Wednesday, January 4, 2012

our holiday recap...part 1

Well, on Tuesday, December 20, we loaded up the car with my parents and Lexi and headed to sunny Florida for the holiday!

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Lexi is Daddy's best friend!

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The trip down was smooth sailing. We made it to the Bradenton/Sarasota area in one day with little to no traffic and minimal stopping. The priority stop was in Florence, SC, for Mom to shop at the Belk for 15 minutes while Dad, Dynamo, Lexi, and I hit Chic-fil-A. Mom forfeits eating for her shopping time! She's like a kid in a candy store when she sees a Belk!

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The ride was pretty painless! The rules were simple....don't eat too much and don't drink too much! Dad used the excuse that the dog had to go to the potty so we would stop. He was quite clever!

Being an only child I knew it would be hard to spend Christmas away from my family, so we brought them with us. And...the Chieppas were so kind and generous to welcome all of us into their home. My mom jokes that I come as a package! Why not be together as one big family? I guess it's a good thing our parents like each other!

When we arrived there were lots of hugs and food! Lots of desserts! Mr. C put out a plate of delicious goodies they got especially for Dynamo and I! Dynamo got his mom's homemade anisette cookies...

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...and they had a local bakery make me my favorite goodie...linzer tarts! We were in heaven!!! We felt so special!

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We came with goodies to share too! One of my co-workers made Mr. C. his favorite goodie - a fruitcake! So, he dug right into it!

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My Mom and Dad rented a place on Anna Maria Island. So, we all went over to the island to check out their place and get in a little beach weather!

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Their place was right on the beach!

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If you haven't been to Anna Maria, put it on your list. It's a fantastic little spot on the Gulf with a small island feel. The beaches are beautiful and clean, and people come from all over to visit.

We all made ourselves right at home on the beach there!

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This is the life...

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It's always wonderful to see Dynamo's parents. We only get to see them once or twice each year, which isn't enough. Talking on the phone just isn't the same!

So, we spent the first three days dragging the Chieppas around town shopping, eating, and shell hunting!

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Oh, and we had fun shell hunting! Mr. and Mrs. C thought we got lost on the beach!

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And...I love to find sanddollars!

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But...the coolest thing were these hearts that a woman was making on the beach.

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So, we staged a photo shoot of ourselves!

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It was glorious!

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When Christmas Eve arrived, we ventured out to the Sarasota Farmers' Market!

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Talk about a wonderful market!

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It was strawberry season too! Momma bought a pint and ate the whole thing before we left!

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When we returned it was time for Dynamo's brother and sister-in-law to get in from Georgia. Amy and Craig are two wonderful people whom I love dearly. And, my dad just adores Amy!

Here's my dad with Amy!

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She is such a kind, generous, intelligent lady whom I consider myself lucky to be related to! I couldn't ask for a better sister-in-law. And, Craig isn't too bad himself! He likes to joke on my accent. I honestly don't talk funny. He and Dynamo are a lot alike. He is a good man and good husband. They are two people whom you could count on if you needed anything. I'm very blessed! I just wish they were closer!

Here's Dynamo visiting with his baby brother!

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On Christmas morning Dynamo and Amy put on their running shoes and ventured out for a jog!

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Lexi relaxed...

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Upon their return we relaxed, opened presents, and waited for the other boys to arrive for dinner!

Amy and Craig got some mistletoe from us so they were testing it out!!

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Lexi and Tasha (Mr. and Mrs. C's dog) got gator dental chews from Santa!

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Dynamo's other two brothers, Richie and Michael, came for Christmas dinner. This was the first time in about 10 years that all of the "boys" were together! So, we took some group pictures!

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We laughed. We ate. We relaxed.

It was so wonderful to see the guys altogether. It was so special. I'm so glad that we could all be there together with Mr. and Mrs. C! They worked so hard to have the perfect dinner, desserts, and comforts for everyone.

Here are some more pics.

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This one was for Amy (yes, this is a family thing..there is a story behind this)!

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It was a great time!

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Did I mention the sweets?

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More tomorrow...

And...P.S. Today is my parents' 41st wedding anniversary!!! Congratulations! Love you!

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