This holiday season was our last one here in NOVA. We did a LOT... and are stuffed to the brim with happy, bright, shiny memories of the people we hugged, the lights that twinkled, and the time we spent together.
Warning: some of this post might be boring, as I describe many of Ruby's gifts, so I apologize in advance! I want to record her favorites here, so she can always remember who gave them to her.
We made plans to head to Maryland to visit as much family/friends as we could in the 4 short days before Christmas. We wanted to be home by 12/24, because we, selfish or not, wanted to wake up in our own house on Christmas Day. We wanted to open our own gifts here in our own house, cook a big breakfast with bacon and eggs and sweet potatoes and butter pop-tarts, and stay in our jams all day long. We wanted Ruby to have a nap in her own bed after the fun from opening and playing with new presents. We wanted to eat our traditional dinner with no dishes to wash. So we planned it all according to that, and sacrificed our other traditions to make memories with family this year. And it was worth it, especially to see Ruby have these experiences.
We started with Mimi's house! Aunties were headed home from WI, and Auntie Belle brought her beau... Vinnie: a super nice guy, with whom Ruby was quickly infatuated with. We, of course, did HoneyPig that night.
The next day, we opened presents at Mimi's house, and it was a blast! Ruby got a huge set of magna-tiles, a beautiful flamingo, a sweet little moose, a cool cement mixer, tea cups, and a Jack Skellington snow globe. Mimi and Podge spoil her! Auntie Belle got her a harmonica and a recorder, and Auntie Gabby got her a book: both perfect gifts!
After we opened presents, Aunties and Vinnie needed naps, and Mimi and Podge had to get ready for the Nelson Christmas Party! We gave everyone time and space, and headed for a family date to the local trampoline park, where all three of us had a blast. After a Ruby nap, it was time to get the party started, and we enjoyed delicious food, good drinks, and great company. Brock and I are not party people at all, preferring the hermit life, but it is important to break out of our comfort zone occasionally, and spending time with the Nelsons was totally worth it. It was a party to remember, for sure... just ask Podge!
The next day we stopped in for an early morning visit with Great-Grandpa John, and then headed to have lunch with Grammie Roe and Grandpa David in their upscale, chic, and welcoming home. After delicious lunch and dessert, Ruby enjoyed some presents, including arts and crafts, books, and a beautiful new purse! She then entertained herself by going in and out of the cat crate, much like the dog crates at Mimi's house. Toddlers are the best.
Finally we headed to Nanee and Hop's house, where we had a low key dinner and an early bedtime, for all of us. The next day was Nanee's traditional Christmas Eve gathering.
We started the day with a small celebration with Aunt Sonia, Uncle Casey, Kenzie and Cam... exchanging gifts, and Ruby absolutely LOVED her new umbrella from them! She also is quite partial to her new dumbbells, flamingo towel, and goggles from Nan and Hop. Everyone was too kind, and it was lovely to see Ruby spending time enjoying her cousins. After a good nap, we celebrated with a tasty home cooked meal by Nanee and some of the extended Davis family. Ruby, again, mostly just wanted to play with her cousins, and was sad to head home. We hit the road around 6:45, and rolled in the doors around 8:30pm, due to the Christmas Miracle of easy traffic!
Christmas morning Ruby quickly spotted her only requested gift this season: a new, yellow bike! Her excitement was the best feeling ever. Being a parent for holidays is a special gift in and of itself, and we will always look back on her joy with smiles in our hearts. She also opened her own vacuum cleaner, the entire set of Beatrix Potter books, and two other books, one about concrete mixers that she LOVES and we've read multiple times a day since 12/25. We try to keep it to 5 gifts or less, because presents aren't the reason for the joy this time of year. Ruby, always really useful, helped both Brock and I open our gifts too.
Every evening, no matter the weather, we take a 30 minute walk to enjoy the christmas lights in the neighborhood.
Every morning, from 12/4-12/21, Ruby would look for Santa Clown, who would bring her a small treat or trinket.
We checked out ICE, in the National Harbor, and it was one of the neatest Christmas events I've ever seen. Ruby loved it, especially the slide, the carousel, and train ride!
We took Papa to Scramble, and watched for Metro Trains....
...Then we rode one!
We went on family coffee dates.
We played at the Children's Museum.
We spent time with friends this past month...beautiful friends who we celebrate often.
Mama hardly tutored, and didn't coach. Papa hardly worked. From 12/25, the day we opened presents and all three took naps, until 1/1 when we welcomed in the new year, we spent time together, relaxing and enjoying each other. It was perfect, after the hustle and bustle of the pre-holiday times.
We are grateful for our health. We are grateful for a beautiful, kind, smart daughter who is more fun and more full of love and life than we ever could have imagined. We are grateful for a new adventure awaiting us this summer, when we transfer. We can't wait to live 2019, and see all it has for us! Merry Christmas, and Happy, Adventure-Filled, New Year!