Monday, January 02, 2012

whole lotta Christmas pics

 Last Saturday morning we packed up as much as we could carry, walked to the corner, hailed a cab, and headed to the airport to fly home to Arkansas for Christmas.
Audrie chatted up the cab driver the whole way.
 Annie snuggled with me. (Still so weird to not have car seats in the cabs, but thankfully we don't have to do that very often!)

We braced ourselves for a day of flying with two little girls. Audrie did amazing. She likes flying (except every time the flight attendant walks by, Audrie screams "NUTS, PLEASE!!". It's a little mortifying.)

 Annie, on the other hand, is not a fan of sitting still for hours on end...!!
 I had a big bag of tricks that lasted a little while and eventually she fell asleep, but it was still not the most fun I've ever had.

Finally we landed in Arkansas and Donna picked us up to drive to Green Forest in time for Christmas Eve with Jamie's family.

 It was great to see everyone and feel at home again.
 It was a houseful with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins running around. But we loved it!
 And it's not officially a holiday until your name is on a red Solo cup, right? (Did you know there is a song about that??!)
 We ate way too much food and enjoyed catching up with everyone.
 Audrie stuck close to Cory's side the whole night. She loves him!
 Annie made friends with everyone!
 She is quite the flirt.
 There is always a game of cards being played with Jamie's family around.
 Tucker and Dylan.
 Tiffanie's little boy, Jess...
 We opened presents.

 Annie loves her little Fur Real puppy.
 Audrie got some new books and art supplies. Perfect for her!

 We do a gift card "dirty santa" every year and it's lots of fun.

 Thanks to Larry and Pat for hosting!
 Annie trying to pretend she's not chewing on a Barbie shoe...
 A lovely shot of Dylan...
 Grandma Cornett stealing some kisses from Audrie.
 Not sure what's going on this pic but I thought it looked interesting (thanks to Kameron for taking all these photos for me, by the way. I love letting her steal my camera so I can just relax).
 Oh, Dylan. :)

We went back to Donna's house that night and tried to get the girl's in bed early so they could be ready for another round of Christmas the next day. Annie woke us all up early...

 She loved playing with Donna's Christmas tree.

 Chalona and Steve came over that morning to celebrate with us.
 And they brought some wonderful presents for the girls.
 Two more Barbies!!!

 Here is my attempt to get a photo of the girls in front of the tree.

 Annie just wanted to snuggle.
 We went to the family's church that morning. (Thanks Donna for this picture!)
 Later that afternoon Donna let Audrie open her present from her...
 A big girl bicycle!!
 Audrie was super excited!!
 And she did really great on it! So proud of her.
 Then after naps we headed back to Pat and Larry's for leftovers. Annie quickly found a snuggle buddy.
 Jamie tickling Audrie...

It was so nice to be home for the holidays. A few more random photos from my Instagram app...

 Annie was pretty worn out the entire trip (traveling, no naps, up late at night, etc). But she was a trooper!
 I think Aunt Wendy got more naps than anyone...! ;)
 Jamie did catch a few naps here and there.
 The girls loved being in Arkansas. (Audrie actually had a lot to say about her memories of Arkansas and I think it was a little confusing for her at times, but we took time to talk to her about it all and she handled it so great!)
 Of course, we ate at Jim's Drive In several times while we were in Green Forest. Our favorite item on the menu... taco pie!
 Jamie and I got to escape on Tuesday and headed to Branson to visit my sister, Denise, and go see a movie. It was nice to just be the two of us in car. (I know that may seem weird to say, but the solitude is something we rarely get in nyc.)
 On Wednesday we drove over to NWA to visit friends. It was cute to see the girls sleeping in their car seats again.

These photos are a little out of order, but we went to Trent and Candace's house. Audrie was SOOO excited to see Camryn!

 The rode bicycles around the kitchen. (Everyone's house seemed so huge to us, after living in our tiny apartment for 6 months!)
 Camryn and Audrie powdering their noses...
 The girls had fun playing together! And it was awesome to spend time with Trent and Candace!

Jamie got to ride in their Tahoe (with all the girls). He misses his vehicle!

 We also took the girls to visit Jamie's old coworkers at Arvest. We had a good time hanging out there and letting the girls terrorize everyone. :)
 And we also spent a few hours at Nathan and Kim's house. Audrie talks about Jacob and Emma all the time, so we pretty much didn't see her once we arrived. They spent almost the whole time playing in the backyard. I did snap this pic right before we left. They finally came inside to rest.
 I didn't get a picture but we also stopped by our old neighborhood to visit our neighbors, Gina, Gracen, and Gaven. Audrie and Annie immediately ran back to their room to play (just like old times).

Audrie did get sad when she saw our old house and asked to go inside to play in her room. She got a little tearful when I explained that new people lived in that house now.

But cheered up again when we arrived at my mom's house. Audrie said she just wanted to play in Grandma Lowery's "park". ha!
 My niece, Emily, was in visiting, too.

 My mom had some sweet gifts for the girls.

 Thanks, Jamie, for taking this picture (and for not warning us to step out of the huge shadow...ha!!).

My brother, Seth, came over on his lunch break to my mom's to visit with us. So nice of him!

I also got to have a nice long breakfast at Mimi's with my gals that I miss SO much- Kate, Mel, and Shannon. I didn't get a picture because I was too busy holding back tears from missing them so much. But it was truly wonderful to see them again.

Finally, after our whirlwind tour of visiting everyone, we headed back to Green Forest. We didn't get to see everyone we wanted on this trip, but hopefully next time we will!

Donna has a cow pasture right next to her house and the girls love watching the cows.

Audrie yelling at us from Donna's porch. (Jamie and I were going for a last night meal at Taco Bell). I'm not sure what Audrie was yelling... probably "NUTS, PLEASE".

Friday morning Donna drove us to the airport to fly back to NYC.

 Oh, joy. Another day of good times on the airplane!
 Weary travelers!
 But thankfully, both girls crashed and slept almost the entire flight home!

 It felt really strange to come "home" to New York City. But it also felt good, which was nice. I wasn't sure how I would feel after my first trip back to Arkansas. I LOVED seeing everyone and getting the downtime and the fresh quiet air. But honestly, after the week was over I was ready to come "home".
Jamie and I have talked about how we feel homeless sometimes, because we don't really know what to call home. But I told him on the way back from this trip, that we aren't homeless... we are homeful because we have several places to call home. Cheesy, I know! But I have to think of it that way for now.

Ok, well thanks for looking at all million of our photos!