Family Life, Holidays

Christmas 2018 and December Update

December started out strong!  Will and I (and Annabelle Grace) joined Will’s Dad in Memphis to participate in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend!  This was the fourth or fifth year now that we’ve done it, so it has really become quite the tradition for us!  The two of them have done the full marathon a few times now- I’ve only run the 5K or 10K for this particular race- this year was the 5K since I was 25/26 weeks pregnant I believe?  I was pretty proud of myself!  We had some rain before and during the race.  The rain and storms before pushed the race start time back some, so it ended up being a little humid to run in, making my finishing time about 38 minutes.  At about 20 weeks pregnant I did a 5K in 31 minutes, so I definitely added some time to it!  Either way, I was proud of myself for doing it none the less!

We always finish out the day of races by eating at Dyer’s on Beale Street.  Story has it they have never changed the grease that they cook the burgers in, which is what makes their burgers so tasty- who knows if that’s really true- I doubt it, but it makes for a fun tradition regardless!  Annabelle Grace also got her first taste of chocolate milk at our lunch was a pretty big fan!


Since we stayed in Memphis for the night we went and had breakfast with “Papi” (Will’s Dad’s grandfather name!) Of course, Annabelle Grace loves pancakes, so she was pretty happy with the decision!

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We’ve continued our trips to the library once a week and Annabelle is still loving it when we go!  When the weather is nice we also try to stop by one of the parks in town for a little while to play!  One day we got lucky and noticed a tour bus for the river boat that comes through Helena once in a while.  I drove us to the River Park and we got to see it as well after a library date!



Our public library did host a wonderful “Meet Santa Claus” day!  We didn’t take Annabelle Grace to meet him last year because she was so, sooooo little still- but this year we wanted to make sure we saw him!  The library was playing a Christmas movie, had decorations, coloring sheets for kids, and of course Santa!  We had a great time seeing him!  Annabelle Grace smiled the whole time walking towards him, but once on his lap, pretty much just stared at him the whole time! At least she didn’t cry/scream?!  She did enjoy kissing a lot of the decorations and met some new friends while we were there! Oh- and running through the aisles of the library! (We did have a big breakfast- like one of the biggest pancakes ever and scrambled eggs at another local place in town, so I’m are that added to the sugar rush she was probably having!)  If you’re local and haven’t had breakfast at Southern Outdoors yet, you’re missing out!  We’re big fans!


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This month was also a big month for us because first- I had my gestational diabetes screening!  If you read my post about our next Baby Cashion, then you know I passed!  Hallelujah!  I knew I could handle it fairly well if I ended up with it again because I was able to fortunately (and barely by the end of my pregnancy) maintain my glucose levels with a lot of exercise and healthy eating, but was reallllllllly hoping I would pass so that I could enjoy fun food in NC for Christmas and for our upcoming Disney World trip! AND I passed!  Best Christmas present ever!

The other big thing we did this month was start Annabelle Grace in a toddler bed!! Her crib is actually a convertible bed anyhow, so it was super easy to do.  We just removed the crib rail and added the small toddler rail.  It is early for us to switch her over, BUT, we honestly decided to make the transition so that if I end up having to have a c-section with our next birth, I won’t have to worry about being able to life Annabelle in and out of her bed.  Our next baby is due during the other busy season of the year for Will, so once again, like when Annabelle was born- I’ll be on my own pretty much all day, every day of the week.  Annabelle has loved her bed so far!  The first night we switched her over, it took us about 45 minutes to get her to stay in and stop crying. Every time she would cry and get out of her bed, we went back in and laid her back down.  About 30 minutes into this, I finally got her out, changed her again and started her bedtime routine back over.  Once I laid her in her bed, I sat outside of her bed and rubbed her back for a little while.  I then slowly backed farther and farther away from her bed until I got to the door and left.  She did stay awake for a little while after that but never did cry again or attempt to get out.  She tried once when I laid her down for nap the next day, but immediately got back in when I talked to her through the baby monitor.  After that, she has done great!  We also are using the “okay to wake” clock that turns green when it’s time to get out of bed.  Annabelle seems to love it and points to it every morning when we get her up!  We have also seen her wake up, see that it’s not green and lay back down and go back to sleep!  We’ve really been fortunate with how well this transition has gone for us.  Now we just have to work on building and moving the second crib into her room!


Will and his college friends had their annual duck hunt this month so we had to be sure to get an updated picture of all of them with Annabelle Grace!

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Before our trip to NC we also had an early Christmas gathering with Will’s grandparents!  We met at their house where Annabelle got to see one of her favorite Christmas gifts- a baby cradle for her babydolls! (She also decided it was a great cradle for her to climb into as well!


We bumped our North Carolina trip up a little and left for NC a few days before Christmas so that we could come back to Helena the day after Christmas.  This allowed us to have a solid week at home to make sure Annabelle was well rested before Disney World too!

We woke her up around 1:00am, changed her, and put her in the car to start the drive.  We’ve found that so far, this has been our best way to make long trips with her.  She’s always been a really decent car traveler, but at least getting her up in the middle of the night allows her to sleep for several hours of the beginning of the trip.  Then we wake her up, put her in real clothes for the day and actually stop for breakfast and snack at her regular times.  When we got her up for this trip, the sweet girl had her tiny little unicorn lovee draped over her booty like a blanket!

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She really did travel well, and did great with our stops for snacks and food too!


We made it to North Carolina around 4:30pm.  We took an hour or so to get unpacked and decided to grab a quick dinner and get to bed a little earlier so that we could enjoy our next full day!

