Day 18 (7 days until Christmas)This Sunday morning we took it slow, we stayed home from church and rested. After Jamie's nap, we were up and out the door. The church had an impromptu Christmas pageant for the children. It was fun, and it was so neat to watch them climb into their little roles. After the Christmas Pageant, we headed over to see our sweet little friend Kallie. She is one of Aubrey's little Besties. She had fallen the previous Friday from the Monkey Bars at school and broken her arm pretty bad, she had surgery and is in a cast. We had to go and check on her, she is precious to us and Aubrey had been so worried about her. After seeing the Elam clan, we rushed over to the nursing home. We met up with out GS sisters, where we went caroling in the hallways to the residents. I tell you what - these sweet angelic voices were so sweet. By the time Aubrey and I got back to the house we had visitors! Grandma Marilyn and Papa Ed had arrived with the sled full of presents. We were so glad to have them all to ourselves for a few days.
Day 19 (6 days until Christmas)
Monday, day one of Jamie's 2wk vacation. Jamie got some much needed one-on-one time with Grandma Marilyn and Papa Ed. They brought their beloved "Scooter", which was right up Jamie's alley, and I was just as happy having a temporary house dog, that we can send back with the Grandparents. 3 cats, 2 mice, and 1 fish are enough for now. That's right, mice...Steven got Aubrey some mice on Monday as an early birthday surprise. We rode together on Monday, and after work we went and picked them up on our way home. Aubrey was thrilled, the mice not so much, they were very scared. It took a few days for them calm down. They are officially named "Snowflake" and "Squeeky"! Aubrey and Jamie worked with Grandma on their beloved Gingerbread House. This year would be Jamie's first year to participate. Something tells me that he did more eating on the candy than participating on the house.
Scooter was pooped.
Day 20 (5 days until Christmas)
Last day of special Jamie time with the grandparents. Aubrey had her last day of school. We ate late meal of meatloaf with the grandparents. Not a real eventful day.
Day 21 (4 days until Christmas)
Day 1 of Aubrey's Christmas vacation...aka gets to sleep in. Jamie has to share the love of the grandparents. Aubrey and Grandma work on a paint project. They painted a Belle figurine and a Woody figurine. I had a Christmas Party at work that I was involved with the planning and was working with the toy drive for the Children's Hospital for the inpatient children so they would have a visit from Santa. After I delivered the wagon full of toys in the pouring rain, drove home to dry my hair and to get the Pollies and the Grandparents. We had a night at the mall planned. We went to Build-A-Bear, (which was Aubrey had wanted to have her b'day party there, we had to explain to her that no one really wanted to come to a birthday party at the mall in the month of December), so we told her that we would take her. Now, we have 2 new friends in the house, "Rainbow" Aubrey's new kitty, and "Scooter" Jamie's new daschund (named after Papa Ed's dog). It was so much fun watching them make their new animals. I would agree that Aubrey took too long picking out an outfit for hers. Jamie on the other hand, when he saw the spiderman outfit for his daschund that was all he wanted for his new friend. We have been singing "Spider Dog, Spider Dog"! After we left Build-A-Bear Aubrey headed over to Justice, her favorite shopping spot. One of her dear besties "Diana" gave her a gift card for her birthday, and it was burning a hole in her wallet! So, I went with her there while Jamie and the Grandparents when to put in our name at the Cheesecake Factory. We met back up with them after she made a little purchase (a new animal hat). Steven met us there too, he was late getting out of the lab. Aubrey has been begging to go there for her birthday, she is a cheescake lover for sure. She wanted a cheese cake for her birthday (for the cake) and I thought we would do best going there so everyone can choose their own. She was in heaven. Our waiter was so great, he truly treated Aubrey as princess! After diner we head back into the mall for one last stop! We had to see Santa! The Pollies had not been yet and it is a stop we always make each year. We waited in a long line, but we were not worried one bit, we knew there were additional items we need to add to our list, and he was the only way we could get that message loud and clear. Jamie made us laugh, as he would say: and den...(aka and then)...and den...and den...poor Santa! Aubrey, gave Santa the forgotten items from the letter she mailed. That was an awesome night with Papa Ed and Grandma Marilyn, (thank you for diner and the animals). The Pollies love you dearly so much.
