Last year, we drove 22 hours straight to surprise Bobby’s mom, sister, and brother in Minnesota. This year, we opted to spend Christmas in Virginia. Even though we’ve made a dozen trips back to Virginia since we moved in April, 36 hours isn’t enough time to squeeze in everyone we want to see. Luckily, Bobby was able to take a few days off work and I was able to work remotely. Off to Virginia for 6 days!!
On Saturday, we met up with our friends Nick and Lauren and their little girls, Ella and Olivia, at Bowlero in Leesburg. Nick and Bobby have known each other since 2nd grade and Lauren and I have become great friends. We had a blast playing with the girls and catching up. They couldn’t be any cuter!
On Sunday, Bobby and I met with my brothers for brunch at Anita’s Restaurant. My brother’s girlfriend, Liz, joined as well as my nephew, Blake. It was a casual gathering for us this year. No gift exchange. We decided to just hang out and enjoy each others’ company. We have a great time making jokes and teasing each other. Anita’s is a tradition in my family. My dad would bring home breakfast burritos from Anitas just about every weekend. As we got older, it became a special place for us to gather. It was the perfect place to spend Christmas Eve brunch!
Sunday night, Bobby’s dad and stepmom made a delicious Christmas Eve dinner. The dining room table was set with china and crystal. It was beautiful! We ate turkey, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, salad, and cranberry sauce. It was nice to gather around and enjoy the company.
After dinner, everyone gathered around the TV and watched White Christmas. Can you believe I’ve never seen it? Such a great movie! Maddie, Claire and I made Gingerbread houses while watching the movie. Had to check that off my Christmas bucket list!
Christmas morning, Claire and I woke up early and took Mowgli for a walk. We didn’t make it very far because it was a bitter 15 degrees outside and super windy!
When everyone finally woke up, we gathered in the living room to watch the kids open gifts.
Something I look forward to every Christmas is Bobby’s stepmom’s Monkey Bread. I never had it before I met Bobby…and boy was I missing out! I don’t have her recipe, but here’s the one that I follow. In addition to the Monkey Bread, we had ham, an egg and sausage casserole, powdered donuts, hard boiled eggs, and clementines. I’ll be dreaming of that food until next Christmas!
Bobby’s brother, sister-in-law, and niece, Willow, came over around noon to open presents. Willow was the only person we bought a present for this year. Since she’s a little young to understand that we donated gifts to another family, we decided to get her the book “Do Princesses Make Happy Campers?” and a pair of pink walkie talkies.
Before Willow arrived, we turned on one of the walkie-talkies and put it in her gift bag. Bobby kept the other walkie-talkie in his pocket. After Willow opened a few gifts, Bobby stepped outside. I notified Willow that she had to get really quiet for her next gift. I gave Bobby the signal and he buzzed “breaker breaker — this gift is for Miss Willow”. Willow’s eyes lit up as she hunted around the living room for her talking gift. She finally found it and opened the other walkie-talkie. It was a HIT! She LOVED buzzing back and forth as we hid in various rooms of the house. Such great memories!
Later Christmas Day, Claire wanted to drive around and look at Christmas lights. We hopped in the car and traveled to Fairfax, Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn and Leesburg to look at the best light displays in the area. Some lights were beautiful (like the first photo below) and others were tacky (like the last photo below). Either way, Claire and I had a great time blasting Pantatonix’s Christmas album and driving around.
On Tuesday, we traveled to DC to see the Christmas decor at US Botanic Gardens, Union Station, and the Capitol. The US Botanic Gardens had a beautiful display of historical building made out of natural materials (bark, moss, seeds, leaves, sticks, etc). And they were pretty large!! It was my first time to the Botanic Gardens and Union Station. I’m so glad I was able to experience them during the holidays.
It was a busy week for us, but we’re happy to be back in Raleigh. We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Next Christmas, we’ll be sitting in sunny Florida 🙂