Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nac Town Christmas

On the morning of the day after Christmas, we headed down through East Texas to Nacogdoches. Our route took us through the rolling hills of the Pineywoods and the late fall foliage was beautiful! Simply breathtaking in some stretches. We arrived safe and sound to the land of no internet or reliable cell phone Mom and Dad's lake house. It was quiet for a little while with just us and Matt there so far, and mom and I enjoyed a game of Scrabble while Jackson napped. It wasn't quiet for long though, because my sister's family arrived just a couple of hours later and the Saints were playing that night!

Watching the big game with Pop.

We got to spend some time with this little cutie, 5 month old Evelyn.  

I actually caught an elusive Evie smile on camera!

This was the first time that she and Jackson have gotten to hang out when she was actually interested in him, and old enough to be more interactive. Jackson was pretty interested in her this time too! I love the following series...Evie grabbed Jackson's hand, which at first he thought was pretty cool....

But he realized she has a pretty tight grip, which I think caught him off guard a little bit and he tried to act like she had actually hurt him. He didn't get any sympathy from us...just a lot of laughter!

Jackson and Evie both enjoyed the train set this time. Jackson loved watching Santa go round and round on the choo choo.

He's telling me about Santa saying "Ho ho!"

The next day the rainy weather finally cleared and gave way to a beautiful day! No one was happier than this kid....

That evening, with the arrival of my brother Marc and his family, everyone was in place and it was time for our Christmas celebration.

Dressed and ready for the party!

Daddy snuggles are the best.

Our little family of 3!

Jackson loves, loves, LOVES, his Uncle Matt.

Grammy, Pop and all the Grands

"The DuFrene 6"


I just love the silly ones.

Cousins--Ashton, Jackson and Annabelle! These 3 played together so well!

One of my favorite traditions is that Justin and I load up the car with the little ones after we eat so that Santa can come and fill the stockings. In the past, we have driven around to look at Christmas lights. Now that mom and dad have moved out to the lake, there are not very many neighbors and even fewer lights. But there is lots of wildlife, especially deer. So we adapted the tradition to be that we are going to look for "Santa's Reindeer". We did see one, a big buck out in the front yard as we were leaving the driveway. But the little ones had fun imagining all sorts of other "reindeer" sightings, including Ashton's insistence that he had seen "Dixon" (perhaps Santa's 9th reindeer?).

We arrived back to the house and Santa had definitely been there. We settled into our spots to open gifts and Jackson noticed his stocking right away.

The sighting was marked by excited exclamations of "Melmo!"

Before we tore into all those gifts though, we all enjoyed the traditional readings of the Cajun Night Before Christmas, and the Bible reading of the story of the first Christmas.

It was past bedtime, but he was still super excited about his Elmo bus and all of his other gifts!

Jackson got so many wonderful toys and clothes and Justin and I got some pots and pans. Woohoo for grown-up gifts! Everyone ate way too much food, filled several bags with shreds of wrapping paper, and laughed a lot. Yes, a good time was had by all!

The next night, we enjoyed another Christmas get together with Justin's dad and stepmom. Justin's dad cooked dinner and we got to spend some quality time with them.

Jackson and his Papa.

Lots of love from Papa and Granny.

This is Jackson's favorite toy at his Papa's--Mardi Gras beads with a toy car on the end. He goes and finds them every time we are there.

More presents!
Offering his impatient support to Daddy who was freeing his toys from their packaging.

Jackson playing airport with his Granny.
The next afternoon, after one more ride on the 4-wheeler, we headed home. While all of the travelling is exhausting, I know we are so blessed to have our families close enough that we can see them all during the holidays.

Christmas in the Big D

Whew! We made it back Thursday night from our whirlwind travels around the state to celebrate Christmas with our families. We do love spending time with everyone but we are glad to be home! We started our travels with a stop in Dallas for Christmas with Justin's mom.

We were busy busy when we arrived with preparations and lots of cooking to get ready for the various get-togethers, but made sure we snapped a few pictures on Christmas Eve.

