Monday, December 30, 2013

Last two days in Idaho

After all the sisters and their families left it was pretty dang quiet, well except for my noisy boys. It was great to get to spend a little more time with Derek and Kim, though. We also got to make a couple of visits over to Great Grandma and Grandpa Howard's house. They were sure happy to see us and we gave them our little snowman gift. Grandma Howard seemed to be not doing so great that day, but she was cheerful enough, as her usual self. I told her we wanted to take a picture of them and the boys, seeing as how I never take one, and she did complain briefly that her hair was looking bad and she'd rather not. It makes me smile to know that such a woman at 89 years young can still worry about having a bad hair day. Ha! 

The older boys had fun making trips outside with Grandpa Kent and helping him feed the cows and do some of his farm work. They threw frozen snowballs at each other, took trips on the fourwheeler and motorcycle, and soaked in some good ole fashioned rough housing with all the willing relatives who would participate. Poor Teesy was feeling a little under the weather, but managed to feed us all well the remaining two days we were there. 

On Friday we took a trip to Boise to visit our college friends, the Bankhead's. They recently bought a house and their kids are getting so grown up. Our boys had fun playing with Hudson and Elle showed us a great magic trick and even made me a bracelet. So sweet! It was a short visit, but as usual the time flies when you're catching up with great friends. We can't wait to meet their newest addition, soon to arrive next month. We are so lucky to have a good friendship with their family despite the distance between us. After visiting we made a pit stop for lunch at Cafe Rio, where our children hurried us back home because they were VERY tired. 

Saturday called for our trip home. We didn't leave until 3:00, which gave us plenty of time to load the car, say our goodbyes, eat some food, pack snacks, and make a few rounds around the house to make sure we didn't forget anything (which I did, my face wash... but it's easily replaced, so no big deal). Our boys were sad to leave and the grandparents were too. It seems our visits never are long enough. 

Who knows, maybe we'll get to see them sooner rather than later.
 Thanks for such a wonderful time Kent and Teesy, we are thankful for everything you guys did! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Eve and Day

Our Christmas adventure started early this year. Since we were going to be leaving for Idaho around noon on Christmas Eve day we let the boys open some of their presents from my parents, us, and our neighbor came by with her gifts to them. They were thrilled, but responded with, 'Is this it?' I think they were confused and thought it was Christmas morning, where upon they were expecting certain Santa gifts. We told them that it was a day early still and they could open the rest of their presents the next morning. I managed to pack all the necessary items and was prepared for the worst weather conditions, geared with snacks and entertainment to avoid possible meltdowns, and all the important family gifts and packages.
 I was pretty happy I didn't forget a single important item. 

We left our place around 12:30pm, made a quick pit stop to Subway for lunch, and hooked up our ipod prepped with our Christmas music to really get in the spirit. The boys weren't super hungry, but managed to nibble bits of their sandwiches. Eventually we put in Monsters University (one of the presents opened that morning, from my parent's) and we all settled in for a smooth trip.

