Now that we're a good 48 hours into the new year I'm going to finish up our Christmas celebration with a quick blog about our actual celebration! We celebrated Christmas with my parents, as we do every year, in Ponte Vedra. No one can do Christmas like my mom so there's no point trying to start a new tradition here in Tampa when we can have the best up there! Our big day is always Christmas Eve. We start with a huge feast. As you can see, Rosemary was SO excited about dinner!
Growing up, my parents always liked to torture my sister and I and make us do the dishes while my parents SLOOOOOOWWWWWLLLLY sipped coffee before opening presents. But seeing as how our little one is like a time-bomb that will explode if she does not get to bed on time, we decided to skip the anticipation and get right down to business.
After opening presents, Joe and I went to midnight mass at Our Lady Star of Sea- the church where we got married. It was my first time ever going to midnight mass. I'm so glad we went. Now I know where all the Christmas carols come from! The next morning when we woke up, Santa had come and left Rosemary a couple surprises. Well, he had a little help from grandma and grandpa. This was my doll cradle when I was little. My parents gave it a new coat of paint (it used to be dark wood with a little girl painted on it) and made it all pretty. Tinkerbell sure enjoys it! (credit must be given to Joe for this picture. Whereas I'm the snapshot taker, he actually gets decent photographs!)
One of the best things about spending Christmas in Florida is that it is a tradition to go to the beach on Christmas morning. This isn't the most flattering picture of me, but it's the best I got!Rosemary loved it! (this is another Joe photo) I'm not sure who had more fun, though- grandpa or Rosemary. Notice the clouds rolling in in this picture. We were lucky we made it the beach when we did. It ended up being a rainy Christmas. Grandpa and Rosemary spent some time jumping in the waves before the sprinkling started and we high-tailed it back to the car just in time for a downpour!
The next day we spent some time at a playground. I just love this picture of Rosemary!
That night Joe and I got to go visit a good friend of mine while the grandparents babysat and were treated to an exquisite bacon-wrapped steak and crab cake dinner, along with some good wine, good rum, and great conversation. I tried getting some pictures of the flaming bananas foster dessert, but they just didn't turn out that exotic. So just let me describe them in one simple, yet appropos word: YUM! Thanks Alex for such a nice evening!
The next day we took a trip to the mall just to get out of the house for a while (and in search of a gift for family friends that I'll be talking about next). To our great surprise, the Avenues Mall now has a train that goes all the way around the downstairs! It was so much fun! Rosemary rode it twice- once with Joe and I and once with my mom!
The next day we woke up and drove westward. We were planning to visit Joe's parents, but unfortunately were unable to due to illness (thankfully we found out today that his mom is on the mend!) but didn't want to miss out on seeing some friends out that way so we made other plans. We made a quick stop in Tallahassee to have lunch with friends, and then continued to Laurel Hill to visit Joe's best friend's family. They bought some land out there (an understatement- "some" land is over 100 acres and currently has at least 3 families living on it) and are in the process of building a house on it. That house is AH-mazing! I'm hoping Joe was inspired to buy me some land and build me the exact same house on it one day ;) Here are some pictures of the two days we spent out there, starting with a picture of the house. (ala Joe)
Joe's bff's nephews and nieces were staying at the house as well so Rosemary was lucky to have some playmates. I'm pretty much betrothing her to this little boy as I am in love with this family and determined to have her married into it. Other than my own family, I have never felt so accepted and welcomed into anyone's home and family as this family makes me feel. The mother of the family is an amazing woman who treated Rosemary as though she was one of her own grandkids and made me feel so at home there.
And I just love this picture of Rosemary (via Joe). She looks so grown up and independent. You can't see in the picture, but she was walking toward a herd of cows (though you can see the tell-tell signs that a cow or two has been around if you enlarge the picture). I would love to buy her some land one day so she can be the queen of her castle and run around and be free!
I can't leave off a description of this trip without a picture of the horses! These horses just live there. Roaming free. How can you not love that?! I want land with horses!
On the car ride home, which was the longest car ride yet as it took us about 9 hours- YIKES!- we once again stopped in Tallahassee for lunch. We wanted to take Rosemary to our favorite place in the world. As we like to tell her, we've traveled the world and there's no place like Lake Ella.
Of course, while we were gone, Santa came to our house as well and left Rosemary a couple goodies. Here's a cute picture of Rosemary having her first tea party with daddy.
I think that just about sums up our Christmas holiday. Joe has one day left of vacation before going back to work on Monday. It's been an incredible 2 weeks. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, revived, and alive! Family, friends, presents. I couldn't ask for more!
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