Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Things Learned from our Travels...

We made it home!!! Our trips to Michigan and Missouri for Christmas have been made. Lots of gifts given away, and more to take back to our homes. The boys did fantastic {for the most part} on our car rides. I'm exhausted. Two days later my unpacking is still not finished. Mind you, I have been making sure all the boys new toys have a new organized place and just don't make a mess. I also have been helping the boys play with all their new toys.

Things I have learned from this trip....

- Children watching DVDs in the car is the BEST! Our kids were late bloomers for watching movies/tv shows, so we are in awe of this new found distraction.

- Said children watching movies with headphones is PRICELESS! Dan and I can carry on a full conversation and I don't need to know what is happening on Clifford, Star Wars, or Boz.

- Traveling from TN to MI, then MI to MO, then MO back to TN within 10 days is a lot of driving, especially since the longest trip we did overnight.

- Explaining how many miles we are from Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan means nothing to a 4 year old. Explaining that we reached Michigan but still have more time until we get to Grammy & Papa's house was even harder. {on a side note, I remember our yearly drives to Florida from Michigan as a kid. I remember never understanding how we reached Florida, but it STILL took so long to get to my Aunt Nancy's house! So I do feel bad for the boys.}

- Pack easy/fun/not sugary snacks for the trip. We had fruit leather, peanut butter crackers, cheese-its, and raisins.

- 2am when you have three half-asleep cranky kids because they woke up when you stopped at a gas station.... you don't care what snacks they get. 2 of mine picked skittles, and the other whoppers from the gas station and happily chomped away at their snacks and actually fell back to sleep while eating.

- ice water, ice water, ice water ALL AROUND! No more rationing when they get drinks. I fill their cups with ice, top with water, and they keep them in their seats. If they are thirsty, I DON'T HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT! They can drink when they want. But they don't drink too much! Has cut down on the whining for drinks, and on the potty stops... for ALL of us!

- Don't leave for a celebration trip (Christmas, birthdays, etc) with the car already at full capacity. It is quite hard to re-pack when you accumulate even more stuff!

- Ziplock XXL bags are a GODsend when traveling! One will fit all three pillows, blankets and stuffed animals for the car ride. Pull out when needed, shove back into bag when not needed. BONUS when traveling while it's cold out. We don't travel in the car with coats on, so we stuff all our coats in a bag and have it easily accessible when we need them.

- listening to The Office on DVD in the middle of the night while three boys are sleeping makes the show quite funny! That's a lot coming from me, I used to hate the show. I now mildly like it. Well, I like some episodes a lot, others give me that sick stomach feeling like I was back working at Chase and banging my head against a wall trying to explain something simple to someone that was not getting it.

- finding three pairs of shoes in a packed car for a potty run while half asleep is not fun.

- Grammy & Papa in Michigan are wonderful distractions for the boys so Dan and I were able relax and even get a little extra sleep. (now if they were in Missouri after our all night travels, that would have been nice too!)

- Southwest Missouri gets light later in the morning than where we are at in West Tennessee. This works in my favor when we got to Missouri and I convinced my kids it was still the middle of the night at 6:30 am and they had to go back to sleep. They agreed and gave me 1 hour of extra glorious sleep!

- Taco Bell is not a car friendly meal

I have lots of pictures to upload, but they will have to wait until another time. I am enjoying a new Wii game with my husband since the boys are in bed, and it's my turn to play :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Am I old enough to say "Back in the Day"?

If I'm old enough to say it, Lori is a great friend of mine from "back in the day". We went to Zoe together (yes, I will forever call it that), then college. We have stayed in touch over time. While we don't get to see each other much and talk even less, she is a Forever friend and we LOVE hanging out with the Bunks! They live a few miles from my parents in Michigan, so we try and see them when we are in town.

We even had icing on the cake with our visit, we got to visit with BOTH of Lori's sisters! While Jeni (all cute and preggo) had to head out right away, Keri and her family was able to stay.

The night started out perfectly. So perfect, in fact, that I set aside my camera for most of the night and missed getting pictures of everyone. I decided it was more important to hold little 12 week old snuggly Elijah rather than photograph him. Then he slept so well for his parents so we didn't get to visit with him again. Keri was being the great mom and taking care of breathing treatments, medicines, bottles, sleeping infants, and all that two 9 month old infants entail. So I never got a picture of her either! (or her little cutie Jonathan).

We found out that almost 5 year old boys can play SO WELL together that we even were able to visit, eat, and let them stay up 2 hours past bedtime! It was so enjoyable that we could chat, and that the boys played together with all the guns and ammo until their hearts were full. It was a sad good-bye and my boys have asked to play again with Isaac quite a few times already.

