Tag Archives: New Years

Christmas & New Year’s 2016

13 Jan

I better get posting about Christmas before it’s February, huh?

We celebrated Christmas first just the four of us on the Thursday before Christmas. I made chicken cordon bleu (from the deli), green beans, red potatoes, and rolls, and we drank “bubbly” (which Emma loved). Then the girls opened their presents from us, and their present from Papa Dave since it was a big box that we didn’t have room to transport from Rochester. We got them some art supplies, a few books, a bouncy buddy, and a Little People nativity set. Papa Dave bought them this treehouse with the camping buddies from The Land of Nod. Within 15 seconds of opening it, both girls were drawing on it with crayon. (Seriously…) Luckily, I was able to scrub most of it off. Their favorite present by far, though, was the box that the treehouse came in. Of course.15741131_1332807960082856_4438754616654293238_n15781037_1332807950082857_3583310463122747060_n15727286_1332807923416193_7831163184979449209_nThe next day, we headed up to Travis’ parents’ house in Nevis, arriving in time for dinner. Travis’ sister and nephew, and brother and sister-in-law were also there almost the whole time we were, so we were able to spend some nice time together. Emma and Annabelle were in heaven. They love their Nana and Papa, and Aunties and Uncle, and have a lot of fun with them. Their cousin Drew isn’t so much of a kid person at age 16. 😉

Christmas Eve (Saturday), we headed into Park Rapids to have breakfast with some friends. That night, we dressed up all fancy and attended the Christmas Eve service at Travis’ parents’ Catholic church, Our Lady of the Pines. The girls actually did fairly well, all things considering! And they were adorable in their Christmas dresses.15726473_1332807670082885_2760584912961896007_n15672976_1332807490082903_846264537335391369_n15726223_1332807436749575_6890398017756359744_n15697791_1332807883416197_1671014031762530795_n15780738_1332807703416215_2116758220268045907_n

Cousins

Christmas morning, we ate the traditional breakfast of egg bake and monkey bread, and then it was time to open presents—the time that Emma had been asking about for the entire month of December. It started off well. Emma helped divvy up the presents, and was even tasked with the job of deciding who should open a present. But eventually that petered out, and both girls ended up throwing a tantrum in the middle of opening presents. Emma wanted to do something besides open presents, and Annabelle was apparently ready for an early nap, because I ended up putting her down around 11. By the time I got back downstairs, Emma was entertained with some of her new art supplies, and the adults were able to continue our gift opening in peace. Kids!

15726344_1332807373416248_4862802626677382042_n15726258_1332807200082932_8528536388724082939_nNote that Emma is wearing a tank top and shorts, despite the several weather-appropriate, cute Christmas outfits I had for her.15697526_1332807043416281_5419901375432218552_nSo tired15672964_1332807230082929_3678291493226962891_nMmmm… chocolate15697834_1332806786749640_3627580145260719665_nEmma went “Christmas shopping” at daycare this year for Nana Beth and Papa Al, and she chose a measuring cup for Nana and a fishing sinker for Papa without our help!15672680_1332806713416314_6249755915390785047_nTravis’ gift from his sister… perfect for him15780887_1332806673416318_9097940835346127866_nMy gift from Travis’ sister… love it15747611_1332807103416275_4427022023995455069_nEmma loves all thing art

The rest of our time up in Nevis was pretty lowkey. We ate a lot of yummy food and Christmas cookies, played outside sledding and snowmobiling, the guys cut down a tree and burned some brush, the adults played some games (including Speak Out, where you put that big plastic mouthpiece in—that’s quite the game!). There was only one political (civilized) discussion that we non-debaters had to break up, for fear that the discussion would last the whole night.

We stayed up in Nevis until Tuesday morning. The plan had been to head back home Monday night but the ice storm on Christmas Day made the roads pretty nasty, so we decided to at least drive home in the daylight.

We spent the rest of Tuesday and all day Wednesday at home. Travis had work off, but wanted to work on some projects (including cutting down a tree in our front yard, which almost ended up falling on our cars, due to a little miscommunication and lack of thought on my part…whoops—but all was well in the end, praise God). The girls and I went to 321 Bounce with our neighbor friends.