Jackson was excited to be at Nana and G-Paw's house!

We needed to do some last minute shopping so we braved the nasty cold and rainy weather in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. The poor boy had been cooped up in the house due to the weather so we just let him out of the cart to run when we got to Target. He ran happily through the aisles, stopping in the electronics section where they had holiday music playing and just gleefully danced around. (Sidenote: Someone should create indoor playgrounds. I know there are playscapes at McDonalds and Chick-fil-a and such but I mean a large open area with space to run, with playground equipment and swings, just like a regular park...just inside. I would pay to use it during the winter, on rainy days and basically all summer long. Seriously, please, someone do this.)

After Target, we made a stop at Kyndra's, Jackson's cousin's, house. She is about a year and a half older than Jackson and they had such fun playing together. She kept remarking "he's just my size!" Not quite...but he's catching up quick!

Kissin' Cousins!
 On Christmas morning, Jackson ran into the living room to see what Santa Nana and G-Paw brought him. He saw his Cozy Coupe immediately and his face just lit up. He was so excited! He played with it for the rest of the day. Unfortunately the box was missing the steering wheel, but Jackson didn't seem to mind and Little Tikes is sending one our way.

He took a little break from driving his new car to see what was in his stocking. I thought he would be excited about the trucks, bus, train or even his Elmo toothbrush. But what stole his attention was the Play-dough! I know they play with it at school, but I was still surprised that he recognized it in the can and insisted on playing with it right away.

And, it was Christmas, so why not? Of course he tried to eat it...

Play-dough is great fun!
 Later on, Aunt Judy, Uncle Jerry and Grandma Ann came over for lunch and there were more presents to open!

Grandma Ann gave him this awesome Fisher Price ramp thing for his cars. It's a really cool toy!

Judy and Jerry.

We had a great time visiting everyone but the next morning it was time for us to load up for our next stop....we were East Texas bound!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

It's Christmas Eve and the boy is tucked away, snug in his pack n' play in Nana's guest room. The feast for tomorrow has been (mostly) prepared, and I'm getting ready for my annual viewing of A Christmas Story. Santa Claus has delivered the goodies, and struggled to assemble some, too! We're ready for Christmas!

On Thursday, Justin and I took an early lunch and met Nana and Jackson at the mall so Jackson could meet Santa! The line wasn't very long and it was quickly our turn. If Jackson sees a picture of Santa or if you ask him what Santa says, he will say "Ho ho!" Cutest thing ever. His reaction to meeting the man in red was somewhat indifferent. Of course, that is thanks in part to that electric train that was making it's way around the Santa end of the mall at the very moment we placed Jackson on Santa's lap. Poor Santa didn't stand a chance at keeping the boy's attention with the "choo choo" in sight. This little smirk was the best we could do.

So of course, we had to take the boy on the train again! All 4 of us! So fun!

Merry Christmas!

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours...

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Week with Nana

Jackson's daycare was closed this week, but Justin and I had to work. Thankfully Jackson has a wonderful Nana who was nice enough to come and spend a few days with us to hang out with the boy. They had a great week!

Jackson seriously loves trains right now, so Nana took him on an outing to the mall where they have this fun electric train that you can ride. He was so excited when he saw the train coming!

Once on the train, Nana reports that he had this super serious look on his face the whole time, but was definitely into it.
Intently watching the train conductor.
How fun is this train? There's a whistle that blows and it even blows out steam.
When the ride was over, he did NOT want to get out and let Nana know it!

Their adventures the next day included a trip to the park. I suspect that Nana got her workout for the day!

What is it with little boys and putting rocks on the slide?

Later that evening, Jackson discovered that Nana has strange feet (pantyhose). He kept pointing and touching her feet trying to figure out what was wrong with them.

I just love his face here. After some inspection, his demeanor changed from curiosity to disgust.

We were laughing so hard but he couldn't figure out what was so funny.

Thanks for wrangling our little monkey this week Nana! We loved having you!