Last time I wrote my sweet cat, TyTy, had passed away. It was right before our trip to see family in Michigan for Christmas. Everyone was extremely busy so I wasn't able to throw in an extra blog update before we left.
Anyhow we left Saturday, December 18th for our two day car trip back to Michigan. We always drive because it's a LOT cheaper than flying everyone to Michigan, renting a car, etc. Plus if we drive we can stuff the van to the ceiling with stuff to bring back home. It seems that lately ours parents love to unload their attics of the toys they saved from when we were younger. This, mixed with new Christmas gifts and our luggage, makes for a very full minivan!
The kids are used to the long car rides and of course we had little presents and a new DS game for each of them for the ride. We also went to the library and rented the limit of 5 videos so for the most part the first day wasn't that bad. The kids were very interested in the new GPS we have that shows on the screen how many hours until our destination and how many miles. When they would ask us, "How much longer?" we would point them to the GPS screen. Soon they were reading the numbers themselves.
I kept myself amused on my phone. I had a connection almost the entire way to Michigan and was able to message my friends and play word feud which is a scrabble game where you take turns with other players that are online.
One of the things we did was we bought about 80 bakugans (these little creatures that turn into balls and spring open when you put them on a magnetic card) and every time we stopped we'd give them about 3 each. They were literally so excited every single time we stopped.
The first night we ordered in pizza because we didn't want to chance losing our parking spot. The parking lot behind the hotel was literally a skating rink and we couldn't imagine parking there so we stayed in. The boys went swimming and I waited for the pizza.
We were happy to arrive at my parent's house the second day. The drive was actually very good as we did not run into any snow or ice. It was such a relief!
Highlights of being at my parent's house were I got to see my friends Jenny and Adam and I taught my dad to use the computer and now he's even using facebook, finding recipes and googling anything his heart desires. I'm so excited he's feeling more confident using the computer!! Another highlight were the boys loved going out sledding.
Lowlight was my children's listening ears must have been turned off. We told them to stay out of the back room and they kept going in there and eventually found a lot of their Christmas gifts. We knew they were into no good when Justin came out and said, "Daddy, thanks for getting me Criss Cross Crash and mommy - you got Barbies for Christmas!"
We were very disappointed and sad they found the gifts early and had a talk to them about listening.
Wednesday and Thursday we stayed at Joe's grandma's house and the boys went sledding. Thursday evening we did his dad's Christmas.
Friday we had Christmas at Joe's dad's parents (our grandparents). The boys were very excited to get some new beyblades and bakugans. I got a subscription to Sandra Lee's Semi Homemade Cooking, and a few other cookbooks.
Saturday was Christmas. Every year we do this at my parent's house but this year Grandma Norma asked we have it at her house so we moved it there.
We did Christmas morning at Joe's mothers. Boys got a lot of fun stuff like a cars movie track Justin can race the cars down, a race track, and other fun toys like that. I got a new saucepan, a little crock pot, tiered cooking racks for cookies, a rice cooker which I am in love with, a new knife and knife sharpener. For some unknown reason I woke up in a really bad mood. Luckily my bad mood lifted within a few hours but I'm sure I wasn't fun to be with Christmas morning and feel bad about it.
That afternoon we had Christmas at Joe's grandma's house. We had a really nice meal. The boys couldn't wait to open their gifts. They got a really cool hot wheels trick track, boomerangs, money and a few crayola desks, which were nice for the drive back.
Grandma gave Joey and Justin each a $100 bill. When Joey opened it he knew exactly what it was and yelled, 'ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS? ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS?? You've GOT to be KIDDING ME!' and then pretended to faint on the couch. It was quite humorous. We joked that Joey hasn't learned the tact of NOT yelling out how much he gets for Christmas.
That evening we packed up to go back to my parents house. We jammed the van really full and off we went. The only issue was the weather was awful. We ventured out into freezing cold weather and light snow, which made the roads a sheet of ice. When we got close to my parent's house the highway had multiple spin outs on both sides of the freeway. I can honestly tell you that I was extremely relieved to drive up to my parent's house in one piece.
The next morning we woke up and waited for my brother Greg and his pregnant wife, Audrey, to come over. We ate my dad's famous breakfast (he goes all out) and then sat down to open gifts. The boys got some ds games, the criss cross crash race track for hot wheels they wanted, pillow pets and some beyblades, bakugans and pokemon ball.
I got a new sweater my mother knit from scratch, new sock she knit and a new camera bag that holds ALL my camera equipment!
We didn't stay too long. We had to leave that afternoon so we could get back home so Joe could get to work on Tuesday. Joe did his stellar packing job and jammed the van completely full of everything from all 5 Christmas's, our suitcases and a few boxes of toys from the attic and off we went to Illinois for our first stop. We made it there early and took some time to let the boys spend some of their Christmas money and go to dinner. We all went to bed fairly early to get up really early at 5:30am.
We were up at 5:30 and the boys did not want to wake up. They finally got up and we went downstairs to have breakfast at 6am. We ate a little bit (no one was very hungry that early in the morning) and then we checked out and were on our way home.
The drive was very long the second day and we were very glad to pull up to our house about 7pm. We were very happy to see our cats and to see our home.
The few days after I had off work and used it to go grocery shopping and unpack and organize all of our new stuff. I had to run to ikea to get new organizers for their shelving system to put their new toys in.
Last night was New Years eve and we had our neighbors Paul, Michelle and their daughter Paige over for board games and drinks. We played Yatzee (Paul won) and Monopoly (Joe won). Monopoly went on so long that it took until 2:30am to finish the game! The funny part of the night was when Michelle opened the second bottle of champagne and it literally exploded all over the kitchen.
This year for New Years I really don't have a resolution. Every year I make a resolution and I'm sad when I fall off the wagon for not sticking to it. I guess my resolution is to do the best I can and continually improve where I can. Things I'd like to work on - exercise more, blog more, scrapbook more and take more photos. I figure if I am able to do some of those things, then I'm ahead of the game.
I updated my scrapbook website - FINALLY. I added all my 2010 pages and changed the layout. I think the old layout has been like that since 2007! I like the new look. http://www.designsbybriana.com.
One final thing - I enabled my blog for mobile browsing. You can now view this blog on your mobile device. How cool is that?!