Eating, Drinking, Socializing in RVA part 1

Last Tuesday we left for Richmond at the crack of dawn, actually well before dawn.  We decided to drive from Atlanta to Richmond.  The eight hour drive went very smoothly, but it definitely wasn't like driving in New Zealand!   We stopped at Cracker Barrel and reminisced about the time Zoë asked if Cracker Barrel was Disney Land when she was three.   Anyway, we finally got to RVA and everyone was elated!   We had a lovely evening decorating the Christmas tree and checking out the very fancy, huge, overwhelming, kinda awesome grocery store - Wegmen's.   It was so nice to decorate the Christmas tree at home.  The girls liked unwrapping all of the gifts even more than they liked hanging them on the tree.    The whole night felt cozy and warm and full of love.

Wednesday we ran a few Christmas errands and met up with Bonnie and crew for a lunch and playground date before Uncle Adam got in town.   I love that my kids have all of these friends stateside (kids of my best friends) who they think of like family.   It's awesome to watch them all grow up together.  When we got home, Uncle Adam arrived shortly thereafter.  The girls (and the rest of us) were overjoyed.  They SO love their uncle.

On Thursday I went for a freezing run with Kathleen and got a chance to see her family early in the morning.  We then all went to see Wonder together.    I love that book so much and the movie is great too! I seriously cried for at least 2/3 of it.  Afterwards, we rushed home to pick up the 'rents and head to Bush Garden's Christmastown!   THe kids were so excited.   We were all bundled up and headed for the rides.   We had a blast on the roller coaster and a few other rides, but unfortunately, it was SOOOOOO cold and crowded.  This was the first time my toes and hands hurt.  Yes, we had on gloves, hats, etc....but it didn't cut it!  Andie was crying over how badly her toes ached!  We are not used to this cold in Fiji!!!!  In the end, I am glad we went as it was so fun to ride some rides and see the beautiful lights - but maybe next time I'd choose  warmer day.

Maybe a big old turkey leg will warm her up?

On Friday the kids took an art class while Kathleen and I did some last minute shopping.  We had a stop at home to visit with some old friends and then had a neighborhood lunch at Kathleen's house with all the girls I grew up with (minus Cara).  It was so fun to catch up with my childhood friends.  I always feel more grounded after spending time with my roots.  I can't believe we forgot to take a picture!  Afterwards, Mom, the girls and I went to Bonnie's house for a little happy hour before returning home to eat a family dinner.  Warren was in DC all day as he had to get another BCC skin surgery, this time on his nose and back.    So glad it wasn't too invasive this time.   Need lots and lots of sunscreen for him!!!

That night we went to look at Christmas lights.  I love Richmond's Christmas lights.  Annual tradition!  The girls were super impressed and Zoë even spotted Santa Claus, maybe the real one?  

Fashion show at Kathleens

Lots of crawling on Uncle Adam

creeped out by the dolls

On Saturday morning I awoke to a text from Kathleen.   Overnight, she and Chad's dream home had burnt down.  It's a tragic story.   Overnight, somehow the house they were set to move into in a few weeks burnt completely to the ground.      Most of their stuff was lost.   Luckily, they were still residing in their old home (which they soon have to be out of).   No one was hurt, thank goodness.  I spent the morning with Chad and Kathleen processing it all - or trying to.   They still don't know how it happened and are still in total shock.  I am not sure what the next steps are....but I do know that my friends are surrounded in love and support.  SO many people have reached out to help.  It's phenomenal actually!   I am so glad I'm here at this time and know that their family will need love and support for sometime to come.    Here is a link to the article about it: The fire

After leaving Kathleens we went ice skating for a bit to get the kids out of the house and then came home for dinner and a fun game of Mexican Train dominoes.    Love family game night.

a bit overwhelmed by all the wine aisles at the store!

and beer selection!

On Christmas Eve, I did some final last minute shopping, went for a run, and mostly stayed home relaxing with the family.   We had the most TASTY Christmas Eve dinner and dessert!  Yummy!  It was sooooo good and so nice to have the whole family together for the first time in a very long time.  Before going to bed, the girls wrote letters to Santa, left out cookies and reindeer treats, and Mom read them my old book of "The Night Before Christmas".   It was exactly the way Christmas Eve should be!   

Susan's tree!


More yum

opening Xmas eve jammies from Bebe

snuggles watching the GRinch

Twas the Night Before Christmas

The girls woke up at 6:45 a.m. on Christmas morning to way tooo many presents - but everyone was happy.  We had a great time eating breakfast, opening stockings, and tearing into Christmas gifts.   Everyone had the best time.  After we packed up we said goodbye to Bebe and PapPap for now- until we see them next week.  We dropped off my brother at his truck and said our final goodbyes to him.  It was so cold that the girls didn't linger, but again, I know they will miss him.  They love their Uncle Adam!   It was so good to see him and the whole Anderson crew.    We arrived in DC yesterday - more about that soon!

these two