Saturday, December 31, 2016

A New Year

Well, we are now living in 2017.  I kind of fell off the blogging train in 2015 and now I'm climbing back on board so I can continue to keep records of my life and the lives of my family members.  We just got home from a wonderful trip to Texas for Christmas.  I know that Christmas happened in 2016, but I'm going to open my blog with pictures and memories from Christmas so I don't forget!

 For Christmas 2016, we went to Texas.  In August we were so excited because we found tickets for $300 each. We bought them and never thought about them again until December 17th, when we headed down to the airport to fly out.  We drove to Jacqui's house that morning and then she dropped us off curbside and we stood in line to check in our baggage.  We were shocked and surprised to find out that our flights had been cancelled.  They told us they could get us to Texas 5 days later.  Bryce turned to me and said, "Let's just drive."
 We tried to rent a vehicle to drive to Texas so we could at least use the returning flight but there were no vehicle available so we drove Jacqui back home, grabbed some Little Ceasar's, stopped a Wal-Mart for pillows, blankets, snacks, dual DVD players, movies, activities and games.  We ran into Santa Claus and he wished us well on our way!
I still don't know why this happened but I do know that Heavenly Father blessed up with beautiful weather and roads so we could make it safely to College Station.  We left Clinton at 1:15 pm and started our 23 hour journey to Texas.  We were tired so we slammed down some Dr. Pepper and candy.  The kids did a great job and they had positive attitudes most of the way. Poor Parker had told everyone for months that she was flying in a big airplane to Texas.  Hopefully she will experience that one day!
We hooked up the DVD players, put on some ear phones and the kids watched the movies, ate food, created with PlayDoh and just visited and talked with each other.  I definitely think it was the hardest on Parker.  She did not understand why we were driving for hours on end.  She kept saying that she wanted to go home. She would ask where our home was and say, "let's go home. my home is my favorite...let's go home"

 The roads and the weather was good until we got about 15 miles from Cortez, Colorado and that is when we hit some black ice.  I never felt us slip but it came out of nowhere and it was kind of scary.  I was stressed and tired and ready to stop for a while.  We made it into Cortez safely.  We stopped to eat dinner at Arby's and ask about the weather to Gallup.  The guys in Arby's didn't know that the distance from Cortez to Gallup was 2 hours, but we soon found out as we kept on driving.  After that, the weather was great.  It was freezing, but great. We were blessed with a functioning, warm vehicle and the kids were great so we decided to drive all through the night.  I had to grab a power protein bar to help me get through the night!

On Sunday morning, after driving 20 hours, we decided to stop for breakfast at McDonald's.  We found a street called Cooper and took some pictures by in the 5 degree weather.  The kids enjoyed getting out of the car and getting some fresh air.  We ran a little bit and tried to move our legs!
Cooper loves road trips so he was so excited to be driving to Texas.  He had a great attitude the whole time and that was nice to have moral support from him.  It's bad enough having to drive that far, but the fact that the kids were happy made it much more enjoyable and it was good to spend the time with them.

We were only 15 minutes away, but we had to take a potty break out along the roadside.  This wasn't the only time we had to stop on the side of the road for a pee break.  Pee breaks are great!

When we saw the barn with AGGIE stuff all over it, we knew we were close.  We texted everyone a picture of the barn and Sean couldn't believe we drove through the night and that we were almost to College Station.  What a whirlwind trip to Texas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve and Day

 We arrived in College Station on Christmas Eve around 3 pm.  Bryce went to the store and Tyler talked me into running with him.  Parker was excited to sit next to Tyler on the mailbox and Clayton wanted to run a lap around the block.  After they ran, we went inside and started making some of our snacks for Christmas Eve.
 Mom made Chili for dinner and it was really good.  Afterwards, we took the kids on a drive over to see some lights and Santa Claus.  When we got back to the house we reenacted the Birth of Christ. We sang some Christmas songs and then ate some yummy ice-cream.

 On Christmas morning, Clayton was the first one up around 7:30.  We told him he had to wait another hour before we would wake everyone up.  Finally, we all crawled out of bed and went downstairs to see what Santa had brought us.  Clayton was excited because he received a spirograph and some sports balls.  He also got a flashlight, some pastel chalk, and some walkie talkies.  His big gift from Santa was a Flowrider 360 that was back in Smithfield under the Christmas tree!

Cooper's big gift was a new phone and all the accessories that go with it.  We also got them a control throttle for their new four wheeler.  We bought Grandma Doulgas' yellow four wheeler for the boys to share.  They were so excited, especially Clayton.
 On Christmas Day in Utah, they received lots and lots of snow and everyone kept posting pictures of the snow and cold weather on social media, so we thought we would post a picture of the men laying out in the 80 degree weather. Clayton and Grandpa had a great time bouncing and passing the basketball to each other after we got home from church.
 Parker was happy with her baby doll named Baby. She loved to feed her with a bottle.  She also got a medical doctor kit, which she played with more than any other gift.  She got a little Barbie and some more Play Doh. She let Clayton open up all her presents.  We went to church later that morning and I enjoyed listening to the music and the bishop told the story about the birth of Christ. It was nice to go refocus on what Christmas is really about!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Time with Shayne and Jen

