Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas Tales & Wails

We spent the holidays with the in laws. I had a great and almost relaxing time. Most people would go insane staying with their in laws without their spouses for 8 days but I LOVED it.

We finally arrived after the longest trip to Ohio in history. I was tired, the kids were asking every 10 miles if we were there yet, my stomach was killing me (that's what I get for drinking two venti caramel macciatos in a row), and it started to rain. It was late Friday night so we just went straight to bed, only bringing in the essentials.

Saturday was a lounge around the house kinda day since the Christmas festivities would be starting on Sunday. I really wasn't in the Christmas spirit. Everything was all messed up without John there. Our usual traditions were nixed and it was kind of depressing. My sister came by to see the kids and take them out for a little while. They were really excited to see her.

Our first Christmas was with my dad. We went over for a lunch of deli meat and chips (and yummy pie). I opted for a hot ham and cheese sandwich. It was alright, I just wasn't in the mood for sandwiches. The kids got a few outfits and a few toys. Lexi loved her Troy necklace... after all, that is her boyfriend LoL Jacob's favorite was his Spongebob underwear. The worst gift was the inflatable boxing gloves. Seriously... what were they thinking??? So since they decided it would be a good idea to buy them for my already wild and crazy kids, I decided it would be a good idea to try them out while we were there. My sister and I got more use out of them than the kids did... they were so much fun that I decided to let the kids keep them instead of accidentally stabbing my fork into them.

We headed over to my mom's next. I was contemplating whether I should stop back at the in laws before heading to my mom's but I nixed that and just hung out with my dad & stepfamily for awhile. This would have been fine and dandy had I not realized after getting to my mom's that I forgot my grandpa's present back at John's parents' house. It ended up working out better than anticipated since we needed to borrow a card table from them and I got back just in time for everyone else to show up... late... as usual. The kids got a ton of clothes, a few toys, some blankets and some bath towels. I advised everyone not to get them too much since Id have to be lugging it all back to Georgia. I thought we were doing good until I went out to the car and saw two HUGE garbage bags full of stuff from my mom's house (my cousin and stepbrother gathered up our gifts and loaded them into the car for me). I was dumbstruck! That was A LOT of stuff to get from one Christmas. And it was only the beginning... there was still more to come. I took the kids back to my in laws that night so they could go to bed and I could play Texas Hold'em with my family. I couldn't get drunk like last year since I didn't have John to drive me home and carry me in the house but I still had a good time. I won a couple hands and my stepdad was making fun of me half the night for betting on pretty much nothing but it was still a lot of fun. The highlight at my mom's was when we presented her with a gift from us girls... a pair of boobs! Yup, that's right... she said she wanted boobs for Christmas so we got her some. It was this thing called a Diva Bra or something and it made her a cup size bigger. She was laughing so hard and she loves it! She wore it the first chance she got but I never got to see it.

The next night was Christmas Eve. We didn't do much during the day as the in laws had to work and we didn't do much that evening either since everyone was so worn out already. We went to the 7 o'clock church service and ordered some chinese to go afterwards. Definitely not our typical Christmas Eve dinner of ham or roast with all the trimmings. My brother in law and his fiance couldnt make it and with John being deployed there were three less people to celebrate with and we were already pushing present opening back to the following Saturday so we decided to skip the traditional meal as well. FlatDaddy went to church with us. He wasn't much of a singer and didn't stand for any of the hymns but he did get lots of praise and smiles from other church goers. The kids were carrying him in and out by his forehead which resulted in a cranial fracture. He was immediately put on bedrest with surgery scheduled for Friday. The rest of us ate our dinner and watched Madagascar... yah... not even a Christmas movie. Everyone fell asleep in the living room before having any chex mix or slush. It really wasn't the Christmas tradition that we all looked forward to. Next year will be 10 times better though!

Santa was coming to visit that night just so the kids had at least 1 present Christmas morning. His helper fell asleep with one of the kids and didn't wake up until 430am to put out the gifts. They were not wrapped or anything the next morning when the kids got up to see what they got. You should have seen their expressions... they were completely confused when they saw opened presents sitting in front of the tree. Jacob wasn't too happy about it but Santa's helper was exhausted and almost forgot to put the presents out at all... they should be grateful!

Our next holiday gathering was with my dad's side of the family. We usually get together at my aunt's house but she is now living with my grandpa so it was there instead. I cant remember the last time we had a holiday gathering there but if I had to guess it was probably when my grandma was still alive. We stayed for a couple of hours then headed out to the gathering with my mom's side of the family.

