We flip flop Thanksgiving and Christmas each year between our families to keep everything fair and less stressful. So this Thanksgiving was with my family in Arkansas. My brother and his girlfriend (Clay and Kylee) came too . . . we haven't seen them since July so we were all so excited to get together!
We celebrated Thanksgiving (obviously), Christmas, Clay's 24th birthday, and my parents' 35 anniversary. We definitely have a lot to be thankful for!
Ava got to ride a pony for the first time. She had worked up her courage to get on and the thing started bucking. Needless to say, she was only riding with one of us after that!
Ava also had her first smores. I know, I know . . . how did we let her turn 3 without having smores? I don't know how it happened, but it's fixed! She loves anything sweet so she was in heaven!
One morning we all got out in the backyard to play. We played soccer, ring around the rosie, simon says, and introduced Ava to duck, duck, goose. She had a blast!
Love on his Mama Sue (my dad's mom) who came with my aunt and cousins on Thanksgiving day.
And got SO much lovin' from Papa T and Lili!
In an effort to simplify and make Christmas more about giving than receiving, we decided to do things a little different this year. All of the adults drew names so we each gave and received only one prize. We also all put in $25 and as a family decided how to spend it on behalf of others in need. This year we are buying a bicycle through World Bicycle Relief. A bicycle can make a huge impact in someone's life as it improves access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. The best part is that all donations through December 31st are being matched dollar for dollar . . . so we really helped provide TWO bikes!
My family got the kiddos a few prizes (scaling back in that department too!) and they had some funny reactions!
Ava absolutely loves Tangled so her reaction to Clay getting her a Rapunzel doll was priceless. She actually gasped and then said, "She looks just like me!" So cute! She's barely stopped brushing that crazy hair since!
I asked for Grayson to get some "boy" toys. Poor kid has to be tired of playing with dolls and purses! So Clay got him a dinosaur, which Grayson immediately started flinging around. I caught the moment that the tail whapped him in the face, but wish I had a video of what followed . . . Grayson cried, threw the dino down and yelled at it like it had just bitten him. Hilarious!
Chad got a new LSU hat, which he proudly wore in Arkansas as we rooted on the Tigers! And a chess set. Nerd.
I got a new shirt . . . My Heart is in Africa . . . part of it definitely is!
Clay is only a few months from graduating and becoming an elementary school teacher. I made him this sign to go in his future classroom!
My parents always give us kids a little money for Christmas, but there is no handing over an envelope in our family . . . we have to play a game for it! My mom just plain rocks. She comes up with a game every year and it is so much fun . . . even if you lose lots of money like Chad and I usually do! This year we played Money Drop as couples. It was so intense and sometimes really hard. Chad and I didn't fair so well. We ended with as much as Clay and Kylee lost . . . $10 (but then Papa T was super generous and gave us a little more . . . I think we looked pretty pitiful!).
Can't be done until I post a few more pics of my cuties! They were all dolled up for church!
Grayson hated the hat, but it was so cute!
He looks like he's throwing a little "West Side" in this one!
We had a great trip and loved every moment with my family! We sure hit the ground running when we got back though . . . it is going to be a crazy few weeks!
We have another adoption raffle on Thursday that you won't want to miss. It is a Christmas bundle full of amazing prizes! Don't forget to check back!