It's 80 degrees - it must be Christmas

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Since we got married last year, Alex and I have instituted an alternating holiday schedule with our families since they live in two different states. This year, it was my family's turn to host us in Florida, so down south we went!

Lindsey, Lesley, baby Avery, and I. Besties + baby = LOVE
First stop: Gainesville to see my besties. We finally arrived around midnight on Friday the 21st, after both of us worked all day and then drove for 7.5 hours. But we made it! And to see my girls and snuggle baby Avery, every minute in the car was worth it.

Saturday morning we had "Bestie Christmas Morning" and exchanged our gifts in our Christmas PJs. Yes, that happened. Then we had lunch at The Swamp, a Gainesville tradition, before hitting the road again.

I mean look at this precious face!! Oh I love her!
Saturday afternoon, we drove 3 more hours down to my hometown of Okeechobee, where the cows outnumber the people (quite literally - my guess is at least 2 to 1 - and my family's dairies and ranch have something to do with that!). We went to dinner with my Dad and his wife over on the coast, and I was surprised (or impressed?) that it was a chilly 50-something degrees. I was hopeful it would stick around for Christmas...

Sunday was my dad's side of the family's Christmas party with loads of cousins, and cousin's kiddos, and aunts and uncles. It was so fun. We even had a nativity play with all the little ones, including shepherds, angels, and a live baby Jesus. Too cute! The weather was warming but was still pleasantly in the 60s. Nice!

Merry Christmas!
Monday, Christmas Eve, was spent catching up with my grandparents, my brother, and stepsister/brother. And relaxing. Traveling takes it out of ya! Then we had dinner with my Mom's side of the family: cue more cousins, cousin's kiddos, aunts and uncles. Being around little ones at Christmas is so much fun: they love that man in the red suit. The temps were starting to warm up, and I was fearful that the weatherman's prediction for Christmas would be right...

And then it was Christmas! Christmas Day was awesome, for so many reasons. It was Alex's first Christmas morning with my family, and I had told him that my Mom gives the BEST stocking stuffers ever. She didn't disappoint, once again. We got gift cards, scratch-off lotto tickets (and we won $26 between the two of us - I'll take it!), our favorite candies, and lots of little cutesy things that I absolutely adore. 
At my family's camp house on the ranch
But the best thing? Mom had designed a scavenger hunt for my brother, Alex and I that we had to complete to get our gift. The only rule was that we had to do it together. We had a blast galavanting all over the house, yard and barn to find the next clue. Our gift? Cash money, my personal favorite! Thanks, Ma! :) Then my grandparents came over for Christmas brunch and a little fellowship! And yes, the weather was quite warm. I wore a long sleeve shirt out of principle, but it definitely got up to 80 degrees. Bleh. I guess it wouldn't be Christmas in South Florida without the possibility of swimming on Christmas Day, right? Since it was warm and sunny, we took a ride on the ranch where we picked some oranges and grapefruit to bring back to SC. Then it was time for Christmas #2 at my Dad's house. We had another delicious meal, opened gifts, and then played Rook (does anyone else play Rook?? Kinda an old-school card game but really fun!). Then, just like that, Christmas Day was over! 
We left early the next morning to head back to SC. We stopped in Gainesville for lunch and one more snuggle of Avery, and finally got home around 10 Wednesday night. 

As always, it was too short of a trip and it's always hard to leave, especially knowing that we won't spend Christmas with my family again until 2014. However, I'm thankful for the time we did have and the memories we made!

I hope your Christmas was very very Merry! 

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