Day 22 (3 days until Christmas)
BIRTHDAY GIRL-KRISPY KREME-POLKA DOTS
This was Aubrey's 8th Birthday. Papa Ed and Grandma Marilyn got up and headed off back to AL, while Steven headed to work. My house needed to be pulled back together, however I knew that if I got started, I would clean all day, and that was not what I wanted for Aubrey's birthday. So, I had a grand plan to put the house on ignore...and travel into Chapel Hill. They have the closest Krispy Kreme and I thought that we could head over there for breakfast, and maybe sneak into the lab with a few for Dad. That is what we did. It was fun sneaking into the lab, we love to see Dad in action, and his friends are totally cool. Aubrey enjoyed playing with the vendor toys, while Jamie played with the cell counter. After that we headed over to the famous UNC Bell Tower. Kids saw it from the parking deck and wanted to see it. Aubrey asked if it was like Big Ben, I told her sorta. So, we headed over there, and they ran around and played in the hedges. Soon after that we were back at the house for a quick lunch, and a nap for Jamie. While he snoozed, Aubrey and I got busy make treats for our friends. We were into our Santa cookies this year. Later that afternoon Aubrey told me that her legs were itching, so took a look. It wasn't long before I had her into the doctor's office, she had the hives...aka the Polka Dots, on her birthday. There was not much they could do, other than benadryl. So, we head back home, to get ready for the Christmas Party, which the MD gave her the clear to go! She asked him personally, she was worried about not going. We made it to the gathering, which was beautiful, the appetizers were so picturesque. Just amazing. We have given Aubrey a full doze of benadryl before hand and we knew we should not stay long, so we snuck out about an hour into it to get her home. Jamie left kicking and screaming because he didn't eat. He said he was done playing and now he wanted to eat, after realizing we did not get him a plate, we convinced him that we would get him a hotdog when we got home. We live about 3 miles from our sweet friends that hosted this party. Aubrey was out, by the time we parked the car at the house. That was that, she was tuckered out on the night of her birthday. We always try to give her special attention and tell her, her special birthday story. This did not happen, she was out! Darn Polka Dots!
Jamie did not have Polka Dots!
Day 23 (2 days until Christmas)
This was a restful day. Steven was back at work, while we changed the bedding, cleaned the house, and finished the laundry. The Polka Dots were worse and we called the doctor to see if there was anything else she could take. But, nope! They wanted her in for some blood work. I will say, she was scared. But, she did a great job. We headed home for some ice cream, before dinner! The blood work would be back in on Tuesday b/c of the holiday.
These are the books that I attempted to read during my vacation...LOL, attempted!
Day 24 (1 days until Christmas)
This was an exciting day. Steven and I got up and began to bake, the kids started watching Christmas movies trying to get them all in at the last minute.
We had to be dressed and ready, and at the church by 5:00pm. We made it, the Christmas Eve Service was beautiful as always. I adore the part where we sing Silent Light in the dark by candle light. It truly was a moving moment.
After our church service we bolted back to house where we were hosting a dessert gathering. We were late to our own gathering. We threw the car in park, jumped through the front door, changed the Pollies into Christmas PJ's, which was always the tradition, all of the other children would be arriving in their cute Christmas PJ's. After a great gathering we sat to read "The Night Before Christmas" and set Santa's cookies and milk. Once the Polllies where all tucked in nicely, Steven and begin to work on our breakfast for Christmas morning. I worked on the breakfast casserole while Steven twisted pigs into blankets. Once these where in the fridge we rushed to bed. Good thing we did!
Day 25 (Christmas Day)
03:00 am Aubrey is at the foot of my bed, asking if Santa had come. We told her we weren't sure, and we didn't want him to miss our house to please go back to bed. We would go downstairs once there was day light.
06:45 am Jamie is climbing up my side of the bed.I could not tell if he remembered about the visitor that was suppose to leave a gift for him. Steven asked him what today was, Jamie replied, "December 25..." which surprised us. Then, we asked Jamie to nicely wake Aubrey up, while we brushed our teeth. It was not long before we were all down the stairs.
07:00 am Game ON The coffee was brewing, the oven we preheated, and stocking were dumped. Christmas morning is such a beautiful thing, I can truly say that it is a gift (blessing) to watch these Pollies get so excited about each gift. It is just as much a gift to watch Steven get in the floor and began to assemble all different toys. I am so blessed to be married to such a great father.
Late that afternoon, The Flores Family came by to say hello. We missed them the night before, and Aubrey and Kelly are so close. Kelly brought over her new Christmas present, she had gotten an ipod and they were excited to hook them up to the other and set up their facetime.
Then not much longer after they left, we had more visitors! Grandpa Bernie and Grandma Robin had arrived. We had not seen them since our get away last August. The Pollies were completely excited to show their new toys. Steven and I began cooking dinner while Grandma Robin took Jamie around the neighborhood on his bike. Aubrey tried out her roller blades. Steven said she did pretty well for her first trip out. After a wonderful Christmas meal, we settled in the living room to exchange gifts with Grandma and Grandpa.