Cox Family Christmas

We arrived in Grand Rapids late Friday night after driving through some serious fog and rain. Saturday morning the girls woke up SO EXCITED to see their cousins Ellen and Abigail. Clara LOVED helping to feed “the baby cousins” and Kyle took these fist two pictures with his fancy new camera.12-28-2013 Vacation to Florida-44 12-28-2013 Vacation to Florida-103

We woke up the next morning to the beautiful sight of everything outside covered in a layer of ice. Then we realized the ice storm had knocked out the power at Ryan’s parents house. It was really beautiful… and a little bit chilly, but we survived a couple of days living pioneer style. (pioneers got to go out for pizza, right?)IMG_7262 Thankfully, we were all ready for the adventure and had friendly neighbors who used their camping stove to make a pot of coffee for Ryan, Chris and Dad. Sarah fed the babies over candlelight.IMG_7234IMG_7233 IMG_7247

The ice storm didn’t stop us from venturing downtown to get some MadCap coffee with Chris and his friend Josh who had flown home from Malawi to surprise his parents. So fun.IMG_7242

Isn’t East Grand Rapids so lovely? Look at the way those trees are holding hands over the street. Love it.

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One day we went to Breton Village Mall to see the train set. The girls were mostly interested in these goldfish. Can you tell by Ruby’s hand that she was calling them to her?

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Our friends Bryant and Becky were in town visiting Becky’s family and had a couple of hours to meet us for lunch at Cherry Deli. It’s always so fun to catch up with our Hope College friends. If you’ve ever heard Bryant or Ryan laugh, you’ll know it’s quite a treat to be there when they are cracking up about something.

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We saw our friends Lana and Hans from Columbus at the Christmas Eve service. My friend Lacey’s in-laws live in Grand Rapids. So fun to see her over break.

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After the Christmas Eve services at church we drove down the “Woods” streets that are always lined with paper lanterns on the night before Christmas. It’s so beautiful. I keep thinking the kids will be old enough to love it, but mostly Ruby just continually asked from the backseat why were were on the wrong road and “this isn’t the way to Nana’s house!” and “But we are going the wrong way!” Ha.

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Christmas day included a delicious ham which Ryan carved for us and custom mugs Ryan gave to his dad and brothers.

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Everyone thinks Charlie looks like his Papa Cox. I can’t disagree. Genes are crazy.

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Nana gave Ruby a lovely little tea set. Ryan was happy to oblige her request to join her for tea. One of my favorite, most heart melting parts of my life is watching Ryan as a dad. Our kids truly adore him and it’s not a wonder why.

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Chris and Ryan took the girls sledding. It was SO COLD that all of their cheeks were rosy and frozen when they got home, but they had a good time. Ruby loves taking it to the hills. She seems to be quite adventurous and is becoming more confident and fearless with every passing month.

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My wonderful Mother-In-Law is amazing at wrangling children. I was so thankful to have her help for a few days. Such a great Christmas.  It was wonderful to be in Michigan and we were so excited that Ryan had so many days off in a row. So thankful that we would get to see both sides of our family in one vacation. We love our family.IMG_7312

Cox Family Thanksgiving

Friday afternoon we drove up to Grand Rapids to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Cox Family. We arrived in time for a quick dinner then walked over to see Santa and his Reindeer in Gaslight Village. Ryan and Chris told Ruby to ask Santa for World Peace, but when she got up there she forgot what they said and asked him for “ummmm, and that other thing.” which Mrs. Claus thought was hilarious.

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Nana is the queen of the library. She always has a pile of books to read to the girls. They love it.IMG_6828

Kyle and Sarah came over on Saturday with Ellen and Abigail who were quite entertained by their cousins Ruby and Clara. Clara loves babies. She wanted to help Sarah feed them and hold them.IMG_6815 IMG_6824

This was the best pic we could get of all 5 cousins. They’re so funny. Ellen and Abigail are 10 months old now! Nana made those cute reindeer shirts for all of her grandkids. It’s the same pattern she used on Christmas shirts for Ryan, Kyle and Chris when they were little.IMG_6864

Uncle Chris has begun teaching Charlie everything he needs to know about this world.IMG_6866

It’s so fun to see my kids having fun with their Aunts and Uncles like I remember having with my Aunts and Uncles growing up.IMG_6833 IMG_6857

Charlie is so jolly. He’s pretty much the best little jolly Christmas elf in the history of the world.

