Christmas was nearly 3 months ago, so I guess that makes me right on time for a holiday post according to my trend. We may have had the busiest holiday season this past year we've ever had. Despite my not working, I planned so many things for us to do, right in the middle of Aaron's busiest time of the year.  I am guilty of starting Christmas as early as possible. I wanted to decorate early, play Christmas music in November  and plan everything fun I have wanted to do as a family now that the twins are old enough. When I say everything, I mean it. We did Bass Hall, Christmas movies, Santa pictures, Christmas pj pictures, family pictures (yes, I'm aware I have a picture problem), North Pole Express, Prairie Lights, Enchant, visited the blue house from The Great Light Fight show and Mainstay farms. What was I thinking?!  We had a blast, but next year we will not be quite so busy. I'm not one to stress over he Holidays, but I did get worn out unnecessarily.

Despite our business, we had a magical time and the twins soaked up every moment of Christmastime.  Auntie Sue was here for 10 days. We loved having her for the holidays. We spent one day with Mom and Sue making Christmas cookies ALL day. Grayson and Hallie were covered in frosting and sprinkles. Isn't that a kids dream come true? We had another visitor, but not from Washington, from the North Pole!  We kept our Elf-ing fairly simple.  They were thrilled by all things Elf and woke each morning, dashing around to find 'Joey.'  Hallie especially, liked Joey.  We watched the Elf movie and read the story multiple times a day. Grayson may have touched him a time or two.  Fortunately for Mom, a sick elf stays in bed and doesn't move so I'll have to remember this next year. As silly as it is, seeing their excitement every morning was 100% worth the trouble and silliness of it all.
The Thomas family Christmas is always our kick off Christmas.  Grandma made is as special as she always does, and Aunt Kathi and Uncle Tommy were with us for he first time in years! They moved back from Belize in the fall.  We aware SO happy to have them home!  Grandpa struggled a bit, his legs were hurting him and it was obvious he didn't feel well.  We later found out his siatic nerve was the problem.  He has been able to treat it and is feeling much better. Answered prayer!  We missed Ali, Jayce and Damuel, but they were home with newborn Andrew born December 10th. Cousin number 5!!!
We went to Christmas Eve service with Mike and Mom. Grayson slept the entire service and Hallie held her candle all by herself.  We celebrated with the Clarks at Sherry and Daniels newly remodeled home, gorgeous!  Good food, great company and gifts for the littles.  We headed home, jumped into our matching Christmas pjs and opened gifts with Nana and Papa.  Christmas my morning was awesome.  Grayson and Hallie were next level excited.  Grayson got the Batbot he asked Santa for and Hallie got her Arendale castle for Elsa and Anna.  Karlos's brunch was as delicious and beautiful as always.  It was so much fun seeing the toddlers play, open gifts as they start to get Christmas down.  Josh and Andrea surprised us with baby news.... number six!  I barely held it together.  So happy for their growing family.  Before gifts, Johnny played Happy Birthday, Jesus and danced with Hallie in the living room.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live.  Talk about a heart melter!  Jayce and Ali brought Samuel and sweet baby, Andrew. It was such a sweet day with our growing family, parents and great grandparents.  I was (happy) emotional all day!  Mom fixed a great dinner and we spent the rest of the day watching the twins play with their new gifts at Mom's. Hard to beat a perfect day like 2017 Christmas.

*My last two posts have been from my iPad so I'm sure the grammar and spelling errors are many! I'll sit down at my computer one of these days to correct and add a few courses.


Janusary has come and go and we are slowly trudging through February.  Nearly the entire US is fishing outbreaks of nasty flu virus.  It's been the worst year I can remember. I've never had the flu and as a family we are laying low in hopes to avoid getting it, again.... Hallie came down with the it at the beginning of December. She had strand A, and while it was terrible to watch her so sick, it wasn't as bad as it has been for others.  We've prayed this entire season for our health and for everyone else's.  I hope and pray the worst is over, and until then, we will avoid public places as much as we can.

In other news, I visited Doug and Rita's beautiful new home in Marana, AZ.  We spent the first night in Sedona.  I was excited to check this gorgeous place off of my bucket list and it did not disappoint!    We hiked Bell Rock, which had stunning views and really mild, comfortable weather.  It was a great, short visit and I can't wait to go back!  I loved getting to see the new life D&R have built for themselves in retirement.  Their new home sits on a beautiful golf course in the Sonoran desert.  What I loved most about Arizona were the colors of the desert; shades of greens, pinks and earth tones for miles. The vibrant colors of the sunsets were so dreamy!  Rita and I spent two nights walking the golf course; watching the sunset and inspecting the fascinating saguaros that dominate the course. Seven mountain ranges can be seen from their neighborhood which makes for great views from any angle. How lucky they are! Their days go something like this...  sunrise + coffee, pickle ball, maybe a nice hike,  swim + work out, possibly a mid-day nap, dinner, wine + sunset and early to bed.  I could easily adopted the laid back schedule. Doing retirement right! I look forward to bringing the family back when the twins are a bit older.  Aaron will never want to leave this golf/desert paradise, I can see it now!

We are in the process of planning our upcoming trip with Assurity to Sydney. We had hopes to visit the Whitsundays, but because of our limited time, decided to pass this trip.  Having r searched it, it is now at the top of my beach bucket list. The whitest sands, cockatoos galore and the Great Barrier Reef.  One day.  The list is long and continues to get longer!

In July we are so excited to visit the Majors in New Jersey!  This will be there first time fly and their first real trip to the beach after last year's vacation was cancelled because of the hurricane.

In the meantime, we will try and stay well.