Last week we went to Harrison Hot Springs for a few days with my parents and brother, Izak. It came at a perfect time, as we’ve been busy around here and sometimes it is hard to wind down. Maggie was very excited to go on vacation and was even more excited to find out that there were ‘swimming pools’ right out of her front door. To go swimming multiple times a day is about as good as it can get when you’re 3 years old, especially if you’ve got an uncle, grandparents and parents to play with.
She was pretty pumped and even though she doesn’t know how to swim yet this is what she looked like most of the time we were there:
Audrey, on the other hand, showed her excitement for the water by falling asleep in my mom’s arms….in the pool! As my dad said, that must mean that they’ve got the temperature right! The time that Audrey was in the water, and awake, she was all smiles and happy.
I tried to force a few pictures of the girls one afternoon, when Maggie wasn’t wearing her massive robe and suit, and Audrey wasn’t having it. Sometimes that’s just how it goes….Maggie is the sweetest big sister and is patient with Audrey when she’s screaming. Maybe because she knew that shortly after we snapped these, we’d be heading to the pool!
Remember what Maggie looks like while soaking in the warm water? All smiles:
The 25th of December really came and went this year. It did. That’s what the calendar tells us, but both Barry and I are having a difficult time believing that Christmas actually happened. Maggie had been anticipating Santa’s arrival for quite a bit and since we knew that we wouldn’t be home for Christmas Eve, Santa came early….almost a week early. We sprinkled the Reindeer Dust that Linda made for Maggie. This year, as compared to last year, Maggie really understood what she was doing. As she pranced around outside, in the cold, wet evening air, she announced to us where each reindeer was going to land. “This for Donder. This for Comet and Cupid…” We’d sprinkled the dust a few nights before because she was so excited and Santa’s reindeer only brought snow, this time she dumped the whole bucket out to make sure they knew where to land.
In writing a letter to Santa to let him know about the cookies, Maggie was very insistent that we start off with a “Happy Birthda, Santa” message. I’m not sure where she got the idea that it was Santa’s birthday, but I’m sure he was really pleased to see such a cheerful greeting. Mags worked for a really long time using the ‘special’ markers to write her own note to him. She really wanted a dolly (her word, not sure where she got it) and I’m pretty sure she wrote a paragraph or two describing her ideal doll.
Being a parent of a young child brings a rush that I wasn’t prepared for when it comes to Christmas and Santa Claus. After Maggie fell asleep I was practically bouncing off the walls with excitement – as if I were the child. By the time the next morning rolled around and Maggie was ready to get up, I was still carrying the feeling of utter joy with me. I was also nervous that somehow it wouldn’t be as cool as I was hoping for.
Aside from the fact that Maggie first noticed the ONE present that was out of place under the tree, her reaction to what Santa had left her was absolutely perfect. Lots of high-pitched “Oh’s” and “For me?” questions. Her doll house was a huge hit, as expected and when she noticed the dolly that Santa left her she swooped it up and gave it a huge hug – and then promptly set it down to get back to her doll house. Santa had also left little wooden dolls in Barry and my stockings – a mama one for me and a papa one for him. She thought that was hilarious and the fact that Sydney even got something in her stocking seemed to please her even more.
After we had a morning celebration of Christmas, it was time to get the show in the road….my mom came down and picked up Maggie to bring her back to Camp Janet. My mom also got to come to a doctor’s appointment with me and see B2 on the old, rickety ultrasound machine. Less than a month to go now! Wowza.
I didn’t exactly confirm it with Maggie, but I’m almost certain that she was more excited to go to my parent’s house than she was for Santa coming to her house. Both her and Sydney were more than happy to say goodbye to me and head down the road. I stood in the driveway and cried for a bit and then went inside and started to pack. Being home alone, without a husband, child, or dog, is a feeling that I’m not used to. It was as if I couldn’t relax or settle into a project – the house was too dang quiet.
