Well we did it! We had our 12 day excursion to Phoenix via Kansas City and are finally home and completely unpacked(praise hands emoji) and slowly but surely slipping back into our regular day to day routine. The meal plan is set, the Christmas decor will come down this weekend(probably?), and school starts back up on Monday!

But before all of that, a recap!

We started off our visit with a brief stay at Jim’s parents in Kansas City, celebrated Christmas early, and also got to swing by and see my little brother and his wife(who took the above picture!)

Then it was off to Phoenix on Christmas Eve!

And we weren’t excited one little bit!

Our flight was during nap time, so fingers were crossed that the littlest would give in and take a rest.

After some protesting, she finally did! Hallelujah!

The rest of the flight was uneventful and the girls took it easy on us. My Dad picked us up at the airport and we picked up In N Out for dinner on the way home.

I have to say, it was the absolute perfect Christmas Eve dinner, I think!

Brief sidenote: my Mom had a total knee replacement two weeks before Christmas, so she was a total saint to let us come and crash at her house while she was in the midst of recovering from such a big surgery!

After dinner we had to prep our Santa things!

This was our very first year to celebrate with Santa Claus. I’m sure I could write an entire blog post on the topic, but basically, in the past 5 years, he just never came up. So we didn’t really worry about it either way. But this year, the neighbor boy behind us mentioned to Abigail this summer that Santa gave him his big trampoline in the backyard for Christmas last year, and that sparked something inside of Abigail.

She just wanted to believe in him, and Jim and I were totally okay with letting her do that. (And maybe you’re reading this and think that sounds like a really weird thing to have a discussion over, but in our community I would actually say that the majority of kids/their parents don’t “do” Santa) And I just have to say, it was the most wonderful, magical, best thing EVER. I don’t think I have ever seen her that excited for anything in her life! She wrote the letters, and made the lists, and setting out those cookies she was practically jumping up and down with excitement.

I told her that I always left a can of Mountain Dew out for Santa Claus when I was little(figured he needed the caffeine if he was going to be up all night) so she opted to leave him out a Coca Cola 🙂

Christmas morning was wonderful. Abigail actually slept in!! And we all just lazed around in our pajamas and had a big breakfast and a nice slow morning.

Once Abigail came bursting out of her room, she couldn’t believe it! HE CAME! Santa actually came and he found her even though she was in Phoenix!

He left her a hand written letter telling her what a good girl she had been this year and all of the things he was so proud of her for, and then let her know that he had delivered a small, indoor trampoline to her house in Joplin to enjoy once she got home.

Y’all. She. Was. So. Excited.

Seriously. Best Christmas ever!

Santa brought all sorts of fun small things! Markers and paper, playdoh and candy, a personalized apron for all of Abigail’s cooking, and little animals for her tree house back home.

Oh yes, and lots and lots of chapstick(which was Mabel’s favorite!)

The girls wore their matching(glow in the dark!!) jammies and it was just too cute. You know me, I can’t resist the sister twinning!

After Christmas it was business as usual at Grammy and Pappy’s house. Lots of pool time, tv and movies, games, wayyyyy tooooo muchhhhh fooooooddddd, and more!

The weather was actually really strange while we were in Arizona! It rained multiple days and on Christmas it was colder in Phoenix than back in Kansas City!

But, fortunately, my parents have a pool heater and a hot tub….which we all enjoy immensely!

Grammy got to have lots of couch snuggles, book reading, and tv watching with the girls! But she also managed to pop a pain pill 😉 and keep up with them every now and again too!

Like when they decorated the gingerbread village(which I totally saved for her to do)!

My Dad is a super big time golfer and since we were going to be staying so long he signed Abigail up for a few golf lessons. She absolutely LOVED it! She got some new golf shoes that she thought made her SO cool, she hit a bird with one of her swings, and she made a putt that was apparently longer “than Grammy and Pappy’s pool”. So yeah, I think he has the girl hooked!

Jim’s older sister lives in the Phoenix area, so we always make it a point to do something together while we’re in town. This time it was Legoland!

But the wall in front of the aquarium next door was way cooler, so we took pictures in front of it instead 😉

And because my Mom likes to make an entire village and not just one house, they worked on it over multiple days and Mabesy even got in on it!

I *just* barely missed the picture of my Mom literally squirting some green frosting onto Mabel’s finger for her to eat, lol. #GrammyLife

The girls absolutely loved doing this and they ate it all up (literally and figuratively). The final touch was some powdered sugar “snow” and then it was all finished!

