Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pre-Christmas Festivities

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!   2012!!  Woo Hoo! 

The Christmas decorations are put away....yummy black eyed peas, cabbage casserole and delicious cornbread have been consumed (THANK YOU BETH!!!)...I have been making Valentine wreaths, cutting ribbon, cutting felt and cutting tiny holes in felt until my blasted hand feels like it is going to fall off!!!  Can you get arthritis in just one afternoon of heavy cutting??  Carpel tunnel??  It just aches so bad.  I feel like Bob with his dang Cruise Control thumbs.  I feel your pain Dad!  

Enough of my bellyaching about my hand!  Let's recap some of the Christmas festivities before it actually is Valentine's Day! 

I have tons of pictures, so I broke down our holiday into three categories.  Pre-Christmas, Christmas Day and Post-Christmas.   Let's cover them in order, shall we? 

I present to you the exciting events of our road trip and activities prior to Christmas day! 

Here is the staging area by the front door of all the things that needed to get packed into the Suburban for our trip to Bama. This didn't include any luggage!  So glad we have a giant car for road trips like this.  Do you see our friend Buddy in this picture?

This is where we found him on Wednesday morning.  Of course you are coming with us Buddy!  You silly little elf!

The boys loaded into the car...our most precious cargo.  Doesn't Chip just look extra special in this picture?

It fit!  It all fit!  It was like putting together puzzle pieces to get it situated, but Hubby is really great at that.  Seriously, I think "packing a car" was his minor in college. I panic at how much has to go in and he says "Is this it?  This is all?  We're good."

Now, something he is not so good at is musical taste.  He likes some of the classics like Michael Jackson and Prince, but every once in while he hits a bump in the road.  He hit a big one on this trip.  While channel surfing on the radio he ran across a song called "Bootzilla".  You would have thought he found the Holy Grail.  So anyway, Bootzilla is a song by someone named Bootsy Collins.  I know more about Bootsy Collins than a human should be required to know.  Don't ever mention the word Boot in front of Hubby or you might have to get an earful of "Hey Junior!  Yabba, Dabba, Doozie, Bubba!!!"

It is painful.  That is all I can say.  And I will also say that my boys are now singing it word for word.  Oooooo, pierce my eardrums, please!

We drove about six hours on Wednesday afternoon and stopped for the night just outside of Shreveport, Louisiana at a Quality Inn.  The biggest selling point was that there was a Outback Steakhouse in the parking lot.  We ate dinner there and had a really nice waitress.  In fact, every single individual we spoke to in the Quality Inn and Outback vicinity were like the nicest people on the planet.  It was like we landed in Mayberry.  We all commented about it several times.  It was a nice kind of weird.

We snuggled up at the hotel and did a little more research on Bootsy.  Yea!  Isn't it time to turn the lights out?  We have a long drive tomorrow!  Please say it is.  Please.

We woke up the next morning and wouldn't you know that Buddy didn't stay in the suitcase where he was packed. He was already up and showered before the sun even came up! 

Who knew that elves showered and washed their hair?  Nice job, Buddy.   Now get dressed, we have a lot of miles to cover today! 

While we were driving we played some new car games.  I came up with them to keep the kids occupied, but turns out they kept themselves occupied.  Go figure.  No problem, me and Hubby played them.  The first was that I printed out a black and white copy of the U.S. and as we saw license plates on cars or trucks we colored in the state. You can see in the picture that we just colored in the states as we spotted them.  By the time we got home we had filled in about 30 states.

The other thing we did was counting things.  We all picked a make, model and color vehicle to count.  Hubby won that contest with a white Ford F150.  We also counted windmills and water towers on the way to Bama and U.S. flags and yellow vehicles on the way back.  I was secretary for the games and I was constantly reaching for my little notebook.  I can give you the official tally of any of those items if you want to contact me separately!

Anyway, it passed the time really nicely.  On the unfortunate side, sometimes you need your driver actually watching the road (especially when it is raining) instead of craning his neck to see a license plate or scanning the horizon for a water tower or windmill.  Just something to keep in mind for you road warriors.

We finally arrived at our pit stop in Tuscaloosa to visit our niece Malarie and her boyfriend Brett.  They live in Tuscaloosa and Brett goes to the University of Alabama.  Roll Tide, Brett!

