Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mid-holiday Break

Wow...I have been gone for a while!  But I have been having a lot of fun.  I'm in my routine for exactly three days and then it is time for another 4 day weekend.  YAY!!  Settle in, folks, we have a lot to catch up on.

Let's see, where do I begin?  Right before I left for my Florida Christmas vacation, I received my unbelievably awesome Secret Santa gift.  I don't know last names out here, so I only know her first initial "L".  Who is it?  I'm dying here!!  Anyway, L is a super secret Santa.  She gave me a full on workout outfit including the tank, pants, socks and super cool jacket with thumb holes!!  And it all fit perfectly!  I should have taken a picture.  Thank you Secret Santa!  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Then it was off to Florida.  I'm not used to layovers, so it was a long day. I didn't touch down in Ft. Myers until midnight.  My brother picked me up and we drove to Cape Coral.  By the time we got there and settled, I tucked into couch just before 2am.  It was a short night because we were up at 6:15 to get ready to head to Tampa.

We found out that SIL's father went into the hospital on Monday, so SIL broke away from the rest of her family headed to Florida and drove a rental car to South Carolina to help her sister.  You may not remember but her mom just recently came home from the hospital where she was suffering from encephalitis and she is still not back to herself.  I think it was good for SIL to spend some time with her family even though we missed her a lot.  (So I don't forget, everyone is fine now and back happily at home!)

Wednesday went to Busch Gardens and I hadn't been since my brother and I were teenagers.  I was worried that it would be crowded because of the holidays, but it was totally the opposite.  Except for a lengthy wait on a ride that temporarily broke down, we barely waited for anything all day.  The boys loved the roller coaster ride that hung you over the edge before it dropped you off, but my favorite was the cheetah roller coaster.  It was just so smooth.

The family at Busch Gardens.

Big Bro & kids at Busch Gardens.
We had such a blast and the kids even agreed it was worth the two hour drive!

Thursday we got up and Big Bro & I took the kids to the beach.  Usually when I have gone to the beach there, it is so crowded and hard to find good places to set up.  It was practically bare!  The water was a little chilly, but if you stood in it a while, you got used to it.  And it was warm enough outside that you didn't get cold when you got out.  The kids had a blast!

After hanging out at the beach for a while, we headed home.  After freshening up, we went to a Florida Everblades hockey game.  It was so much fun!!  We were three rows from the glass and when they would hit up against it, we could see their spit coat the glass.  Gross!  But awesome!  Even my niece was getting into it.  I liked it so much, I asked BFF if she wanted to go to a Texas Brahmas game this month.  Maybe I will be a hockey fan yet.

At the hockey game.
Friday, Big Bro headed to Miami to pick SIL up at the airport.  So after some errands, I took the kids to see We Bought a Zoo.  What a great movie!!  We all loved it.  That evening, my parents hosted an open house to show off their family.  It was a nice party and my parents have some really nice friends.  One of their friends took family pics, so I hope to get a copy of those at some point.

Saturday was Christmas Eve.  Dad dressed as Santa to help out some of his friends, and it was so weird to look at him and see Santa!
Santa & the kids

Santa & his elf driver.  :)
That night we went to church and then out for a nice Christmas Eve dinner.  The absolutely ONLY negative thing about the entire trip was the Florida bugs that ate us up as we sat outside at dinner.  Well...they ate up one of my nephews, my dad and me.  We must be the sweetest ones.  We were joined by my SIL's aunt who lives nearby.  Everyone is family at our house!!
This is just one leg.  They cover the other leg, my feet, my shoulders and neck.  I stopped counting at 30!


I wore the magic dress for Christmas.  Thank you, Stephanie!! 
 After dinner, we went home for the 2nd Annual Family Showdown.  It was fun, but we were all tired and my brother couldn't play because his foot was hurting.  Then it was time for couch.

The next morning, we had a very joyous Christmas.  Here are some fun photos from my trip:

Me & the kids.  I love these children with all my heart. 

Electronics for everyone!

The boys used their $ to buy a present for their mom.  Super sweet!


My elf.

Big Bro & SIL with their gang.

Big Bro & Me
Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous trip.  It is definitely not one we will soon forget!

Christmas Day was a long journey home with a layover in Atlanta.  My wonderful friend RoRo picked me up and dropped me at home around 10pm. 

Yesterday was a lazy day for me.  The only thing I did was muster up the energy to put on clothes to meet Debi for a mani/pedi and a late lunch.  Have I mentioned how much I love that girl?  Now my nails are all ready for NYE!

BFF comes home today.  YAY!  I pick her up at the airport this afternoon.

Hope you all had a peaceful and blessed holiday!  Back to work!



Justawallflower said...

What a beautiful family! And it looks like so much fun!

The bugs absolutely love me as well. I am usually the only one they go after.

Dawnya said...

Awesome pictures!! Sounds like you and the family had a great holiday!

FitBy40 said...

Your whole family is beautiful!
I'm totally jealous. My secret Santa seems to be a dud. I got nothin'!

Lyla said...

L is me! I wasn't sure when I mailed if I was still supposed to be a secret :) Glad you enjoyed and I'm glad you had such a great family holiday :)

Ronnie said...

Glad you had such a fabulous trip! I loved all the pictures. :)

By the way, I had a layover on my way to Chicago this year, and I'm with you it's for the birds!

Andrea said...

How fun! Looks like you all had a great Christmas!

speck said...

I so loved reading this post Beth Ann! It was fun & exciting to read.

Love the hockey game spit comment and love the idea of your dad being Santa.

Great pictures.


Stephanie M. said...

Looks like a great trip! I haven't been to Busch Gardens in years - I stopped going there when I stopped fitting in the coasters. Guess it's time for a trip back! I adore that place. My husband and I went on our first date there, and my African Grey parrot is named Kumba after the roller coaster there.