December went by in a complete flash for our family. Like, if I didn’t write this blog post and record some special memories in our family Christmas book, I’m not sure I would remember a thing about Christmas this year because it all really felt like a blur. Whew!
By the time we got back from our Thanksgiving beach trip and all recovered from the flu, it was nearly December 10th, and then things were kicked into high gear real quick leading up to Christmas Eve and Day.
We had a wonderful December and really enjoyed our first holiday season as a family of five, but I always breathe out a sigh of giant relief come January. I love returning to our routines after a nice two-week break from the monotony of the daily grind, I love how clean our home feels after putting away Christmas decor (except “clean” is a relative term these days, haha!), and I love the freshness and hopefulness of a brand new year (and decade!)
I would love to share a few pictures from our Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve if you’d like to see! 🙂 All three days shared two things: they were VERY busy but filled with LOTS of loved ones. Something else all three days shared is that Jamie and I quite literally collapsed in bed each night, but the energy put into making these days special and memorable was so worth it. My heart was full.
Since both of our families are local this year (!!!!), we made things easy and spent Christmas Eve celebrating with Jamie’s family and Christmas Day with mine.
We hosted my MIL, FIL, and brother-in-law for a big Christmas lunch, with the center of attention being a Brown Sugar Bourbon Glazed ham that Jamie smoked. It tasted like candy and was a huge hit!
Once we were stuffed, we cleaned up and got ready to opened presents. During the transition from lunch to presents, I got a phone call from my brother letting me know that he is engaged! He was so happy and looked forward to bringing home his fiance the following day for Christmas.
Also, I know these pictures are few and kind of terrible, but you know how sometimes you’re just not in the mood to snap away and would rather just put your phone down and enjoy? That was totally my head space on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There was so much going on that taking good pictures fell to the very bottom of the totem pole. Very unlike me, but I’m not mad about it. ‘Twas a nice break!
One of Sadie’s most anticipated gifts this year was an Easy Bake Oven from her Miya and Papaw (Jamie’s parents). My MIL told Sadie about the Easy Bake Oven she had when she was a little girl, and Sadie decided right then and there that she wanted/needed one too. She’s been enjoying it so much!
After opening presents and cleaning the house up, we all headed to the 4 p.m. candlelight service at church. This is my favorite part of Christmas every. single. year. I love everything about it – the warmth and joy that everyone exudes, the Christmas hymns, the message of reflection on the miracle that was the first Christmas night, and finally singing Silent Night as a church body, this year while holding my six year old’s little hand. So special.
After church, we set out a plate of goodies and milk for Santa, got the girls in their Christmas jammies, and put them to bed. Jamie and I then did our part to get everything set up for the following morning, watched an hour or two of Netflix together with a glass of champagne, and then called it a night.
Christmas morning was pretty darn great. The girls were so excited to open their stockings and find their gifts from Santa. I made a monkey bread casserole that was full of everything bad for you, but was obviously quite yummy that way. 😉 The weather was also phenomenal. If we can’t have a white Christmas, I will absolutely take a 70 degree Christmas!
We planned to head to my parents’ home around noon, so Jamie got right to work with smoking another ham to bring over. It was out of sight!
The girls were ecstatic to get another dress from Annie the Brave for Christmas, and thankfully it was warm enough that I could say “Yes!” when they inevitably wanted to wear them to Grandma and Grandpa’s. Also, Sadie’s feet crack me up. She has navy blue socks on inside out with black dress shoes. And I didn’t dare bother to correct her because what did it matter anyway? We were only going to my parent’s house. 🙂
This was my parent’s first Christmas in their new home, and everything looked so pretty when we walked in! They worked so hard and did a great job.
My dad even made a little kids table for the big girls, just like we always had growing up at my grandmother’s house.
After eating a big meal around 2 p.m., the chaos of gift-giving started! I don’t have a single picture because it really was madness keeping up with Hadley and Sadie and their excitement to rip through every single gift, but it was really fun too.
One of the coolest things this year was the joy Hadley showed as she handed out the gifts she’d purchased at her school’s little Christmas shop. The volunteers there put all the gifted in stapled brown bags with our names all written on the outside, so nobody knew what was inside but Hadley. As she handed out the gifts, she watched with stars in her eyes as people opened them. She was SO HAPPY and so darn proud of herself. I was proud of her too and loved seeing her discover how fun it is to give.
Around dessert time, about 10 more people showed up to my parent’s home – my in-laws and my aunt, uncle, and cousins. It became a party with lots of people! We immensely enjoyed hanging outside by the fireplace, playing a few rounds of Table Topics (that I gave David and John for Christmas because they love games), and just having a good time. I’m a big sentimental dork, but having everyone together outside laughing after a really nice Christmas day warmed my heart BIG TIME. I just don’t take these moments for granted. Y’all know my people and relationships are everything to me.
NEW YEARS EVE
Fast forward to New Years Eve! After a quick weekend beach trip with my parents (more on that in another post), the girls and I got up at 4 a.m. and hit the road from Destin, Florida home to north Alabama! They slept most of the first 2-3 hours until Jillian lost her marbles, signaling our first stop: breakfast at McDonald’s!
We got home around 11:30 a.m., unpacked the car quickly, and greeted Jamie home from work around 1 p.m. He took over with the girls while I ran around for the afternoon getting some things in order for our little New Years Eve plans with some friends later than evening.
At 6 p.m., the house filled up with friends! We had a ridiculous amount of food that everyone brought (we contributed a ton of freezer-type apps such as mozzarella sticks and boneless wings that were easy and were eaten quickly!), played a few hilarious games, and generally just enjoyed each other’s company.
Everyone was gone by 10:30 p.m. (because the handful of one-year-olds just can’t hang, of course!), so Jamie and I cleaned up what was left to pick up and then crawled in bed to watch the ball drop on his phone in New York at 11 p.m. our time. We agreed that we’d stayed up late enough and didn’t feel bad about not staying up until our CST new years. 😉
Pictured below is me, my friend Leah (my college sorority president when I was a freshman), Savannah (one of my middle and high school best friends), Erin (a close friend that I met last summer after Teddy broke himself), and Crystal (Erin’s best friend who is now one of my close friends too).
The four of us on the left all work out together at Orangetheory and have a ball (working out at 5 a.m. should never be that fun, haha!) and we’ve all gotten to be a tight little group.
It’s been fun to have all of these friends from different seasons of my life come together through various things and enjoy each other so much. I always say that this type of thing isn’t a coincidence. People generally gravitate to the same types of people, so it’s not crazy to me that all of these people I call a friend also really love each other as well. Makes me happy!
Doing New Years together just seemed obvious after the fun we’ve had together lately at the gym. Our husbands had a great time too, as did the 14 kiddos!
YEEHAW! Life is rarely boring. 🙂 Excited to share more with you this week about what else we did to close our 2019. See ya back here tomorrow. 🙂
If you have most of your family local, how do you split up the holidays?
PS: Here’s a throwback to our Christmas Break 2017, which was our most insane Christmas ever! We still look back at all of that and laugh about the insanity. Selling a home, buying a home, negative temperatures, a 30th birthday, two toddlers, ETSing out of the Army, getting home from a deployment… C H A O S!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo