We're in Lafayette for a few days of family fun and togetherness. It's so nice being back "home" where the pace of life is slower. There's no pressure to get things done, and almost no responsibility, beside taking care of the kids. It's nice to do this every so often and recharge. I have my parents and sister to help with Zoe, and I appreciate it so much since I don't have them around very often.
We arrived on Saturday after a nice drive here. We took both cars, since Darren has to work tomorrow and will be heading home later today. Zoe rode with me, and she slept almost the whole way. I enjoyed listening to the radio, and not having anyone talking my head off. Mom had dinner ready for us, then Darren and I went to get coffee and walk around a new area near Mom and Dad's house.
Sunday, we hung out in our jammies in the morning, then Mom and Dad took Zach to the airport to pick up Natalie and Kevin. We were able to spend a little while with them before taking the kids and heading to Darren's sister Erin's house in Maurice. There were gathered Erin, her husband, son and daughter, Darren's mom and stepdad, Darren's sister Kathleen, Darren's brother Sean and his family, his aunts Myrtle and Bea, Uncle Rick, cousin Pam, and her sons. We had a very enjoyable afternoon catching up with everyone, then all left to go to Acadian Village in Lafayette to see the Christmas lights there. We met my parents and Natalie and Kevin there, but they left when we arrived. They took Zoe with them, which was nice. We were able to walk around and look at the lights, and take Zach on as many rides as he wanted. It was cold and muddy, and we all had enough after a couple of hours.
Yesterday, Natalie and I headed to Target for some last-minute shopping. It's a family tradition to brave the crowds on Christmas Eve for all of those stocking stuffers that I didn't think we needed, but Natalie insists on. Afterward, Mom, Dad, and Natalie headed to church while Zoe and I napped on the couch. I woke up, and Kevin and I made homemade macaroni and cheese, cooked a ham, and baked a cake. We all had dinner together, and Zachary kept asking when he could go to bed so that it would be Christmas sooner. It was really cute! We also tracked Santa on the NORAD website all evening. Dad took Darren, the kids and me to ride around and look at lights. We didn't make it very far; we ended up at the home of my parents' former next-door neighbors. They were waiting for their daughter and her family to come over to exchange gifts, so we waited with them so we could meet Jenny's daughter Stella. After we left their house, Mom called and sent us on a quest for a candy thermometer. The only businesses still open were a couple of drugstores, but we struck out at both. We came home, put the kids to bed, then the adults began assembling the Santa presents. That took until after midnight, and we all promptly crashed. Zoe slept in her carseat from 9:00 last night until 4:00 this morning, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Zach woke everyone up at 7:00 this morning to annouce that Santa Claus had come. We all stubled into the living room, where we opened our stockings and tried to wake up. We were able to postpone opening gifts until 9:00, while everyone got dressed. It took us over an hour to unwrap everything, then Darren cooked breakfast tacos for everyone. Afterward, Zoe and I took a nap until 1:00. She is not sleeping well during the day unless someone sleeps with her, and I am all too happy to oblige!
Now, Mom and Dad are cooking steak for lunch, and Zach is trying to convince everyone to play with him. I guess Darren will head back to Houston after we eat, and I might try to drag someone out to go and take pictures around Lafayette. Tomorrow, we are heading to New Orleans for the day, and I think I am taking Natalie to register for her baby things on Thursday. It will be a nice week!