Thursday morning, we packed up and hit the road down to Rochester. Since we weren’t trying to get there by any certain time, we decided we could stop every hour on the 3.5-hour drive. Well, Travis wasn’t completely a fan of our many stops, but it was nice to take our time. We stopped for gas right by our house (#1), for lunch in St. Cloud (#2), at Cabela’s in Rogers (#3), and at a gas station just south of the Cities for a potty break (#4).

We arrived in Rochester just in time for dinner. My oldest brother Jeremy and sister-in-law Jen, and their two sons had arrived the day before, and my other brothers would arrive later, so it was just us, them, and my dad that night.

The four kids—Emma and Annabelle, and Jensen and Jackson—had a blast playing together. One of the cutest sights was seeing the four of them run around in circles together. Another favorite activity of theirs was jumping on the couch and building forts out of couch cushions (much to Papa’s dismay). They were also pretty wild and crazy with one of those Fisher Price ride-on toys and a little dog that you pull along behind you. Four kids is a little crazy at times!15781534_1338920992804886_5472908077247000943_n15823490_1338920989471553_969281655933574630_n15823680_1338921229471529_3041714289093367911_nOn Friday, Brian and Jill arrived around lunchtime. Chris and Meg arrived Saturday. We spent our time drinking lots of coffee, eating delicious food (frequently topped by grated Asiago), and watching animated movies that we turned on for the kids but that they didn’t end up watching. 😉 We also played outside in the ice-encrusted snow, which was great for sledding but not much else. I pulled Emma and Jensen on a sled all the way around the house, and it was a workout!15732661_10103166680174752_2259524021720836268_o15800359_10103166677405302_1021290843782300839_o15800498_10103166678178752_6830543933580665853_o15844768_10103166677744622_7747851522964179194_o15825795_1338921386138180_1443544932537754384_nThanks to my sister-in-law Jen for these great photos!

On New Year’s Eve, we opened presents in our now-traditional way (we draw names, and then try to go around and try to guess who had us), and then ate our special Christmas dinner. Everyone pitched in with various sides and dishes, and it was great! Though the orange sherbet jello salad that I attempted to make was an epic fail. Jello: a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

We apparently had a little bit of trouble getting the girls down on time that night, because I was downstairs getting Emma to sleep until 11:55… though I might’ve fallen asleep, it’s really hard to say at that hour of the day. I actually made it back upstairs for the ball drop, though, and stayed up until 2 am watching bad New Year’s entertainment on TV and chatting with those who were still up. It was the first time I’ve stayed up for New Year’s since having kids I think, and it was nice! Thankfully the girls slept in the next day, and we were still able to make it to church at 10:30.

There was another snowstorm predicted to hit Rochester and the Brainerd area on Monday, so we ended up leaving Sunday night instead of the next morning. We got home around 11, got the girls to bed, and hit the hay ourselves.

Though I always love spending time with family, it was a hard holiday season without my mom (and the first). We miss her dearly, and talk about her often. My dad, as usual, bears the brunt of her absence, and through a series of miscommunications, ended up spending Christmas Day alone, which I feel badly about. A loss like this continues to reveal situations and circumstances that have been forever altered, and the best way forward is not always readily apparent.

New Year’s 2015

8 Jan

We were planning to host my whole immediate family for 4-5 days around New Year’s (giving everyone a chance to see our new place) but the day my family was supposed to make the trek from Rochester to Brainerd, my mom ended up going to the ER for some health issues (which I won’t go into here). She ended up staying there the whole day, so even though Travis and I were a little disappointed, we decided that it would be better to pack up our stuff and head to Rochester instead of having our family come up to us. It was a little tricky fitting everything in our car, since we had bought a ton of food at Costco the day before! We made it work – but only after jumpstarting our car for the 2nd time in a week (apparently we might need a new battery.)

We left Brainerd around 9 am on New Year’s Day and made it Rochester a little before 1 pm. Emma had lots of fun playing with her cousin Jensen.

