December was actually a busy month around here. Even aside from Christmas.
Early in the month, Dax's sister got married. With everyone being in the wedding, it was a weekend long event.
Someone was thirsty!
Getting ready for the wedding....
We all get ready in different ways......
(I'll update with pictures of the ceremony once I figure out how to get them off my camera -- gotta' love new computers!)
And the celebration after....
It was a lot of fun and so nice to be there and be a part if their special day.
The morning after the wedding we drove down to Galveston to take the kids to Dickens on the Strand. Dax and I used to go every year and we were so excited to be taking the kids. Unfortunately, when we got there, we were so disappointed. It used to be free to get in and they had so many great performances every place they could fit one. This year, they charge to get in, the performers were sparce, and it even felt like there were fewer vendors. We were so broken hearted. So much so that I don't think we'll go back again. The changes might make more money for the merchants' association, but it didn't make for a better experience.
After we got home, in addition to getting ready for Christmas, we also had to get ready for a visitor from out of town. Abigail's boyfriend came from Canada to spend some time with her.
Here's their first time to see each other in person....
He seems like a really sweet kid and we've really enjoyed having him here.
I recently became aware of this life size gingerbread house from the fine folks at The Fairmont in San Francisco. I've never been there, but would you look at that?! Can you even imagine a tradition of decorating something that size? We can't even manage the little gingerbread houses.
Our traditions actually start at Thanksgiving. We make sure the tree is up and ready and the kids decorate it with Busha (Dax's Mom). I readily embraced this tradition because when they were little and they decorated the tree with me they always got into an argument about something. They didn't do that with Busha so it was a great tradition to go with......although at 17 now I would like to hope that would no longer be a concern.
From Thanksgiving until just after Christmas the Trail of Lights is set up at The Emily Ann Theater here in town. The light displays are set up by different groups and organizations in the area. It's always fun to see what they come up with each year. We usually walk through once or twice during the Christmas Season to see the lights, listen to the band, sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, and drink hot chocolate. The weather has been very agreeable this year so it was packed.
Somewhere along the line the kids managed to talk us into letting them open a gift on Christnas Eve. That one gift is always pajamas (Dax loves this one pair if pajama pants so I occasionally wrap them up and give them to him again.) We usually open those pajamas and them watch Christmas Vacation together.
This year we were blessed with a visit from 'Cousin Eddie'.
We generally head to bed far too late and then get up far too early to see if Santa has come. Dax likes to open the last gift, so our challenge is to sneak one aside to have it to open once he is through. Some years he's paying more attention and it's a tough thing to do.
After all of that, we start what usually turns out to be an all day eat-a-thon. There is always too much food, but we do our best to eat it all. A few years ago we decided we just didn't want turkey again so close to Thanksgiving so we've opted for steaks cooked out on the grill. I can't tell you what an amazingly great choice that has been.
Since the kids have gone and outgrown trick-or-treating (why do they do that?) Dax and I like to go sit and have coffee in town at the square (that's downtown for our little town) and watch the little trick-or-treaters. The last couple of years Addison and Kirsten have gone with us. We love seeing all the little kids in their costumes and being so excited about the candy.
This was my favorite costume this year:
He's a half gallon of ice cream. So creative!
I'm usually a little sad that the kids are too old for that kind of thing, but then I remind myself of how much work I don't have to do anymore. Ha!
We also welcomed two new critters into fold.
They are adorable, but get into everything......like the dishwasher....
Unfortunately, we also had to say goodbye to a family member, as my uncle passed away. It still seems hard to believe and I know his presence is missed by all.
The kids managed to sneak in a birthday and are now seventeen. SEVENTEEN! What the heck?! I'm tired of them doing this growing up thing. Next they're probably going to want to move out on their own or something.
Wow!!! Time sure dies get away from me!! We've been so very busy it's hard to keep up.
We were up and at it again the next morning and down to Galveston Island. We spent the day at Moody Gardens. There were several different things to do. We took a ride in the bay on an old fashioned paddle boat.
We hung out in the beach.
Abigail played in the sand.
We also went through the dinosaur exhibit and rode a Sponge Bob ride.
That took up a large part of the day and we were all pooped, so we had dinner and headed back to the Rogers Resort.