I hadn't planned on going to this Christmas but since they always have a good buffet of food I decided to skip dinner with the in laws and visit with my extended family. What a mistake that turned out to be. Dinner consisted of baked mac n cheese and potato soup. Ummm, not exactly what I was expecting. Other than having that for dinner I just walked around taking pictures and watched the boys play on the Wii. Glad I had more plans that night or I would have had a pretty crappy Christmas day. The kids enjoyed themselves though which is always a good thing.

I loaded the kids in the car and headed back to my in laws just as they were finishing up dinner. Apparently I have excellent timing because it gave me a chance to snag the last bit of corn pudding. Mmmmm. I always have a lot of fun with my in laws. I couldn't ask for a better second family than them. We chatted, took pictures, opened presents and the kids jumped on the young adults. The highlight of the night was when we asked Jacob if he knew who Tim was. He assured us he did... I knew who he was thinking of. When we told him it wasn't "Uncle" Scott but his little brother, he had this look of betrayal on his face. Such a priceless moment... you had to be there. I was going to put the kids in bed and catch a movie with my sister that evening but his family stayed around pretty late. The kids got Underdog and we got a chocolate pound cake, Packo dogs and sauce, and cookie mixes. I gave the cookies mixes to my mother in law because a. they were glass jars and b. they all had oatmeal in them and the kids and I don't do oatmeal cookies. Sorry, Aunt Kathy! Thanks though.

Wednesday and Thursday were free days. I did not have any plans for either day. I also do not really remember what we did those days. I will have to consult photos... be right back. Apparently I did not take any pictures on Wednesday so I will just say we lounged around the house. I'm sure I was checking my email and browsing the internet while the in laws worked and the kids played in the basement. I really know how to spend my vacation, don't I? LoL I really should have written this sooner because my brain is toast or mush or mushy toast. HA! Well what I do remember from Thursday is someone took Kadie and Jacob for awhile so while Sara was sleeping, the other two and I went outside to play. The grass was a little sloshy and it was just a tad cold (about 35*) but Lexi and Adam had fun running around. I took a few pictures until Adam fell in the mud... time to go in! I made the kids take off their shoes before walking in onto the white carpet... my mother in law would have kicked my ass if I let them get mud on that carpet! We decided to go out to dinner that night. We were supposed to go to Texas Roadhouse but they couldn't guarantee that the 10 of us would get to sit together or even near each other so we went to Don Pablo's instead. I called to make a reservation and we waited maybe 15 minutes when we got there. We ordered so much food, the bill was insane. Well it averaged about $10 per person including tip so really I guess it wasn't that bad and the food was GREAT and I got my Don Pablo's fix so it was all good.

Friday I had my sister bring me peking ribs for lunch. There is a place in the FoodTown just over the Michigan line that carries these. I cannot find them anywhere else so whenever I am in town my sister brings them to me. See... she does do nice things for me every once in awhile. My mom came and took the three oldest off my hands for awhile that afternoon as well. She took them to Children's Wonderland and they loved it! Gotta love having family wanting to take the kids. That is one of the main reasons I drive 30hrs round trip to go home. My in laws are a sanity saver and my family comes and takes the kids off my hands. Love it! That evening we went John's aunt's house for our annual gift exchange. David rode with me so I wouldn't get lost. He was reading his book and the kids kept asking "Are we there yet?" I jokingly told them that we would be there soon as long as Uncle David didn't let me get lost. Wouldn't you know it... we got lost! Apparently they did some construction and instead of there being a light where we needed to turn, there was an off ramp. No one thought they should mention this to us, so we drove right past it. We turned around at the next exit that was about 5 miles up the rode and drove back in the opposite direction another 15 miles by the time we got anyone on the phone that knew where we were going. We turned around again and finally found our way. After getting there we found out we could have taken the exit we got off at the first time all the way to their house. Of course!!! Dinner was good and Kadie really attached herself to Emily. I love when she finds new people to like because she is always so shy around people and wants to stick to me like white on rice. It gets very annoying. Emily and her stepsister read The Christmas Story and Tiffany was scouring the couch cushions for a little white pill that resembled the popcorn crumbs she kept coming up with. The gift exchange was rather interesting this year. John couldn't be there but FlatDaddy sat in his place. He was number 10 and Lexi picked for him. I was number 2... I opened up a small bag that contained a kitchen timer. There were quite a few people wanting to steal it from me but thought I might need it since it had a dual timer. I mean, I could use it to set two different times for when two kids are on time out at the same time. I assured them that they could steal it if they wanted... I didn't REALLY need it. Lexi decided to steal Ratatouille from Uncle David but I convinced her to put it back after David informed me he had already bought it for the kids for Christmas. She then opened up a big tub of popcorn. Later in the process a set of Ohio State party trays were opened. Lexi saw those and was totally jealous. So after someone stole my kitchen timer, I went and stole her popcorn so she could get the Ohio State stuff. Uncle Thom wanted so bad to steal it from her but we all convinced him that he couldn't steal it from the sweet, innocent daughter of a deployed soldier that only wanted to get them cause that is what her daddy would want. Someone then stole the popcorn from me. I secured our hold on the Ohio State trays by stealing them from Lexi. Yay! Those were now ours to take home. Lexi got to steal again and this time I wanted to kick her butt. We ended up with a giant tube of bubble gum, a toothbrush and some toothpaste. I tried getting her to put it back and pick something else but she wouldn't listen. Oh well... we left very happy and having enjoyed our time with family. That is what matters most anyways. We also didn't get lost going home, that is pretty important as well.