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We had our big family celebration that day, since it was the only day we would all be together (stupid work schedules). Before dinner, we took group photos. Usually, we put it off and then totally forget about it!

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My SIL Jen is due March 7 – almost exactly a month before me!20150101_IMG_0234

After dinner, we opened presents. The past 4-5 years or so, we have drawn names and then when we’re opening the presents, we guess who the present is from. This year, people guessed about 80% accurately! Travis got YakTrax and I got a serving dish from Crate&Barrel, dish towels and a book. Emma got an easel/desk and shopping cart from G&G, a cute sweatshirt from Brian and Jill, an awesome lumberjack hat from Chris and Meg, and a Melissa & Doug doll and book from Jeremy and Jen. She is spoiled for sure!

We bought my nephew Jensen some cap guns complete with sheriff badge and holster for Christmas. I’m not sure who enjoyed them more – Jensen or Travis and Jeremy!

The next day (Friday), it was just us, my parents and Jeremy, Jen and Jensen so we decided to do something fun for the kiddos. We checked out the Children’s Museum of Rochester for the first time and were very pleasantly surprised! Jensen and Emma had a great time. The whole place was Clifford-themed, but apparently they switch out the exhibits every 4 months. We will definitely be back!

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Unfortunately, that night we discovered that Emma was running a pretty high fever. Looking back on it now, I can tell that she had probably started feeling out of sorts Thursday night because even Friday morning, she wasn’t herself. She woke up a couple of times that night, and since we didn’t want to make anyone else sick, Travis and I decided to drive back up to Brainerd a day early.

So late Saturday afternoon, we hit the road again. Even though it was a bummer to leave early and miss out on Jensen’s 3rd birthday party the next day, I’m ultimately glad we did because that night was a doozy! Emma developed a really bad cough and (now we know) an ear infection (her first!), so she was pretty miserable. It was nice having our big, comfy recliner to rock her in, since we were doing that for many hours that night. Now almost a week later, Emma is finally getting back to her normal self. We’re pretty sure she got the flu (influenza) because she has been tired and clingy for days, which is very unlike her.

All in all, our New Year’s plans didn’t quite turn out how we had planned but it was nice seeing everyone for the time we could anyway.

Christmas & New Years 2013

5 Jan

This year for Christmas, we road-tripped to Minnesota. It is 13 hours to my parents’ house and 16 to Travis’, but we ended up encountering snowy roads on both the way there and back, so it took us about 15.5 to get to my parents’ and 17 to get back from Travis’ parents. Brutal!

1511162_676430672387258_369919521_nSomewhere in Iowa, 5 am

20131222_075017Emma did pretty well though. We drove overnight, leaving around 6 pm on our way out and 1:30 pm on the way back. The way there, Emma fell asleep right away and slept the whole time, only waking up when we stopped for gas. I nursed her a couple of times but she was really easy until the morning. We were supposed to get to Rochester by 8 am CT, but we didn’t end up arriving until 9:30. Once Emma woke up around 7 am, she wanted out of her carseat. I did a few smiles out of her though…

20131222_093044The same thing happened on the way back, except her fussy period was on the front end. We left at her nap time, she slept for 1.5 hours, then was awake for about 3 hours, and fell back asleep around 8 pm. During her awake time, she was somewhat fussy. We stopped to eat dinner and took her out of her carseat, partly to feed her dinner and partly to give the distinction between her nap and bedtime. After she fell asleep for the night, she slept almost straight through until 5 am. She was a little fussy then too until we got home around 7 am. But I was fussy after being in the car that long, so I can’t blame her! We were very relieved to get home. I said what I always say after that trip: “I never want to do that again.”

Other than the drive, our trip to Minnesota was very enjoyable. We spent the week of Christmas with my family, since that’s when my siblings would be in town. Because of my mom’s health, our time in Rochester was very lowkey – we mostly just hung out at home, eating, playing games (Yahtzee and Rummikub), playing with Emma and my nephew Jensen, watching movies and talking.

1531680_10101193921359232_124572735_nJensen saw us putting stuff on Emma’s head as a game, and he decided it looked like fun!

