Dallas Christmas, Part 3

Whew, if you have stayed with us on our Dallas Christmas, then thank you! If I put it all in one long post, I was afraid I was going to forget something. And I want to make sure some special memories are recorded for Ryan and Quinn later on.

Christmas Day morning could not have been more perfect. The kids gave us the best Christmas present ever and slept in about an hour later than usual! Whoo hoo!

After feeding them breakfast, Christina & Blaine arrived (they were staying at a hotel since the babies had virtually taken over the house --- thanks for being troopers, guys!) and we started with the gift opening.

Gift giving at the Anderson house is not a quick process. Never has been. I, of course, am the impatient one, my brother is perfectly patient, and my mom would like for it to just last all day. She actually likes to SAVE gifts to open later on. This just makes no sense to me.

At any rate, Matt and I asked for nothing for Christmas. We were utterly content to let the kids get some gifts, but our Christmas present was just simply having both of our kids happy and healthy. That's all I've wanted since we started Quinn's saga a few months back. Yet, most went against our wishes and still got us gifts (which we LOVE by the way). And of course, the babies made out like bandits. They received a leapfrog learning laptop from Mom, which Ryan immediately somehow smashed into his mouth and received a fat, bloody lip for Christmas morning. We're still trying to figure out how that happened. They also got a cash register, alphabet soft blocks, and some LSU gear for the big game. Score!

And then of course there was Rocking Elmo from Blaine and Christina. And not just Elmo, but THE.ENTIRE.SET. Including guitar, keyboard, drums, tambourine, the works. Payback for them (hopefully soon) will be a you-know-what. But the kids were obsessed. Quinn immediately fell in love with Elmo and tried to carry him everywhere. And Ryan would not let go of the guitar to save his life. I think he would sleep with it if we let him. By the end of the day, we all had the Elmo songs ringing in our ears. In fact, it hasn't stopped since.

We stopped present opening a few times for naptime, food, more naps, and more food. Christmas, quite literally, lasted all day. We finally made it to the shower late afternoon and began making the traditional Prime Rib, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. And I use the term "we" loosely. Blaine & Mom were in charge of the prime rib and mashed potatoes, and I was in charge of the green beans as usual and pouring the champagne. I do a really good job at this.

While we were eating, our neighbors came by to say hello and see the kids. They brought their dog "Bogey", who my kids were immediately obsessed with. Poor Bogey. That dog just wanted to be rescued and instead he was just chased around by two crazy, slightly sleep deprived children. Quinn kept trying to get Bogey to sit and even showed him how to do it. I almost died laughing and so glad I caught this little gem on video:

Anyway, this is why I love Christmas - no real plans, just spontaneous people stopping by. Our neighbors stayed through dinner and it was so fun to just catch up with them.

Then after several back and forth text messages throughout the week, I finally got an opportunity to go visit my dear friend Amy and her family. Actually, we totally busted up their family Christmas and showed up on their doorstep at 10pm. Sorry, Shackelfords and Curry families! Thanks for letting us stop by --- I just had to see Amy and her sweet family and felt badly that the kids were already asleep so they couldn't play with each other. Love ya!

The night ended wayyyyyy too late and the morning came fast and furious with the mad rush of packing up everything, getting the babies settled and trying to prolong their nap so they would sleep a good bit on the way home. Once again they did pretty well and I even managed to catch a little nap. Ahhhh, the good ole days. Back to Houston where we defrosted some food, threw it to the babies, and got them all snuggled in bed. And then the unpacking and the organizing. Oh, my. And we get to do it all again fairly soon. Such is the life with 2 toddlers but I wouldn't have it any other way. Everyone promises it will get easier --- when???!!! : ) And as customary, everytime we take a trip like this, with the car packed to the gills, thanks to master engineering feats by my husband, Matt immediately jumped on the computer to start researching larger vehicles. We'll see how that plays out.

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas Day. Thank you, Mom, Steve, Blaine, and Christina for making it such a special holiday for us! We so enjoyed it and love you all.

My daughter is so ladylike.

What up, Moms?


Loving her blocks

The laptop that eventually busted Ryan's lip. Somehow.

I'll help you, kids!

For next year. Meet our Elf on the Shelf, "Beau"

Aunt Chris & Quinnie

Tired babies

Back at it after naptime! Here's Elmo.

She just kept saying "ooooohhhhh" over and over.

Kissing Elmo

Attempting to carry Elmo. Elmo really wanted to commit suicide at this point.

So did Bogey


Time for a break!

