Kicking off the Season and Wrapping Up Our Trip

I'm ending our Road Trip of 2011 with a post from the final days of our trip, when we got to spend some great time together, just the four of us.  Because we were able to take two weeks of vacation, the week of Thanksgiving and the week after, we got to experience both Thanksgiving AND Christmas while we were on our trip.  Which was really fun!  Of all the holidays, Trav and I LOVE Christmas the most.  We are always up for some Christmas fun and we enjoy finding new ways to ring in the season, which leads me to the reason for this post.

It's so interesting to discover the way the Lord brings two people together in marriage, who compliment one another but are often very different.  Road trips tend to bring these differences out :) Thankfully we could laugh through most of our differences and preferences, but I did decide that one thing I really appreciate about my husband is his eagerness to deviate from the "schedule" and always be on the lookout for something fun we might do.  If it were up to me, we would have booked our hotel rooms weeks ago and planned our days down to the minute.  But praise the Lord, for the sake of my kids, it's not always up to me!  Travis did a great job of keeping me on my toes and making plans for our "free days" at the last minute.  We landed in the Grapevine area for a couple of days and we really had such a fun time!
We took the kids to The Grapevine Mall one night and they got to ride this little Christmas train around, which they loved!
Ava was still favoring her arm at this point and whimpering at the thought of wearing her sling, so it was nice to get a big smile out of her for awhile.
But by the next morning, she was a little more cooperative in our hotel room and we talked her into snuggling in bed with cartoons, cheerios and the sling.
Is she cute in that thing or what?
When we checked out of our hotel, Travis had a big afternoon planned for us that started at this amazing hotel, The Gaylord Texan...Home of the Dallas Cowboys, which he made sure I knew :)
He wanted to take us here because he heard from friends that it was incredible and very beautifully decorated for Christmas.  BOY, WAS HE RIGHT!!
It was just gorgeous and this atrium was unbelievable.
Ava and Carter could hardly take it all in, but they totally loved watching trains run all around them...
...or seeing the fountains and those led lights that looked like icicles.
We were all in awe!
There were beautiful touches of Christmas everywhere...
...all under this beautiful glass roof and the Texas blue skies.
We throughly enjoyed our time there.
And I'm so grateful that Travis convinced me it would be worth a visit.
It was one of those places that you make a mental note of, because as I told him, one day we will get away just the two of us and come here! 
But this time, it was very fun to experience this place together and to enjoy all of their gorgeous decorations and architecture.
Bigger and Better.
It does make that famous slogan very true!!
After we left the Hotel, we took a little drive to downtown Grapevine, which Travis informed me is also known as "The Christmas Capitol of Texas!"  And once again, he was so right!!  They had a beautiful downtown with tons of adorable shops, all decked out with lights and decorations.  We visited during the day, but drove through it also at night, so the kids could see the millions of lights lining the street.
I loved this sign in front of the Candy Store!
We stopped in for some treats...
...and a sticky kiss.
This blue eyed boy and I shared a cupcake (or 2)!
But Ava passed it up for her sucker :)
Oh, how I love this face!!
We saw this and just knew our visit would not be complete without a photo op!
We always attempt a hugging picture, but this is almost always how it goes!
What a great Daddy our kiddos have!!
And what a great husband I married. 

I must say, I wasn't sure if we could really pull this giant road trip off or if it would actually be any fun.  But I am married to Mr. Adventure who is as patient as he is spontaneous and honestly, he made this trip so fun for ALL of us.  Honestly, it's one of our all-time favorite memories already and I am truly grateful for these two weeks we got to get away, see our loved ones, tour the country and make memories together.

Thank You Travy for spearheading this trip and for working so hard to provide for us, so that we could do this.  I love you so much and I appreciate who you are and the millions of ways we're different!  You are an incredible Dad and after 8 years, you're still the one I love to love.  We did it!!  Over 2,000 miles with 2 kids in a minivan, for 2 weeks.  I feel like we deserve a medal or something, but I'll take all of these fun memories and pictures as the greatest reward.  You are the best...I've never loved you more.

And thank you blog friends, for letting me chronicle our road trip, detail by detail, over these last few weeks!  I'm sure it's not nearly as interesting to you as it will be to us, but I appreciate the comments and emails you've sent along the way.  Not to mention your patience to read it all, because as my Father in law likes to remind me, I like words.  Lots of them :)

So I think it's appropriate to add as the old saying goes, it's always fun to go, but even better to come home!


Holly said...

What a fun trip.. Grapevine is fun.. We never went downtown, but the hotel is amazing and fun at Christmas! Also, fun to see Annette and Charlie/Olivia. What a big girl she has become. Merry Christmas to you!

Just Jess said...

Love reading about your trip Steph and just so you know there are AWESOME Gaylord hotels in D.C. and Nashville if you ever want to have a special weekend away : )