Thank you Bunks so much for having us over during this busy Christmas season! We had fun and wish we could do it more often.

Attempt of #1 of a picture of the kiddos
Not only do the silly faces here crack me up, but I love how Zoey is watching them all!
Even though Dalton is not looking, I had to include this shot. Easton said "I want a picture with just my friend Isaac and not the girls". How cute is that?!
The girls
David all smiles!
Zoey with her "cheese" smile
We made the famous calendar!
Calm down/movie time
yes, they are ALL watching a movie quietly!
The guys chatting
The aftermath
My favorite picture of the night :) This was their favorite spot to plot their attack.

This one is for you, Lori. I know you hated the last minute picture I took, so I left it out and will leave you with this....
"I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul rememb'ring my good friends." - William Shakespeare

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Grammy & Papa

We made it to Michigan! We are all excited to see Grammy & Papa. Since we are leaving Michigan right after Christmas, they decided to let the boys open some of their gifts early so they can see them play with them. Also it means they have something to play with at Grammy & Papa's house.

They have been having a blast, here are just a few of the pictures....

Opening LEGOS!
Easton showing Grammy his favorite color blue creation
Daddy "helping" Quinton build
Mommy even built "Papa's Tire Repair Shop" for Quinton's car
Quinton decided he needed to add wings to his car
Dalton hard at work
Papa's train under the tree is a huge hit!
Quinton putting on his gift. Note his shirt. It says "I'd Rather Be In Detroit". Guess who that is from?!?!
Easton and his dress up
Dalton and his dress up
Quinton shooting his webs at me
Grammy should be safe now with all these super heroes to protect her!
Quinton being "Captain Hook" and catching a "good guy".

More fun to come! As I type I am smelling the wonderful famous apple pies that my dad makes :) Happy Christmas Eve Eve :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas is HERE!

We are traveling this Christmas, which brought up the gift question that all traveling families have to decide. Do you pack them and bring them with you? Do you open them early, or after you get home?

We decided to open most of them early, and only bring a couple with us. Thursday night was the chosen night. My thought was to allow them Friday while I finish packing to play with their new toys. It did work quite well!

In this picture the boys only know a surprise is going to happen. They don't know exactly what since we didn't tell them. So they are anxiously awaiting while I take a couple quick pictures....
I love this picture of Easton. It's not the biggest smile, but it is HIM and truly his happy eyes. The best part is capturing his unique way of sitting crossed legged. It cracks me up, but he does this often - especially in his car seat :)
Quinton again is showing his newest cheesy picture smile. Such a goof.
Dalton. This has been his picture smile for a while. Do I have a teenage boy on my hands already??? He doesn't like to show teeth anymore :(
It's sad because he has a great smile!
A rare shot with Mommy. I love my boys!
Easton - "This is just like the game at Grammy & Papa's! I LOVE this game!"
Dalton: the game "Trouble" + Star Wars = perfect boy game
Dalton opening another gift with the Transformers wrap that he picked out
Easton carefully trying to keep his John Deere wrapping paper intact (that he picked out)
Goofy Quinton! He pulled the bow off his personalized Toy Story blanket and popped it on his head. Silly boy!
Daddy even got to open a little gift
Quiton has loved his new Melissa & Doug birthday cake! He loves pretend so this gift is right up his ally. It was wrapped in his newest Christmas character he loves - Frosty the Snowman!
My little boys are growing up, they got REAL Legos for the first time. Not the Mega Blox or Duplo, but the REAL ones - foot hurting small pieces kind :) Thanks to my cousin Jessica for their Lego sets - we put them together the next day and they loved them!
It was a great time, had by all. We enjoyed giving them an early Christmas!!!

In a month or two I want to post a toy review of what they liked, didn't like, held up well or broke easily. If I forget, please comment and remind me.

For those of you shaking your heads at me that we actually let them open gifts early - TRY IT! Give your kids one gift early tomorrow and see how fun it is!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gingerbread House Fun

We had fun making our Gingerbread houses this year! I purchased a kit that had a "city", so that I didn't have to buy three Gingerbread house kits. The boys had a blast doing them!

Easton hard at work

Dalton adding the candy
Quinton loving the green frosting
Easton with his completed "Toy Shop"
Quinton picked "Santa's House" of course
(This is Quinton's new fake camera smile)
Mommy finished one for her and one for Daddy

Dalton and his "Candy Shop"
So proud, Quinton wanted another picture :)

Our finished Gingerbread City!

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