I realize that this kind of post is super boring. I can already feel my memory failing on me so I like to write things down.
The middle part of our time in The States included spending Christmas with our families in Arkansas. My family is in Paragould and Nathan’s extended family meets every other year in or around Searcy.
We started out in Pargould and got to enjoy time with most our cousins, grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. The kids all got matching Christmas pajamas. And were really good sports about taking pictures. We played lots of football and ate wonderful food. After my brother and his crew left it was much too quiet;) but we did continue to have fun by going to the playground, playing cards, going to see a movie on Christmas eve and visiting on of our favorite places to eat in Paragould….kimono. They even let Benson help with the food.
Santa came to see us in Paragould this year and the kids were very thankful that he knew where we were. It was special to get to have Christmas with Grammy and Peepaw. We still got to do our normal traditions like feeding the reindeer, doing our countdown calendar, leaving cookies and milk for Santa, and all three kids slept together on Christmas Eve. This years traditional big Christmas breakfast even included grinch pancakes made by Sloane. Benson was excited to get a keyboard for Christmas but it had to be left at home because it was too big. He had to open a picture of it instead. The other gifts had to be pretty compact to fit in the suitcases. Packing was a little bit tricky but we made it work.
Christmas day we left to go back to Memphis for a few days. We opened gifts with Grandpa, Nana, Gramps, and BJ and then we got to celebrate our 15th Wedding anniversary with a surprise overnight stay downtown. We got to go to our favorite restaurant “Flight” and relax. The next day we headed to Camp Tahkodah to meet up with the Cochran crew. There was a change of plans this year. We usually go to wyldewood but this year we went to Tahkodah and we think that we even liked it better. We were able to spend a lot of time eating, hiking, playing kickball, eating, playing games and cards, and did I mention EATING??? There is always wonderful food with this crew. There were a few missing this year because of illness and they were definitely missed. It is always great to see everyone. Our kids were so happy to see their “Bland” cousins. It had been almost 7 months and they had grown!!
It was a wonderful Christmas. Nathan and I both talked about how we really appreciated our time with our family this year. Being away has helped us to really treasure our time with friends and family.
The last part of our time in the States we just really tried to wrap up the visit. We tried to see lots of family and friends and have playdates and sleepovers. We visited Graceland. Blake is a huge fan:) We went back to Paragould and spent more time with my parents and attended a funeral for a special family friend. I also lost my last living grandparent while we were there but I am so thankful that I got to spend some time with her in the end.
The last day we got to spend time with my brother and his sweet family. We feel like there is never enough time with them. The kids are all best of friends and pick up where they left off. We will be back in June and I know that will be here before we know it!