Thursday, January 23, 2014

On Christmas, Utah, Sledding, Jumping and Traveling With Kids.

(Warning.  You are about to be inundated with photos.)

Is Christmas your busiest time of year? I'm always very ambitious about what we'll accomplish as a family around Christmas.  There are traditions to forge, charitable giving to volunteer, teaching and learning to accomplish!  There must be caroling, toy drives, deep discussions and scripture reading, visits to Santa, ice skating, cookie making, sledding, tree decorating, porch festooning, advent calendaring, quality family time enjoying MARVELOUSNESS!  Go, go, go!!! 
And of course, December rolls around and I realized how many gifts I have yet to make, how many concerts, parties, programs, etc, to attend and obviously, there's still work and school.  So many things fall by the wayside.  Inevitably, once the hubbub is over, the presents ripped into, the food consumed and the games played I feel as deflated as a week old helium balloon.  I suffer from what we term around here "PPD" - Post Party Depression.
I came to what seemed as if it should have been VERY OBVIOUS realization this Christmastime.  I let myself down.  I procrastinate, and fill my plate to heaping messes of overflowing.  And then I can't seem to understand why I don't feel "Christmasy."  
Well, not anymore.  I've vowed that next year will be different.  I'll be spending the majority of the holiday season making memories, not gifts.  Not plans.  
Christmas morning started with a note from Santa, read by bug (who is excited to be reading on his own now, thank you very much).

There were, of course stockings to unpack.  Pip was completely nonplussed.

I managed to do one handmade gift for each kid this year.  mini was pretty excited by her dr. kit (to be shown at a later date):

And bug got a Spy kit (also shown at a later date) which Santa must have known about, since he gave bug these awesome spy glasses.

pip was particular thrilled with the incredible amount of bow ties I created and overwhelmed with the thought of how debonair he is going to look.

We had games, food and fun at my brother and sister IL's house with my whole family.  We do a family game exchange where everyone buys a game and wraps it up without labeling it in any way; we draw numbers and pick the packages numerically.  Then each family has a new game and we get to try them all out on Christmas!  There was an epic Jenga Tetris battle that came down to my sister and me... but my old lady dexterity caused my ultimate demise.

bug was an adorable shepherd for the live nativity the Primary put on at our church.  It's pretty hard to tell, but he's not the only actor in the family - pip got to be baby Jesus!

After all of that fun and craziness, we packed in a hurry and set off for Utah to visit mr's family.  pip was a trouper on his first plane ride.  Very little tears and quite a bit more sleeping than is normal for him.

(The kids found the light tunnel in the Detroit airport great fun for everyone.)

When we got to grandma and grandpa's, there was even MORE fun.  Including baby meeting:

mr's sister had a baby girl just a few weeks after pip was born.  It's fun because her older daughter is just a few months older than mini, too.

Thanks to grandparents for watching kids at random times and mr's siblings, we had a ton of fun things planned (both for the kids and us too!  mr and I got to go see Catching Fire!  Yea!)

There was mini bowling.  Which is cool, since bug loves bowling.

He's such a pro.

(I've been inducted into the world of baby-wearing, since this baby is 100% refusing to be set down at all costs.)

While we were in Utah, we decided to take a "quick jaunt" (hahaha!) up to Idaho to visit some of mr's extended family.  We haven't seen them in... well, I honestly don't know, but for most of them it's been years and years.
So there was family seeing:

Aunts, uncles, cousins, 

Great uncles, 

First cousins (once removed),

and it was particularly fun for mr to introduce pip to his grandparents.  How fun that our kids know their great-grandparents - even if from a distance most of the time.

and friend seeing!  Great, wonderful friends we never see often enough.  Such as this girl who was my best friend in the world back here in Wisco who now lives in Idaho.  Hadn't seen her for about 9 years.

Oh, and MORE baby meeting!  Her little guy was born a few days after pip!  (and they matched!)

and these guys who have been friends with Justin since before there were wives and kids and houses and flying out to see them only once a year.

And we all agreed what a shame that was.

There was also a bit of appreciating the beauty.
I admitted I loved the view.  Though when I lived in Utah it made me claustrophobic.

There was a lot of jumping.  Literally.  We visited this fun new (to us) place with trampolines everywhere!  The kids were in heaven!

mr got in on the action.

And bug once again shocked me with his fearlessness.  

For someone who sometimes seems afraid of his own shadow, that kid has a bit of a daredevil streak no one would guess at.

Playing with cousins is fun.

Jumping on cousins is MORE fun.

mr attempted to kill himself.

Or at least cause himself serious harm.  Thankfully he failed at both.

mini was more cautious than normal.  Which made for some funny faces.

I do believe her favorite part was just being around tons of kids her own age. (or slightly smaller).

By the end of the morning, she was helping random kids get ready to leave.

All in all, a successful outing.

There was some sledding, as well.  bug is a huge fan of sledding.  It's another activity which brings out the daredevil in him.

mr was the first to try the little jump on the hill:

Grandpa had baby duty until this little guy had a poonami you wouldn't believe and I had to leave to take him home and change him.  Right after this photo was taken, I think.

When we returned, he was happy as a clam to be worn around the hill.  Notice I have no coat.  We were astonished by how warm it was.  Back in Wisco, my family was experiencing an arctic freeze, the likes of which we hadn't experienced for years with record breaking lows.  So THIS:

was a nice change of pace.

bug tried the jump once with success:

But just about broke his neck the second time around.  Thank goodness there was a passing puppy to lift his spirits.  Until said puppy made off with his mitten...

mini is usually far too cold to enjoy sledding.  She tries to have fun, but is generally finished with the whole idea too soon for me and bug - and only the promise of hot cocoa will keep her on the hill.

It was fortunate for us, then, that the day we went was in the low 40's - plenty warm, even for her.

Though she preferred log-rolling down the hill to sledding.

We also took an afternoon to go play in an indoor playground nearby.

At which point I learned that it's really difficult to get quality photos of your kids when they're playing.

There was also plenty of lounging around.

Unfortunately, our trip home was a bit of a nightmare.  We made it to Detroit without incident, but discovered once there that almost all flights into Wisconsin were cancelled.  Not just that day.  The day before as well.  We got a flight for the next day and went to work getting a hotel for the night, which was insanity - most had no vacancies, which meant we had to stay in a hotel almost an hour from the airport.

THIS is what the line for the baggage department looked like.  And next to that was the completely asinine amount of luggage sitting around after two days of cancelled flights.  We were assured our luggage would be on our plane the next day.

We ended up waiting for the shuttle in the little loading area for over an hour.  I put the kids on the radiators finally so they wouldn't freeze.  That was were mini fell asleep.
The next morning, bright and early, we were at it again!

And I finally spotted home.

It had never looked so good to me.

Also, I should mention that mr closed his backpack strap in the hatchback of my car and got it completely stuck.  This was on our way into the airport TO utah.  So we had to borrow a scissors from someone who worked in the airport and cut his backpack out.  Which left our hatchback in this weird limbo, unable to close OR open.  Which meant that during that arctic freeze, my car was slightly ajar.  And also that we couldn't easily get our luggage into my car once we got home.

We can't figure out why something like this happens nearly every time we travel.  Freak thunderstorms that ground flights... lost car seats, the whole Mexico thing...

Of course, once we got home, we learned our bags were lost.  So we didn't have to worry about getting them into the car, anyway.

Happy hectic holidays!  

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

1 comment:

Megan said...

I saw my mom & sister in there. They never tell me anything. Looks like a lot of fun memories.

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