After we finished the Anderson family Christmas saga, we had a couple of days recovery time and then it was time to unpack and pack again - this time headed for the Hill Country, sort of : )
What we have learned through these little trips --- no matter how little time you are going, you still need the same big things for the babies. Pack 'n Plays, portable high-chairs, toys, diapers, utensils, sippys, and the list goes on and on.
And I think I even uttered these words to Matt when he asked why I packed so much for the babies each time:
"Because I don't know what they might want to wear on that particular day."
Really??? They'd be happy in pjs. Probably happier. But since they are my living dolls at the moment, they will wear what I am in the mood for them to wear. Terrible, right?
That's what I say about my packing. Not my kids packing. We are all in deep trouble.
Anyway, we departed for Austin a few short days after getting back from Dallas. It should not have been a big deal drive but the kids were very cranky all the way there. 30 minutes of crankiness I can handle, it's the 2 1/2 stretch that starts to get under my nerves. By the end of the trip, I was literally flipping crackers over the front seat of the car to see who could catch one.Fun for me. