gift of time

i blinked and it is new years eve! now if i could just blink and christmas decorations would be packed up and put away, we'd be golden! christmas day until my kids go back to school we purposely run at a slow pace. and it feels glorious! 

i thought a lot this season about gift giving. it stresses me out. plus i feel like my kids already have too much stuff! it's all relative, i know. compared to some of their friends, they have very little. but compared to most of the world, it's gluttony. so when i asked them what they wanted for christmas, they had to think... for awhile. which confirmed "they have plenty!" 

 if i could ask for anything it would be time. so how do you give quality time as a christmas present? it's been a running theme this year on the today show; give experiences instead of things.   i fell in love with the idea.

my wheels started turning. what could we do as a family, that everyone would enjoy, right after christmas?  it didn't take me long to decide. bennett's college would be playing in the russell athletic bowl in orlando florida, a few days after christmas. score! we all love road trips, football and of course - florida! 

so christmas morning, along with one other gift, santa left this...

a few days later and we were off. 
florida bound!
(jeff is participating in his own, no shave on vacation december.)
the weekend we left, i had two weddings. one on saturday and one  sunday afternoon. the were absolutely beautiful and i am always sthrilled to be a part of a wedding. it did push our departure time to late sunday afternoon. who knew the traffic disaster that lay ahead! holy cow! it seemed as if everyone was traveling south! nothing like traveling on the interstate at 35mph for eight hours! lots of prayers i tell ya! 
the traffic continued to be horrific for most of our trip. thankfully traveling with bennett is like having your own stand-up comic in the back seat. that is one funny kid who can make time fly!

anna katherine's boyfriend and his dad were going too. (his family has been our friends for years) we followed each other most of the way.
our first stop (along with a quarter of the united state's population) was downtown disney! we had to experience "the world's greatest hot sandwich." which indeed it is! we had been there before and i am convinced it's the best meal in disney. 
we walked around. 
soaked in some magic before heading to the stadium.

it was a beautiful-beautiful florida day. 

the game was fabulous! clemson won 40-7. the opposing team didn't score until the last quarter. many of their fans had traveled over 900 miles from oklahoma.  one can't help but to feel sorry for a team that gets beaten that badly!

it was a great experience! 
our kids thanked us over and over!

Merry Christmas

oh how i love christmas day. our children are not "allowed" to leave their bedrooms before 6am. that means they set their alarms for 5:55 and are waiting by our bed at 6am... on the dot. monkey bread has been our christmas morning breakfast tradition. christmas is the only day i can justify eating (GF) dough rolled in white sugar then soaked overnight in butter and brown sugar. but my oh my, it is so good. 

we slowly unwrap gifts. one year it was over in five minutes flat. before this year santa left three gifts under the tree. they represented baby Jesus' three gifts from the wise men. this year there was only one santa gift per child. this represented their wish list going up in price. 

we leave for jeff's hometown at 4:00. all that time in between is spent in our pajamas watching christmas movies. except the hour before we leave and we are scrambling to wrap gifts. i am chalking that up to tradition ;)

this year i took one instagram picture and a few at my inlays house. not a single picture from christmas morning. 

it was the perfect low key day, rejoicing in the birth of our savior!

happy birthday Jesus!

happy christmas eve! i am so last minute... about so many things.  i can't remember a christmas eve when everything on my shopping list was checked off. or wrapped.  (i always wrap the last set of gifts thirty minutes before we leave for my in-laws on christmas day. i have decided to start calling it a tradition ;) 

we have lots left to do... 

we are spending today baking and wrapping.
shopping and wrapping.
and our very favorite christmas eve service.

this week we celebrated christmas (part one) with my mom. it was  her annual "happy birthday Jesus" party. i host thanksgiving and my sister hosts christmas. 

i have to smile at anna katherine's boyfriend, chase. sweetest young man. he is an only child. i worry that this level of chaos will cause him to run for the seems, once his ears are acclimated, he enjoys the show.
the white elephant gift exchange is one of my children's highlight!
( i wrapped our gifts  ~ thirty minutes before we left.)
scented cell phone socks.
my sister had to leave with these!

the picture of anna katherine had a surprise gift certificate on the back.
this was way cool!
granite from out state house.
well above our $10 limit.

ok. this was weird. 
a vibrating pillow cat.

the clemson t-shirt was supposed to be the funny gift.
my sister's family are die hards for the other team.
roger picked the gift and loved the shirt.
see, you can love them both!

roger didn't  want to leave bennett's lap.
evie passing around her chapstick.

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