The thing about living so close to family is that you never have to miss a celebration or holiday. Drew and I have never missed a Christmas or Thanksgiving with our families. The closest we had come was the year before last when we got a considerable amount of snow on Christmas Eve and had to miss out on the Christmas Eve festivities. We wouldn't have batted an eye at the snow had we been in the same town, but we weren't sure how the roads would be on the ride home since it was still snowing as it was time to leave. The roads were clear the next morning, and we were able to spend Christmas with our families.
This year, however, we just live too far to be able to give our kids Christmas morning at home (which we feel very strongly about) and see our families. We chose to stay at home for Christmas. So that meant the first year we would ever not be home for Christmas.
We had a wonderful, relaxing morning at home. The kids took their time opening their presents, then playing with their new toys.
They were up very early!
The aftermath of the present opening.
Lots and lots of trains to play with.
The favorite was the Disney World train.
I love this video that I took of the kids, so I want to share it. We didn't tell them about the train box that was behind the tree. We just let them discover it on their own. This is when they found it.
At some point in the morning, it started freezing rain outside. Everything was getting covered in ice.
I have to admit, it looked kinda pretty.
We had made plans with our neighbors that live 3 houses down the street from us. We were going to have Christmas dinner with them in the evening. We were going to be making a big meal with a turkey and wanted to share it with someone. So plans were made and we prepped the day before, making casserole dishes to just pop into the oven so we would have a stress-free morning at home.
Around 3:30pm, we started getting prepared to get things cooking. We have an electric turkey deep fryer that we were going to use, and it was only going to take about 45-50 minutes to cook. Perfect!
Then, it stared. The power went out just as we had put things in the oven, and were getting ready to drop the turkey in the deep fryer. Uh-oh! Now what!? We decided to wait it out a little bit and see if it was going to come back on. Things weren't looking very good, though, because the ice was pretty bad outside. The trees in the back yard were touching the ground because of the weight of the ice on them.
We made alternate plans with them. We went to their house, where they grilled some pre-cooked turkey breasts and sausage on the gas grill outside, and we made due with what side dishes that we could. They had the fire going in the fireplace, and lots of candles and flashlights around. It was actually kind of nice and relaxing, believe it or not!
About 2 hours after the power went off, it came back on! Then we noticed the snow! Oh, the kids were aching to go outside and play in it! I told them they could go out on the patio and look at it, but they, of course, didn't listen ;) I didn't have much battery left on my phone, but I did manage to snap this picture with it before it went dead on me.
Around 7 or so, we headed back home and got the kids off to bed. I plugged my phone in, just in case something happened again. Drew decided to go ahead and cook the turkey and the sides so we could have leftovers for the week. Just as we were finishing up, the power went out again! Great. So we put the throws from the chairs on top of the kids in bed, and headed off ourselves, hoping that the power would come back on sometime in the night.
Around 1am, Carson woke up crying and confused as to how the blanket got put on top of him, and we realized that the power was still out. So we loaded up the kids in bed with us for the rest of the night. Not exactly the most restful nights sleep I've ever got, but we made it through. We were surprised that the power still was not back on. Thank goodness I had plugged my phone in as long as I could while the power was back on! At least we had updates via Facebook on the All About Town page, and updates from the Entergy website. We were hearing that it was going to take 2 days to restore power. Most of Little Rock was out. We heard that this was the most snow Arkansas has seen in 89 years! Craziness! And to think, I had told the kids that we wouldn't be getting enough snow to build a snowman. Boy was I wrong!
When I got up in the morning, I grabbed my camera and went outside to get some pictures. I knew that we wouldn't see this much snow again for a while, so I had to document it. Heck, we hadn't seen this much snow in IL in the past 6 years! The snow was just gorgeous! Especially with the early morning light.
Oh, the poor kids! I had to tell them that we couldn't let them play out in the snow, because we wouldn't have a way to warm back up completely when we came back inside. Carson was pretty disappointed, to say the least. So, the kids played with their new toys all day. Thank goodness for those toys. I'm not sure what they would have done with no power and just all of their old toys ;)
Jackson stayed in his pajamas most of the day. I would imagine he was quite cozy in that fleece!
Finally, after waiting around all day with now power, the power came back on! It was 24 hours, to the dot that we were blacked out. The moment the lights turned back on, Carson said, "Now we can go outside and play!!" So I rushed around to find their snow clothes and rushed them outside. I'll just share a couple, seeing as how I have already shared them in a previous post. But I'll just say that Carson had a blast, and Jackson wanted to, but he kept falling over in the deep, deep snow, and was getting quite mad about it. ;)
So, even though it wasn't the "perfect" Christmas, we will always remember our first Christmas here in Arkansas!