Holidays 2013: Ohio

We are driving to Virginia right now to see Whit’s family, and we just said goodbye to mine! Goodbyes are so bittersweet. We are very excited to get to Bebe and Pap’s house, but the time with Aunt Sara, Grammie, Papa, Oma, Opa, Mama, Gramma Jane, and Papa John just is never enough! We were so blessed to be able to spend a whole week there, though. I can’t complain. We filled it with lots of Christmas cheer! Some of the highlights included:

On Sunday night before Christmas, my dad, stepmom, Whit, Lucy, and I went to Clifton Mill to see the lights. This is one of those gems in rural Ohio that you would never know about unless you had insider information. Drive outside of town down route 68, and at 6:00 PM sharp, the lights come on. The old mill is on the river, and we had just gotten about 2.5″ of rain in one day. 3.5 million lights (according to the sign) and gushing rapids is quite a sight! These pictures don’t begin to do it justice.

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While at the mill, visitors can go check out Santa tinkering in his workshop, getting all the toys ready for delivery. He also pops out of the chimney every so often to visit his reindeer and sleigh, waiting for him on the roof. Whit happened to capture Lucy’s face when Santa appeared for the first time out of the chimney. I thought she might hyperventilate. 🙂

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The next day we headed out to my dad’s friend’s land where the dogs (and toddler) could run. All animals and children (and adults) had a blast! Sweet Bear dog sure loves his buddies, Misty and Buck. See the pic where Bear is running on the dock? That was right before he slid right off into the cold water and I had to rescue him! Sweet boy can do a lot but panics when he has to swim. Lucy was excited about collecting rocks and searching for crawldads with her daddy.

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After a nice long nap, Lucy and I headed to mama’s for some play dough and visiting. Seeing them together, I remember why Lucy and I have made the drive home 5 times this year. What a special relationship.

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Christmas Eve meant a holiday party at dad and Katherine’s house, and this year Lucy was actually awake for the first hour of it!

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And then, Christmas morning! Newly 2, Lucy doesn’t quite get everything about Santa and Christmas Eve and reindeer, but she knows about presents! Santa brought her a “kitty cat hat” – the one thing she’d been asking for for weeks. She was, adorably, shocked! An easel and shopping cart, toy dog with brushes and hair accessories, a felt alphabet pocket puzzle, bath tub drums, and more also brought a great deal of delighted squeals. What wonderful memories!

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After nap time, we headed to Gramma Jane’s for Christmas dinner, And more presents of course! That night, Whit, Sara, and I did something Whit and I haven’t done in 2 years: we went to a movie! Grammie and Papa graciously watched Luc so we could have a night out. The next day, after a tearful goodbye, we headed to Beavercreek for our 2nd Christmas dinner with Oma, Opa, Aunts Sara and Bridget, Uncle Jason, and cousins Anna and Jordan. Oh, and open more presents! Lucy had a ball. She loves and pretty much idolizes her big kid cousins. Can you tell?

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On our last full day, we were lucky to accompany my step-dad to the Wright Patt Air Force Museum. Rod is a retired
Colonel in the Air Force and gave us the most interesting tour I’ve ever been on! He sure knows his history, and one of his biggest projects was the development of the B-2 bomber, and, later, a full restoration of the B-2 we are standing next to in the below picture. It’s called “Spirit of Freedom.” Yup. He named it! Proud step-daughter here! Also, another connection we have is my great uncle Charlie. He was also a pilot and strongly connected to the world of aviation. His name is on the wall! Oh, and who can resist an opportunity to get a picture of their kid in an astronaut suit?? Thanks for the awesome excursion, Rod!

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What a wonderful trip! We are, as always, beyond thankful for our continued health and amazing family who pulled out all the stops to give our sweet girl a Christmas to remember. One thing is for sure, Lucy: you are well loved. Now, get ready for us, Bebe, Pap, and the Sellers and Hawkins clans! We are almost there! Merry holidays to all!

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