Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas with The Coopers

I’m a little late on this post (a running theme on my blog), but we have been on-the-go with our annual Tour of Texas the past couple weeks.  Since December 19th, we’ve put over 1,100 miles on my car.  Austin to San Antonio, back to Austin, Austin to Houston, back to Austin, down to Canyon Lake, back to Austin, up to Temple, back to Austin, down to Concan, up to San Antonio, up to Canyon Lake, back to Austin.  WHEW.  Not to mention we still have one more quick trip planned to Victoria before we’re back at work next week, which will put us just shy of 1,500 miles.  That’s roughly 25 hours in the car and the equivalent of driving from here to Washington D.C..  We are true road warriors!  And we don’t pack light.  Adding a baby and baby gear to the mix next year will be challenging to say the least.  Christmas at our house instead!?

Ok so let’s start at the beginning.  Thomas was, unfortunately, out of town when our nephew Connor was born on December 16.  (Work training in Orlando, Florida – rough life).  So as soon as I picked him up from the airport on December 19, we headed straight down to San Antonio for a visit.  We fell in love with our sweet nephew, and really enjoyed holding him.  Neither of us can recall the last time we held a baby, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to “practice” with Baby Connor.  And the advice from Trey and Annie will surely prove to be invaluable!  I really did not want to leave their house, I could have cuddled Connor all day!

Next up on our tour was Houston for an early Christmas celebration with Tom’s mom’s side of the family.  There were nearly 30 family members gathered together for dinner and a white elephant exchange at Tom’s grandparent’s house.  It was loud and fun, and oh so different from small family Christmases I’ve been accustomed to for the past 26 years. (Usually just my parents and brother, occasionally my grandparents – we’re the only ones who live in Texas, our extended family is out of state).  It was, honestly, a little overwhelming.  It was great to visit with all of his family though, many of whom we haven’t seen since our wedding last summer.  The food was delicious, and the gift exchange was a lot of fun!

We stopped back at home for a night to do our own Christmas gift exchange, just the two of us and the dogs.  Tom got new cowboy boots and I got beautiful diamond earrings.  The dogs got new toys, which were fun for all of about 3 minutes, and then Bailey put herself to bed upstairs.  The poor pup just cannot stay awake past 8pm, so she missed the rest of our family fun night.

Next stop: Canyon Lake for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We had a great time taking it easy at the lake, soaking up the pleasant Texas December weather, and visiting with Tom’s family. Trey and Annie came up both days with Baby Connor and we were so pleased with how our dogs behaved with the baby around.  Sure they were their usual annoying, whiney selves when we stuck them outside alone, but they were very sweet and calm toward the baby.  I was a little apprehensive about them meeting because our dogs have never been around a baby, but it really couldn’t have gone any better.  We went to a rather interesting Christmas Eve mass at the local Catholic church (imagine a priest singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer during his homily, and referring to an infant in the congregation as a “little baby Jesus”). We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas morning and lunch the next day, then ended the night by visiting with family friends.  They put on a fireworks show and only had one little mishap that caused a minor grass fire, but really, would Christmas Day be complete without an incident like that?! Also, if we weren’t already expecting, I would really have baby fever right about now.  Over the course of two days I saw 4 tiny babies under the age of 2 months.  So many adorable tiny toes!

Our final Christmas celebration took place in Temple, the day after Christmas. We had a yummy Tex-Mex dinner at my grandparent’s house and a great gift exchange with my family.  I got an awesome Ju Ju Be diaper bag and Tom got a new rifle.  Yep, you read that right, I got a diaper bag and Tom got a gun.  Merry Texas Christmas, y’all! Over the next couple days, the guys got in some golfing and hunting, and the girls did some shopping and painting. We had a great visit!

Then it was time to head back to our house to unpack, unwind, and take down our Christmas decorations – which I felt we hardly had time to enjoy since we were on the road so much!  Down came the tree, the decorations, and the cards.  It was nice to have the house back in order though.

We didn’t last long at home though before we hit the road again.  We headed down to Concan, Texas for our 2nd annual New Years Eve on the Frio River.  It was an awesome, low-key New Years Eve complete with an Aggie football win (WHOOP!), good times with good friends, and a sparkling apple cider midnight toast for me :)  Thanks again, Nick and Katie (my favorite engaged couple), for hosting!

On the way home from Concan, we stopped in for another visit with Trey, Annie, and Connor as well as a pop over to the lake house for a quick hello.  And finally, we were back at home.  We were so lucky to both have a long holiday from work (17 days to be exact) and it worked out very well to spend time with family and friends.  Back at home, we started a DIY project that we thought would take a day or so MAX.  Fast forward 3 days and we’re nowhere near done.  Once completed, I’ll share the details of our project :)

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Best wishes for a wonderful 2014!!!

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