We put the girls to bed at their normal time on New Years Eve and they were none the wiser for the party that they were missing out on. Though, Abigail did get to go watch some fireworks with my parents neighbors down the street in her pajamas right before bed!

We got up and out the door for 9 am church service and this photo of Mabel basically sums up all of us.

And also this one.

One of our very favorite games to play is Settlers Of Catan. We play with all of the expansions and it is very complicated and complex and we love it and play it pretty much every nap time and bed time while we are there!

On our very last day in Phoenix, we ventured out for donuts at the Fractured Prune! They have tons of flavors(just look at that menu!) and they serve them to you hot. It was amazing. AMAZING.

After our donuts, we took the girls to Build A Bear for one last Christmas present! This was Mabel’s first time to make an animal annnnndddd it was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

She picked a brown furry bear and wanted to add “For The First Time In Forever” from Frozen in it (and I have heard it no less than 100x since) and picked out a shirt immediately because it had balloons on it. It says “Happy Birthday” but who cares, every time she points to it she says “boon!”  I DIE.

And in true Abigail fashion, she picked out a CAMOUFLAGE bear (?!!?!?!), named it Glinda, put it in a sparkly rocker dress, and surprisingly, it turned out pretty darn cute.

I have no idea why Mabel is crying in this photo. Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

We flew back on Tuesday and made it home completely uneventfully- which is wonderful. The girls slept in the car on the drive down, we ordered Chinese food for dinner, and the girls jumped merrily on the aforementioned Santa mini trampoline.

And that’s the end of our hunormous(as Abigail says!) Christmas recap! Things on the blog should be back to regularly scheduled programming next week 🙂

If you are interested, I tried to link to most of the things the girls and I are wearing in the widget below. Including our Christmas Vacation sweaters! 

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  1. It looks like Christmas in Arizona was the way to go. What a fun time! I love the gingerbread house the girls did with your mom. That’s so special. A bit jealous of the fun swimming photos on Christmas. You packed so much fun into the trip too! Glad you made it home safely.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas! I love that your parents have a heated pool and hot tub – so nice! I love doing the whole Santa thing; Paysen got into it last year, and was super excited this year, so that was a ton of fun to watch. Kids are so fun at Christmas!

  3. What a wonderful Christmas you all had! I love all of the family time. So cool that Abigail got to take golf lessons. And I adore her outfit she wore to Legoland. Mabel looks so serious and focused on the Gingerbread house! Those girls are Gingerbread village making pros. We need to step up our game! Haha.

  4. What a sweet Christmas!! I’m sure your parents were thrilled to have the company and I love that they’ve got their own special things to do with the girls. Those glow in the dark pjs are darling and it’s obvious that your cute girls are becoming the cutest little besties.

  5. Your mom is a Saint!!! Heck no, those Gingerbread houses will probably never be done in my house!! bahahah We attempted Build A Bear for the first time this year too…Stella loved it, Wyatt HATED it. #WinSomeLoseSome Sounds like the best time!!! I’m slightly jealous of your low-key Christmas (not a billion people)….ssshhhhh…. 😉

  6. oh what a wonderful, hunormous holiday you guys had!!!! so glad you got some time with your fam even though your mom had knee surgery!! i hope she’s recovering well! and oh the santa thing… that is too funny. the first i’d ever heard of not “doing” santa was when our friend from michigan said that in his town growing up they didn’t “do” santa. the only santa debate i’ve ever had is whether or not he wraps his gifts and i have quite an opinion there. 😉 okay and those trees around the gingerbread house are phenomenally gorge!!! such a sweet holiday!

  7. Your Christmas was PERFECT!
    Wasn’t playing Santa THE best?! This is the first year Marcus really got it, and oh my gosh… His excitement was so contagious.
    Let’s also talk about your mom winning the grandma award for keeping up after knee replacement!
    And, I’m SO DANG BUMMED we literally JUST missed each other in KC!

  8. Oh, it sounds like such a good visit with family! So glad you all had a wonderful Christmas and were able to spend quality time with family!

  9. awwww 🙂 what a lovely christmas! interesting about santa claus, KC and I have discussions about it and we don’t have kids obviously, but i think it’s something we will take as we go. love leaving the coke out for him, so cute. we did milk and cookies if i remember correctly, and i hate milk so i was like.. santa’s weird. i mean like i hate glasses of milk. i use it in other things, or cereal, but not on its own (unless it’s chocolate milk, which obviously i didn’t share with santa).
    anywho. moving on. your poor mom! hope her recovery is going well.

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