December to Remember – finale

Christmas Eve was *our* Christmas Day, as my kids were going to their Dad’s late Christmas Eve night and would be with him through the New Year. We were all excited to celebrate together a day early!

This year, I decided to put symbols on each gift tag, rather than names. There were three symbols — a star, a Christmas tree, and a snowman — and each corresponded to one of my three kids. They didn’t know which symbol they were, so they had no idea which wrapped gifts under the tree would belong to them. It was a fun little game. They each got a card in their stocking telling them which symbol they were:

And then the opening commenced!

Claire probably had the very best reaction to her big present…an iPhone!

Wes was excited about his too (just not as dramatic a reaction as Claire’s)!

And Sadie got her very own, non-toy, *real* camera!

She also got a scooter which she later tried out on our street:


After we had our own little Christmas celebration, my parents and sister’s family came over for breakfast and gift-giving:

Last year, my mom began a fun new tradition we all lovingly refer to as “THE CHRISTMAS DAY CHALLENGE.” Any grandkid of hers who is brave enough to jump in the pool (her pool last year, mine this year) at Christmas, earns $10! Wes wisely decided not to, since he was sick, but the other four did and it was freezing and hilarious! Check out my Instagram for the video!

After everyone else went home, Wes, who had thrown up the night before and was likely fevered, went back to bed. He stayed in bed the entire day. We couldn’t tell if he’d gotten the same stomach bug that Sadie had or if he was reacting to the antibiotics (he googled it, and learned that every symptom he had was a potential reaction to this antibiotic). He felt horrible all day, so while the rest of us went down the street to my uncle’s house for another family gathering, he stayed in bed. He was sick all over again when I came back home, but seemed to feel a little better by the time his dad came to pick them all up later that night.

It was a really nice Christmas with my kids and family. My favorite gift was given to me by my parents:12-24-16_8604

We had one of these growing up. It was put out in our foyer every Christmas that I can remember as a child. It has a very distinct, almost clean kind of smell to it. When I remember and think back on my childhood Christmases, this is a major part of those memories. My mom went on Ebay and found replicas of the original one, and gave them to my sister and me for Christmas. I absolutely love it!

Christmas morning greeted me with a horrible migraine. After getting up and realizing how bad my head felt, I took some meds and went back to bed. I woke up in the early afternoon with my head still hurting and took more meds that didn’t work. Early evening, before going to my parents’ for Christmas dinner, I took more meds and also some sinus medication. My head finally mostly felt better, but of course, the rest of me felt ‘off’ because of all the medicine I had taken. But Christmas Day ended well and I was happy to spend it with those I love the most (minus my three kiddos).



December to Remember – 8

The rest of our December to Remember did not go quite as planned. The morning after Sadie’s all-night puke-fest, we went to this great restaurant in San Destin called Another Broken Egg. The older two kids and I enjoyed a yummy breakfast, while Sadie was only able to take a few bites of toast.

We left there and went back to the condo to rest and hang out a little. We had planned to zipline in the Village, maybe even ice-skate, but we just were not feeling up to it. After resting for a while, we went to see the new movie “Sing!” It was so very cute, and we loved every minute of it!

Sadie fell asleep on the way back to the condo from the movie, so we put her straight to bed. She got up, and we all got ready, in time for us to go to a local theatre production of “A Dickens Christmas: A Ghostly Story”.

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The play was held in an upstairs, almost warehouse looking space. Think exposed rafters, concrete floors, string lights, local art hanging on the walls…I absolutely loved the vibe of this place!


They had one section curtained off with seating on either side of a stage:


The play was the classic Charles Dickens story, acted out by 4 individuals who played multiple characters. It was fantastic!

We had planned to stay one last night at the condo, but we were all exhausted, Wes’ ear was hurting like it was infected, Sadie still wasn’t back to 100%; so we decided to go back to the condo and quickly pack up, and head home. It was only about an hour drive, and I anticipated trying to be at the doctor’s office as early as possible the next morning, so it made perfect sense.

