{Disney Cruise // The one where our plans changed // 2021}

 Back in September of 2021, Nate's parents surprised the entire family {all eleven of us} with a Disney Cruise. We were set to sail on December 27th thru the 31st on the Disney Wonder, leaving out of Galveston, TX. We were all so excited to do this together as a family!


 I wanted to include some moments throughout our Christmas season in a post. While most of these photos do not warrant a post on their own, I wanted a place for them here on the blog. It's our family scrapbook, after all! Even though there were many things that didn't go as planned {which has been the tune since 2020}, we still managed to have a beautiful Christmas season.

{Christmas at the Halls // 2021}

 Christmas at the Halls looked a little different this year. Nate's middle brother's family was ill and not able to come. It was so strange without them there. We sure did miss them! It wasn't the same without all the grandboys there!! We made the most of the day and enjoyed our time together. 

{Christmas at home // 2021}

 After spending Christmas Eve with my family, we came home and started preparing things for Christmas at home. Mason sprinkled his reindeer food, put out the Santa key, innkeeper's key, etc. Then he was off to bed!

{Christmas at my parents //2021}

 For as long as I can remember, we've always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with my family. Even as children, we'd talk our parents into letting us open a gift or two on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. The anticipation leading up to Christmas and all of the traditions and festivities make this gal's heart so incredibly happy. 

{Candlelight Christmas Eve Service // 2021}

 The candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church is always one of my favorites! I look forward to it every single year. The amount of time, planning, and preparing our church staff does is not lost on me. You can tell that they put their all into this service and it's so incredibly beautiful. This year, my whole family (minus my brother because they went to their church's service) came with us. That was the best gift I could ever receive. My family worshipping with us on Christmas Eve and hearing about the good news of Jesus, our Savior. I will cherish this day in my heart for a long, long time. 

{A Merry Covid test Christmas Eve // 2021}

 For our Disney cruise, Mason had to be tested for Covid three days prior to sailing. Which meant...Christmas Eve! Finding a place that was open and testing on Christmas Eve was quite the chore!  Disney wouldn't accept a rapid test, it had to be a PCR test. We finally found a place in Dallas that was open, but getting an appointment time was another battle we had to fight! I finally got him an appointment for 8:06 am on Christmas Eve morning. Nathan's mom went with me since Nate was working a few hours that morning. 

{Christmas Tree Campout // 2021}

 Our Christmas tree campout is a tradition that Mason and I started several years ago! We bring an air mattress into the living room, put on our favorite Christmas pajamas, and settle in for all of our favorite Christmas movies by the glow of the Christmas tree. It's such a special and magical time that I cherish so much! I am so thankful that my growing boy still loves to do this with me. I am holding on as long as I can and tucking each moment into my heart. 

{Cookie Decorating Party @ Nana's House // 2021}

 Today we went over to Mason's Nana's house to bake and decorate cookies for Christmas! It ended up being Michelle and I mostly baking and decorating them all! haha! The kids all ran around and played and Nana spent most of her time with the grands! But, it was a blast and I shaped up on my decorating skills - sorta. lol! 

{Meat Therapy // Nate's birthday // 2021}

 For Nate's 40th birthday this year, he went to a Meat Therapy session. Nathan's younger brother, Ty planned this event months in advance and it was the coolest idea ever! Nate, his brother, and his dad all went and had a blast.

{Vita Coffee House // 2021}

 We spent a sweet little Saturday morning at Vita Coffee House with Nate's brother and our SIL. Our church was actually paying for everyone's coffee that morning. How generous and awesome, right? Vita is owned by one of our friends we have known since she was a little girl. Vita is a gorgeous coffee shop with a boho feel. It's so cozy, warm, and inviting. I just love it there. And you can't beat the delicious coffee!

{My Merry Little Chicken Coop // 2021}

 I knew at the beginning of the season that I wanted to add a little Christmas cheer to my chicken coop! So, I bought some poinsettias and whipped up a sweet little Christmas wreath! It made my heart so happy to see a little Christmas out at my chicken coop! It really is the little things...

