Sunday, January 25, 2015

Christmas Vacation Part 2 - Texas

After 3 days in London, we packed up our bags and headed to Texas to celebrate Christmas with the family.

We got down to Brownsville just in time for Christmas Eve. We started off our Christmas Eve festivities with a yummy mexican food breakfast at Toddle Inn.

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We spent the rest of the day baking cookies, playing in boxes, giving Uncle Tito a makeover and eating cookies.

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A little family picture after church before we headed to my aunt's house.

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Lily LOVES Charlie who is technically my dog but became my mom's dog when I left for college. He is so old and can barely walk or see but he is still the best dog ever!

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Checking out her gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.

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Lily and Granpy both gave breakfast a thumbs up!

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After breakfast, we packed up the car to go to Kingsville for Christmas with my Mom's side of the family.

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I wish the cemetery was not a place we had to visit.

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Some more Charlie snuggles when we got back to Brownsville.

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Lunch date with our very favorite sisters!

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A yummy mexican treat before heading to the airport.

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We got back to Dallas and woke up the next morning to celebrate Christmas with Danny's family!

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Lily and her cousin Conor both love trains and  had a great time playing with Grandpa's train under the tree.

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We tried to take a nice picture, which proved to be impossible. There was not a single picture where everyone had their eyes open and was looking at the camera.

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Pete and Lily got impatient and started taking things out of their stockings.

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Then the cousins wrestled.

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Present time! Lily opened the first present which was this rocking horse and then she spent the next half hour riding it while everyone else opened presents.

Grandpa picked this up for Lily at Home Depot on Black Friday and it was money well spent!

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We spent the rest of our time in Dallas hanging out with friends and relaxing.

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And then it was all over way too soon and we had to head back to Morocco. Our time in Texas is never long enough. Even though I love life here in Morocco, there really is no place like home.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas Vacation Part 1 - London

For the second year in a row Christmas was a little different for us. Last year we were living in a temporary apartment in Dallas during Christmas and this year we are living halfway around the world. I  hate to complain because we are healthy and happy which is really the only thing that matters in the grand scheme of things, but I would be lying if I said it didn't kind of bum me out that we weren't in our own home and doing fun Christmasy stuff with friends and family leading up to the big day.

We decided to break up our trip home to Texas with a three day stop in London and I am so glad we did. London is just beautiful at Christmas and we had such a fun time seeing the sights and getting in the Christmas spirit!

Our vacation actually started out in Marrakech since we decided to fly out of that airport instead of the Agadir one. Lily and I had never been to Marrakech, so we got into town a few hours before our flight so we could have lunch and do some exploring.

The first thing Danny told Lily as we were walking up to the big square was, "Don't touch the monkeys!" Well, that didn't last long because the minute we walked up to the area where the monkeys and cobras and their handlers are waiting to catch tourists, 2 monkeys jumped up on Danny's shoulder.

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We spent a couple of hours just walking around the souk, getting fresh squeezed orange juice and having lunch. Marrakech was a beautiful city and I am hoping we have a chance to go back and do some more exploring when we have more time!

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We got into London late at night so we just did a quick dinner and went straight to bed so we could rest up for the next day and meeting SANTA!

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We started our day with a lovely breakfast at our hotel and then a short walk to Hyde Park for Winter Wonderland. The entire park is transformed into a beautiful Christmas village with crafts, food, rides, games, etc. We were there on the Saturday before Christmas so it was packed, but we still really enjoyed it. Our main goal was to get a picture with Santa since this would be our only opportunity to see the big guy this year. We got to the park about 15 minutes after it opened and had to wait about 45 minutes to see Santa.

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Lily was a little nervous to see Santa this year.

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Can you read that body language, haha!

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She warmed up a little when Santa gave her a little pink alligator toy, but she still didn't want to be too close to him.

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We spent the rest of the morning in Winter Wonderland walking around, letting Lily ride her first roller coaster and eating a yummy German lunch.

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After nice naps for all of us we went down to the hotel lounge and had some afternoon tea and appetizers before heading out to Harrods.

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Family pic in the elevator

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We loved all the pretty lights we saw on our walk to Harrods.

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We found a red telephone booth so we had to stop for a quick photo shoot!

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We walked around Harrods for about an hour. I was amazed at how huge it was! Seriously the biggest store I have ever been in. Lily was mostly concerned with hugging all the bears.

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The next morning we headed out to see Buckingham Palace which was right down the street from our hotel.

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I came to London on a study abroad trip in college and have a picture in this same park with some girlfriends, so it was fun to get some pictures of Lily in the same place. She ran, jumped, picked up sticks and had the best time playing here. I just love how happy she looks in these pictures!
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We literally had to drag her away from the park and pry a giant stick from her hand, but after we accomplished that, we headed back to Winter Wonderland. Lily wanted to ride the roller coaster again. She LOVED that ride and ended up riding it three times in a row! We ended up spending about $30 for her to ride this thing but she had a blast and that is what vacation is for!

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 photo DSC00999copy_zpsfdc8dfb5.jpgOn our way to the hotel for naps, we stopped at a pub to have some fish & chips and bangers & mash. So yummy!

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That evening we rode the tube to Trafalger Square to see the giant Christmas tree. For some reason, I was under the impression that this one was even bigger than the one at Rockefeller Center so I was expecting it to be totally amazing. Well, I was wrong, haha. It was nothing like the tree at Rockefeller Center!

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Since the Trafalger Square Tree was a bust, we hopped back on the tube and went to Regent Street (or maybe Bond Street) to look at lights and get a hot cocoa.

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Then it was back to the hotel for a quick dinner and to re-pack our bags so we could head to Texas the next morning!

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