday Dec. 23rd with my favorite Christmas treat:
 a caramel popcorn Christmas wreath.
Camp Lee


Emily and Jeremy had fun roasting "marshies"

Rebecca, Maddie and I enjoying birthday treats

Matching Christmas PJs! Believe it or not, Becca and I did not coordinate this. Hilarious! Our PJs were a gift from Aunt Jen and she embroidered them herself! 

Love my photogenic Emmy

Handsome little boy

Santa always puts an orange at the bottom of their stockings.
Em does not look impressed! Don't worry. She got lots of other goodies she loved!

Christmas morning with baby boy.

Christmas morning TRYING to get a pic with the kiddos. Yeah, not happening!

Merry Christmas 2013!

We spent Christmas with my parents this year since we were with Jeremy's parents Christmas Day last year. Mom and Dad were kind and understanding to give us just enough personal space to enjoy our own little family's Christmas morning gift giving while still being present to enjoy the morning. Emily's favorite Santa gifts were her Calico Critters tree house and two-wheeled scooter. Caleb's favorite gifts were the dump truck and ball set (football, basketball, and soccer ball.) He got a cute Little People Barn and farm set which he likes OK, but not as much as his cars and balls! Jeremy and I allowed the kids to open one gift on Christmas Eve which was their gifts to one another. My siblings and I used to do this when we were little so I like the idea of carrying on this little tradition.

Trying out the present from Santa--a new Scooter! Cooper got one, too!

One of Em's favorite gifts from Nan.

Little guy checking out his present

Nan and Pop and the kiddos. 

Stephen, Becca, Maddie and Cooper on Christmas evening

The youngest littles

The Annual Lee Family Holiday Song!
We give Dad such good material to work with every year--ha!

LOVE this with my little nephew, Cooper.

Little guys playing together.

Getting down on the farm.



Saying "good-bye." :(

This year Don and Nancy completely refinished their basement. This was no small project! It was completely packed with storage and they started the project around Thanksgiving. It was amazing that it was about 95% completed in time for us to use. Don and Nancy were motivated by the fact that they would have not one, but TWO families staying with them over Christmas. Normally, it's just Jen and Ed coming in from out of town for a visit since we lived locally. This year, EVERYONE was out of town! The basement was quite spacious with a huge play area and a new bedroom and bathroom. The project put a lot of stress on Jeremy's parents at an already busy time of year. We were so thankful that they wanted to do this so everyone would be comfortable during our time together.

Jeremy and I planned ahead for several outings with friends--a date night with work friends in Louisville, a play date and lunch with Misty and her daughter, a breakfast with PT friends in Bowling Green, a lunch date with Eric and Misty, and of course lots of time with both of our immediate families. Still, there were several folks we were sad to miss on this trip. It is hard to find the right balance of rest, family time, friends time, personal time, etc. I was thankful for the "Date Night" with "Mr. Claus" at Toys R Us and a little appetizer/drinks afterwards. We get so little time out just the two of us since we moved. I really enjoyed the outing with Jeremy's parents and Emily to see the Nutcracker. She LOVED it and it was fun to enjoy this with our big girl and Dinkney and Poppy. (I especially love going for FREE--one of Poppy's perks with being a floor manager at the Kentucky Center.) I was thankful for opportunity to see extended family in Bowling Green on both sides of the family. 

Post-nap 'dos. LOVE!

Love the sleepy girls expressions and Caleb is just like, "What's up?"

Caleb cracks me up!

Poppy and Em 

Family picture at Reiss Christmas

Sis shares her new Raggedy Ann Doll with Caleb
(Thanks for the throw-back gift, Dinkney!)

Dinkney helping little Caleb with a big gift.

Ed, Jen, and Elizabeth at Reiss Christmas.
We were SO happy to have Ed with us this year since he was serving with the Army last year.

Dinkney and Poppy opening up a special gift from us.

Daddy and Caleb checking out a new book. 

After Christmas, Caleb caught a cold that led to an infection. We had several rough nights when he would not sleep unless we brought him to bed with us and held him. It was the first time Caleb had been sick in months and of course it had to be when we were on vacation. Luckily, we were able to see our old pediatrician before flying back. Other than Caleb's little illness, our Christmas vacation was fabulous! It had been nearly five months since we had seen our families (other than Mom during her brief trip to SF) so we were homesick. We decided not to take Emily back to see our old house. I drove by there one day while running an errand in the neighborhood. I cried and cried. I was pretty pitiful. :( It just represents the closing of a chapter in our lives that was so very sweet.

We are looking forward to hosting our parents at our home in California this spring!

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