Saturday we left to spend a few days in Orangeburg for Christmas. The minute we arrived in Orangeburg my parents gave Morgan Kate and Hunter their BIG Christmas gift - a trampoline. Both of them absolutely loved it! When my brothers and I were younger we had a trampoline. It was much larger than the one pictured, had no nets and no covers over the springs. Needless to say, it was quite the hazard, but SO much fun.
We let the babies jump for awhile and then we headed out to my grandma's farm to ride fourwheelers and hang out. The farm is a lot of fun, but it's also good for the heart and soul.
My dad's three brothers came to spend the day. They are TROUBLE.
We spent the afternoon riding around.
And goofing off.
And watching Travis and Kyle get stuck and unstuck.
Uncle Jimmy even got stuck a time or two.
It was such a great day and the perfect way to kick off Christmas.
We were all so excited for the holidays and the fact that we were all going to be at home and together. The whole crew - me, Trav, MK, Owens, Trenholm, Kyle, Hunter and of course my parents.
When we got back to my parent's house Saturday evening my mom wasn't feeling well. Sunday morning she made a trip to the local Doctor's Care and it was confirmed - she had bronchitis, a sinus infection and the FLU. Are you kidding me?!?
I spent a majority of the day Sunday having a pity party. I was sad that my daddy is having to battle this awful disease and take medications that make him feel tired and achy and just overall not good. I was sad for my mom and that she wasn't going to be able to enjoy the holidays like we had planned. I was just sad and angry and overwhelmed. I was also a little hormonal, so I'm sure that added to it.
However, with these two sweet faces it's hard to stay sad and mad and overwhelmed.
Sunday afternoon Travis and I took MK and Hunter over to Mammies. We wanted to give my mom a chance to rest and we wanted to keep the kiddos away from the flu.
They ate Happy Meals and played on Mammie's keyboard. We laughed so hard. Sunday evening we built a big fire in my parent's backyard.
We all sat around (minus my mom) and talked and laughed and reminisced.
Eventually we put the little ones to bed. And the rest of us -me, Trav, Trenholm and my brothers - sat up until the wee hours of the morning. It was SO much fun and SO needed. Definitely one of the highlights of my time at home. I was up late with my brothers and this little guy had me up early the next morning. Super early.
My mom bought MK and Hunter these precious pajamas. They wore them each night we were in Orangeburg and they were the cutest!
Christmas Eve we went to Mammie's for dinner, our annual tradition. Once again, mom wasn't able to go. We ate way too much food, as usual, but had such a good time with family. Every single year I am just so impressed with what all my grandmother does. She is amazing!
After our big dinner we headed back to my parent's house to get in the bed so that Santa could come. Mama Jean came with us to spend the night - she's done this since my grandfather passed way in 1989 and it is one of my favorite traditions. I love having her with us!
Some time during the night Santa stopped by and left all of this for our girl.
The next morning Owens had to wake everyone, including MK. I guess we were all so tired. We all gathered on the stairs together (my mom was finally feeling a little better) before going into the "Christmas room". This is something we have done for as long as I can remember. We wait for my parents to turn on the tree lights and get everything just right and then we all go in together.
We spent the morning opening gifts, laughing, drinking coffee and eating a yummy breakfast. Around noon it was time for Owens and Trenholm to head out to her parent's house. The rest of us spent the afternoon with Mammie and then back at my parent's house to hang out and relax.
Mama Jean came back over for Christmas dinner and we grilled steaks and had baked potatoes. Despite my mom having the awful flu, it was a great Christmas - one filled with family, food and love. It doesn't get any better!
Christmas break may just be becoming my most favorite time of the year. Typically summer break is, but this year it would have to be Christmas break. I love being at home. I love being at home with MK. But, the cherry on top of our sundae has been having Travis home for the break. It has been SO nice. We have spent most days in our PJs, doing nothing. It has been great.
Mornings have looked a lot like this.
