Friday, December 28, 2018

Christmas 2018

Hi! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!
We had a good one!
We packed up our bags and headed to Arizona on Sunday, the day before Christmas Eve.  It was our first time to fly with two kids.  It wasn't bad, but it was a bit of an adventure.  We figured out the day before our flight that a bunch of the airport extended stay parking lots had filled up.  Mom bailed us out at the last second by offering to drop us off and pick us up from the airport.  Thanks, Mom!
Raylan and Kiddo were pretty good travelers.  Amy got to change Kiddo's diaper in an airplane bathroom on the way out there, so that was a exciting!  (Wheeee!)
We let Raylan play video games and watch shows on his tablet, so he stayed well-behaved and entertained, except in those chaos-filled moments when Kiddo decided to push or poke him.  Then there was some yelling and mutual shoving.  Also, whenever Kiddo started to drift off to sleep, Raylan would surprise her with a poke or a slap.
They've really settled into the whole sibling dynamic.  ;-)

Family fun on the plane
The flight was really pretty good, though.

Jean picked us up at the airport (thanks, Jean!), and we headed across Phoenix to their house.

Playing Hot Wheels Garage with Greg,
"But what does the giant garage represent, Raylan?"
We had a snack and goofed around.  In the evening we met up with Carol and Jerry at Rio Mirage restaurant to celebrate Carol's birthday with some Mexican food and margaritas.
It was fun.  The food was good, Raylan and Kiddo were well-behaved, and it was nice to see everyone and catch up.

On Monday we got up and Amy and I got a chance to work out at a gym at a very nice country club that Jean and Greg belong to.  It was a really nice place.  They have some pools, a golf course, and a restaurant that we hopefully might be able to visit on a future trip.

Later, after we got cleaned up, we took the kids over to see Heidi, Matt, Joanna, Nathan, and Scott at their house.  The kids played in the back yard and had a really nice time together.  They get along really well.  It's nice to see.

Nathan and Raylan, yelling at pedestrians to stay off the road

Raylan and Nathan work up their schtick for a buddy action movie

Raylan, surprised to find his mom on the play dome
Sunday afternoon, Christmas Eve, we all went to church at Lord of Life Lutheran.  All of the kids pretty much made it through the whole service, remaining pretty well behaved (Amy carried Kiddo out at the very end because she was chatting away a little too loudly).

Pre-church Christmas Eve family photo.
If Raylan seems distracted, it's because he's trying to figure
out how to throw himself into the fountain that's just out
of frame.

The Davis-Sinex-Steans clan descend upon an unsuspecting congregation
Christmas Eve, after church, Jean made a really good lasagna dinner.  It was a nice meal. and a fun chance to hang out.  Carol and Jerry came over.  Greg had bought a really nice bourbon, and we each had a glass.  There was also a Yule Log for dessert (which was a sort of tasty chocolate cake).

The Sinex family came over later, and the kids got a chance to play.  There was a lot of running and hiding, inside the house and out.  Raylan once again had a blast with his cousins, and Kiddo got a lot more comfortable playing with them, too.  She seemed to have a fun time with the whole family.

Before bed, after the house had quieted down, Raylan wrote a letter to Santa and left out the obligatory cookie, sausage, milk and reindeer carrots.

Christmas Eve photo
On Christmas morning the kids got up predictably early.  They got to open presents and were pretty excited.  Lot of good loot this year!

Anyone excited for Christmas?  Anyone at all?

Here's a picture of me trying to blink myself awake as the kids
buzz around me
Jean made a couple of really good breakfast casseroles (one egg casserole and one biscuit).  Later Amy and I went to the gym again.  The kids had naps in the afternoon.

The Sinex family came over later, and Jean made excellent tamales and chicken.  Heidi brought some really good hash browns, and Amy made a salad.  The food was good, the kids had fun playing again (Raylan and Nathan raced wiggle cars), and it was fun to talk to everyone.

Family photo!
Back row:  Matt, me, Carol, Greg, Jerry, and Jean
Front row:  Joanna, Heidi, Nathan, Scott, Kiddo (blurred), Amy, and Raylan
Raylan took a quick trip with Amy over to Jerry and Carol's place to see their Christmas lights after dinner was over.  I stayed behind with Bella.  I'm not sure what kind of lights they had over there, but Raylan was awfully excited about them when he got back.

And that was our trip, in brief.  It was good to see everyone.  We got up and headed back to the airport the day after Christmas.  

I'm lucky to have married into such a fun, hospitable family.  We had a really nice Christmas out in Arizona, and Jean and Greg were excellent hosts (they let us sleep in their bedroom, for heavens sake!).  Amy and I had a really good time, and the kids had a blast.
We'll all have really nice memories of that trip.

The ride home.  Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.
We got back to Austin, and Mom picked us up at the airport.
Wednesday night we opened some presents back here in Austin that we had decided not to carry with us, round trip, to Arizona and back.
Once again, the kids were excited.

More loot!!
On Wednesday night there was a big thunderstorm here in Austin.  I got to bed late, once the thunder died down, and passed out hard.

On Saturday we went out to my parents house.  They did some babysitting in the afternoon while Amy and I went to see a movie (Bumblebee- it was pretty good!).

In the evening Ryan and Jamie came over so we could do a little Christmas party with the Austin family.

Amy made a lasagna, and she cooked it over at Mom and Dad's house.  We opened some presents, and Raylan and Bella got to play with Ryan and Jamie.  I had taken Raylan to a little discount store and let him pick out presents for the family on Friday, so he got to hand those out, and he was really excited about that. 

Raylan tests Aunt Jamie's upper body strength

Uncle Ryan finds a way to slow Raylan down

Kiddo and Raylan read a story with Papa
So we had a really nice lasagna dinner and some dessert, and everyone had a nice time hanging out together.  My parents got Raylan a new bike for Christmas, and he got to ride it around their neighborhood.  He seems to love it.  
Anyway, the "Grandma and Papa Christmas Party" was a nice, low-key way to wind up a very busy Christmas week.

And that's about it.

Thanks for hosting the Christmas, Arizona family and Austin family!
We really love all of you guys, and we had a great time seeing everyone!!!!

We're extremely fortunate to have such great families on both sides!!

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