We had a great Christmas celebration with my family in Arkansas this year. We took the Amtrak train on a 13-hour journey, and it was a great experience! Of course, sleeping was a bit difficult, but the extra space, the freedom to walk around, and the sights along the way were definite benefits. We started out our week in Arkansas in Heber Springs, where my parents have a lake house. It was great to be outside. There was ample time for hiking along trails, taking in the beautiful view, and even a little kayaking. After a couple of days, we headed to Pine Bluff where we had time to hang out, prepare for Christmas, and visit my 93-year-old grandparents every day. I’m so thankful for the time we had with each person. My sister Savanah and my new brother-in-law Scott were there, as well as my mom’s mom, Memaw, who drove in from Dallas-Ft. Worth. Here are a few highlights from our time in Arkansas:
-Lilia locked herself in the bathroom (twice). The first time was in the middle of dinner, and we all got up to see how we could help. Lilia was cool as a cucumber, happily washing her hands and talking as she waited on us to figure out how to open the door. At one point, she said, “Oh, I turned the light off!” We all laughed and groaned at the same time. Fortunately, Lilia maintained her cheery attitude, and we had her out in no time.
-Another funny Lilia story: Our immediate family was sleeping in a room with two twin beds pushed up against opposite walls. In the middle of the floor was a mattress where Jedidiah was sleeping. One night Lilia was asleep on one of the twin beds, and Josh and I were up talking with the rest of the family. Josh heard Lilia calling, “I need my daddy!” So, he ran in to find her in the dark. He felt on the bed where she had fallen asleep, but he couldn’t find her. He then felt on Jedidiah’s bed, but she wasn’t there, either. He could still hear her crying very close by, but he could not figure out where she was. He was patting his hand around gently all over looking for her. Finally, he reached his hand a little under the bed she’d been sleeping in, and he felt her arm. Can you believe she was all the way under that twin bed?! All we could figure out was that she had rolled off the twin bed, onto Jedidiah’s mattress, and then rolled under the twin bed. Funny little one!
-Lilia got to go to a “fancy ladies party.” It was a Christmas party that a family in Pine Bluff hosts every year. The party happens in a mansion, with many beautiful rooms to explore. Pine Bluff women come dressed up in the finest clothes. There is also quite an impressive spread of food at the party. There is even a kids’ table with kid-friendly treats. Lilia (our little carnivore) passed up the cookie-cut-out peanut butter sandwiches for meatballs instead. She definitely ate her share of meat balls. She also got to finish off my chocolate mousse, served in a little glass with it’s own tiny spoon. Lilia LOVED being a “fancy lady.” She was quite proud of herself, walking around in her Christmas dress with her little purse. At the end of our time there, she said, “Why I have no FIVE chocolates? I have meatballs. Why I have no five chocolates?” She was hoping to convince me to give her more chocolate mousse. Here are a few pictures of us at the party…
-The kids got to go to the Pine Bluff Nature Museum. Lilia was sure to hold Uncle Scott’s hand at Nature Museum because he’s afraid of snakes.
-We had a great Christmas morning and gift exchange that included some pretty amazing gifts, including a new sewing machine for me and a new “big boy” bicycle for Jedidiah. We also had a lovely Christmas dinner with the whole family.
-We had a couple of delightful skype sessions with my sister and brother-in-law, Mallary and Chip, in China. We even all received Chinese names!
It truly was a great Christmas. Thanks, mom and dad, for all that you did to host us and bless us! We love you!!!
[I have “exceeded my limit” on pictures, so I could not add more pictures to this post. Gonna go try to figure that out….]