Christmas Eve has always been spent with my Mom’s family. This year there were 18 of us – and we even got some good pictures!
But before the festivus began (of which there are almost no pictures) we had another sibling and cousin present opening extravaganza. It was much the same as before only this time with Mom and Chip. And yay! Less fighting.
And just for fun the pics using the Magnetic Tiles as filters. These kids are spoiled and loved.
This was our year for an Indiana Christmas and we were fortunate that we were able to spend nearly 2 days at my brother’s house. All six of us (three sibs plus spouses) aren’t together very often and this is only the second time all three boys have been together. The first was my sister’s wedding and Caleb was way to young for fun. Dad and Marilyn joined us and we had a great time. The three cousins got in some excellent playtime and mostly got along. There were a few fights over cars or trains or balls or who gets to OPEN THE PRESENT, but that is to be expected with 3 kids 3 and under. (3.5 years, almost 2, and almost 1 – Cy and Caleb are almost exactly a year apart) We tried a few times to get a picture of the three boys and it went exactly as one would expect, kind of like herding cats. But we got a couple of good ones.
In the middle of the Madison trip we went to the Whitaker family party which is my Dad’s side extended family. My Grandma and her siblings had this party since way before I was born, probably since my Dad was small. There are only five of the original siblings left, but lots of family. 55 people this year over four generations. It is truly some kind of awesome.
Slideshow of cousin play below. Also included some “formal” pictures and unfortunately the two littlest were napping when we did the whole family, and Simon had just thrown a mega-tantrum hence the red eyes.
*Christmas this year was basically awesome all around.
I booked an 11:30 flight out because getting to the airport around 10 seemed doable. Getting there at 7 for a 9:30 flight did not. But then we decided a cab was worth it (I was by myself with them) and we did TSA-pre. And the part I never counted on is that Simon was SO excited to go to Me-maw’s yellow house that he got up and dressed and packed his bag with none of the usual shenanigan’s that he was ready like this for nearly 2 hours. Next time we’ll do the early flight.
Simon was a dream at the airport and on the plane. He ate his snacks and got to order his own apple juice. He watched a show on the ipad and even wore headphones for part of it. Caleb mostly slept. At the end of the flight though we had some of the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced. I honestly thought the oxygen masks might come down. People screamed. Lots of things fell. Simon did NOT like it and said he didn’t want to be scared. I told him it was just bumpy wind and I would keep him safe. I will say it is quite difficult to clean up your mess for proper storage when you have to use one arm for the baby and the big kid is hanging on the other one. But we made it and he was so so happy to land.
The first thing we did upon landing was take Simon for a haircut. It took him awhile to calm down, but he did ok.
That night after dinner we did an early birthday present so Simon could have his scooter. Then I went to LA. Simon had a great time with the grandparents. They rode scooters, and took the bikes out, they went to a Day Out With Thomas, and ate a LOT of ice cream. He had a great trip.
When I got back we were go go go. We did pick up a bouncer for Caleb to have somewhere to put him down. And we spent a day with each of my cousins, Haley and Grant, who came over to play. We went to the pool, which is really a water park. I was so proud of Simon for jumping in and going UNDER. We got to spend a morning with Sara and Charlie and Kaitlyn. We spent a day at Lake Monroe on a boat. Simon was terrified. I later learned it was because he was sick with a fever of 101. So we got some Tylenol.
The sick boy flew home and the combination of not feeling well and the turbulence on our flight out made him clingy. But he slept on one of us for a bit of it and listened with his headphones for the rest. Caleb ate or slept. And we were home and DONE with travel for a few weeks. We were still overstretched in July, but also playing catch up. We’re getting there.
Emily’s wedding was so much fun. We did pictures beforehand and unfortunately at least one of the nephews was crying at all times, so I’m interested to see how they turn out. The barn venue was perfect and after the exceptionally short ceremony everyone ate and wandered around.
A bunch of the kids got a ball and had a great time running around. The photobooth props were also a hit.
After some strawberries stained Simon’s shirt and he de-robed he was the shoeless wonder running around. He even got to visit the miniature donkey.
He loves his Auntie Emily.
The grandparents (and my many cousins) passed Caleb around.
Then we got in on the photobooth action. After these were taken we grabbed a couple of family photos before taking the kids back to the hotel with the sitter. I’m really hoping one comes out.
After dropping the kids off we finished the reception dancing the night away.
With all the crazy travel the month brought it all ended with my sister’s wedding. She lives in Bloomington, where I went to college so I got to double up as a chance to take Simon around my old campus. And we stayed in the Union on campus. The rooms are small, but the location is priceless. Friday mom and some of Emily’s friends made all of the flower arrangements. It was decided that the best I could help was by keeping my two kids far far away. So we joined for the rehearsal and dinner. There was a bit of ring bearer bribery in the form of a tractor.
Then Saturday morning we all gathered at the wedding site to decorate. It took forever, and was totally worth it.