We all slept so much better in our own beds and got an appointment with the doctor late-morning. Wes did have an ear infection, so he got some meds for that, and Sadie got some prescription cough medicine for her lingering cough (her stomach issues were gone).

We mostly rested the rest of the day and prepared for Polar Express Night. I gave the kids (and myself!) some special Christmas PJs for the special occasion:

I made some yummy Chicken ‘n Dumplins as well as some Christmas sweets and hot chocolate, and my parents joined us for dinner and the movie (they had never seen The Polar Express!).

It was a fun night! We all enjoyed it and looked forward to waking up the next morning because we would be celebrating *our* Christmas morning on Christmas Eve! (The kids were going to their Dads’ Christmas Eve night and would be with him through the New Year, so we were celebrating early.)


December to Remember – 7

I mentioned, yesterday, that we got to the beach condo at night, were barely here before we left again, and got back late at night and went straight to bed.

Well, we woke up to a less-than-desirable view. It wasn’t horrible, but all we could see were palm trees. As in, the biggest part of the palm trees were completely blocking our view. So we called the front desk and they were very helpful in finding us another, higher room. The picture I showed at the end of yesterday’s post is the view we now have – and we are loving it!

We took a couple photos on the balcony yesterday morning…

After moving rooms and getting ready and taking the photos, we went to lunch at Cracker Barrel. This is a treat, as we don’t have a Cracker Barrel at home. It was delicious!


The next stop was Bass Pro Shops!


Sadie made fast friends with the fish!

(she was cracking me up — crazy kid!)

She and Claire enjoyed watching the fish while Wes looked (and dreamed) around the store!

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After Bass Pro Shops, we were ready to go back to the condo and be lazy a little! I blogged a little, read a little, then woke up just in time to witness (and photograph) this:


We got ready again and went across the street to the Village for dinner at Roberto’s:


When dinner was finished, we went and listening to a little live Christmas music. Kids didn’t love it because it was jazz, and I guess just not their style. But I thought it was nice. And Sadie got to sit on Santa’s lap and chat with him for a bit:


Wes had been coughing and sneezing pretty badly all day, and Claire said Sadie had coughed a lot the night before, so we had to make a trip to CVS after leaving the Village. We hung out watching Christmas movies — Home Alone 3 and Elf — when we got back to the condo.

Unfortunately Sadie kept saying her stomach was hurting really bad. I assumed it was from drinking lots of coke and eating candy and pizza. But I’m not so sure. We all went to bed…Sadie was on the couch, right outside my bedroom. About 45 minutes after we went to bed I heard her throwing up. And that continued pretty much every hour for the whole night. 😦

She seems to be okay right now, so I am hoping everyone is well enough to enjoy some more activities today. We have a lot planned, and I want the kids to feel good enough to have fun with it all.


December to Remember – 6

When I picked the kids up from school yesterday, we went home and packed our bags for our little getaway. We drove about an hour to the beach condo we will be staying at for the next couple of days, checked in, dropped our bags in the room, and then headed back out for another drive to DeFuniak Springs, about 45 minutes away, to see some Christmas lights.

DeFuniak Springs is a small town in the area that has the old downtown area basically centered around a lake. Every year at Christmas, they put lots and lots of Christmas lights around the lake, charge a little entrance fee, and you can either drive or walk the couple of miles around the lake, looking at the Christmas lights.


(^ not the greatest picture as it was taken out of my car window, but it gives you an idea of what it is like there)

We walked out on the boardwalk and grabbed a couple of photos, but it was freezing!

We made this same trip to see these lights 2 years ago and also stopped by a popular local diner-type restaurant, Ed’s, for milkshakes. We decided, then, that if this light-seeing trip was going to be a tradition for us, so was going to Ed’s.

But this time, we also needed dinner. We all got burgers, which were so good! And then left with our milkshakes! YUM!!!

We drove back to the condo and were so exhausted we went straight to bed!