Oh, my little man.

And my princess.

This is pretty much what he did all day.

And Quinn's face pretty much sums up our Christmas. Happy, happy, happy!!!
Merry Christmas to you all! Hope yours was blessed.

Dallas Christmas, Part 2

Onto Dallas Christmas Part Deux.

Christmas Eve was spent mostly relaxing and trying to let the babies (and us) catch up on some sleep. We broke down and let the kids open a couple of gifts to keep them occupied and out of the tree for a few hours. And of course, as tradition in Dallas, it was yucky Christmas Eve weather. A little sleet, some very cold rain, and windy. The type of weather where you just want to stay snuggled in pjs all day instead of getting all dressed up to hit Christmas Eve services. But we pulled it together, got the kids ready and headed off to Christ United Methodist near my mom's so we could attend the "family-friendly" service.

Long ago, I attended Christ United for preschool but had never been to church in their new location. It was gorgeous! And everyone was so friendly and welcoming to our kids. We had the babies decked out in their matching outfits but we still got lots of comments on "wow, how far apart are your children?!?" Really? Ummmmm, about a minute apart. Seriously, we must have been asked this question about 10 times while we were in Dallas. Admittedly, Ryan looks more boy and "toddler" if you will and Quinn has still maintained some of her baby features, round face & rosy cheeks - and she's just a petite thing. But still. I would have to be a miracle mom to have kids that close together. I guess they were thinking Irish twins? Who knows. Anyway, I digress as usual.

The kids did well at church. For about 10 minutes. And then they just wanted to run up and down the aisles. Especially Quinn. They were fine when there was music playing, but as soon as people started talking, it was over. And since there was a Christmas play, there was a lot of talking.

On our way in, they had us each pick out an ornament for the children. Quinn really liked a fun one with a bright star (the child loves all things shiny) and grasped onto it with her whole life. I was excited for her to have her very own child-safe ornament --- until I found out that part of the play was interactive --- meaning the kids were supposed to go up at various parts of the play and hang their ornaments on the trees at the front of the church. In front of everyone. I started having a minor panic attack because with the death grip that she had on that thing, I thought the chances of her letting go and generously putting the star on the tree would be slim to none. Christmas Miracle #3 - she must have been distracted by all of the people, the lights and who knows what else, because as I carried her up there, she released her hold and I was able to hang her ornament sans meltdown. And cheesy as it sounds, I got a little teary-eyed hanging that ornament with my little girl. It only makes me more excited to share Christmas with my children in the future. So special.

After church, we headed home to eat ham and fixings --- and as in Anderson tradition, we didn't actually eat until much later than thought. Too much fun was being had, plus having the babies takes about an extra hour or so, between the feeding and bathing them. And then we had a surprise visit from our friends, The Whitehills (parents of Ashley mentioned in Part 1). I was soooo happy to see them and have them see the kids. Our families used to spend every Thanksgiving together and so seeing them during the holidays was incredibly special. So glad they came by! Here are a few Christmas Eve pictures, most courtesy of my brother (and Christina) who is becoming quite the photographer:

My mom & Steve's tree - and lots of presents!

Geaux Tigers!

My brother and me with the babies

Blaine still working on the way to hold children

One of my little miracles

Fun with Uncle Blaine

Uncle Blaine wore Ryan out!

Quinn's Ruby Red slippers (remember them from the hospital??? They are her favorite!)

Priceless. Waiting for Santa???

Where is he????

I both love and loathe this picture. Love it because he's darned cute. Loathe because he looks like a darned boy and  not my little baby :(

Our family

My sister-in-law, Christina and the babes

Miss Janice, my mom and me

My 2nd dad, Mr. Ed. We even share the same birthday. Love him & miss him!

Next Up: Christmas Day!

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Dallas Christmas, Part 1

This year we spent Christmas in Dallas at my Mom's house. We try to take turns for holidays with Matt's family each year, but it has gotten tricky over the past couple of years with newborns and surgeries. I'm confused where we even stand on the schedule. But since Christmas Eve & Day fell on a weekend and Matt was given time off during the week for those days, we decided that it made more sense to take the longer amount of time since Dallas is about twice as far. (We will head to Austin soon for Christmas with his side of the family).

