Last Week...

...Monday morning, we woke up to two sleepy girls snuggling in bed.

...before we left for Nebraska, we knew we wanted to take the girls to their awesome zoo. We picked out the warmest day (high of 35...yay!) which happened to be Monday. We took Aliyah with us, bundled up tight, and made our way to Henry Doorly Zoo. When we got there, Grace insisted on pushing Char around in her stroller.

First stop was the Scott Aquarium. The girls loved checking out all of the awesome animals. They had everything from fish, sharks, jellyfish, crabs, and more. I think their most favorite were the penguins, because they were all swimming and zooming around so quickly.

Trying to find Nemo.

Going crazy over all the different animals swimming over her. She loved it!

After the aquarium, we were all hungry, so we decided to grab lunch at TreeTops Restaurant. It was awesome. Since we went on a Monday morning when most people were at work, we got a prime seat right in front of the jungle. We spent more time watching the monkies be silly than actually eating any of our food.

 Next, we headed over to Gorilla Valley. There weren't any gorillas in the exhibit, and we were bummed, so we started monkeying around ourselves.

We walked through the inside portion and found all of the monkies. It must've been too cold out for them, as well. The girls couldn't get enough of the gorillas. They are so fascinating to watch. We spent a lot of time in there, until one gorilla decided to squat right in front of us, reach his hand under his bottom, poop in it, and then eat it. After that, we were totally ready to move on.

On the way to the Cat Complex, we came across some flamingos and peacocks. Somehow we ended up with the bears instead of the cats.We saw some black bears that Grace pointed out "look just like the bears from Brave." I wasn't able to get a picture, because they were sleeping and facing the other way. We did get a cool one of a giant, sleepy Polar Bear. He was huge.

Finally, we made it to the Cat Complex and saw a leopard and a couple of tigers. We got to walk super close to one. That was a little scary, because they are so strong and muscular but also so beautiful.

Of course the girls needed new stuffed animals to commemorate their time at the zoo.

Once we were frozen, and the girls were ready to head home, we went back to Grandma Espejo's. Since it was our last night with this side of the family, they all came over to hang out and get some sweet pictures with the great grandkids.

Grace face was exhausted after our busy day and passed out early (with all of her stuffed animals).

...Tuesday morning, we had toast for breakfast, and I caught Char only eating the butter off of it...typical Charley Anne. 

...the kiddos goofed around while I got all of our stuff packed to move on to the next grandparent's house. We had so much fun with all of the Espejos and cannot wait to see them all again. Gracie is totally missing her cousins already.

...after saying our good-byes and promising to see each other again soon, we left for Grandma Sally's. Since there was a mall on the way, we decided to stop and look for some Husker gear. The girls had fun racing in their race car strollers, but Char wasn't happy when Grace wanted to hold her on her lap.

...we also saw Santa while we were there. Grace was a little leery, but she made sure to tell him that she wanted a kitchen and a new scooter with pink light up wheels. Char just wasn't having it.

...we finally made our way to the Crnkovich's and were hungry for dinner pretty quickly. They took us to a fun spot where we got yummy food and played some fun games. While the boys played pool, us girls took turns shooting down antelope and elk. We had a blast.

...after dinner, it was time to pick up Grandma Sunshine from the airport. Her flight was a little late, so we circled a few times, and the girls fell asleep.

...when we got home, Charley showed Papa Rick her movies.

...Wednesday morning we got ready to go meet Papa and Grandma Di to spend the day with them. I wore these awesome new leggings that I found in the Las Vegas airport before our flight took off.

When we arrived at their house, Grandma Di had a delicious lunch all cooked up for us. We ate a lot, and then the girls were ready to play. They got out the cutest little school and house to play with, and Charley was all over it (I previously had no idea what to get her for Christmas...hooray for ideas).

Daddy and I scooped Charley up to cover her with kisses try and get her to nap. She went into attack mode instead. Apparently, she learned how to spit and threatened me like an older brother would. When I started tickling her, she went after my feet. Such a silly little giggle butt.

I gave in and let her go back to playing with sister.

After a while, we made our way down stairs where Papa brought out his puppets. The girls weren't sure what to think of them at first, but eventually, Grace had Grandma showing her how to move them.

Papa had to show the girls how to play his infamous pinball machine. They thought it was so cool.

Of course Charley found the necklaces, she's a little obsessed.

She also found some fall colored M&M's that made her look like she got her tooth knocked out.

We had to get another set of four generation pictures from the Taylor side.

After hanging out for a while, we decided to head to Sortino's for dinner. We had plans to go to Santa's arrival and firework show, but twenty degrees outside after the sun went down didn't sound too fun to us. The girls had a great time at dinner eating their pizza and even won some new stuffed animals from the claw machine.

We were sad to say good-bye to Papa and Grandma Di, but also excited to get ready for Thanksgiving the following day. The girls were worn out from playing all day, and passed out on the couch as soon as we got back to Grandma Sally's.

...we celebrated a wonderful, five generation Thanksgiving with Great Grandma Jennie on Thursday.

...on Friday, we watched the Nebraska game with Uncle Mike, Aunt Susie, and their puppy Peyton. Gracie couldn't get enough of her and gave her more treats than she usually eats in a week.

...we admired the river behind Grandma and Papa Rick's house one last time before it was time to head back to Omaha to catch our flight.

...before going straight to the airport, we stopped in Old Town to grab some pizza. It was so yummy! Charley was ready for her nap, and Grace was happy to be heading home.

...we finally made it to the airport, checked our bags and car seats, and got right on the plane. Grace passed out almost instantly while Charley hung out with Grandma getting a refresher on the airplane rules and procedures.

...she settled in with her iPad and watched movies the whole way home.

...when we got home from our trip, we headed straight to the office, so I could get all of the info I needed to complete payroll. It has to be posted by Friday night at midnight to deposit into the employee's accounts on time. Needless to say, I was exhausted after I finished and joined the rest of my family in bed.

We had such an amazing time with such awesome families in Nebraska. Some of them will be making their way out here in March for Zacarias' wedding, and we cannot wait to see them. We're hoping to head back again sometime next year, as well. I just love that we have such huge, close families. We love you all and miss you already!

...Saturday morning, we woke up to find that our elf had arrived from the North Pole. Last year, Gracie named her Claire, but this year, she started calling her Clarabelle. 

...the girls had a breakfast picnic in the garage with Daddy.

...Shelly and I spent the whole morning shopping for more Christmas lights. We found an awesome wreath and snowflake lights to add to our strands that go across the street. We spent the rest of the day decorating for Christmas while the kids played outside.

...our lights turned out SO awesome. We always try to add one new feature each year, and this year it was lights outlining the garage doors. Shelly and I spent the afternoon drinking Angry Orchard and hot gluing the lights, so they'd be perfectly straight.

My favorite Swarovski decorations that my mom gave me to pass down to my girls.

...when we were finally finished decorating, we had some pizza over at the Sebastians for dinner. Grace and Noah had to sit together at their own table. We missed these guys so much while we were gone in Nebraska. We're used to seeing them almost every day at home.

...Charley hit nineteen months.

...Sunday morning, Gracie helped me finish up our Christmas cards to get them out in the mail. Couldn't be happier with how they turned out, and I especially love the shimmery paper.

...we got our 2013 photo ornament to add to the tradition: sister Andrea was in town and took some adorable photos of our family. mom and dad both celebrated birthdays on Sunday. We went to lunch with Mom and had dinner with Dad the following week. Happy Birthday to you both. Love you so, so much!!

Finallyyyyyyy finished. Was this the longest post ever? Sure feels like it.

See you next week <3

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