Afternoons have been filled with crafting, painting or baking.
We didn't have Christmas cookie cutters, so we had to use our palmetto tree. Christmas in paradise, right?!?
We did at least have green and red icing.
Each morning we've been on the hunt for Banana. He's been in all sorts of places. Under cups.
Hanging out in MK's shower.
One night before Christmas we headed over to Raven's to bake cookies. My grandmother, Mammie, shared her sugar cookie recipe with me and I was so excited to make it. I was even more excited when they were finished and tasted just like hers.
Caroline, MK and Nolan had THE best time decorating the cookies and eating all of the sprinkles.
One night before Christmas we also rode through the lights at Saluda Shoals. We've never done it before and it was so much fun.
We met up with Jessa, Heath, Annie Parker and Mac. The kiddos had such a fun time.
Needless to say, I don't know what I am going to do next week when I actually have to get up and go to work.
Months before we were married, at one of my bridal showers, my amazing fourth grade team from LMES gave me a Willow Tree Nativity Set. Be still my heart. It is one of my most favorite Christmas pieces ever.
Each year I get so excited to open the boxes and take out each piece. I adore them.
This year MK has spent a lot of time rearranging the animals. I don't mind her moving them at all. I am glad she is interacting with the nativity set and that she's asking questions and we're having conversations, BUT I have reminded her that these pieces are very special to me. I told her that some of my most favorite people in the world gave them to me and they are near and dear to my heart. And, if she were to drop and break one I would be very sad. Apparently that has worked so far because they are all in one piece. I have them displayed on a buffet in our kitchen. I placed Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus on a piece of wood that Travis cut about two years ago. I placed "real live greenery" behind the nativity and wrapped that with lights and stuck in a few fake berries - just to give it a more natural feel. I also included this little chalkboard - a Pinterest idea.
The tiny tile with the wreath is a gift MK made at preschool. The wreath is made of her fingerprints. Love!
The plate below is a gift that MK made at Roddey's. It's a wreath made out of her handprints. How precious is that?!? I adore it and MK was so excited to give it to Travis and I. I just love, love, love all of her handmade gifts!!
Each year I look for a new place to put all of our Christmas cards. This year they either ended up on the shutter (above) or this "Merry Mail" hanger that I made this year. I just took a metal sign that I bought at AC Moore for like $4 and painted it with chalkboard paint. Then I hot glued two pieces of red ribbon and presto - our Merry Mail hanger.
These are just a few of the other decorations around our house.
My Mammie always has a strand of bells beside her back door each Christmas. When we were younger my Poppadaddy would ring them and tell us stories of how Santa was stranded with a flat tire or sick reindeer. I love those bells so much. They remind me of Christmas. They remind me of my grandaddy. They remind me of all the Christmas Eve dinner at their house with lots and lots of family. This year Travis brought home a strand of bells for our house. I think he loves the ones at my grandparent's house just as much as I do.
Our Christmas tree is one also one of my favorite things. I guess really anything that represents Christmas is my favorite. Ha! Growing up my parent's always had and still do have a tree decorated with an assortment of ornaments. Some are tiny little frames with cross-stitched names that my aunt and grandmother made, maybe even one my mom made. There are a multitude of ornaments that the three of us made as children. One of my most favorites was this lifesaver snowman made from an actual roll of lifesavers. Unfortunately, he "melted" (literally) away a few years ago. I've always adored my parent's tree. I loved the stories that were told as each ornament was placed on the tree. When I got my first car, my parents hid the key behind a mason jar lid ornament that had a baby picture of me in it.
I always knew I wanted a tree just like that. One that symbolized family and memories and good times. I've collected ornaments since I was in high school. As a teacher I get many as gifts. The past few Christmases Travis has given me a special ornament. And now our baby girl makes special ones for our tree.
The long white strand in the center is toilet paper. Our silly elf, Banana, decided to TP our tree one night. Silly elf!