Anyway, we decided to take off on Thursday to give us a little extra time before the madness began and get the babies settled. Good choice. The babies actually did really well in the car, not too much crying and alternating sleeping and watching movies. I am still a little scarred from our foray to Alabama when they were just a year old (not our smartest move) so I was a tad nervous. But they did really well - and we even took them to Chili's on the way - first time we've been in a restaurant just the 4 of us in months and months. Not that they aren't good at restaurants, but it's just, ummm, stressful, at this age. They are well-behaved and do not cry or anything like that. But they are a tad high-maintenance and Matt & I typically alternate shoveling down food and pulling crayons out of babies' mouths. Not exactly a cool way to spend money. But they were angels at Chili's. Christmas miracle?

Anyway, we finally made it to Gigi's late afternoon and got them all settled and unpacked. Again, it's always a little stressful to go into a different environment and find out what all they can reach that we need to re-org or put away. There are A LOT  of "Noooooo, don't touch that precious antique." "Noooooo, stay away from the ornament." Or my new favorite, "Slow your roll" (especially to Ryan). My mom's house has these step downs into the living room and there literally is zero transition - same wood floors from the step up to step down, so the babies had no real depth perception that they were about to go flying.

Ryan, all wound up from sitting in a car for hours, hit those step downs going 100 miles an hour and face planted at least 8 times. I just knew we were going to be hitting up the ER that night. Quinn, on the other hand, watched by example, face planted a single time, and then daintily took the step downs for the rest of the time. Eventually Ryan got the hang of it too - right as I was pouring my first glass of wine to ease my nerves. He spent the rest of the trip slithering down those steps from a mile away to ensure his precious head stayed intact. Stitches avoided that night.

We ate a low key dinner with Mom & Steve (Papa Murphy's - oh my, Houston needs this!), chatted for awhile and hit the sack.

Friday we had a HUGE day planned. At least for us. First up was a playdate with 2 of my oldest friends from Sting Soccer days - Mel & Ashley and our kids. Melanie has a "Quinn" (2 1/2 yrs), twin boys (15 months) and is pregnant with 1 more due in February. She is my hero! She was nice enough to host our little playdate complete with bagels, coffee, and plenty of toys for the kids to go crazy with. And Ashley brought her precious new little girl (4 months old) who I hadn't met yet and was dying to hold. Sweet, sweet baby. Almost made me want another one. Almost. Not quite. Anyway, the guys hung out while the girls chatted, the moms (my mom and Mel's mom) caught up, and the kids went nuts. Thanks for having us, Melanie, and sharing these fun pictures!

Big Girl Quinn and baby Quinn

Quinn playing with the boys. Lord, help me.

Lots of excitement for Wesley Ann

Sweet girl!

The kids did so well playing together!

Tent time

See - Ryan is out of there & Quinn is chilling with the boys. Yikes.

This was another Christmas miracle - kids and moms all looking at the camera. Only 2 takes thanks to the daddys' help!

After their very busy morning, the twins were ready for lunch and a loonggg nap. Since they typically take 2 naps a day, it's always an interesting day when they just have 1. Anyway, they slept for awhile and I was even able to catch a bit of a nap and recover from the pack/drive/unpack/setup.

Next stop was our matchmaker's Lisa & Adam's house to see their family. We hadn't seen them since our day trip to Galveston so I was so excited. Lisa and I speak all the time but nothing like catching up in person!

We let all of the kids play for a little while (she has 3 little girls, Grace, Emma & Layla) while the grown ups caught up and had a glass of wine (are you seeing a pattern?). Anyways, we also managed to take a fairly decent group shot of the kids. Ryan is such a stud with the ladies all around him : )

Layla, Emma, Ryan, Grace, and Quinn
  We spent a little bit of time there, then headed back to Gigi's to feed the babies some dinner & get them bathed before having a little adult night out with Lisa & Adam. On our way in, we ran into my brother and Christina, who were in from Austin and on their way to a friend's house. So we said a quick "hi", let them kiss the babies, and we were all off and running again. We met Lisa & Adam at a delicious sushi place in Frisco (name is escaping me) - oh my, it was so good. And it was so good to have adult conversation and not have to yell over babies. After dinner, we headed to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert. Lis ran into a friend of hers who just happened to have read my blog during Quinn's surgeries and recovery. Small world! And we even managed to take a couple of pictures to document the evening out because lord knows when we may be able to do that again!

 We got home late, late (for us) and immediately crashed. The day had completely caught up to us but it was so worth it to see some great friends and just enjoy the day! Big thanks to Gigi & Steve for watching the babies and to Lisa's mom for watching the 3 little girls so we could have a nice night out. That was a GREAT Christmas present.

Next up: Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.... for another post...another day : ) Oh, and Lord, more pictures!