{Venus, TX Christmas Parade // 2021}

 For our last and final Christmas parade of 2021, we joined in with some of our favorites (Wicked Trendz Jeep Club) for the Venus, TX Christmas parade! The Jeeps were definitely the main show and had the most participants in the parade. It's always such a good time with our Jeep family! And, can I just say how much I love small towns? Especially at Christmas...

{Interlochen // 2021}

 One of our favorite things to do each year is to drive around and look at Christmas lights! This year we chose to go to Interlochen! My boss lives there and always talks about how awesome it is. It has been years since we've driven through Interlochen, so it was time to give it a go! It did not disappoint! And the cherry on top? Getting to stop and say hi to my boss/friend! 

{The Christmas Capital of Texas // Downtown Grapevine // 2021}

 We couldn't leave Grapevine without taking a drive down Main Street! Downtown Grapevine is so beautiful during Christmas time! It's not called the Christmas Capital of Texas for nothing!!

{Treat every day like Christmas // Gaylord & Elf // 2021}

 Next up on our festive family day was a trip to the Gaylord hotel in Grapevine, TX. We have loved going every year and doing the Ice exhibit. This year, it was different and was a walk through the Elf movie. It was pretty neat and felt like we were on the movie set! The Gaylord is always so pretty at Christmas time! We took a stroll through before our time for the Elf so that we could see all the Christmas decor! 

{Bass Pro Shop & Santa // 2021}

 Ever since Mason was a baby we have been visiting Santa at Bass Pro shop! We have always loved the backdrop and decorations at Bass Pro. They didn't have Santa in 2020 due to Covid, so we were excited they brought him back for 2022! I took off work on Friday, December 10th so we could have a festive family day and knock out several of our Christmas-time traditions. We began our day with a Santa visit and some Christmas shopping at Bass Pro Shop.

{Board and Brush Christmas Party // 2021}

 Every year my coworkers and I gather for a Christmas celebration. There are only three of us here in the DFW area and the rest of the company resides in the Seattle, WA area. We usually meet for supper and then go to some kind of hands-on event. We have done cooking classes, painting with a twist, and for the last few years, we have done Board and Brush. Board and Brush is a DIY woodworking studio. It's such a fun time and then you get to bring home an awesome piece for your home. The first year I made a huge nativity sign, the second year I made a wood Christmas box (that I fill with twinkle lights, ornaments, and pine cones), and this year I made...

{Elves and Christmas Cookies // 2021}

 Mason's elves brought him a cookie decorating kit, so we spent a sweet afternoon together decorating cookies! I love these tender moments with him and cherish every second. I know time is fleeting and he's growing entirely too fast. I just pray that I still have a few more years of this! 

{All is calm, All is bright // Christmas lights 2021}

 There is just something so classic about white Christmas lights on a house! While colored lights are totally fun and I love them, white lights are my favorite. Especially warm white lights. So cozy and inviting!! I love decorating the inside of the house and then coming outside to see what Nate has done to the exterior! 

{New and Meaningful ornaments // 2021}

Every year we try to pick out an ornament or two (really just depends on the year and the events that occurred) to represent our year. Sometimes we pick up these ornaments while on a trip, some are given to us, or some are just ones that I see and know that we need on our tree. This year, we have several meaningful ornaments to add to our collection.

{7th Annual Baking Party // 2021}

 Every year all the ladies on my mom's side of the family gather for a night of baking, games, gift exchanges, eating, drinking, and all the festive things. My Aunt Donia always hosts this fun night and she does an amazing job at it! The amount of planning and time she puts into this night is above and beyond anything any of us deserve! Not to mention the money she spends spoiling us rotten! Her generosity is not lost on me. This is such a special day/night and one that I look forward to every year. My mom's side of the family is pretty large, but we are all so close and it's one of my favorite things. I have so many best friends and feel so blessed by that alone! 

{Dallas Holiday Parade // 2021}

 This year we were invited to be a part of the (televised) Dallas Parade! They chose four Jeep clubs in the metroplex to have various jobs throughout the parade. I felt so honored to be chosen for one of those positions in the parade!