 It was extra foggy when we left the PDX area, but cleared up to blue skies once we got close to the Dalles. The whole trip was dry and sunny and I commented to Tyler on how if we didn't know the temperature we might have guessed it was summmer. Even the Blue's were relatively dry and the trip over the pass proved to be pretty uneventful. No falling snow, no packed snow, no ice, and no snow plows. Just dry and quiet. We had to make a few more stops for potty breaks since we were traveling earlier, but we ended up getting into Fruitland around 7:30pm.  
We were greeted by a full house and the boys made themselves at home by running around with the cousins. We visited for a while, ate some food, and then agreed the kids should open their one Christmas Eve gift from Grandma and Grandpa. They all got super hero jammies! My boys loves their new jammies. Rylie looked sad and exclaimed, "But I didn't WANT clothes!" Ha ha. I think she was confused about opening one gift too. After some reassurance from her parent's that Santa would bring her gifts in the morning, she and all the other cousins went to bed after reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' with Grandpa Kent. Everyone went to bed without any big fuss and it seemed to be too easy. 
The whole Howard Cousin Gang:
Zayden, Braxton, Jakoby, Asher, Quincy, Taylee, Rylie and Kailin 
The Boys:
My Goofball boys.... 
... still not a good one... 
... yup, not gonna happen. 
The sweet girls:
Cookies with EXXXTTTTRRRRAAA sprinkles for Santa.
Because everyone knows Santa loves sprinkles, right? 
The note from the kids:
All the adults stayed up to attend to last minute Christmas preparations and eventually we all headed to bed around 11:00. Shortly after Tyler and I had settled onto our mattress I heard Braxton whimpering and crying. This proceeded to gagging and throwing up noises. I quickly jumped out of bed and tried to assist him to prevent the damage of it going everywhere. We had to clean up blankets, strip his new jammies, soak clothing and bedding, and hunt down a bowl. I spent the remainder of the night helping Braxton force his head over that bowl. Eventually during the wee hours of the morning B seemed to rest better and I thought I would be able to sleep, even ad mist the faint smell of puke, however this is when I heard Zayden gagging and ran over to witness him empty his stomach on the blanket in his play pen. I thought, 'great.... round two... here we go.' At this point I was feeling sick, but couldn't determine if it was just having to clean up and deal with all the vomit. Z ended up on our air mattress and I believe we finally drifted off to sleep around 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. 

Of course our boys were the first kids awake at 7:00am. They found that Santa had left a note and ate all their cookies they made for him.. They also discovered that Santa wrapped the doorway to the living room so they couldn't peek at their presents before everyone else woke up. After about an hour of waiting, other family members made their way up stairs and the Christmas morning madness could ensue. 

Santa delivered with all the goods they had asked for. Grandma and Grandpa spoiled them even more with neat toys and books, and cousins upped the ante with some pretty sweet gifts from the cousin gift exchange as well. Really, they made quite a hall. Tyler and I got some pretty wonderful gifts from family members in the adult gift exchange too! I felt super rotten during all this gift opening and was hoping it would pass after I was able to rest for a bit. 

It didn't. 

I went downstairs before breakfast and stayed down there for the remainder of the day. I spent about 10 hours laying on that air mattress dreading each slow walk to the toilet. Each time I managed to get nothing up, providing no relief for my cramped stomach. It was awful. I dozed on and off throughout that time. Tyler would periodically check on me. Braxton would come down and brush my hair while I laid there helplessly. Then he would kiss my check and say, "I love you mom." It melted my heart. He did this about 4 times, without prompting from anyone. Zayden came down too. He would crawl over my legs and snuggled his head on my chest. He would smile at me "kiss" my cheek. All my sister in laws did kid duty while the brothers all went out for a bit. I TOTALLY owe them for watching over my boys for me. It was really generous of them! At some point I showered, in hopes that it would help me feel better, which it didn't. I finally asked Tyler to give me a blessing. He and Kent did. Teesy even rubbed some vicks on my feet since I was freezing with chills. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better support system if I tried. If you have to be sick.... it's best to have a someone there to help you, or in my case, LOTS of someones. THANK YOU ALL who helped watch my kids, and take care of me. 
I never did eat all day. I managed to nibbled some crackers and drank sips of water through, but I'm sad I didn't feel up to eating up Teesy's delicious salmon she had prepared. Around 6:00 everyone headed over to the church gym to play a little ball and let the kids burn off some energy. I suppose they all had a good time. I slept for a good hour on the couch and woke up feeling better than I had all day long. When they returned everyone ate and talked and we all seemed to retire to bed a little sooner than we normally would have. 
It wasn't exactly the kind of Christmas Eve or Day I had dreamed up, but we survived it well enough and were just happy we could be with family. Tyler's sisters and their families left the day after Christmas-- which was a bummer for me, since I felt I hardly got to see them, but we will just take what we can get. We are just lucky we got to visit with them at all, since originally Tyler couldn't schedule any time off for Christmas. Little blessings, we choose to see those instead of all the yucky stuff. 
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!