When we lived in Oklahoma two of our favorite Christmas traditions were to go to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops and to walk through the Christmas light display at Rhema Bible College. After we moved we still wanted to experience those traditions, so each year we pick a weekend a couple of weeks before Christmas and go to Tulsa to have some pre-Christmas fun. And it's great for Rick because we come to him and he gets a weekend off from driving.
It is a total treat to be able to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights. To our kids, that is all the vacation they need. We alternate years between two different hotels, a Holiday Inn Express next to Bass Pro Shops and a Wyndham that has a cool indoor swim park called Leapin' Louie's Lagoon. This year it was the Holiday Inn Express. I love this particular hotel because it is in a perfect location to everything we want to do.
This year we arrived in Tulsa on Saturday afternoon. We dropped Dawson off at Tonio's so that he could spend the weekend with him celebrating Tonio's 18th birthday. We checked into the hotel and I freshened up while Rick and Brynne went to get Little Caesar's Pizza for the kids. Our 23 year old niece Angela came to the hotel to stay with the kids and take them swimming while Rick and I attended his company Christmas party. We had such a great time. The food and drinks were good, the pretend poker was fun, and Rick won a $75 Target gift card door prize. Plus, we just had ourselves a nice date!
The next morning we got up and ready and drove across town to Rick's sister and brother-in-law's for a Christmas breakfast. We had scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes, and a really fun morning hanging out together. Eli and Brynne received some Christmas gifts, one being the game "Ticket to Ride". It was a little difficult to figure out at first, but once we did a couple of raucous games were played. (I took a little nap on the couch with Angela's chihuahua, Rico.)
We left their house at about 2:00 p.m. to go see Santa. When we got there, however, we learned that all of the tickets had been passed out for that day. So, instead, we picked up Dawson and went to dinner at Chili's and then did a little Christmas shopping at Target. After we dropped Dawson back off at Tonio's, we walked through the Rhema Christmas lights. They never disappoint.
We even had time to hit the pool for an hour when we got back to the hotel.
On Monday morning we got up and had some breakfast at the hotel and then went back to Bass Pro Shops to see Santa. This time we were the only ones there. Santa took a lot of time with the kids and even gave Eli some birthday swats when he learned that his birthday is coming up right before Christmas.
When I was taking a photo of the kids with some of the cool backdrops, Santa jumped up for some more pictures. The kids loved it.
We said good-bye to daddy (he had to go to work) and drove the 30 minutes to our best friends' house. We were so excited and surprised to see our other group of friends there, too. It was a great reunion for the kids, and the moms. Megan, Stephanie and I are all teaching our kids Prairie Primer this year, so we had lots to talk about! Megan had even prepared a Little House-ish lunch for us. When we lived in Oklahoma we did a lot of learning, activities, and field trips with these two families. Five of our girls (Paige, Brynne, Sophie, Chloe, and Maggie) are all within two years of each other. And then there's Eli who rounds out the group as the oldest. These girls are the best of friends and also do a great job of including Eli. We miss our friends so so much! I would almost move back to Oklahoma just for them.
And speaking of friends and family to keep drawing us back ... these little boys are now all officially men. How did this happen? Brothers forever.