Sunday, January 1, 2012

As we gather together this holiday season may our hearts be grateful, our mugs be full, and our pants be stretchy!

Disclaimer:  It's a long one.  But for the past couple weeks we were busily enchanted with a birthday celebration, family gatherings, Santa's visit, playtime with friends, and a great big airplane ride to Kansas.
In the week leading up to Christmas we celebrated Joe's big 4-0...lordy, lordy Joe is forty!!!  Our trip to San Francisco in October was anniversary, birthday, and Christmas all wrapped up in one, but there was no escaping an acknowledgement of the special day.  There wasn't much fan fare but we did enjoy dinner with friends, their kids, and our parents. And passed on to Joe were Depends, a cane, and extra large party hats letting everyone know that the big guy was now over the hill. 

Let me brag on the birthday boy a little...he's an active, hands-on dad; a considerate, supportive, and caring husband; and a motivated, do-it-yourself, figure out anything hard worker.  No doubt we drive each other crazy sometimes, but there's no one else I'd rather walk this road with.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!!! 


We kicked off Christmas weekend with a play date at the Youngs' house.  Mission: to create 14 hand painted place mats with the help of three toddlers (and a curious dog that looked on too).

Mission accomplished.  Niki worked her magic to make a few horror-movie-like pieces of artwork look festive and inviting. 

Garrett topped the day off with a flight over his handlebars and a 'look-ma-no-hands!' face plant on the pavement.  Minus a lot of blood, he was perfectly ok thanks to an orange popsicle.

Just before the madness began I enjoyed lunch with two friends I've known the longest.  There have been years when we talk more than others, but without fail we can pick up where we left off.  We're in different places around the country and in different places in life, but it's nice to go back to where we started once in a while.  Moms included too:)


Then came Christmas Eve and for the past six years we've enjoyed fondue dinner at my in-laws' house.  I'm pretty lucky that everyone gets along because instead of running from house to house we can enjoy the evening together.  The wine flowed, the boys entertained, and the eating was delectable.

After we were all snuggled in our beds Santa worked his magic and left the boys their first tool bench, among other toys, books, and Hokie gear on Christmas morning.  In no time they'll be helping Joe in the garage.  Will that mean a quiet house for me?  Time to slip out and get a pedicure?  Ok!  Build away, boys.  Build away.

It was then off to Oma and Opa's for breakfast (French Toast Souffle & Hot Curried Fruit - yum!) and more wrapped surprises...a Keurig coffee maker, a play kitchen, handsome clothes, running attire, toy trucks, and more...THANK YOU, Joe and Karin!

That afternoon we spent time at Nana and Pops' house with Great Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Brandon and Aunt Lindsay, and Oma and Opa too.  My dad (with mom's help too!) indulged us with beef tenderloin, red pepper risotto, garlic sauteed brussel sprouts, salad, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie....ooooh mouth watering.  Even though we agreed not to exchanage gifts this year, there were still plenty to open...not sure how that happened.  No complaints, though.  Who doesn't need Thomas the Train and the Dinosaur Train books that play their own music, dump trucks that roll with the push of a button, some cute accessories, pre-recorded narrated stories from the great grandparents, a new Dustbuster, and a cookbook of family recipes (thank you, Aunt Kris!)?


The REAL BIG gift, however, was the purchase of four roundtrip airplane tickets to Kansas to see my two of my dad's sisters, Carol and Dottie, and my dad's mom, whom the boys have never met.  Of course Uncle Chris was there too and he pleasantly tolerated the Watson tornado for five long days.  4 adults that included 1 super anxious mommy, 2 toddlers, a lot of bags, and 2 airplane rides to the mid west.

The good (kind of) news: 

The boys traveled beautifully.  

3 out of the 4 flights.

And the one leg of the trip that didn't go so well included a 20 minute all out screaming melt down from my dear, sweet Gavin, who almost got to experience his first parachute ride out of the plane as I sweat through my clothes and stared back at the young, hot guy who wouldn't stop glaring at me as if to say I was the worst, most incompetent mother he'd ever seen.  "Sorry I'm ruining the start to your bowl game trip, you college drinking frat boy!"  I dared him to say a word.

However, Gavin's meltdown didn't compare to the gentleman a couple rows over who forgot to put on deodorant that morning.  Why hello, BO.

And if you ever thought sitting crammed by the window with a squirmy toddler on your lap while trying to fish toys out of the bag at your feet while your parents tried to help but couldn't might be fun, thinking again my friend, think again.

The bad news:
My mom booked my ticket under my maiden name?  Ah, the best laid plans...

This resulted in the purchase of another ticket, a phone call to a friend directing her to break into our house, go through all of our most important files to locate our marriage certificate, and faxing it to my uncle's office.

You know, just a small favor.

I owe you big, Whitney.  Big.

So there really is nothing like's sometimes funny to see myself in people I see only every few years and re-hash stories that we've all heard before but still laugh at.  And like everyone else, I'll look back on this trip with Norman Rockwell-esque memories and say that there were frequent tense many blissfully happy moments.

Good food, hallway races, tickle fights, Eggnog lattes, truck books, photo sessions, toddler meltdowns, Sesame Street, swim time, cat chasing, Ring Around the Rosy, no naps, trips to chauffeur Grandma, frequent nighttime wake ups, slobbery M&M kisses, and visits to the pool, museum, and nature center were enjoyed by all.  



And by New Year's Eve evening we were all happily back in the comforts of our own homes, certainly not in Kansas anymore, looking at a year ahead and reflecting on the year gone by...

So long 2011:
-the boys' first words, first steps, first shoes, first dip in the ocean, first birthday
-G & G's baptism
-RSV, croup, roseola, Rotavirus, a million ear infections
-trips to Naples, FL; Greensboro & Oak Island, NC; Bloomfield Hills & Higgins Lake, MI; Cookeville, TN; San Francisco, CA; Lawrence, KS
-Joe making progress on 'Big Jeep'
-nursing a hurt heel and many missed runs
-getting to know new friends and staying connected with old ones

And hello 2012:  
With resolutions to be less high strung and more patient; to stress less, play pretend more, and savor the moment; and to make more time for Joe and me.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. When are you coming back? We miss ALL of you. I need some knee-pits to kiss and some little boy necks to nuzzle and I want to see those little straight white teeth when those boys make animal sounds!

  2. hillarious! my mom booked me a ticket under my maiden name in 2009 too! how funny is that! Those mommas are crazy!

    Glad you guys had a good Christmas!Hope to see you soon!


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