Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime...

... ironically, the song title for which I named this post is INSANELY obnoxious, but we really did have a wonderful Christmastime. Not horrid or annoying like the song. Anyway.

Well, this break has FLOWN by (sadly) but we have packed in quite a bit of jolly fun into these 2+ weeks. I thought, for posterity's sake, that writing down a timeline of these events would surely be pleasing reading for a large portion of you (or just my family. Evers. Just for you, Dad! haha!) 
-And since no one likes inside jokes, I'll let you all know that "evers" is my dad's version of saying "whatevs." Anyway, moving on and apologizing in advance for the length of this post...

 We got out of school on Friday, December 14, but since there was a basketball game that night and the Christmas program was that weekend, no one can really count those first few days as a break. So really, break for me started on the 17th. That Monday-Wednesday, Jonathan worked at the office while I cleaned house, packed, and did some last-minute Christmas shopping. Those three days were quite relaxing, other than the fact that I got sick and ended up with a fever and ear infection. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. And we had our own Christmas on Tuesday night (Jonathan did a great job on my presents... more on that later. =) Wednesday night (the 19th) we had Christmas at church, where I sang with my friend Blake and our pastor's wife Kristie along with the congregational stuff. Oh, and learned some new songs in the process... always a treat. That night was our candlelight service and it was a really sweet time with our church family. A highlight was definitely when our pastor's three oldest kids sang a special together. Ah-dorable... and totally reminded me of singing with my sisters at a very early age. 

Thursday morning we loaded up the car and left for Goldsboro to have Christmas with Jonathan's family. This trip, of course, included a stop at Rudy's for the best hot dog in the world, as well as a yummy meal and looots of presents from the McNeese's (including a Keurig!!! Hooray!). The next morning we hit up Cracker Barrel on the way out of town and were on our way to Georgia. It was just about the smoothest, easiest trip I remember, with little to no traffic. We were there by about 6 pm.... early enough for a quick mall run for me and my sisters. =)

Saturday was spent (shockingly) shopping some more... after THE WORLD'S LONGEST AND MOST RIDICULOUS ORDEAL I finally have the boots I've wanted since September. Maybe sometime I'll bore you to tears with that story. Anyway, I was also sent on a mission to get my dad's anniversary present for my mom (32 years... hooray for them!). So, we shopped pretty much all day. No complaints here. Oh, and we got home just in time for my mom's homemade chili. YUM.

On Sunday we went to breakfast (a tradition) and I got to hear my bro-in-law in Sunday school and my dad in the main service, which is always my favorite thing. And I got to sing with Amanda,which is another favorite. Also, I somehow ended watching Emily and Steven during the afternoon service, but I got some really great videos of Steven laughing so that was time well spent. =) That afternoon I went Christmas shopping with Amanda (who is a procrastinate-r, obviously... hehe) and more family (the Sloans!) showed up that night. Fun! All the young people (well, 30 and under, I guess) ended up at Amanda and Steven's house to watch Psych (except Jake and April because poor Ape had bronchitis.)

The next day (where are we now.... Monday?) Stephen, Jonathan, Amy and I went downtown Atlanta to Ikea, where I found some sweet stuff for my house (and as always, the prices did not disappoint.) We also hit up Atlantic Station, a very cool outdoor mall, long enough to drop a little money and pose for some sassy pictures. (You can find these delightful photos on Facebook =). That night, Christmas Eve, was pajama time where we all opened our matching pajamas. Don't be jealous of our awesome traditions! Again, head to the FB if you really want to get the full pajama experience. Oh, and we had an AMAZING ham dinner with mashed potatoes, dressing, and all the other wonderful Christmas foods you can think of.

Christmas morning we woke up (late, praise the Lord) and had biscuits and gravy, eggs, and sausage balls before reading the Christmas story and digging in to the mountain of presents. The gifts, as you know, included the absolute best thing possible... our DisneyWorld tickets!!! Around mid-morning Uncle Walter, Aunt Peggy, and Stephen headed on to Tennessee and we cleaned up and packed for Orlando. That afternoon we loaded up, dropped off Mamaw at the airport, and got on our way to Florida. We arrived around 11 that night, ready to sleep for a while and hit the park. 

Oh, Wednesday... you magical day. We ate breakfast and got to the park around 9, opting to take the ferry across to the entrance. It was my first time back since my honeymoon and it was sooo fun to see the kids' reactions to everything. We rode quite a few rides but I think we'd all agree that the best parts of the day were the shows at the castle and the Christmas parade. Between Emily's waving frantically at each character passing by and Leslie's exclamations of "Look, Ashee... Look at the cas-o! (castle) It's Mimmie and da Mouse! (Mickey and Minnie)" Or at the end of Mickey's Philharmagic, when Donald "flies" off the screen and into the auditorium where his legs dangle out, and Emily yelled out "DONALD! AW YOU OKAY?" Also classic were their reactions to Tigger and Pooh. Sooo cute. (Jump over on Facebook to see oodles of pictures,  between me and Amy.) 

We ended up staying LAAATE... and the only downside was a) Baby Steven was sick and had a rather miserable day, since he is too young to be cheered by the sight of Mickey Mouse in every direction, and b) Emily and Leslie ended up pretty sick too and c) Mom being in pain allll day with what we found out later to be shingles. (Cue groaning and sympathy... it was awful!) But, selfishly, Amy, Jonathan, and I (being young, childless, and healthy at the time) stayed for like 16 hours (I bailed around midnight with Jake and April). But that day was truly magical and sometime soon I'll have to dedicate a post solely to my gratitude and awe toward Walt Disney and all the other Imagineers who have created this incredibly happy and wonderful place. 

We left Thursday morning, after meeting up with Uncle Mike's family for a while (love cousin time!) and a quick stop at Downtown Disney (home of the most HUMONGOUS Disney store ever) to grab a souvenir or two. That night we had to stop at the hospital so Mom could get some relief and then went straight home. It was so hard to leave on Friday morning, especially with Mom in bed in horrible pain  and the babies all sick, but we did after saying our goodbyes and eating lunch at Jim n Nick's (the cheese biscuits took a little of the sting out of leaving.) I, of course, cried like a baby off and on all the way home, because I'm a child. Seriously, I had a really hard time leaving, since this trip went SO fast and I'm always homesick anyway and everyone was sick. =( 

We got to Goldsboro that night and stayed at Mamaw's (oh, and watched an old Andy Griffith movie called No Time for Sergeants. HILARIOUS. Watch it it you haven't... it's soooo funny.) The next day we ran a few errands (aka ate a pretzel at Sam's), stopped to see Jonathan's family and the Sloans, and headed home. And, since the Lord knew I just needed a little more family time, we got to meet my Uncle Jay (dad's brother), Aunt Annette, and my cousins for supper. AND they came to our church on Sunday night and Uncle Jay preached (he and my dad are soooo freakishly alike) and we got to go eat again (barbecue! again! =). It was so fun and an unexpected treat to see them!

I can hardly believe myself that we've done all this stuff in the past few weeks or that school starts back on Wednesday.... booooo!!!!! But it's been a really wonderful break with some truly great family and friend time and I am so thankful for that. Plus, I've already unpacked from the trip (a record for me.) Have I taken down my Christmas decorations? No. Have I started to take down my Christmas decorations? Nope. One thing at a time, please. I always suffer from a little depression (okay, more akin to grief) after Christmas break (for real, like since my freshman year of college) so I'm recovering from this funk I'm in slowly. In the meantime, I'm looking at my Disney photos and reliving the magic. 

One more time... Merry Christmas! (Don't worry... I'll jump on the New Year's bandwagon by tonight. Maybe.)


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