 Bryce went to lunch at Torchee's with Jarom and his son.  They had a great time catching up on life and enjoyed getting to see each other.  When Bryce got back, we headed down to Shayne's to spend the evening there.  The kids had so much fun playing catch on the trampoline.  They played some game where they had to catch the ball while jumping and they all enjoyed playing with each other.
 Later that night, Shayne set up a movie screen, pillows and blankets so the kids could enjoy the movie, Elf.  They watched pieces of it, but mostly played the catching game again.  I was happy to see Cooper participate in something active, but he loved it.  It was so cool to watch the cousins spend time with each other and to work on building their friendships.  They really don't know each other very well, but they all got along and had fun being together.
 The next morning, which was Christmas Eve, the girls played outside in the backyard on the toys. Perri took Parker for a ride on her car and they had fun running around in the yard.  I played a little basketball with Nolan and he beat me in Around the World.

 We took that kids over to a park where they played on the playground and loved the swings.  The weather was so warm that we were all sweating just standing there.  We took a little hike in the trees down to see that beautiful brown Brazos River.  It is a huge river, but it is not pretty at all.  Kind of cool to see though!

 The hill is one of Shayne's favorite places to take his kids.  They run up and down this hill and it's one of the highest points in Sienna Plantation.  All the kids raced up the hill and then we snapped some cool pictures. Clayton and Nolan had a great time together.  They are both shy so I don't know how much communicating they did, but they still enjoyed each other's company and compettiveness

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

 On Wednesday morning, I got up and decided that I better go do a little exercising.  With all the food and Dr. Pepper and junk that we had been eating and we would continue to be eating, I just felt gross.  I through my clothes on and headed out the door.  I ran up and down Sean's street (sometimes with all the kids in tow) and also did 100 lunges (which I paid for the next 5 days) and then did some pushups and situps.
 Later that day we headed over to stay at Sherrie's house. It was my 38th birthday and we decided to meet at Lupe's for dinner that night.  It was about a 45 minute drive but we wanted to make sure Shayne and Jen could be there, so we went closer to their house. The food was good and I think we did ok considering we had that many people their for dinner.  It was so great to see Shayne and Jen.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wings N' More and off to Sean and Kellye's

 Parker had so much fun playing at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  They have lots of fun toys and Parker was in heaven.  She just disappeared upstairs and played her little heart out.  She loved wearing the tiara she found in the closet.
 We had to eat lunch at my most favorite restaurant in College Station on Monday for lunch.  Those wings have been calling my name for months now and I finally got to devour them. I just love eating at Wing's N More.  They have the best wings and chicken tenders and Cooper enjoyed the Dr. Pepper.

 We had to take a picture of our dirty van that survived the ice, snow, rain and sunshine as we made our way South to Texas.  It was a mess, but it kept us safe and warm and comfortable.  Now, I'm pretty happy at this point because A. I'm home. B. I'm in Texas. C.  We arrived safely D. We were with family and E. We just finished some Medium wings and curly fries!!!
 After lunch we headed down to stay a couple of nights and Sean and Kellye's house.  Kellye just brought their cute Lawson home from the NICU a couple of weeks before and it was nice to snuggle with a newborn and get to know him a little better.  The kids loved playing with each other.  They all got along so well.  Maya loved sitting by Cooper and watching him play his tablet.  We ate Whataburger, Shipley's Donuts in the morning and did a little Christmas shopping.  The kids were able to go out and play a little basketball. WE mostly just relaxed and enjoyed the peaceful time with Sean and Kellye.

 Parker doesn't have many girl toys items at our house, so she was happy to play with all of Maya toys.  She found her rain boots and bouncy ball right away.  She also played with all of Maya's little Shopkins.  She mostly played by herself but she didn't mind that at all.  I didn't get any pictures of Crew but I enjoyed getting to know him better.  I think he is such a little sweetheart and he seems so mellow and easy going.  We really enjoyed our time with Sean and Kellye. We didn't get to see them much and this really made me sad, but we love them so much and are so thankful for their love for us.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Home Sweet Home!

 We arrived in College Station around 2 in the afternoon.  We were so happy to be there, but Bryce and I were exhausted.  After a nap, we were able to enjoy the rest of the day.  The kids did some arts and crafts with Grandma.  We went over to the pond to feed the ducks in the 10 degree weather, but we only last 2 minutes before piling back in the car. These mixed nuts remind me of home because Mom always got them around Christmas and they always showed up in the bottom of our stockings.

Earlier in the day, Uncle Tyler sprayed the back deck with water.  This is what we do in Texas to create a ice skating rink.  Later that night, he took the kids outside to enjoy the fun deck. They slid around on their feet and also flew across the deck in clothes baskets.  Cooper tried to push Parker, but he slipped on his bum and went crashing down. We even got Grandma out there to  slide around in a basket.

 Parker finally crashed after a long day.  She snuggled up next to Grandma and fell asleep.  Later that night around 12 pm, Tyler took Bryce and I to Fuego's for some delicious white queso.  It was so good and I love this tradition!