“I just like to smile! Smiling’s my favorite!” -Buddy the Elf
This post is a tiny bit delayed- but we have to talk about Annabelle Grace’s FIRST Christmas!!!!! The first year we were an official, family of FIVE! (obviously the dogs count as family members! After all, they did wear Christmas sweaters, and Toby wore a Santa hat! (Wells may or may not have tried to eat the ball off of the end of it while we were taking pictures!
So every year since 2014 (our first married holiday season), we have rotated the holidays between North Carolina with my family and Tennessee with Will’s family. Wherever we were for Thanksgiving and Christmas last year- we do the opposite the next year. It helps us make sure we’re getting time with both families, and that we’re both getting to experience each of our family’s traditions for both big holidays. Obviously when Annabelle Grace gets a little bigger, we will start rotating our own home in to the mix so that we can actually have her wake up in her own bed for Christmas, and REALLY get to do the “Santa” thing with her. Plus, we’re going to want our own family traditions at some point. Whenever that happens, we’ll just visit whichever family is Christmas that year, a little earlier or later than Christmas.
All that to say, this year we were in Memphis for Christmas! (I’m sure you’ve seen my Thanksgiving Post previously, as we spent Turkey Day in NC!)
We started the holiday season off by helping Will’s parents decorate their Christmas tree at the beginning of December- the same weekend we ran in the St Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend Races. Somehow I don’t have a picture of their tree either?!?!! Ahh- shame, shame! It was very fun and Annabelle Grace seemed to enjoy the lights!
Once we got home it was time to do our own Christmas tree!! Will has learned just how much I like to decorate Christmas trees now, but this year he learned that he can’t stretch a few lights out over the tree and say “it’s fully loaded!” The tree was not fully loaded, so he had to add another strand to it! Of course, adding the ornaments is still my favorite part! So many of the ones that go on our tree are from years and years and years of family members, especially my grandparents on both sides of my family, giving me a new ornament each year. I have saved them all, and have even more I have collected from my parents, friends, other family members, and students. Most of them have dates on them and who they are from- I love looking at that part! Will also FINALLY pulled out my PINK Christmas tree! I have passed it on to Annabelle Grace to use for her ornaments. (Giving it to her was one of the ways I could talk him in to getting it down! He is a little sentimental at times when it comes to things like that!)
Before heading to Memphis for Christmas with Will’s parents, we celebrated our own little Christmas in Helena! We opened whatever gifts we had already received and what we were giving each other!
I’d say Annabelle Grace had a pretty great first Christmas! (As shown below!)
The next day we were in Memphis! We had a wonderful weekend! We were even able to spend some time in Little Rock with Will’s Dad’s family! (Ironically on Annabelle Grace’s four month birthday!)
Will and Annabelle Grace helped make his Mom’s FANTASTIC duck gumbo on Christmas Eve!
The evening was followed by Annabelle Grace going to her first Christmas Eve Service! She was clearly dressed for the occasion, and did a fantastic job! She had one moment of crying, because she pooped….once that was taken care of, little miss pretty much went right to sleep for the remainder of the service. So proud of her all the time!
Christmas morning was spent eating cinnamon rolls, opening gifts, and playing! For lunch we went out for Dim Sum- one of Will’s favorite family traditions on Christmas Day. Christmas dinner is the duck gumbo his Mom prepared the day before! (So much great food!!)
Since the rest of Will’s family couldn’t be in Memphis for actual Christmas we all met in January for Christmas, round two! It too, was a wonderful weekend!
Annabelle Grace got the chance to see her first snow- which was also fitting for a “Christmas” weekend!
Annabelle Grace met her cousins Sam and Jules!
We all wore our matching Christmas pajamas!
Clancy and Natalie helped to hang out with Annabelle Grace while Will and I went to a wedding.
They also took some great pictures of our sweet girl with Natalie’s new phone- one of my favorites:
Finally the weekend came to a close and it was time for goodbyes!
It was a wonderful first Christmas with our family. We’re looking forward to all the holidays to follow!