Friday, January 31, 2014

Christmas 2013

 Christmas 2013 might have been the best Christmas yet!  Each year these boys get so much more fun and the anticipation and energy that they share makes everything that.much.better :)

Our celebrating started on Friday Dec. 21st.  Kreg took the afternoon off so that we could celebrate with our little family before we started all the celebrations with the rest of the family! As soon as Tucker woke up from his nap, we we were ready to open gifts from each other.  
Westin (4.5yrs) & Tucker (2yrs)
Westin was so excited to be able to read everyone's names and help sort gifts this year! 

Tucker's last year to be the youngest (and get to start first!)

The boys were betting on baby #3 being a boy even before we knew for sure!

 When we finished opening gifts from each other, we headed to one of my family's favorite restaurants-- the Edelweiss in Colorado Springs.  My dad's side of the family has been celebrating special events here since the early '70s and Kreg & I had our rehearsal dinner here so it holds a very special place in our hearts :) We ate there with all of my family and then headed to my parents' house to exchange gifts with them.

 By the time we finished with my family, the boys were exhausted and had no trouble going to sleep fast so Santa could make his appearance! We got up very early the next day-- they had no trouble with this one either ;) and Santa did NOT disappoint!  
Westin's first look at the "medium monster truck" he'd been hoping for!

It was a big hit!

Westin's Stocking

Tucker's Stocking
I am very bummed that I didn't get any pictures at our next Christmas, which was later that day at my Grandparents' house.  We drove up to Arvada, CO to spend the rest of the afternoon with them!  My grandma made a huge turkey dinner and we ate and exchanged more gifts.  Are we spoiled our what?  We were packed and ready to begin our "big" roadtrip and left from their house that evening and drove to Salina, KS.  Where the real adventure began.  We had a hotel booked to sleep at for a few hours before continuing our trip the next day to Searcy, AR.  We hit a huge snowstorm about 70 miles outside of Salina and by the grace of God, made it through the unplowed highway to our hotel.  I really should have Kreg type this story out as he tells it the best, but I know what his schedule looks like and he would NEVER have time.  I'll give you the highlights.

*We pulled in to our hotel after sliding through every stoplight because nothing was plowed and we knew if we stopped we wouldn't get going again.  This was about 12:45am.

*The parking lot was PACKED.  Every "parking space" had two cars parked there.  I guess no one cared that someone was parked directly behind them because they knew they weren't going anywhere anytime fast.  

*There was no vacancy.  "Thankfully" we booked a room ahead of time and they had one for us.

*We got the key to our room and parked on the street in hopes of being able to get out early the next morning.

*Walked all the way around the hotel, with outside entrances, with two sleeping children, in the blizzard and made it to our room. The key didn't work.  Awesome.

*Kreg ran to the lobby and brought back a night worker with a master key who let us in and told us to make sure we didn't both leave the room at the same time.  Awesome.

*Our room was currently about 50 degrees.  Maybe.  It was freezing! We were exhausted so we cranked up the heat, wrapped everybody up in our coats and all laid down in the same bed to try to share some body heat.

*As we're trying to fall asleep (2:00 am now), we hear the heater stop and start clicking.  We knew it wasn't warmed up yet so we assumed this was not a good sign.  We were right.  It didn't start again, despite Kreg's efforts to encourage it to, and at 4:00 am we called down to the front desk.

*After several attempts to get it working, including flipping the breaker to our room, we learn from the night worker that the heat is out in the entire hotel, except for the lobby.  Awesome.  We are all shivering and can't sleep so Kreg demands more blankets, goes to the front desk to get them, and we wrap ourselves up even more and try to sleep again, knowing that we can't get out until they at least attempt to plow the roads.

*We sleep for a couple of hours and get everyone up, don't even bother to try to the shower because we can't imagine being wet in the current room temperature.  We're ready to get out and looking forward to our hot continental breakfast. 

*We make it to the lobby and find that there is a pipe problem (surprise, surprise!) and therefore no hot coffee or tea, no juice or milk.  There are some bagels and muffins that have clearly been there for a few days.  Time to get out of here.

*We head back to our minivan in hopes that we will be able to get out since we parked on the road.  We find that the plow has indeed come by and in fact, there is a lovely 4-foot wall of snow surrounding the minivan.  Chances of us getting out are looking awfully slim but we are determined to try it.  We get everyone and everything loaded and try our best to get out and it isn't going anywhere.  In a desperate hope that we aren't going to have to walk to the closest Wal-Mart to purchase shovels to dig ourselves out, I get behind the wheel and Kreg gets behind the van to push.  That man was DETERMINED to get to his mama's house and pushed us out and onto the road.  Westin's reaction was PRICELESS.  When Kreg got back into the driver's seat, Westin told him "Dad you are AMAZING.  You are stronger than the Hulk AND Mr. Incredible!" We said good riddance to Salina and slowly hit the road towards Searcy.  Thankfully, the rest of the trip was uneventful and our kids are super troopers.  They never complained and even told us this was the best vacation EVER. 

 We spent the next several days with Kreg's mom and her husband Craig in Searcy.  We were so blessed to spent time with both of Kreg's sisters & their families, his step brother Rees & his family, and even got to catch his step sister Elaine oh-so-briefly! The cousin time was AWESOME for our kids.  So worth all the mis-haps in Salina!

All of their kids surprised Craig & Carol with a "Harding" swing for their backyard this Christmas :) I have a feeling it will get some good use! We were able to be able to attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service with everyone and were so thankful we didn't burn the place down! We were fed VERY well throughout the week and enjoyed celebrating another Christmas and gift exchange! OH-- and so blessed to have a Nana & Pops to treat all the parents to a movie while they babysat all 9 grandkids :) blessed blessed blessed!

 While we were there, I got to snap some "headshots" of each of the cousins for a project for Craig & Carol.  Look how cute every one of these kiddos is! And each one just as sweet as can be :)

Next up was the trek to Texas-- we made it to Richardson-- once again, uneventfully. We stayed VERY busy our short time there but I didn't manage to get many pictures.  We had another Christmas and gift exchange with this side of the family (#5!) and enjoyed catching up with each of them :) Our kids were EXTREMELY over-stimulated and exhausted at this point but we wouldn't have traded the time spent with family for anything :) Memories made!

All of the little people :)

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