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Hope you and yours had a Happy Thanksgiving too!

Robinette’s Apple Orchard

Before we left Grand Rapids we went to Robinette’s Orchard with Chris and Ryan’s parents to enjoy some cider and donuts. Ryan loves apple cider, as I mentioned here back in 2008 when he polished off a 1/2 gallon. (Quick sidenote – I love that my blog is so old I am able to refer back to things we did in the early years of our life together. Blogging is my favorite hobby. Hopefully a few of you enjoy reading it at least half as much as I enjoy writing it.) Ok, back to Robinette’s! Take a look at these dapper fellows drinking their cider.

It was literally the most gorgeous weekend of the fall… sunny, warm enough for light jackets and shorts, cool breezes, fresh air, colorful leaves – just spectacular.

Ruby was enamored by the horses pulling the wagon around the orchard. She was also amazed that the exoskeleton of a locust will stick to your jacket. Ha! Good times with science!

ArtPrize 2012

Ryan and I spent the weekend in Grand Rapids to check out ArtPrize and especially to visit Chris Cox Photographer’s photo gallery on Division Avenue (or as Chris calls it, “The Ave”)

Saturday morning Ryan’s parents came with us to check out all the fun ArtPrize stuff downtown. My favorite thing was the giant human-sized pinboard that you could push yourself into.

We also got to stop by to see our friend Matt’s art, “Crime Wave”, which was voted one of the top 50 of 1500 entries. Matt and Kim were in our small group in GR. If you ever need a bronze sculpture commissioned, our friend Matt Large is your man.

Saturday night we grilled out chicken and Chris, Kyle and Sarah came over too. Sarah is expecting TWIN GIRLS due in February. It will be so fun to double the little ones on the Cox side of the family.

To top off my visit, I got to meet my dear friend Bree’s newborn baby girl Taylor. She was as precious and squishy and gorgeous as any baby I’ve ever met. I miss my sweet GR friends.

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Ryan was on call through the week of Christmas but he had a few days off during his birthday so we drove up to Michigan to spend some quality time with the Cox family.

Being back in “our old town” was super fun, so on our way to Ryan’s parents house I decided to drive past our old house around 9:30pm. We passed by once but there was a car behind us, so I went around the block to pass by again. All of a sudden there were flashing lights in my rear-view mirror and I was getting pulled over… in front of our old driveway.

Apparently we looked suspicious with our out-of-state license plates and the double drive by… the police officer had received a call earlier about some lady in a van going door to door trying to sell something. Anyway, he let us go on our way after we explained we were just checking out our old house. The best part of this story is the next day when I visited my friend across the street from where we used to live she told me she was the one who called the cops and she and her husband were so excited when they saw someone (not knowing it was us) get pulled over! haha!

The girls loved seeing their Nana and Papa Cox and Ryan enjoyed visiting all his favorite GR places. I think he and Chris went to MADCAP for coffee every single day.Image

Another major highlight was a totally amazing spontaneous dinner out with two of our best friends from when we lived in Chicago, Bryan and Michelle. They were visiting family and were able to meet us at The Green Well (another favorite local establishments) for a kid-free dinner! We loved laughing and catching up with them!

New Years Eve was spent with dear friends as well. The husbands missed out on the picture this year, but I’m glad to have this one of my girlfriends. It felt so wonderful to reconnect and especially to discover that distance between us doesn’t mean there is a distance in our friendships. Wonderful way to ring in 2012 eating great food, playing taboo,  and going around the circle sharing our best memories of 2011.