Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday Fun in the Sun

We had such a great time in Florida for Christmas! 10 days in the warm sun! ...yes, I realize that we live in California but it was much warmer in Florida. We spent our days really relaxing. The cousins had so much fun playing together. Ava really improved upon her walking skills keeping up with all of the older kids. She is the baby grandkid and got a lot of attention and loved every minute of it. We really enjoyed my parents new house. They had a huge Christmas tree and fun decorations. It made Christmas really fun. Thanks guys!

It is best to tell our trip in pictures. Bill and my dad get very camera happy so it was all well documented.


Ava got pretty sick for a couple of days. She had a fever and a cold. It was such a bummer and it resulted in us missing our plans to hang out with the Knowles in Ft Meyers, sorry guys.

Christmas Eve. We stopped at the grocery store and Ava was just so happy in the cart I had to take her picture. The kids got to open two presents, one of course being the traditional new pajamas. Kimmy and Ava were happy to match!

Christmas day. Presents.

We went down to Scott's house later that afternoon and exchanged gifts with them. Ava wore her Christmas dress. Ava and Emma were instantly good friends, it was really cute. Ava decided to do her scrunched face all the time for the camera and Scott.

Busch Gardens is an amusement park in Tampa with an African theme. My parents got us all tickets for Christmas so we spent two days there. There were so many animals - elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, flamingos, etc. The kids decided to plan the route around the park. Scott and Katie liked to make silly faces all week long. There was a really cool little kid section with a 3-story tree house and Eric enjoyed running across the bridges. Katie on the carousel. We went back the second day with just Bill and Kayla - the kids were home with Grandma and Papa. Woohoo. We got to ride all of the roller coasters which were all great and stopped in Chipotle on the way home.

For Christmas the kids got my parents a fire pit for the patio. We tried it out and roasted hot dogs. We played the kid version of Cranium which turned out to be really fun.

On Friday we went to the beach - the Gulf of Mexico - white sand. The ride there looked like we were going through the Everglades - we hoped to have an alligator sighting in the swamps but no luck. When we got there Ava was so excited to get in the water. There was a playground on the beach too. Ava had her first alone experience on the slide.

That evening my parents watched the little kids while the "big" kids went out to dinner at Scott's favorite mexican place, Estelas. We all enjoyed the enchiladas. We ended the night with a dog pile.

Family photos.

All of the girl grandchildren.

Ava and I.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well we are off to Florida to spend Christmas with the Novaks but we wanted to leave this Christmas post behind. We've had such a great year. Most of it has been well documented here on the blog but there are a few things we wanted to point out. If you don't want to read the year end letter scroll to the bottom for more pictures.

Eric has been very fortunate to have a great job with PwC even though he has worked more hours than he ever has before. He has taken on a lot of responsibility quicker than most at his level and I really think that he's well liked by everyone there. He's really enjoyed working with a couple of his good friends from BYU. It has been such great work experience for him but we are counting on a lot of changes for this new year. Eric has also enjoyed singing in the choir at church and working with me in the nursery. It's funny that we really have enjoyed getting to know the kids and their cute personalities. Eric has been running a lot lately too. He always has enjoyed jogging but I think his passion for it has grown since we moved here and he can run right along the beach. We are loving living in Huntington Beach.

We have been so blessed this year with our baby girl making everything more interesting. We can't say enough how happy she makes us and how we love to see her little face everyday. We are grateful for good health and her happy disposition. Ava really keeps my days busy with naps, playing and feeding her. We enjoy shopping together, going to the park, and during the summer we like going to the beach and swimming. Starting in January we are taking two "mom and me" classes through the community - gymnastics and dance. It's geared toward her age so obviously it will be hilarious to see what it all entails. I am excited for her to spend more time with a variety of kids in a new environment. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to stay at home with Ava. I really do appreciate all that Eric does to make that possible.

Here are a few Christmas photos:

Ava and Santa are not friends yet but hopefully next year she will warm up and realize this is who brings the gifts! The photo is priceless though and she looks too cute bawling her head off.

Eric and I went up to RSM last weekend to watch Follow the Star (a live nativity program) and we ended up being in the show. Eric was a wise man in two performances and then Eric and I were Joseph and Mary together. Eric's dad and Bryan were also wise men and Meredith was the angel. What a family production!

The Christmas tree at Fashion Island is 150 feet tall - real. It's enormous and stunning. There are huge wooden packages underneath. Ava got her photo taken sitting on them. She loved it!

Growing up in the Novak family we went on a lot of drives. My parents liked to explore new neighborhoods and during Christmas time especially we would take a lot of drives to see Christmas lights. Well, I still enjoy doing that so we went to visit "Candy Candy Lane" as it is known. This little street goes all out every year. There is so much going on. Ava even woke up to check it out since the lights were blinding and the music was blaring. Here is one of the homes.

And, thanks to everyone for being such great family and friends! We are so lucky to have you. Hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! Travel safe.