I will try and get back to some order here. I really don't know if it's possible, because I am feeling very disoriented these days. Lots to share, can't remember what I've already shared with who and so on. So some of you may be bored and others may be on the edge of their seat (yea, right, like my life is all THAT!)
Anyway, as you can see I added a slideshow of pics from the Christmas Adventure in Wisconsin. It was truly a great time, but I can say I will probably enjoy it better when all the kids are walking up and down stairs on their own, none of them are in the "mine!" stage, they can all talk clearly to express their needs and wants, each can get in and out of their seat at the dinner table on their own and without wearing most of their dinner upon exiting the table. :)
Seriously, I have to hand it to my sister Clare. She single handedly pulled of the amazing feat of not just managing for all of us to have one all adult meal together the week we were there, but TWO! Table, set, food hot, wine flowing...it was fabulous! Even if we were greeted mid meal by Nolan who's favorite thing to do at the Mork's is run in a circle from living room to dining room to kitchen to hallway to living room around and around. (He's so cute you can't stop him!) She also topped the gift giving effort by coming up with an unbelievable suprise for my parents from all of us. She found a local artist that did a watercolor of their house (for an AMAZINGLY LOW PRICE!). We always try to do a special gift for those years we are together for the holiday, since it's not so often, and I can tell you, that was one of the highlights for sure.
Caroline was a gem the whole week and it was nice to have at least one child of the age that you could instruct to watch the others and YELL if something happens! Now, we did mostly have at least one set of eyes on the littler ones at all times, but it made it easier when it got to be one against 4!
That's probably why Alicia and I never complained to make the attempt to take over construction of a certain Play Mobil Hospital on Christmas Eve at midnight while the guys took a quick dip in the hot tub (crazy fools!) Of course, I did nothing more than snap together a few planter parts that were there to decorate the patient rooms and realize that under no circumstances would my children be exposed to that series of toys...you need an advanced college degree just to try and figure out the directions, which consist of pictures of about 10,000,000 pieces that fall out of 50,000 plastic bags. Clare was the wise one that sat back and cleaned the kitchen and then relaxed with her wine mostly (she did assist for a while but I think she saw the train wreck well before we did). Needless to say, the guys were in at the 1 hour time limit Alicia gave them "1 hour or as soon as I put this thing together"...and Josh spent the rest of the night until the wee hours finishing it for his daughter (on behalf of Santa of course).
I also now believe that regardless of the fact that I have 2 small children very close in age and life at times seems more difficult than I wish it to be, I've got nothing on my sisters having to be moms of small children in that ridiculous climate! Getting ready for an excursion out of the house on any day of the week from November to March is hassle enough to convince me that I now consider my home to be south of the Mason Dixon. Just as soon as you bundle them up it is inevitable one of the following will happen; a very distinct smell will eminate from the lower half of one of the kids which necessitates complete removal of clothing and a clean diaper or everyone is ready to go and only then do you realize that it will take 10 more minutes before the car is warmed up enough to risk strapping the kids into it, so you have to find a way to entertain a toddler or infant for 10 minutes inside a house without removing all their outer gear. UGGGGHHHH! I consider it a hassle to wear jackets at all down here, that is just insanity!
Overall we had a wonderful time, didn't get to spend as much time with my parents as I wished I had now looking back on the trip, but it was still wonderful to have a White Christmas (blinding, freezing, snowing the entire trip type of White Christmas!) And my biggest fear of the entire week was never realized; the drive up and back both went remarkably well considering it was 12 hours of car seat time for a 1 year old and 2 year old. While I am glad it will be another 3 years before we do take that long of a car ride again, I can say, it was well worth it!