Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Festivities

We packed so much into the month of December!  My apologies in advance for the photo overload.

Just a few days before his birthday, Dan went out of town with a couple of other guys to see Dream Theater perform in concert. He loves their music, and although it was a long drive and a late night before work the next day, they all had a great time.

Dan's birthday is December 1st, and unfortunately he had one of his longest work days on his birthday. The girls and I did get to pick him up for lunch, but he didn't get home until bedtime that night.

We made sure to party all weekend to make up for no celebration that day!

The first event that weekend was the Colonial Williamsburg Christmas parade with Dan's parents and his brother, Tim's, family. It's one of the best holiday parades in the area, and so far, we've attended it every year with some of the Jester family.

After the parade, Dan's folks babysat the girls for us so we could have a date. A delicious meal at Texas Roadhouse, some furniture shopping, then back early to put the kids to bed.  Yep, we are party animals!

The next morning, we ran the Busch Gardens Christmas Town 8k Dash with my coworker, Lori, and her husband, Terry.  Lori and I have been running together at lunchtime for a year now, and we've worked up to running that hilly 5 miles! Dan, on the other hand, hasn't run in a year and just ran the race along with Lori and I without any training or preparation. Show off.  He hates running, and only let me sign him up because they included a free ticket to Busch Gardens in the registration packet.

However, I could not convince him to dress up as one of my elves for the race. Heh!

We had a birthday lunch with Dan's family after the race.

This picture cracks me up because Emma had just jumped the gun and blew out all Dan's candles before he could do it.  She looks so proud of herself, and he's going "well...okay, then."

 And that night, we attended First Night at Colonial Williamsburg with Dan's parents. It's an outdoor event with live performers who entertain everyone until the end of the evening when fireworks go off right over the historic buildings.  It was pretty cool!
Dan's mom, dad, Dan, and Hallie watching the fireworks

Emma's face during the fireworks grand finale. After it was over, she said "I did NOT see that coming!" Haha!

I got to attend my company's Christmas party one evening later in December.  My boss and team are still in San Diego, but here's a picture of me with the two amazing ladies I work most closely with in the Portsmouth office, Denise and Cristi.

And me with my running buddy, Lori.

I received an Employee of the Month Award, and she got the Employee of the Year Award!

 A few days later, we had an office Women's Potluck Breakfast and sock/gift exchange. It's an annual tradition for the ladies, and we always make plenty of food to feed the rest of the office after we're done with our party.

On Emma's last day of school before Christmas break, she performed in a Preschool Christmas Concert.  Her grandparents and Hallie and I got to attend.

Before the entire preschool got on stage, Emma was one of six K-4 kids selected to perform a special number. She was the cutest one up there, of course!

 After their concert, the kids enjoyed a Christmas party in their classroom.

For Christmas this year, I bought my mom and I tickets to see "The Sound of Music" in Norfolk. We both absolutely loved it and it'll be one of my most fun memories with her.

Dan's sister, Robin, coordinated a day for us to join them at Busch Gardens Christmas Town.  It was crowded, cold, beautiful, and lots of fun! We enjoyed seeing the Christmas lights and decorations, watching a spectacular ice skating show, and letting the kids ride rides and play in the kids' areas.

We had our Christmas celebration early with the Jester family, on the 23rd. We met at Dan's parents' house for brunch and our gift exchange.

The kids played while they waited (somewhat) patiently to open their millions of gifts under Grandpa and Grandma's tree

Emma was the most excited about receiving two LOL surprise dolls!

Hallie was the most excited about ripping the paper off of everything she could reach!

She got a new tunnel to crawl in and she had a blast with that, too.

The Jester Family Christmas photo. We are grateful that everyone was well and able to enjoy our time together.

On Christmas Eve, the girls got extra fancy for church, and they even cooperated for a few photos before we left home.

Earlier this month, the girls had helped Nana and Papa decorate their Christmas tree.

We were getting ready for my brother, Steve, his wife, Sheila, and their daughter, Meera, to come to Virginia for Christmas!

On Christmas morning, we went to my parents' house and got to play and open presents with my family. The girls loved playing My Little Pony with their Boston cousin, Meera!

My parents opening some of their gifts. As usual, my dad got three times the number of gifts as the rest of us, because my mom loves him the most.

Our beautiful niece, Meera

My brother, Steve

Our sister-in-law, Sheila

On Christmas night, we drove to 43rd Street in Virginia Beach to see an entire block of beautiful houses that went all out with Christmas decorations. Dan was feeling sick that afternoon, so he unfortunately didn't get to go with us.

 The following day, we invited my family and Dan's parents to our house for lunch and games.
The adults played Preacher's Poker

Emma and Meera played dress-up while they ate lunch

They even got Sheila involved! Ha!

Another day, we made "Snow To Go," artificial snow that you can make at home by adding water to a small amount of powder. The girls loved playing with their Lion Guard figures in the snow.

We also took them to MacArthur Mall in Norfolk to play and eat lunch one day.

The Campbell Family Photo

Silly pose! We had the best time with Steve, Sheila, and Meera while they visited for a week! We wish we got to spend this much time with them all the time!

 Dan and I got the most unexpected Christmas blessing this year.  One of his student's families was upgrading their kitchen appliances and wanted to give their 4-year-old stainless steel appliances to us!  We had hoped to upgrade to stainless steel at some point, but thought it would be years down the road after we spent money on more critical upgrades for the house.  We are thrilled with our "new" appliances and how they finish off the look of our kitchen.  Dan, my dad, and his dad spent time during Christmas break installing them and creating enough space for the larger refrigerator. What an amazing gift!
The fridge and dishwasher

And microwave and stove

On our date night earlier this month, Dan and I had chosen and ordered a kitchen table and chairs set. It arrived just before Christmas, too! We are loving our beautiful kitchen more and more each day!

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