My Christmas crafts for this year consisted mostly of things for our Disney cruise! We get to decorate our stateroom doors - using magnetic pieces! So, we had to devise a plan for our doors. We are also partaking in a magnet exchange for our cruise, so I made magnets for that as well. And then I wanted to make ornaments for each family coming on the cruise! It's been a Disney-themed Christmas!!

{Lego Advent // 2021}

 Every December 1st, our elves bring Mason a Lego advent. They wanted him to have a little something to open/do for every day in December! We love incorporating this into our mornings. 

{Rolling in the Waxahachie Christmas parade with Ellis County Jeeps // 2021}

 On Tuesday, we got to take part in our hometown Christmas parade with our local Jeep club! The Christmas parade in Waxahachie is one that we look forward to each year! It's always a complete blast and so neat to see everyone lined up on the roads to watch the parade! It's also fun to hear when people we know yell at us and wave. And, lighting up those kids' faces will always be my favorite part! 

{Decorating the Jeep for Christmas // Part 2 // 2021}

 I started decorating the Jeep around mid-November by adding my antlers/Rudolph nose and wrapping my spare tire in tinsel! I wanted to get a jump on spreading the Christmas cheer this year!!! I love having a red Jeep at Christmas time. It just adds that much more 'festiveness'. 

{Guess who's back...}

 Our favorite elves (and Cubby) made their way back during our Palestine (camping, The Grinch's Lair, and Polar Express) weekend, just like they always do! Mason always anticipates them over this special and magical weekend. They just add that much more sweetness to the weekend.

{All Aboard!! // Annual Polar Express train ride // 2021}

Even though we have been riding on the Polar Express since Mason was a baby, it never gets old! It's such a magical and sweet time together. I pray that this is a tradition that Mason will carry on with his children one day. It truly is so special. I cherish the time we spend as a family making the most magical Christmas memories. I love that this is something our growing family of now 11 does together each year. I always look forward to this weekend.

{The Grinch's Lair // 2021}

 Traditions are something I hold near and dear to my heart. And one of those traditions is our annual trip to the Grinch's Lair! The owners have become some friends of ours and it's always nice to see them! Mason loves to reminisce on the time he got to play the part of Max for the Grinch's Lair

{Palestine camping // 2021}

 One of our favorite Christmas traditions is traveling east for our annual camping, Grinch's Lair, and Polar Express weekend. The last two years we have camped at the same RV resort and love it. It's so close to everything we do there.

{Merry MEOWmas // Willow's Christmas photoshoot // 2021}

 From the moment we brought Willow home, I couldn't wait to get some Christmas photos of her!! Our Christmas kitty! She is the sweetest little gift to our family this season. Well, to most of us. Lexi is still trying to figure her out...

{Introducing the newest Hall family member // Willow Jade}

 Several weeks ago my parent's cat had kittens. Mason spent the night with them shortly after and has been begging for a kitten ever since. At first, I was like NO WAY! lol! I wasn't ready to take on another pet just yet. But then I met her and I fell completely in love with her...

Our sweet Willow Jade...

Isn't she the absolute cutest? I picked out her first name and Mason picked out her middle name. I am in love with both her name and her. She's so sweet and so much fun. I thought we were maybe bringing her home a little too soon, but we were ready to give her a good, safe, and warm home. She was living outside at my parent's house and we didn't want anything to happen to her. She had been eating solid food for a couple of weeks, so it was a good time. I fully expected her to cry for her Mama for several days, but that never even happened. I'm beginning to think that maybe her Mama had already weaned her. She came home with us and acted like she had lived here her whole entire life. She never even skipped a beat. And she went from being an outside kitty to an inside kitty so effortlessly. I was impressed that she just knew to use the litter box even though she had never used one before. Goodness, I just love her.

{Merry JEEPmas // Decorating the Jeep for Christmas parades // 2021}

 Besides wheeling, Christmas parades are my absolute favorite thing ever to do our Jeep clubs! This year, Nathan and I were invited to so many parades. We settled on doing four! We are in our hometown parade, a nearby town's parade, the TELEVISED (eeekkkk) Dallas parade, and another smalltown parade. We are so excited! Three of the four are night-time light-up parades. This takes a lot of planning and prepping, but it's so worth it. 

