Christmas Vacation

Wow, we blew through Christmas, New Years, and Epiphany before I've even told you about my vacation. 2014 is going to be over before I even get to sit down and write to you about the end of 2013! Okay, that's an exaggeration, but really it's crazy how time moves.

But before we move on with 2014, I really do want to tell you about my holidays. They were oh-so-nice.  Similar to past years, Josh and I flew down to SoCal for the holidays since both parents are down there. Yes, I know this is incredibly convenient (and lucky). We did a little switch-a-roo and started at my parents house rather than at the Browns. So that's where we'll start, at my parents house...

The O'Neill's 

We flew down on Saturday. Lucky for me, the cold I had was on the mends by the time we flew down. Better not be sick during the holiday, or for Disneyland! Yea, you heard me, we went to Disneyland! (Comm'on, you have to say it like the commercials).

I love Disneyland during the holidays.They deck the park with everything holiday. They even switch up the Haunted House for the Nightmare Before Christmas. Some of my family doesn't like how they alter the Haunted House, but for me, I think it's fun. They also have the Jingle Cruise instead of the Jungle Cruise. Love it.


We had the happiest time of our lives - how could you not at the happiest place on Earth?! 


Disneyland was a great kick-start to the holidays. The rest of the time with my parents was everything holiday. I squeezed in another Christmas cookie, Peppakakor. We did some shopping, wrapping, and saw good friends. 

Christmas Eve we went to a lovely dinner at Vigilucci's and then the candlelight service at my childhood church, Bethlehem Lutheran Church. We sang Christmas songs and celebrated the reason for the season.

Then it was Christmas morning. We were all very good this year because Santa visited us. He came with lots of gifts, so we had to spend the whole morning unwrapping. 

See that red-head in the picture? Meet Olivia. She's part of the family. No really, she is. She's related to our relatives in Germany - so like a second cousin. She's from Rust, Germany and staying with my parents for the year learning English and getting the American High School experience.


At halftime, eh hem, I mean after the Christmas tree presents, we switched to stockings. My mom takes stockings seriously. You DON'T MESS with stockings, man. Everyone gets the same number of gifts, and you have to open one by one around the room. Let me tell you, these stockings are crazy. The gifts spill out of the sock, and some (like a hula hoop) need to just hang out by the mantel. 


Also, we got some visitors. My cousin Brennan, Anne, and their little girl, Marina came over. Marina was very much into the gifts, too - especially dropping them. Keely (that's the other daughter, I mean dog) was thrilled for all the people around to pet her - she's just too cute not to pet.

Fam at Christmas.jpg

Around noon, it was time to transition, and we packed the car and headed off to...

The Brown's

The drive takes about 2.5 hours to drive, and you cross over the San Jacinto mountains. We arrived mid-afternoon, just in time for more gifts and a homemade turkey dinner.


We finished off Christmas with more gifts and a tasty dinner. What a great holiday!

For the rest of our stay with the Browns, we had some fun at Joshua Tree. More about that later. We went to the movies, and just relaxed. It was heavenly. Not to mention the warm weather, iced beverages, and short sleeves. 

I love Christmas - it's the best time of year. And in the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone."

For more pictures, go here!