Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Better late than never

Like I was saying in my previous posts, (yes, this is the 3rd Christmas posting!) we alternate families for holidays and it was the year to have Christmas with my sisters. My oldest sister graciously agreed to host at their home outside of DC. When I started thinking about the logistics of that trip (though I was super excited to go and see their new home) I really began to stress. That is a crazy long car ride and with the unpredictability of weather and traffic it could be an even longer ride...yikes. I had this horrific vision of a 13 hour trip with lots of crying and drama, so we looked into flights immediately. Almost as quickly as we looked, flying was vetoed because we couldn't spend that kind of $$ for this trip. On a whim I decided to check Amtrak. I've never traveled by train before but I knew my sister and her husband did it often so I figured it was worth a look see. Upon first search I figured I had to be doing something wrong because it looked SUPER affordable and sadly I just knew there was an error somewhere. I called my sister and asked for her assistance since it wasn't her first rodeo and all you know? Well, she basically responded something like this: "It's crazy but it's accurate - BOOK IT NOW SISTER" and so we did...that very same day. I was really excited and OH.MY.WORD. so was Kennedy. We left out of Charleston, WV and arrived in Alexandria, VA. It was a gorgeous ride and the girls did EXCELLENT. We were able to walk around and eat in the cafe car and the seat area was not only comfortable but really spacious. Each passenger was allowed 3 checked bags 50 lbs or less and 2 carry ons so we had more than enough allowance there. I really have no complaints except that maybe the restrooms could've been a bit better maintained.

Here we are pre-departure:
When she wasn't reading or watching DVD's - this is how Kennedy spent her train time:
Dinner in the cafe car:
Avery just enjoyed some squash:
I really wasn't sure how nap time was going to work on the train because this child WILL NOT sleep anywhere but in her crib. She does ok in the car when we take trips so all I knew to do was load the car seat on the train and hope she'd nap on the train like she does in the car. It was a 10 hour train ride - naps HAD to happen.The kids always do better than what I think ~ the car seat idea worked like a charm:
Sweet little sleeper:
We were the first guests to arrive after my Mom and Jim but Melissa, Steve and Declan (aka super cool Baby Santa followed shortly after):
I'm so thankful that in this "girls world" that is our family - the brothers manage to work in their "man time":
Uncle Steve reading "The Night Before Christmas" to the kiddos on Christmas Eve:
Um...not real sure what to say here except seriously!?!?!? We kept saying it reminded us of the outfits the elfs wear in the JibJab Elf Yourself videos that come out during the holidays.
Too funny!:

Let the Christmas fun begin: stockings!
Avery even got into it:
The one thing that Kennedy kept repeatedly asking for was a bed for Kitters. Well, Aunt Catina and family delivered because check out Kitters' stellar bed:
She got some super sweet slippers too. She's been wearing these like every day and talking about how fancy they are and how she can only wear sparkly things with them because they are so beautiful. Such a girlie girl.
Sweet cousin Maggie made Avery a present and I just love it. I'm a sucker for thoughtful home made items of any kind and I just think this is precious. It's currently propped up in her bedroom but I really want to frame it somehow because it's the sweetest thing ever!
Catherine and Maggie got a Wii, which the adults promptly set up and proceeded to hog for the remainder of our vacay. ;)
Big Jim and Honey with Kennedy. She loves her Honey!
I had a big Christmas this year because two of my most desired items were a camera (check check thanks to Tim's parents) and a stand mixer which I had just discovered I was getting when my dear husband snapped this fantastic photo:
Wait, wait - it gets better: Don't you love how my big sister there (who also had just discovered she was getting the same) is all calm, cool and collected while I epitomize the "I'm the baby of the family" behavior. Nice! Thanks Mom - I'm LOVING it already.
The boys all got scarves and they couldn't resist the urge to ham it up for a photo op:
The babies. Yes, he is like 6 months younger than Avery. Tim and I produce growth stunted offspring. =)
The Christmas dinner table was beautiful and the food was amazing. My big sister Angel - she goes ALL OUT and is just an incredible hostess - period! Her husband Carl fried us up a turkey that was deeelicious and Tim kind of got a bit crazy on the picture taking of said turkey (not sure why - he's a man?)

When we were younger and had big holiday gatherings there was always a "kiddie table" and now our kiddos are carrying on that tradition with a kiddie table of their own.
My Mom likes to purchase my sisters and I matching PJ's on our Christmas's together. She found these super cute and super comfy Lily PJ's at TJ Maxx

No exaggeration - there were probably like 20 pictures taken and this is the best of what we've got:
I love this one - this is us  - everything about it is us and I LOVE it!
Christmas wouldn't be complete without some sugar cookie makin':

It was really hard to go - it always is, but getting back to reality always sobers me up a bit and just makes me kind of mind over matter before my emotions get the best of me. The train ride back was a nice distraction - lots to look at and Avery was more interested and MUCH more needy on the ride home so there wasn't really time for lots of tears:
We all napped a little on the way home - even my non-napping "big girl":
There's nothing sweeter than a sleeping child!


  1. ok a few things:
    that is so awesome taking a train to DC!
    Of course she needs to wear only sparkly things with the fancy shoes! Who would wear something unsparkly (is that even a word?) with shoes as fancy as that? I totally get it Kennedy!
    We have a child that is stunned in growth. At a year she is still only 17.5 lbs!
    Finally, my mom would do something like buying us all matching PJs. I have a brother and even he would get something to match us. Gotta love Mommas!
    (let's hang out!!!)

  2. I knew I forgot something- I got a stand mixer too! it is amazing and I will be using it to make Ruthie's cake and icing for her party! I am so excited!

  3. That train ride looks like such a great idea! Way better than a car! I can't believe how much Declan and Avery look alike!! Love the mixer picture. Made me laugh! And I love the picture of you with your sisters. Looks like such wonderful memories!!

  4. ADORABLE pictures!!! I still can't get over that you girls STILL dress in matching PJs. I love it!!! And that pic of the 4 of you IS y'all to a T! So funny! I miss your sisters! :) I am so happy you got a camera AND a stand mixer. You, of all people, needed both of those things a LOOOOONG time ago!! LOVE YOU!