For Christmas 2016, we headed over the ocean to my brother Russell’s house to celebrate with his family. We have been there before for the holidays and the weather could be snowing or like this time could be in the mid 70’s and having us rushing out to find summer clothes. The first day we were there we were sweaty in our winter boots and sweaters. We had looked before we left and saw that there would be some sunshine but we didn’t expect the heat to pop out with it. Don’t get me wrong I am NOT complaining. While it was weird to be in flip flops and shorts on Christmas Day, it felt so good at the same time.
There is nothing better than being home for the holidays. Even though it wasn’t where I grew up and my parents weren’t there, it still felt like home to me. I was back in my own country, surrounded by family that I love dearly and my own accent. If you have ever lived abroad you will relate to me here. If not, it’s amazing how much an accent can make you feel comfortable and at home. My brother had just built a new house so we were really excited to see it. The kids were loving all the empty rooms as he just moved in to run around and be free inside for once. They weren’t confined to one room or an area to play. We landed on Christmas eve’s eve and from there on it was family fun time.
We had so many adventures together for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and my birthday come Boxing Day too. My brother, Matt and his family showed up on my birthday to join in the festivities with my niece who is taking up photography too. I haven’t seen her in years so it was amazing to see her all grown up and so passionate about her new camera from “Santa”. We spend time going over the basics of manual mode and she got to test out photos on the kids for her first test session with it. I even used a few snaps of hers on my instagram and here too. She has a great eye and will no doubt be better than be in a few weeks (young brain) or better yet already is better, from the start. I am so proud of her. My nieces and nephews are a bit older than my kids so it came time to go out for my birthday it was eerie leaving them to babysit my two kids when I used to babysit them. When you move away it’s like the people you know freeze at the age you leave. So it was a great shock as Mr P and I went out with my two brothers and their partners for drinks and they were sat at home watching movies together. The circle of life right there.
The cousins got along so well. The dynamics between them are so nice. Age gap big enough each one takes care of the next one in line. I love watching them together. We made Gramma’s famous Christmas cookies and decorated them all together just as she would have done with them if she could have made it. I wish it could be like it was at Christmas all the time with us all together but it does make these visit all the more special. Christmas Day was amazing. Even though the weather was the hottest that day it still felt magical in every way for the holidays.
I ate so much American food that I missed so much. I fear I need a month of gym sessions to make up for it. Isn’t that what January is for, right? If you can’t let go at Christmas time on the diet and being healthy when can you? We went to a Japanese restaurant where they make the food on the grill in front of you. The kids were absolutely mesmerized. You can see their reactions when the chef made a volcano erupt on the grill with flames in the video below.
My brother has a lovely huge park right next door for the kids to play at. There is a back field next to it for playing soccer and then trails through the woods and two little ponds to go fishing in next to that. We spent a few hours each day climbing the jungle gym and running around the playground, playing soccer with the extended family and then walking through the woods. Uncle Russell took B fishing one day and I couldn’t believe how much they both stand and act alike. It was like seeing two of them at different stages in their life. B really took to it like I am sure my brother did his first fishing lesson. It was just such a chilled out fun time together in the sun. Who could ask for more than that?
I always say it but when my two kids can roam around in the sunshine outside thats’ when they are happiest. There isn’t bickering, whining, and fighting like back in UK when they can’t go play out because the wind and rain is howling around them. I wish we could have stayed another week just so they could have stock piled their outdoor adventures together.
We went to the Atlanta Aquairum on my birthday which is the largest one in the US. The kids were in awe of the sharks, turtles and whales but us adults couldn’t get over how amazing the dolphin show was too. We went out for a nice lunch and hit some shops for some retail therapy for me. It was the first time we have gone into the city when visiting so it was a fun treat. The kids were amazed how big the Christmas baubles decorated around the city were so as bloggers go we had to get a photo in one.
We never go crazy for Christmas with our kids. They have enough in life to sit and open presents for hours on end. Plus, we don’t have much space in the suitcase to bring them home as we always are abroad for the holidays. It was just enough to put a huge smile on their faces and give them some toys to play with at Uncle Russell’s for the rest of our vacation there. They were so pleased with what they got and it always makes me proud that they never ask for more or say, “is that it?” I think it actually makes them play longer and more with the few toys they get.
We had a day where the boys all went to play freesbie golf and the girls all went shopping to spend their Christmas gift cards during the sales. It was so fun having that special time with my sister in law, niece, and daughter. I know the boys had equally as much fun as we did. It really does B good to hang with the guys for once as he is always with Mommy.
Our last day out with us all together we went to play miniature golf. Right up my brother and husband’s street and B has a new found interest in playing instead of soccer so we thought it would be a win win. My sister in law and I with my nieces gave them a run for their money though despite what they might say. It was a day full of family laughter, family banter which is the best and the kids bonding together through sport.
I am so grateful we had the chance to go to America for the holidays and see my siblings and their families. I wish it was like that every year. I wish my other siblings could have made it along with my parents of course too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live close together? But life didn’t turn out that way so these trips I will forever hold dear to my heart. I will look over these photos and our family videos to recall the memories in the future. I hope the cousins will grow up with great memories of each other and always stay close in touch as I have done with my own cousins.
Check out our Christmas in America adventure video for more below…