Christmas 2012

What a crazy Christmas "vacation"!
The day before we flew to North Carolina, Jared's brother Ethan and his wife Kaytlin came to the house to spend the evening with us. We all went to Fork, the best restaurant in downtown Boise, and stayed up late catching up.
We all flew out the next day, and got in late. Because Jared's parents were in St. Louis for our Brother-in-law's graduation from Chiropractic school (woo hoo Dr. Strebel!), we were the only ones in the house, so we spent the next day getting a big dinner ready for the whole family to come in.
Christmas Eve Kaytlin and I went out last minute Christmas shopping, and came home to the rest of the Thomas clan deveining about 8000 pounds of shrimp that Dwayne and Ethan caught this past summer, and for dinner we had a big southern shrimp & gumbo dinner (hey, I'm always willing to try something once...).
Christmas morning seemed to come too early, we had been staying up talking way too late! We were all able to see Mason and Deacon (Vanessa's boys) have a great morning, and all got to open presents and just be together. I had spent the past couple months making these birthday boards for the whole family, and I loved seeing everyone open them!

The day after Christmas we went to the Thomas' lifelong friends' home, the Wattersons! We all worked together to make a huge breakfast. Vanessa had spent a ton of time putting together minute to win it games for us all to play, and we spent time after breakfast playing those. We had a so much fun!
On the 27th we packed up the big 14-passenger van and headed North to Washington D.C. for Mariah and Jonny's wedding the next day. It was freeeezzzing cold, but it was wonderful to have all the Thomas family and their spouses in the temple. After the wedding we headed to downtown D.C. for a delicious luncheon, then drove around sight seeing for a little while before going back to Charlotte. This was so cool to see some things I'd always wanted to see!

Saturday we rushed around putting the reception together, and had an awesome time. The food was completely delicious, and the clubhouse looked amazing. At the end we spent time all dancing together, and I was so sad that starting the next day, we'd start to head our separate ways again. We don't see each other nearly enough!

Sunday was spent recuperating and just spending time together, and we said bye to Jess and Eric as they headed to a well deserved get away to Hawaii. Monday we said goodbye to Kaytlin and Ethan (so sad!) and went on a double date with Mike and Vanessa to see Les Miserables. It was so wonderful! I haven't been able to stop listening to the soundtrack since I bought it! That night we played Ticket to Ride and Thomas Hearts to ring in the New Year.

We left Tuesday and are now back to real life. Jared started his new (awesome) job at Clearwater analytics. With no trips planned right now, we have a lot to work and save for as the new year brings lots of new projects with the house!
We are so glad we could spend Christmas with the Thomas', though I feel more sad now because I wish we were all closer. Here's to the pretend cruise we are planning and hoping it happens soon!

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