By the time Barry rolled home, I’d pretty much packed our bags and we were able to have a relaxing evening at home…again, something that felt all too surreal. What did we do before Syd and Mags arrived? The next morning we got in the car and started our trek to Mount Hood for Ryan and Kara’s wedding. To be honest, when they first decided the weekend of the 21st to get married, and I looked at where I was going to be in my pregnancy, I was pretty nervous about how I was going to be feeling. Thankfully, I have felt really good and taking a longer car trip to Mount Hood didn’t feel like something I couldn’t do.
Plus, being able to be a part of Kara and Ryan’s wedding was so special and amazing. Timberline Lodge was a spectacular setting and both bride and groom were beaming from ear to ear. As with my life these days, my pictures are lacking but their photographer (that happened to shoot Canon!) got some amazing shots that I can’t wait to see. The ceremony was next to the fireplace in the main lodge and we had an intimate dinner in a private room where most of the guests were able to toast the happy couple. Kara’s composure at the speech she gave at the end of the evening floored me – after so many emotional moments throughout the day, she was solid as a rock. Congrats, K + R! We loved being there to help celebrate! It was perfect.
Barry and I had discovered on our way up the mountain that our car did NOT have All Wheel Drive as we had originally thought….we also knew that we didn’t have chains to strap on in a moment’s notice. Not to mention the fact that snow had been heavily falling in the previous days. To say that it was a white-knuckled drive would be an understatement. But we made it up the mountain to Government Camp to stay in a cabin with friends Saturday night and then up to the lodge to stay for Sunday night’s wedding. On Christmas Eve, Monday, we woke to find our car covered by a heavy-duty snow drift. Barry borrowed a snow shovel from the front desk and before we knew it we were back on the road headed down the mountain. We high-fived and fist-bumped when we finally made it on to clear roads – both of us holding our breath and not talking down the winding roads.
We made it back to A-Town that evening in time for dinner and presents with my family. The reunion with Maggie was full of hugs and kisses – four nights away from her is the longest we’d ever gone but she had a great time with my parents. As we sat around the Sun Room opening presents and talking I sipped on my tea and tried to wrap my head around the fact that just that morning I had been eating breakfast in a fancy lodge waiting for the two tons of snow to be moved in a snow-filled parking lot. It didn’t seem real and I felt like zombie.
Miraculously, Barry and I stayed up talking with my family for quite a bit. I think we were both a bit jazzed up to be out of the car and finally back with Mags. We played a game of Musical Beds that night – I can’t seem to get comfortable anywhere these days – and the next morning, Christmas Day, I woke feeling like the last few days were finally catching up to me. Once Mags woke up, we drove to Alger and enjoyed a nice Christmas morning with Barry’s side of the family. Maggie really loved passing out gifts and opening presents….after a bit of practice, she’s finally gotten the hang of it. Brian had been up since 3:30 and Barry and I probably looked/acted like we’d never gone to sleep – zombie mode was in full force!
Maggie started melting down way earlier in the day than we had anticipated, so after a quick stop at Grandma & Grandpa Rhone’s, we were again on the road back home to HBHQ. Both Maggie and I slept the entire drive home – not sure who needed it more. And that is how we found ourselves back at home around 3 o’clock on Christmas Day with zero plans and zero family. It just didn’t feel feel real. We’d had such a blitz of events and to come home to a quiet house that we’d left almost a week ago, didn’t feel too Christmasy. We had a funny hodge-podge dinner and went to bed earlier than we should admit.
When we look at the calendar and see that we’re creeping towards the 1st of a new year, I have a hard time believing that for a number of reasons. One being that I’m about to have a baby and another being that many of our end-of-the-year rituals and traditions got squished, squashed or moved this year. Even Kara and Ryan’s beautiful wedding seems like a dream, the whole weekend went by in a flash. So, Happy Christmas to those that had a quickie like us and those that had a leisurely day! Because, believe it or not, Christmas did actually happen this year!