As the kiddos are headed back to school this week and normal routines are settled into I wanted to take a minute to share what we were up to on our Christmas vacation. We went on a whirlwind adventure that involved 2 12-hour drives, a visit to various old ‘hoods, playtime with friends (an adult version), and FAMILY. I hope that the holidays were as good to you as they were to us. Enjoy!
And so our adventure began…at 4:30 in the morning on a dreary Georgia day. My coffee was full. The kids were tucked into their car seats. Hubby’s headphones were secured. I was able to drive 3.5 hours before the first potty break/gas top off. 2/3 of the kids and hubs slept the majority of that time, but my Diva-girl was awake with me…but you would never know it because she was as quiet as a church mouse looking out the window.
Stop number 2! Since the sun had now been up for a little while the devices were busted out for entertainment and even though they look a bit crazy, these 3 were being GREAT travelers! They are old pros!
LUNCH! Even in black and white there is no hiding those bags under my eyes! We stopped at Bob Evans for some lunch about 3-3.5 hours from our first destination. This stop took forever because apparently the lunch rush came AFTER they had cut most of the servers! It seemed to be a big deal that the managers were making my kids smoothies.
But they were able to produce AMAZING meals like this! No lie, I was a bit jealous of my daughter’s reindeer’s pancakes with chocolate sauce eyes!
We were staying at my cousins’ house, but they were both working the late shift so we decided to take a small detour on the way. We stopped by West Liberty State College (okay…fine….it is West Liberty University now, but that just feels WRONG!) to show the kids where we met and went to school. We had missed the Union closing by about an hour, but it was fun watching them run all over the small campus quad and wow at the Art Building. It was so cool to show them were we had met.
Naturally our detour pushed us into dinner time so we HAD to take the kids to Eat’n Park (the place for smiles) because if you are from The Valley you ate there. And if you were in my sorority you went to chicken noodle soup night. We also thought that it would be rude to burst into my cousins’ house starving when they already told us they needed to go grocery shopping. LOL
And no meal would be complete without a smiley cookie!! Loving the seasonal snowmen! Did you know that you could now order these cookies online?? I always forget about it, but I might have to do that for one of the kid’s birthdays!
Ahhhh Christmas Eve!! My daughter takes after me and could not wait to help my aunt get ready for the big party! Her job was to ice the lemon ricotta cookies and then arrange the cookie tray.
I got the task of making lots of little meatballs for the wedding soup. And I totally forget to grab myself a bowl of soup….looks like I am going to have to make a big batch sometime soon!
My aunt also had a crockpot of apple-cinnamon martinis a brewing! Let me tell you….a hot martini with a cinnamon-sugar rim was JUST what the doctor ordered on this vacation! I might need to bring these to the next Moms’ Night In…which I should probably schedule because I miss my friends. (Goes to Facebook to post about MNI)
I then proceeded to spend a LARGE portion of my evening snuggling THIS guy. He doesn’t belong to me. This is my little nephew Baby Jimmy. He is fantastic and adorable and has the appetite of his father. He nibbles on 2 of his fingers versus his thumb and is constantly signing more (the only sign he know) because he wants to eat all of the foods. I HATE HATE HATE living so far away from him (and his mommy and daddy).
THIS. It is things like this that vacations are made of! My dad’s girlfriend made my dad wear SANTA PJs and got herself Elf PJs. IT WAS EPIC. Like seriously…watching Santa Dad tackle hug my kid who couldn’t pry his eyes off of the DS that my cousin gave him was awesome.
Then there was THIS! Forget whatever Santa got the kiddos for Christmas, this is all that matters! Santa Dad got me a KitchenAid Mixer. I have been wanting one of these for ages (and will be putting it to good use tomorrow!).
On the day after Christmas we decided to head on down the road a day early and take the kids for a drive by the old place and then to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. SO MUCH FUN! We hadn’t been there since Liam (above) was 2 so our experience this time was quite different!
It looks like London may have a girlfriend in Pittsburgh…she couldn’t take her eyes off my boy no matter what her dad said!
One of our favorite sections of the museum this time was sponsored by MakeShop! I cannot even put into words how much fun we had there! I still have 2 pieces or recycling art hanging around our house in ATLANTA. The employees who were manning this section were so good! One girl sat with my son making circuits and explaining them to him for at least 10-15 minutes. She was able to talk to him right on his level and get him to think about things. So fun to see. I really wish we would have been able to spend more time here, but we were on a little bit of a time crunch! (FYI teacher friends in the Pittsburgh area it looks like they are doing a workshop at WLU this summer….SIGN UP!)
Another family favorite was the water area. It was fun to watch Liam work with a bunch of other kids to accomplish some sort of goal. I have no clue what was going on, but EVERYONE was soaked and happy when we left!
Mommy even did some shameless, self promotion writing in water 😉
FINALLY we crossed into date night! My brother, his girlfriend, and the adorable Baby Jimmy helped us out this night by babysitting the kiddos at our grandparents’ house so that we could meet up with some awesome friends…many that we had not seen since BEFORE we started dating! First up was drinks and dinner with Bill’s oldest friend while his buddy Brett Cain played. You need to look him up on YouTube…I couldn’t pick a favorite video to share!
Then we went to our friend Frommie’s house to surprise a bunch of our friends at their annual Christmas party. It was absolutely perfect!
Finally we got to the last day of our trip and the Christmas Party for the other side of our family. Eliza decided to cover her eyelids in the glitter makeup that Santa had bought her.
Baby Jimmy made another appearance! He is sporting a hand-me-down sweater that both of my boys wore! It made me so happy to see because I loved that sweater and it cost me like $2 at an outlet!!! He was also all about rocking the juice just like my big kids! I’m so glad that my kids got so much time with their cousin!!! It really makes my heart happy!
Finally we attempted to get all of the grandkids in a picture with my dad…this really was the best shot on my phone. They were all tired and hopped up on candy and cookies. It was time to pack our babies in for the night before heading down the road at 4am the next day.
This trip was everything! I miss my family so much living far away, and it was so nice to spend an entire week with them. My grandma even got all 3 kids to eat more than one helping of ham and steamed carrots WITH NO BRIBES! There is something magical about Pittsburgh! I know that this isn’t the type of trip I will take every year (Santa likes leaving presents under our tree) but I am glad that we did it. Hopefully in the next year or so we will live at least a little bit closer and can visit more often!
So that’s what I did on my Christmas Vacation and why it has been so quiet around here. What have you been up to this holiday season?