1468708_10101193921194562_1566288813_nEmma did a lot better with sleep than I was expecting, considering she was teething and congested. We did have to bounce her to sleep for the majority of her naps and bedtime, but at least she wasn’t screaming like she did the last time we were in Rochester. She also slept pretty well at night, waking up only a few times and going right back to sleep after I nursed her. Even so, I’m sure that God gave me LOTS of patience. Travis and I also switched off getting up early with Emma, so that one of us could get a little more sleep.

We celebrated Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve morning, since that was the only time we’d all be together. We opened gifts first – Emma didn’t quite get the whole unwrapping thing but she liked all the toys she received! She got a cute outfit from her aunt and uncle and this alligator push toy from grandma and grandpa. I got a couple of new scarves and nail polish.

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IMG_5182 (Large)After opening gifts, we ate brunch. Then my brother, his fiancee and my sister-in-law left and the rest of us hung out until it was time to go to the Christmas Eve service at 4:30. After church, we ate chili for dinner and played some Yahtzee.

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On Thursday, it warmed up enough that we braved the outdoors. It was Emma’s first experience in the snow. She seemed to enjoy it overall, but was not a fan of her hand in the snow!

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IMG_5222 (Large)IMG_5227 (Large)Travis also went sledding down the steps of the deck.

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IMG_5218 (Large)On Friday morning, Travis and I packed up our stuff and hit the road. We had planned to leave for Emma’s first nap, but she hadn’t slept well the night before, I wanted to shower and we had a crapton of stuff to pack up. So we ended up leaving for her second nap of the day instead. It worked out well. She slept most of the 4.5 hour drive to Nevis. 

Our time there was a lot more lowkey than it normally is, because it was so cold outside. It was hardly above zero the whole time we were there. The day after we arrived, though, it was 30 degrees so we took advantage of the ‘warm’ weather and took Emma sledding down the driveway.

IMG_5252 (Large) IMG_5250 (Large)Another night, Travis, Emma and I ‘went to town’ to have dinner with some friends. But other than that, Emma and I didn’t go outside at all. (Well, I did walk from one side of the house to the other when it was 20 below just to remember what it was like.)  

We opened Christmas presents on Saturday night, so that Emma could play with all of her fun new toys. I’m pretty sure her toy collection doubled on this trip. She got Stack n Roll cups, a xylophone, Rock a Stack rings, a musical book, and several cute new outfits, among other small things.

IMG_5267 (Large) IMG_5266 (Large)The rest of our time we spent eating (of course), playing games (Pictionary and MarioKart on the Wii, Pub Trivia, Catch Phrase and Bananagrams), playing with all of Emma’s new toys, and doing a lot of crossword puzzles and Sudoku. We also watched some movies, though I didn’t stay up for most of the them because Emma was sleeping pretty poorly. I think she went through a growth spurt in addition to teething and the congestion. It was a doozy! Fortunately, grandma was willing to watch Emma in the mornings so that both Travis and I could sleep in until 8 or 9. 

1508513_10201283314429703_1340272208_nOn Wednesday, Travis’ aunt and uncle, aunt, cousin and his girlfriend came up for New Years Day. We ate a late lunch, played some Pub Trivia, opened gifts and then they drove the 3 hours back to the Cities. We got more cute outfits and books for Emma, a calendar, office supplies and I got nice running gloves. 

Emma learned how to use a walker on this trip at both houses. Can I just ask, why can’t they make a walker the right size for a 9 month old? Both walkers had to be adjusted down so that Emma could touch the ground. But we made it work and she really enjoyed standing up and moving around. She could mostly only go backward, but toward the end of our trip, she could go forward slightly too.

IMG_5296 (Large) IMG_5298 (Large)Emma also got to use a Johnny Jumpup for the first time in Nevis. She really enjoyed that too – I think, as much as a normal jumperoo. Definitely a good thing to have on vacation (or at grandma’s house). 

IMG_5260 (Large)She’s also starting talking a lot more, and rolling over a ton, but I will talk more about those things in her 9-month update on Tuesday!