Tuesday, February 12, 2013

{Flashback: Christmas 2012}

We had a VERY active holiday season this year.  Like a lot of families with out-of-town relatives, we alternate holidays with both sides of the family.  This year, we traveled to Florida for Christmas (for 11 wonderful days), so we had to get visits with my side in prior to leaving. 

We started off in South Carolina, with Dad and Beth.  We love visiting them!  The boys get to see their cousins and we get to enjoy the outdoors a lot while we are there.  Not to mention, God blessed me with the world's best Step-Mother!  If you've got to have one, you'd better pray for a lady like Beth...what a blessing she is to my family, and to my Dad.  Not to mention, she came with the most amazing family of her own.  Matt, Sarah, Nathan, Will and Katie Beth...we just love them!  Anytime we get to go and spend the weekend with them, we're all in!

This year, Dad and Beth took all of us to a farm, where we enjoyed a horse drawn carriage ride, with some of the most beautiful horses.  The property was stunning, and it was just cold enough to feel like winter, but not too cold for comfort.  We got to have a picnic right beside a stream, and play football in an open field.  The entire day was right up our alley.  After that, we got to have a bonfire at a little fort in the woods of the property.  The boys (all of them) had a blast!  What boy wouldn't?  The place was like a little boy's wonderland!

Once we got back to their house and ate dinner and opened presents, I forgot to pick my camera back up.  It was nice, because I was able to really enjoy the moment, but I do wish I had at least gotten a few shots of the boys with Pop-Pop and BeBe.  It was an awesome weekend though, and a great way to kick off our Christmas celebrations!

Our Christmas celebration with Mom was equally as awesome.  My Mom's husband Jimmy is another great blessing in our lives.  As far as Step-Dad's go...he's the best!  We all love us some Jim-Jim, and he loves us right back!  He really is a great man, and a great Grandfather to our children and a great husband to my Mom.  This year, I realized how truly blessed we are by the new family in our lives.  It our family different than I thought it would be...Yes.  Is it better than I thought it could be...Absolutely!  I never imagined that Zach and I would have a total of 3 Step-Brothers, but we do and I am so thankful for them all!

We started our celebration by hitting up Lake Lanier's Magical Nights of Lights.  All 12 of us packed into a 14 passenger van and rode through the light display and wound up at the carnival.  Now, I am a roller coaster junkie!  Few things in life make me happier than a good roller coaster ride.  I was a little nervous about how the boys would react, and if they would like the rides.  Verdict: They both LOVED the rides!  Praise Jesus!!!  I cannot wait to take them to Six Flags now!  We had so much fun with the family that night, and it was so much fun to see the kids (even Little Bobbie) be so brave, and really enjoy themselves.

Again, when it came to dinner and present time, I forgot about my camera...Oops!  But again, I got to enjoy the craziness of the evening...and it was a fun one!

Wiped Out!
The Saturday before Christmas, we headed South to Florida.  One the way down, we got to stop and visit with Uncle Ray and Aunt Mary.  Ray is one of Kevin's best friends from college.  We have done a lot of life with them over the years, and they really are more like an aunt and uncle to our kids, than family friends.  When Hayden was born, they drove up from Florida to meet him.  The send the boys birthday and Christmas presents every year.  They gave Colton his beloved Doggie, that he cannot sleep without.  They are such a blessing to us and the boys.  In true uncle fashion, Ray suggested that we meet them for lunch at the World's Largest McDonalds in Orlando.  Pretty much, the most incredible thing the boys had ever seen...MINDS BLOWN!

Once we got to Florida, we got to meet Kevin's new sister, Lucy MacGillicuddy Burtch.  He He!  It's a Burtch Family Tradition to give pets funny middle names.  MacGillicuddy was Lucille Ball's maiden name.  Ashley is a HUGE Lucy fan, so it fit perfectly.  The first Burtch dog, Snickers (R.I.P.), had Lurtch for a middle name.  I think Lucy fared much better...don't you?  How stinkin' cute is this dog???

We got to do so many fun things with the Burtch side of the family while we were in Florida.  Again, I am pretty sure we have the best family EVER!  I know I am blessed with the best in-laws on the planet...hands down!  Here are some of our adventures:

1) Swimming in December  2) Movie Date Night @ iPic Theater w/ Recliners, Blankets & Pillows  3) Hayden's 1st Game of Twister  4) Spending Time With Tatiana (oh, how we've missed her)

1) Skateboarding at the Park  2) Madagascar 3 + A Crazy Clown Wig  3) Largest McDonald's in the World in Out PJ's

1) Christmas Eve Services at Church By The Glades...AMAZING night of worship and celebrating Jesus' birth! 2) Colton fell asleep during dinner. The anticipation of Santa was just too much for his little body to take.  3) Sweet boys snuggling on Christmas Eve.

This year, instead of Christmas cards, Brenda decided to send out New Year's cards.  That way, shoe could have the whole family in the photo.  So, I set up my tripod and camera timer and took these photos for the cards:

I love Colt's face in the bottom one.  You can tell he's super excited to be taking another picture!  The life of a photographer's child...that sounds like the title of a book I need to write!

Christmas was an amazing experience this year.  11 days was a long time to be away from home, but we got to make up for lost time with Kevin's parents, and that was something we all needed!  We missed them so much, and it was nice to get to do fun things with them.  But also, just to sit and talk...it was comforting for us all. 

I am exhausted from just going through our month of December.  Not sure how we crammed so much in...but it was worth every second.  It did take us most of January to recover, though!

Speaking of January...Tomorrow, I am posting about New Years and the Orange Bowl!

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