{Merry WOOFmas // Lexi's Christmas photoshoot // 2021}

 I try to take pictures of my pets for every season/major holiday! Lexi is usually the most cooperative one. She's very driven by treats, so a couple is all it takes for her to sit pretty! 

{He looks like a pink nightmare!}

 Mr. Parker:

He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny.

He does not!

Mr. Parker:
He does too, he looks like a pink nightmare!

If I'm being honest, I have wanted to buy this suit for Mason for the longest time. The starts just never aligned, until this year! We watched The Christmas Story a few nights ago and I knew I had to buy this for Mason. 

{Dress as your spouse party}

 Nathan and I were invited to a friend's birthday party and the theme was "dress as your spouse". We thought that would be hilarious and so much fun. I knew exactly what I was going to wear from the moment I heard the theme. I mean, it was pretty easy! It was a challenge finding something for Nate to wear, though!

{Currently // November 2021}

 It's been a while since I have joined in with Anne for her "Currently" series. I've always loved these posts! Especially around fall and Christmas-time! Here's what I am currently appreciating, getting, making, sharing, and wearing. 

{Trick or Treating // Halloween 2021}

 Our small neighborhood consists of mostly retired people who do not participate in Halloween/Trick or Treating. Not to mention that even if they did, the houses are so spread out. So, every year we have to drive into town to go trick or treating! We don't mind it, though. It's become a tradition to trick or treat Gingerbread Lane (main street in our town with old Victorian homes)!! My sister and her family joined us this year.

{Fall Carnival at The Avenue // 2021}

 We were so excited that our church was going to host the annual Fall carnival this year! It was cancelled last year due to Covid and we were so bummed. It truly is so much fun! The Avenue goes all out...from Texas State Fair rides & concessions to pony rides, to food trucks, a DJ, tons of inflatables, etc. There's something for everyone! 

{Halloween Party at our friend's house}

 Some of our friends invited us to an adult-only costume party at their house. Nathan and I never do anything like this (including dressing up) so we thought why the heck not? We decided to go with a classic theme...

"Talk To Me, Goose."

{Annual Hocus Pocus night // 2021}

It's all just a bunch of Hocus Pocus...

We had our annual Hocus Pocus movie night last night! Mason and I always look forward to this day. We put on our Halloween pajamas, some festive socks, turn out the lights, and enjoy some delicious treats & watch our favorite movie!! It's one of my favorite Halloween traditions.

{Haunted Carwash // 2021}

 The town next door to ours hosts a haunted carwash each Halloween. Nate and I didn't get to attend it last year, but Mason got to go with my sister & family. He loved it! So we hopped on the opportunity to go this year! We went with Nate's parents. It was such a fun night!

{Trick or Treating on the square // 2021}

 Earlier in the day, my sister texted me to see if we wanted to trick or treat the downtown square. With all that had been going on with Diesel, I was so out of it. I didn't even realize that was the day for the trick or treating! I asked Mason and we both agreed it would be good to get out of the house. So we met them downtown for some trick or treating on the square. 

{My sweet, sweet Diesel boy // We will miss you}

We had to say goodbye to our sweet Diesel boy today. My heart is shattered and I am completely broken!! 

Photo from earlier this summer when Diesel was happy and healthy!

{My fall porch // 2021}

 Decorating my porch is one of my favorite things to do with each season! I always love fall decor and the way my porch comes out. It's a close second to my Christmas porch! Here was this year's fall porch...

{Fall Family Fun}

 Nathan's parents invited us all over for an afternoon of fall fun! NeNaw (Nate's Grandmother) was able to come as well, making it that much more special. We ate, we carved pumpkins, and just hung out and had an amazing time. 


 On our second (and last) day in Big Bend, we were on the road by 8:30 am. We were trying to fit as much into these two days that we could. We weren't able to get pictures at the Big Bend sign the day before because there were too many people there. So we made sure to stop on our last day there.


The second day of our trip included a full itinerary all in Big Bend National Park! Keri was so great to create us an itinerary to go off of. On our agenda was Santa Elena Canyon, Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, Mule Ears Viewpoint, Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off, Panther Junction Visitor Center, and the Window View Trail at Sunset! We were so anxious to finally see B I G  B E N D!!!