Saturday, February 5, 2011

Christmas 2010!

I realize this post is really late, but here it is! Better late than never? 

Gray was able to meet Santa again at the HMH-462 Christmas Party. I believe he is warming to the idea of getting gifts on Jesus' birthday, but he still isn't sold. Santa came to the party in a CH-53E. Are Marines the only ones who do squadron parties this big? I can't be sure. I digress. Santa showed up with an unlikely character, the Grinch. 
Santa and the Grinch arrive on a CH-53E!
After the line dwindled, Gray decided it was time to see Santa. He walked up to Santa to check things out and eventually sat in Santa's lap. The Grinch is off to the right, so Gray was less concerned with Santa and more worried about this new/unsavory character lurking mere feet from Gray's face. After our Santa visit, we played with some other kids, watched some mechanical bull riding, and went home.

Santa and Gray: a developing relationship.
Later that night, Josh and I got a baby sitter and were off to Ramona for the Officer's Christmas party at the CO's house. Josh almost won ugliest Christmas sweater, and he may have if I would have voted for him. I didn't really think it was that ugly, just something your Grandmother would wear. Oh well.
Josh and I (with the CO, his wife, and George W in the background) in our ugly sweaters!
The wives had a quick ornament exchange (Gray promptly broke the ornament I got that night while packing all of the Christmas decor back up.) and the pilots all brought gag gifts to do a White Elephant exchange. I thought Josh was going to end up with a Shake Weight, but luckily he didn't. I can't remember who was the lucky soul that ended up with the bowling ball we brought.
The wives/girlfriends with our ornaments! 
Josh was lucky enough to be one of the Marines not on leave on Christmas Eve, so he got duty. I cooked dinner for him, then Gray and I went to Miramar for a visit. Josh and I got one self-portrait without the Monkey because he was playing on the computer. We tried to get one of the whole fam, but Gray wasn't pleased when we took him away from his clerical duties. 
My Marine and I on Christmas Eve!
A little computer work... 
This was as cooperative as Gray could be with the photos. 
The guy that was taking over duty from Josh was kind enough to come in ultra early (like 4am) to let Josh get home ultra early so he didn't miss anything Christmas morning. Gray was still asleep when Josh got home so Josh and I got showered, dressed, and tried to finish packing before Gray woke up.
  
Gray investigated what Santa brought immediately and was quite pleased with his gifts. He was so happy with Santa's selections he had little interest in unwrapping the gifts under the tree. Gray had a fantastic time with his new toys, ate breakfast, and was rushed upstairs for a bath. We had to be at the airport fairly so we loaded up the car and headed south. 
Look Dada, Santa came last night!
Woody! How long have you been sitting there!?!

Josh helping Gray open presents.
Snack at the airport. 
After a full day of airports and a two hour time difference, we arrived in Jackson after dark to freezing cold weather! I immediately thought, "I should have packed more warm weather gear." We drove into Bastrop and spent a little time with the fam before heading to bed. The next morning, the kids opened their gifts. Gray and Claire got matching cups, which they promptly swapped and pretended to drink out of. They are so cute together. I wish we lived closer together so Gray could play with his cousins more often! We spent our time in Bastrop hanging out with my family, but decided to ride up to Jones to ride around on the land Dad left us on Bob's 4-wheeler and Uncle Derl's Rhino (while Mom kept the kids). The land is right behind Aunt Kitty's house, so we got to see them again too. Overall it was pretty fun, but the wind chill made for a pretty cold ride! 
Claire and Gray with their M&M cups. 
After I took my ski mask off. 
Mom's house as we left home. This is the last Christmas we will spend here... 
Our next stop was Jackson. Most of Josh's family lives there, so we stayed there for the majority of the trip. His Mom and little sister drove over to see us, so we got to see everyone while we were there. We were able to spend a whole day with his Dad and brothers shooting targets. I actually shot pretty well and I think I surprised the boys. Josh's Dad kept giving me re-loaded bullets, so they wouldn't kick as much (apparently they have less power). I guess he has forgotten I have a snub-nose Smith and Wesson .38 special. Whatever.  :)
Papa and Gray opening gifts. 
Gray playing with a 'critter call.' He is bound to be a country boy I guess...
He thought this call was fantastic. If it wasn't so obnoxious, I would consider buying him one. 
Gray finds his own entertainment everywhere he goes. 
Self-portrait while others are shooting targets. Gray was passed out by this point. 
Josh's mom made the trip to Jackson to help Adam and Melanie with their girls, since Melanie was super-pregnant with the twins (who were delivered the day after we left-I'm still bitter). I'll steal one of her pictures and post again. We were able to go to the Cock of the Walk with Josh's mom, brother, sister, SIL, nieces, and Maggie's (sister) dad. The food is always good but the company was better! 
Cock of the Walk in Jackson with Mom. It was super fun!
We stayed in Jackson until New Year's Day, then headed back to San Diego. Our flights were on time and all of our luggage arrived. I would have thought seeing Tony Hawk at the airport was the perfect ending to the trip. 

Then we had to pay for parking. 

Lesson learned? Parking at the San Diego airport parking is expensive. Have a friend drop you off! 

Besides being home for the holidays, it was nice to be back home in general. You don't realize how much you miss the familiar until you don't have it. I miss my family, my friends, miles of cotton and corn fields, cold weather, cows, fried food, sweet tea, flat land, the Mississippi River, back roads, the middle of nowhere, southern hospitality, and no traffic. We love San Diego and were glad to be back here after the trip, but for me nothing beats home. I can't wait to go back for a more leisurely trip in 2011!

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