Emma and Eli: December 2015

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We were so grateful for the warmest December that we can remember in a while!  That definitely added a lot of fun as we were able to spend a lot of time outside.  Even all the normal Christmas running around was so much easier and stress free without several layers and coats for everyone.  Now that January cold weather is starting to set in…I’m even more thankful for the warm December than I was in December!
December is always an exciting time as we get ready for Christmas and enjoy a different pace of life.  This December was packed with family, friends, and lots of fun….and food!  We kicked off December with a joint birthday party for Emma (7) and Eli (3).  It was Emma’s idea.  Since their birthdays are only 3 weeks apart, we decided to go for it.  We were so happy that my family could come from Memphis and we had so much fun with them for the weekend!  There were kids all over this house…and we are so excited about all of these cousins growing up together.  Lots of fun memories to be made!  The part was at BounceU and we were so grateful to be able to share that fun with special friends.  Truth be told…I think that the adults enjoyed the inflatables as much or more than the kids did!
Clint had to travel for work the first week of December.  We always miss him when he is gone, but Emma and Eli and I had a lot of fun hanging out!  We celebrated Eli’s third birthday on December 8 with a breakfast celebration at Waffle House to kick off the day and three cookies after dinner to wrap things up.  Once Daddy came back in town, we celebrated over lunch at Huey Luey’s complete with giant sombrero, singing, and free dessert.  Eli wasn’t too sure about most of it…but he was pumped about the dessert!
December was full of lots of movies and lots of snuggles on the couch.  We also discovered HGTV’s hit show Fixer Upper and we are completely hooked!  Emma is always talking about removing walls and adding French doors…she might have found her calling!  Emma had her school Christmas program and party as well as her Christmas piano recital.  She is at such a cool age and we love hearing her talk about what she liked about her own performance and what she wants to get better at.  I love that her motivation is centered around growing, but also recognizing how she is growing.  Lots of cool conversations these days!  Emma especially loves math and writing these days….we will continue to nurture those interests!  Eli is really in to singing and sports.  He is also starting to get into some of the cute YouTube nursery rhyme videos.
Since I work at a school, our family life normally rotates on a school schedule and we always look forward to Christmas break!  Our family enjoyed Christmas in Summerville the first weekend of the break.  We got to see Granna, Poppy, and tons of cousins.  We opened gifts with them and ate lots of good food.  Our family decided to spend some time just the four of us over the break, so we headed to Nashville for Monday-Wednesday before Christmas.  We visited the Opryland Hotel, Opry Mills Mall, The Pancake Pantry, The Parthenon, The Old Spaghetti Factory, and a few other fun spots.  We had so much fun that we are already thinking of going there again next year!
We got to Memphis on December 23 just in time for some bad storms to come through, so we spent the first evening hanging out with the Graffams just relaxing and catching up…it was perfect!  Our family got up early on Christmas Eve for a fun day out on the town.  We ate breakfast at Gibson’s Donuts…a family favorite when I was a kid.  We walked around on the roof of The Peabody and took silly pictures before watching the Peabody Ducks march in to the fountain.  We ran into some dear friends at the Peabody as an added bonus!  The weather was so beautiful that we walked to Gus’s Fried Chicken for a great lunch before driving over to The Tiger Bookstore so I could update my collection of Tiger shirts.  We joined the Graffams for church late that afternoon and then went home for a great dinner.  Church was a total hoot as it was a service for kids complete with an interactive telling of the Christmas story.  When the “angels” Eli and Nora got tired of sitting quietly, the story took on some new twists and turns.  What a fun memory!  Katie and I went to the movies after dinner and the guys put the kids to bed…this might be a new tradition!
We woke up Christmas morning and enjoyed seeing the kids enjoy all of their gifts.  My brother Skyped us from Germany and it was so fun to catch up with him!  Since the weather was so nice, Emma and Eli wanted to head right out to try their new gifts…Emma’s bike and Eli’s scooter.  My sister’s kids got some new riding toys also, so that made for a fun afternoon.  Mom and Dan came over later in the afternoon and we had dinner and more gifts with them to wrap up the evening.
We did a little running around the next day capped off by a nice walk with the Graffams to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for dinner.  The next morning we headed towards home.  We always stop in Corinth, MS on the way home to see the Harbors.  Dyer Harbor was my high school youth pastor and God has been gracious to allow our families to stay close all these years.  It is always a highlight to go to church with them the Sunday after Christmas and then enjoy lunch and catching up at their house before we drive the rest of the way home.
Once we got home, we took some time to “unChristmas” our house and do some cleaning and cleaning out.  Fortunately Clint and I are on the same page with getting rid of stuff often…just so that we don’t get taken over by our stuff!  We like to keep it simple.  We spent the rest of that week doing fun things with the kids, eating out with friends, and enjoying time at home!  On New Year’s Eve, our family had an early dinner at Henry’s in Acworth followed by an evening with several precious friends in our home to ring in the New Year.  2015 was a great year and we are excited to see what God has in store for 2016!
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