We got to see their apartment for the first time and it was so cute!

All of their presents were wrapped beautifully and all the ones for our family had Bama pom pom shakers on them for bows.  So cute!  After a quick tour of their place and watching Malarie finish up sewing a camera strap we helped them load their car and we caravanned up to Huntsville!

While driving through Tuscaloosa you are very likely to see all the local restaurants and signs showing support for the Crimson Tide!  Go Bama!

We arrived at George and Callie's at about 5:30!  One look at the presents already under the tree and the kids were so excited.   The presents covered half the floor! 

One look at what was happening in the kitchen and I was so excited.  Seriously, look at these delicious treats Megan whipped up for us.

She called it White Trash....I called it snack cocaine.  I could not stay out of this stuff!  When this bowl was empty she brought out another.  I felt like it was my job to empty these bowls.  I worked really hard at my job. 

Look how cute these little whoopee pies were?  Super talented.

Pretzels in chocolate, Nutter Butters in chocolate, Oreos in chocolate, Ritz crackers in chocolate.   Jeez!

Of course, Callie had a little something for the boys to open the minute they hit the door.  She has most definitely picked up doing all the wonderful things for our boys that their most beloved Nana in the world did for them.  She is pretty awesome.

And did Chip love his foam head?  Yes, yes he did!  Wore it for two days straight.

Callie has a Grinch collection to rival anyone out there.  Look where our little friend Buddy turned up on Friday morning.  

Hanging with the Grinch.  Nice job, Buddy.

I spent all of Friday wrapping presents that I had shipped to my parents house.  Brian and the boys spent the day shopping with Callie and the girls.  When I saw Chip late in the afternoon he said "Mom, that car ride in the parking lot of the mall was the best ride of my life.  Callie fell in the floor of the car and we were all singing "apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur" at the top of our lungs." Right when the song said "She hit the floor!" Callie hit the floor of the car!"  He could hardly get the story out he was laughing so hard.  Good times.  Hate I missed that! 

Poor George did plumbing in his own house and in other houses.  You read about the plumbing fiasco the started the minute we hit the door.  

Christmas Eve dawned and the air was just electric. Chip and Harry were both excited.  Chip found Buddy and he had made a mess in the dining room!  He had worked through the night with some of his friends popping popcorn. It was everywhere.

He is a bad influence.  He had Cindy Lou, the Grinch and a snowman working away.

I think your work here is done, Buddy!

As we were enjoying our coffee and breakfast a goose walked up on the deck.  That doesn't happen everyday in Texas.

The Bad Farm is making a comeback.  They have two geese and eleven ducks.  The white one is Gilbert. He is an outcast.  The geese are mean to him.  Stupid geese.

Christmas Eve, Harry and Hubby went up the road to see the Titans game in Nashville.  This time I got to  go do some last minute shopping with Chip, Callie and the girls.  I don't get to do that very often, especially on Christmas Eve. It was surprisingly not too crowded.

It was also surprising how much I learned about Chip and his love of shopping with the girls.  First stop, Cookie Company at the mall.  Then he got Callie and Malarie into a Hurricane Wind Machine at the mall.  Later we went to Sam's and he had a hotdog.  Even later in the afternoon, we hit the grocery store for a few last minute items and he and Callie were picking out donuts in the bakery!  Jeez, no wonder he likes this shopping business!

Later that night, my parents, grandmother and aunt came out to the Bad Farm for some soup and snacks.  It is a family tradition that I love.

Megan whipped up some cookies for Santa!  He would probably have enjoyed some White Trash, but I was kinda protective about that.   Megan's boyfriend Patrick surprised her on Christmas Eve by coming home early from Atlanta.  It was going to be a full house of folks on Christmas morning.  Just as it should be.

Time to write Santa a note and head to bed.  For the last four years Malarie, Megan, Harry and Chip have piled up in the same room to sleep on Christmas Eve.  They did it again this year.  I asked them if they were going to keep doing this after they had kids of their own.  They said "Heck yea!"

So, all was quiet in the house.  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care with hopes that Chip would sleep past 4:00 a.m. this year!  

Tune back in to see what the big man brought!   Hint:  There are crickets involved! 

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