We had some free time the next morning so we decided to go check out the Greensboro Natural Science Center! I grew up taking field trips to this center pretty much every year of my life, and it has changed so drastically since then!  We all had a great time and Annabelle loved seeing the penguins!!

We stopped by to see “Boomie,” my Dad’s grandfather name, and then had dinner with my best college friend Jackie!



Annabelle Grace immediately fell in love with Jackie and had the best time playing with her before and after dinner!



Saturday morning we were able to see my parents and my sister’s daughters Ava and Kylie were also there, so we were able to get all the girls together!  My Nana also visited, so Annabelle Grace had quite the audience!  She was fascinated with the light up Rudolph they had inside!


I’m pretty sure we took what will always be one of my favorite photos of Ava and Annabelle Grace together- the two of them dancing together!

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After a busy morning we had a quick lunch at Arby’s, and fortunately got to work in an unexpected lunch with my best friend (SINCE KINDERGARTEN,) Lenise, and her older brother Justin before putting Annabelle Grace down for a nap!  Lenise and I have remained friends for so long now and eat of our families are basically both of our families!  Getting a little extra time with them was such a great bonus!



After nap, we met up with Lenise for our actual visit!  We were able to go to her new house and hang out with her and Josh!  Annabelle Grace loved meeting the dogs and Lenise had laid out some smores bark candy…. Annabelle quickly became a big fan of it and kept trying to climb up the counter to sneak some.  Lenise being the sweet person she it, sent us home with some!


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This is the first time one of our trips to NC has overlapped a Sunday!  This was exciting for me because I have always hoped Will would get the opportunity to see the church I spent SO much time at from high school until moving to Arkansas.  I went to the youth group, bible studies, babysat ALL the time in the nursery, went on missions trips and just really loved the atmosphere.  Since we were able to, we went to church Sunday morning.  It worked out so well, as my aunt and uncle and cousin are all there now too and my cousin Catie actually sings and plays in the praise band.  We did put Annabelle Grace in the nursery (which was also special to me since I spent soooooo many hours in that nursery keeping kids myself) and she did great!  They said she had them reading ALL of the books to her- which sounds about right!

At the end of the service we all took pictures by the front of the church and Annabelle Grace seemed very intent on trying to steal baby Jesus…

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Our Sunday didn’t stop after church either!  We quickly ate lunch and then headed to Pittsboro (about an hour away) to visit with my great grandmother and grandparents!  We had a wonderful visit with them!  Fortunately Annabelle took a nap on the way which kept her in good spirits for the rest of our busy day!  She loved riding around on Mema’s lap and seeing all of the decorated Christmas trees throughout the building!




We finished out our crazy busy Sunday by having a family Christmas get- together at Jubee’s house!  We got to see lots of family and Annabelle Grace’s cousins had THE best time dressing her up in all kinds of dress up clothes.  Annabelle seemed to enjoy it and let them change her without any fussing!



Pizza for dinner made her pretty happy too!




Christmas Eve morning we had breakfast with one of my best friends, Seama!  She recommended going to The Moose Cafe.  It’s directly beside the farmer’s market right outside of Greensboro, and apparently all of the food is locally sourced.  I had always heard it was delicious but had never been myself.  It turned out to be a winning meal!  The food was great, though in LARGE portions!  Annabelle Grace’s KIDS meal was $4.99 and would have been more food than even I could eat! So, the food is a deal for sure!  Good times had by all!


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Annabelle Grace has always loved Seama, and especially her pretty, dark hair!!

On the actual evening of Christmas Eve we went to my sister’s new house and they cooked dinner for us!  They’ve been in their new house for a while now, but Will and I have not had the chance to see it until now!  We had a great time and all of the girls got a bonus gift to open up from my parents while over there.  Annabelle Grace got a baby doll, that she now loves!


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That brings us to Christmas Day!  We met over at my parent’s house for breakfast and presents and Annabelle Grace now has a HUGE variety of HUGE presents that now reside in our family room of our house.  She has loved her gifts so much, and I don’t see them going anywhere any time soon!  Of course Will, Annabelle and I all wore our matching family Christmas pajamas too!

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We finished Christmas day out with a late lunch over at my Uncle Paul and Aunt Lauren’s house with my grandparents, too!  Lunch was wonderful!  My cousin Catie also informed me that they would be wearing tacky sweaters and that if we wanted to join in, we could too!  Obviously, Will and I decided to join in!  Seama helped us find our outfits after our breakfast with her on Christmas Eve!  Will’s sweater actually had lights on it that lit up as well!



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The three of us pretty much packed up and headed to bed as early as possible since we would be making another 1:00am drive back to Arkansas later that night!  Annabelle Grace loved riding on the baggage carrier when we packed the car up!


A few days after being back home we were ready to have our own little family Christmas!  We always save our gifts to each other and any gifts mailed to us so that we can open gifts in our house and have a “Christmas Day” full of our own family fun and traditions.  This year ended up being a little different, but a lot of fun!  We did breakfast out at Southern Outdoors again, our presents together and then got ready for a big family lunch and dinner!  Will’s parents were already coming to town to visit his grandparents so he made gumbo and we invited everyone to our house.  His gumbo turned out so well, and lunch was a lot of fun!  His parents came back for dinner that same day, and we cooked again together before they headed back to his grandparent’s house for the night.




We finished out 2018 by getting pigtail pony tails and bow clips in Annabelle Grace’s hair!  Annabelle actually really loves when I ask her if she would like a pony tail in her hair and she likes the bows in them, so pigtail pony tails were even more fun!


Christmas and December 2018 were wonderful, as was 2018 in general!  We’re looking forward to 2019 and becoming a family of four very soon!!

Stay tuned for more updates on what’s happening in the Cashion house!

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