Merry Christmas! So much fun...that I've had to skip a few postings. Thank you to all those who have checked on me in the meantime. It's nice to know we have a strong following! I left you a few weeks ago, Ellie's last week of school. We hosted a manatee encounter playdate for MOPS. It was so cold but they got out there in the paddleboat with the kids. I think they really liked it. I don't know why more people don't take me up on coming to see the manatees. They are right here and it's so cool! Ellie's had a Christmas play at school and guess what...she was Mary! I wasn't expecting it, but very cool that she was the lead (and her "best friend", Joseph!). We had a playdate with my old roommate in DC and her boys. We got a small group and went caroling at the nursing home. Turns out one of my MOPS friends is an amazing singer, she saved us (that and the jingle bells to drown us out a bit ;-) We saw Alex's Christmas play (which was very similar to Ellie's). We went to my JU pal, Lisa's house for a playdate with her 3 boys and to meet the newest, Declan. Phil and I went on a "date" to the Penance Service at St. Matt's. Nice to cleanse the soul this time of year. We went out with the Benton's to check out the German house in town for dinner. One day I ran to the Suter's (prepping for that half marathon next month) then did a power hour. I have gotten in a few good, long run while Phil's been home. That's nice. And then, the family-ness happened. My youngest brother, Erik arrived on Thursday and younger sister, Katie on Saturday. Sunday was one of those marathon days: mass, last minute Christmas shopping, 1st Bday party for Sophie (one of our CEE friends), then milk & cookies with Santa out in PVB (talk about VIP!) As a gift to my parent's, we organized the meal schedule for the week. I know it's a lot of pressure on my parent's to shop, prep, cook for all these people and never knowing who's coming to what. So, we did it all. Sunday, we took them out to eat at Enza's (sans kids). Monday we went to O2B Kids and let the kids run around for a few hours. We went to visit with UE & AS then rushed back home to host a BBQ dinner for the family. I spiced it up with a scavenger hunt: yellow team vs. blue team. Suzanne and Erik were team captains and picked teams. Lots of clues all over the house, yard and street. They even had to sing carols at the neighbors for a clue! It was fun! Christmas Eve we had a brunch at the Kerkezi's. Later we went to 5pm mass. The girls were pretty good. It's always tough sitting there with the 3 of them. Luckily, they looked super cute in their Christmas dresses so no one seemed to mind too much! We came home and had Mojo's BBQ takeout for dinner. Phil and I went to work helping Santa prep for the next morning. Erik came over and became the newest Cardinal Puff! Christmas morning was nice and lazy. The girls beat me downstairs so I wasn't able to get video footage like I have in the past. I think the ball pit is a huge hit! Ellie loves her Princess Sofia amulet. Marly enjoyed the candy necklace. We had a late Christmas lunch with the family. We did a few gift exchanges. My mom had her wedding veil made into handbags for my sisters and I. That was super cool! Everyone came back over here for Jesus' Birthday party, dessert and after dinner drinks. We stayed up playing Rummikub. The next day we went to Fernandina for the day. Amelia Island plantation, the Ritz then met Erik, Katie, mom and dad for a late lunch on their way to taking Erik to the airport. Friday we stayed inside for most of the day, just recovering. Then, the Suter's (should I even link to you anymore, I mean a whole year?!) green-lighted us with a power hour. That night was the MOPS Christmas leftover party. I was sad the turn out was so slim but we played this super fun game, Cards Against Humanity. We laughed so hard! Amazing! Saturday, we went to the Avenues mall to ride the train and stay out of the rain. That night was the CEE Christmas party. I'm over the white elephant gift exchange at this point. We'll have to come up with something else. Isn't there another game/thing to do at Christmas parties? Sunday, the older girls and I went to mass. I had lunch with Timothy, one of my friends from college. He was in town for a race. We had a sausage fest at the Suter's and got to see the Newton's right before they had sweet baby, Brooke! So, whew! What a Christmas! Abigail has a few highlights to share. She finally got a first tooth! It's about half way in, on the bottom. Also, she's finished nursing. I feel some guilt about stopping early and not making it to a year. We're learning the formula shuffle. I'm not used to having to prep and make a bottle! Now we have even more toys for these girls (because we just didn't have enough!). From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas!