Friday, December 30, 2016

Go Broncos!! And our KC trip...

On Christmas Day, we took off for Kansas City so the boys could go to a Broncos/Chiefs game. They were SO excited! The game started at 7pm, so we were aiming to be there around 5pm. Well, we started driving and we were only about an hour into the drive and it started POURING down rain. Like....torrential rain. We started to get a little concerned because Tommy is not the hardiest boy in the world. He doesn't like being tired and he doesn't like being wet. And we knew if it kept raining, he would be both. We just started praying it would quit by the time the game started! I had bought them both ponchos for the game, so we knew they would have a little protection from the rain, but we also knew Tommy would still probably be whiny. 

It was still raining when we got there. We checked into our hotel and dropped off all of our stuff. The boys were pumped and ready to go!

 However, Nick went to unpack the ponchos and we could only find one of them. Of course. There was no sign that the rain was letting up, so we headed to Walgreens to buy some garbage bags. They weren't wide enough to fit around Nick's shoulders, so he told Tommy he'd have to wear a garbage bag so Nick could wear the poncho. 

Well. That did NOT fly with Tommy (I keep thinking, "Nobody puts Tommy in a trash bag.....nobody."--just a little Dirty Dancing reference there). He did NOT want to put on a "stinkin trash bag." We were able to stave off a meltdown about the garbage bags and redirect his mindset to something else. We got to the stadium and waited in a line of cars a mile long just to drop the boys off. We had NO idea where to go, so we just picked an entrance. They tried to charge me $50 to go through that parking lot, but they finally let us just drop the guys off and leave. As I watched them start running through the rain to the stadium (that seemed SOOOOO far away), I was so worried Tommy was going to be grumpy and ruin Nick's time. Tessa and I headed back to the hotel and I kept praying they'd have fun despite the weather.

Let's just say, "God is good." Nick texted me about an hour later that they had made it to their seats. The rain was slowing down, but it didn't matter, because their seats ended up being under an awning! I know it's silly, but that made me SO happy. I knew Tommy would have more fun if he was dry and warm, which meant Nick would have more fun. They were surrounded by Chiefs fans, but Nick said they were all super nice and even bought some snacks for Tommy. Obviously, he was enjoying himself.....
 I mean, that face is the face of a boy who loves his pretzels! The Broncos ended up losing, but the boys had SO much fun! Tessa and I had a good time at the hotel watching TV and making jewelry with a little kit she got for Christmas. We went to go pick them up when the game was over and let's just say I will NEVER do that again. I don't care if a cab costs $100.....we'll pay it just so I can avoid that parking lot. Nick and I ended up having to text our coordinates to each other. I just parked the car until he was finally able to find me (an hour later). Once we had all met up again, we headed back to the hotel for some rest. Tommy was SO exhausted!
 The next day, we just did some shopping and running around in the morning. We ate at Bob Evans. It was good, but not like the BEST food I've ever had. However, Tommy continues to talk about it two months later and always wants to "eat at that place in Kansas City where we had ice cream." So Bob Evans, head to Wichita, would ya?! My son loves you!

 After finishing our shopping, we headed to our next stop that was another surprise for the kids. We had told them to bring their swimming suits in case we had a pool. They kept asking when we would get to swim and we had to hold them off for a bit. When we finally pulled up to our hotel, we got inside and they were SOOOO excited! We went to Coco Keys, an indoor water park/hotel. They looooooooved it. I was a little leery because of some of the reviews. However, it was really a pretty nice facility and the kids had a blast in the water park. There were all kinds of slides and pools and things to do. And it was nice because Nick and I could swim with the kids, but also eat funnel cake and drink grown up things while they were playing in the kiddie part (that's a win-win in my mind).

These are literally the only two pictures I took while we were there.  The first one I just thought was hilarious. Tessa kept begging to see out the window, so I put her up there and she looked like a gecko!
This was the kiddie pool area where we could relax and they could swim without us worrying they would drown! It was great!

We stayed the night at Coco Keys and then left for home the next morning. This was really our first "vacation" where it was JUST us. We've gone a few places with his family or mine, but never just as our little family of four. It was SUCH a great time of bonding and restoration. The kids were SO good and we all got along really well. I loved it and can't wait for future trips!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016

We had a wonderful Christmas again this year. The older I get, the less I care about gifts and the more I care about quality time with my family. Every year around Christmas, I get several days off and get to really enjoy each of our families and our Christmas traditions.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Wilhelm's for dinner. It was a great time, but a little bittersweet because we were missing part of our family this year. Nick's sister and her husband moved out of state earlier this year, so it just didn't feel quite the same......BUT, thanks to technology, we got to face time them and that made it a little better!

We had a great time eating our traditional mexican meal--fajitas, beans, cheese dip. We had a good laugh because about three quarters of the way through dinner, Esther shot out of her chair (and maybe let an expletive escape her lips) and said, "THE POTATOES!!" She had a made a HUGE batch of papas con chiles to go with our meal and completely forget to get them out of the oven! We were all reeeeally full by the time they made it to the table, but we managed to stuff some down (because they were delicious).

After dinner, we played the saran wrap game--Isabelle Marie was the winner of that! The kids loved it and had so much fun trying to unwrap the ball to get to the prizes.

Then it was time for presents! The kids were thrilled with all of their stuff (of course). I can't even remember now what all they got, but they were spoiled, that's for sure! I do remember Tessa getting an art set that was literally bigger than her. I totally failed at taking many pictures--which is sometimes a good thing, because it means I was too busy enjoying the moment.

By the time we were done celebrating with the Wilhelm's, the kids were SO tired. I think they both fell asleep in the car, which almost NEVER happens anymore. We got them inside and had to wake them up to write letters to Santa and set some cookies out. After that, we got them all tucked in headed to bed.

I heard some noise in the middle of the night, so I got up and caught Santa in the act of leaving some presents.

We ended up having to wake Tessa up to open presents. She was sleeping in since we got to bed late the night before. Not our Thomas James, though! He was up bright and early. Once we finally got Tessa up, we had to hurry through presents. Since Christmas was on a Sunday this week, we had church at our regular time, so we had to be in Towanda by 10:45am.

The kids were spoiled (again). They both got several pairs of shoes (that they actually needed--so it was a good way to add to the present pile while not getting them useless junk!). They got some clothes. Tessa got quite a few necklaces and bracelets because she's been so into jewelry lately. She got a few art things. Tommy got some Broncos goodies. He also got "the big gift." Nick was SO excited to give it to him (and so was I)!

Nick works with a guy who has season tickets to all of the Chiefs games. It just so happened that the Chiefs were playing the Broncos on Christmas Day and his friend offered to sell him the tickets (for an excellent price). He snapped them up and we planned a short trip to Kansas City during our Christmas vacation. The tickets were one of Tommy's gift. We knew better than to expect a HUGE reaction from him, because he's just not that kind of kid. When he gets something he loves, he's usually pretty quiet about it, but says thank you a million times.

He opened his tickets that were wrapped with a Broncos hat. They tickets were taped down to the box they were in and he ALMOST ripped them in half when he was trying to see what they were! Once he finally figured out they were tickets, he smiled really big and hugged us both and we got our thank you's. After the present opening,we found a note from Santa that said their gift was too big for the living room, so it was downstairs. They hurried down and found a BOUNCY HOUSE! I can't tell you the trouble we Santa went through to get this thing. The kids LOVED it (and have played in it approximately TWICE since Christmas Day). They bounced their hearts out.....

Then it was time to get ready for church! Tessa Grace looked so cute in her outfit and all her jewelry....

We stopped and picked up our nieces (their mom and dad were chillin at home because they had a 3 day old baby to take care of) and we all went to church. It was a lovely service that really brought home why we celebrate Christmas.

After church, we headed to Nana's to eat and open more presents! I spent a looooot of time holding this little fella....

Tommy and Tessa were stoked to finally get to meet him....

And Tommy is thrilled to have another boy in the family FINALLY........

We had SUCH a wonderful time celebrating with our little family. My mom has mentioned several times that she'd love to have a trike with a basket on the back to be able to ride around town. We knew she'd never buy one for herself because they're kind of expensive and she spends her money on everything BUT herself. So WE got her one! We were so excited to give it to her and I was so glad we got it because she really seemed to like it!

We had to head out a little earlier than normal because we had to be in Kansas City by 5pm or so. We were bummed to cut the party short, but were so excited to get to KC for the big game! After we said our goodbyes, we packed up and headed out....but that's for another post. 

It was a wonderful Christmas as usual! I'm already excited for the next one!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fulton Valley Farms and urgent care

Two days before Christmas, we decided to check out Fulton Valley Farms. We met all of Nick's family for dinner and then headed over to see all of their Christmas activities! It ended up being really cool. The kids were able to see Santa. They had a path lit up with thousands of Christmas lights and it was SO pretty. They had donkeys and sheep for kids to pet and a place where you can take pictures with a real reindeer (Tessa was just SURE it was Vixen).

The coolest part of the night was when they had a live nativity. They acted out the shepherds finding baby Jesus and it was just a really beautiful, poignant moment. It helps to really see what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph.

The next day, we took a little trip to urgent care. Because how else would we want to spend our Christmas Eve?!? Long story short, Tessa had complained three or four weeks ago that her ear hurt. I looked at it and it looked like her earring hold was infected. She cried when I touched it, so I knew it was really hurting her because she doesn't really cry from pain. I noticed that her earring back was missing and assumed it had just fallen off. We cleaned it up really good and I noticed it was kind of hard, but assumed that was pus that just needed to be cleaned out. She was able to keep an earring in without any problems and after a few days, it healed up and looked fine.

BUT.......I went to change her earrings the say before Christmas Eve and noticed her ear lobe was still hard. The hard spot was perfectly round. Like the shape of the little tube like plastic earring back that had gone missing. And I just knew.....her earring back was IN her ear. There's an urgent care in Andover that we decided to take her to. We knew this wasn't ER worthy, but we were going out of town for a few days after Christmas and didn't want to keep it in there any longer than necessary! So I took her in. And the were able to give her some local anesthetic and take it right out! It took less then 10 minutes and she was SUCH a trooper! I felt so bad that it had been in her ear so long. But I was so glad they were able to see her that day and get it taken care of!

She wanted me to take this picture to send to her aunt....clearly she was recovering well.....

It was an eventful few days!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Early Christmas presents

This year, I got a couple of early Christmas presents!

So I've been agonizing for a few years over a KitchenAid mixer. It's one of those things that I don't NEED......but always want. I just couldn't make myself spend the money on it! They're so expensive! But every year around Christmas, I start looking at them and thinking about them and dreaming about them and all of the things I'll never use it to make......

And every year I lament to Nick about how much I want one but that I'm just not going to buy it. But this year, he got tired of listening to me and made me bite the bullet! And I love it!

I got an EXCELLENT deal on it. It was on sale for around $250. Then I had a 30% off coupon code that took it down to around $175. I also had a $30 gift card, so that made it $145. Then there's a $30 mail in rebate, so that made it $115. AND I got $50 Kohl's cash back on my purchase! So essentially, I got it for under $100!! I got white so it'll match any kitchen color scheme I may have throughout the years. And I named her Lucinda......

These cookies were our first recipe that we made together. And I must say, they were pretty dang tasty.....

But even better than the KitchenAid mixer was another early present I got....
Mr. Tyson FINALLY made his appearance! Isn't that the cutest little grumpy face you've ever seen?!? He was a few days overdue, so they induced his mama on December 22. She had to go in around 5am. I worked all day, but was right down the road from the hospital and had given my brother strict orders to call me when it was close to time. He texted that she was dilated to 8cm, so I decided to finish a few things and then head to the hospital. Well, I called my mom to see what floor to go to and Ty was already being born! Once he was ready to come out, he came quick! He's just the most precious little nephew! After 5 nieces, I finally have a little man to spoil!

I'm in love!!

And so are his cousins....
We are so happy he FINALLY decided to make an appearance and came out healthy and cute as a button! Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Santa Train 2016

I had seen something on facebook about a Santa Train in Kansas. Unfortunately, it turned out to be about 3 hours away. I googled MORE Santa trains in Kansas and found one that was in Abilene (only about an hour and 45 minutes away). I rounded up a group of people and we decided to go for it! I knew the kids would love it and it's something we'd never done before. Plus, it was only $10 per person and you can't beat that! We were just praying that aunt JJ wouldn't go into labor while we were so far from home!
It turned out to be a lot of fun! The train was a little older and really neat. They had an old fashioned town built around the train station that we were able to look around while we were waiting. The train car was really warm and spacious. They had crafts for the kids to do and then each kid got to sit on Santa's lap and choose a Christmas book. On the way back to the train station, we sang Christmas carols and the kids got to participate in a little play. It was such a fun Christmas activity!

I'm definitely planning on going back next year! It was worth the drive and a super cheap, fun thing to do with all the kids. And JJ did NOT have Ty while we were there, so our prayers were answered--ha! I was so glad we decided to take the little road trip to try it out!

We had our annual Christmas party with the Cain's that same evening. It was a busy day, but SO much fun. I apparently missed the rude shirt memo.... 
We stuffed ourselves on good food and good company. And of course, the kids loved opening all of their presents....

We were all cracking up over Essie's new slippers!
And of course, there was the annual cousin PJ picture.....this was the best we could get!

Three sweet sisters.......

My kids were NOT having it...

And then we got this shot......the last annual Christmas party as a family of five!

It was a WONDERFUL night with wonderful people! I love our traditions!