But we are excited to wake up to this view for the next couple of days…



December to Remember – 5

Before I talk about last night’s December to Remember activity, I want to rewind a little to two weekends ago. On the day we went to two parades, the kids also decorated Christmas cookies. Claire colored and mixed up the icing, and they all had fun creating the perfectly iced, sprinkled and decorated cookie.

(I realized Wes is a bit out of focus, but his cookie is not!)

Alright, back to now…

We continue our D2R activities last night by going to a musical production at our local Civic Center. I even had us all dress up for the occasion!

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We enjoyed the performance, even though it made for a late night and we were all so tired!


Well, today we are heading out of town (not far away at all) to continue our December to Remember activities…hope you’ll check back in to see what we’ve been up to!


December to Remember – 4

Well, I failed to blog all of last week, but it was okay, because it was mostly a busy week with very little time for December to Remember activities.

We did try to make up for it this past weekend though!


Friday night was fun — our activity wasn’t necessarily holiday-themed, but we counted it as part of our December to Remember since it’s not something we go and do all that frequently. We went to see a local high school drama department production of Singin’ in the Rain Jr.


Then, of course, we had to get an after-the-show froyo treat at Sweet Frogs…



Saturday morning, started out with home-made-from scratch pancakes. I’ll give you the quick recipe: just remember “2/2/2 and a quarter” (2 eggs, 2 cups milk, 2 cups self-rising flour, 1/4 cup oil). Delicious!

A little later Saturday morning, I took the kids Christmas shopping. I was a little concerned, with it being the weekend before Christmas and knowing it would just be extremely “people-y” out there. I was hoping we would not have to go to many stores. We have always done the “Dollar Tree” thing, so we started there. Pretty much everyone they were picking gifts out for already had nicer presents that I had picked out and also signed their names to. So, Dollar Tree was perfect. And we got it all done quickly and painlessly! I love seeing what they pick out for each other and other family members – really interesting and often funny!

When we came home, the kids got busy wrapping all their gifts…

img_4743-2 (don’t ya love what they had playing on the TV while they were wrapping?…they’re hooked, and I happily take full responsibility!)

And I got busy making some lasagna…img_4744


(not the most appetizing photo, I realize, but it was sooo good, and the kids kept going back for more!)

Sunday morning we went to church and then to lunch with my parents. After getting home, I got busy in the kitchen again making cookies for us to snack on while watching a Christmas movie.

img_4008Any guesses on the movie, after seeing these cookies?

If you guess The Grinch, you are RIGHT! (I found the recipe HERE but  didn’t make the hearts in the recipe…I cheated and bought the little red hot sprinkle decorations from the grocery store baking aisle). Oh, and the drink is Hawaiian Punch!

And that was basically the end of our December to Remember activities for the weekend.

It all starts back again tonight and then is nonstop until the big day, so stay tuned!


December to Remember – 3

We continued our December to Remember on Sunday with Sadie’s Christmas Piano Recital. It had a little surprise included…

Sadie was playing a version of Oh Christmas Tree that had an accompanying part. We practiced a lot the couple of days leading up to the recital, and I played the accompanying part during our practice. Sadie never happened to mention that her teacher had never played that part with her and had not intended to play it with her at the recital (in other words, Sadie was going to play a solo).


(Sadie giving her little speech introducing her song)

Sadie was really struggling with the 4th line of her song, barely able to get through it. When we got to the recital, I mentioned that to her teacher and asked her to just keep going and/or point to where they were on the sheet music. She said, “Oh should I sit next to her while she plays?” I said, “You’re playing the accompaniment right?” She said, “No, we never practiced it that way.” I said, “Oh my gosh are you serious?!?” (lol) So she said I would just need to play it with her.


Playing our duet

It worked out fine since she and I had practiced it that way already, and it definitely helped smooth over her iffy 4th line, but I certainly did not expect to!

Well, I will continue to keep you all updated on all of our December to Remember activities!

Any fun but unexpected adventures for you and your family?