Saturday was our last day in Ohio and we still had one more Christmas. I was tired because Adam was up half the night screaming. I'm not sure what his deal was. I couldn't get him to calm down for anything. I was just hoping he wouldn't repeat it again this night. Chris and Eva made dinner since Mom had a wedding to go to at 4. We had a roast, potatoes, carrots and corn pudding. It was all so delicious and the BEST last meal I could ask for. After dinner we opened presents while drinking slush and eating chex mix. That is one of my most favorite Christmas traditions. The slush and chex mix part, not the presents part... although those are fun to get too. The kids got a PlaySkool Ion that they played until well after 11pm that night and lots of books and a couple outfits. I always love what my in laws get the kids. Not that I don't love what other people get them but some people don't know what to get the kids so they get them junk they wont ever play with or will just make a mess with and lose all the pieces to. My in laws definitely know what to stay away from. I got a few books (one of which I already read, one I already owned but haven't read, and two that I haven't even heard of but sound great), Grey's Anatomy season 3 and a Rachael Ray pan! I was so excited to get that pan and I knew that I was opening Grey's as soon as I saw the package. I'm not sure how I knew, I just did. Chris loved his gift from Kadie (cereal and cereal bowls) and Mom loved her sweater. I just hope it fits her, I need to call her and ask about it. Adam did very good opening presents. I have a picture of him opening his cup and he is so excited, it was adorable. Sara was getting the hang of it pretty well too. She knew she had to get the paper off but wasn't quite sure how to do it. My father in law didn't try to get Sara to walk but that girl sure is ready. If you hold her hands she will take off practically running, but she wont even stand on her own without holding something. I think she is just waiting for daddy... she will see him and take her first steps towards him. What a great coming home present that would be. So anyways... my mom came by so she could give me some shirts before we left and I got myself and the kids in bed shortly after 1130. About midnight Adam woke up screaming again. It was pure hell. After I took him out of the crib he did not want me to hold him or touch him or talk to him. He just threw a temper tantrum on the floor of the bedroom. I felt so bad because my in laws were sleeping just down the hall and Chris & Eva were right next door. I tried giving him a cup of milk... he didn't want that. I tried a cracker... he didn't want that. I tried holding him, rocking him, singing to him... everything I could think of... nothing worked. My mother in law came in after awhile to try to calm him down and he didn't want her. He wanted me and only me. Finally, with a stroke of luck, he wanted to go back to bed and slept the rest of the night. Boy was I tired the next day.

The van was all packed up except for the few things we needed the night before and that morning and there was still room in there. I was pleasantly surprised especially after getting all that stuff from my mom's house... I thought I might have to send some stuff back FedEx or strap my kids to the roof. If only that second option was a real possibility, HA! We left pretty much on schedule and the drive was uneventful. We made very few stops and arrived in Warner Robins (at my friend's house) after about a 12 1/2 hour drive. I didn't get very much sleep that night either but at least I only had to drive 3 hours to get back home from there.

We had cupcakes for Adam's birthday on Sunday morning before heading back home. Windy made them look like a dinosaur. They were so cute! After the kids made a huge mess all over the house with chocolate cupcakes we left the big kids with Rich and headed to my house with the babies. We helped Santa wrap all the kids' presents and set them up. It took us the whole hour and 45 min that we had until Rich got there with the kids. Rich took pictures while I just let the kids tear into their presents. It was total chaos. There was wrapping paper and toys spread everywhere. They were very happy with all their presents. Santa left a note saying he would be back when daddy got home.

The Christmas season still lives on until this stressed military family gets to finish up their holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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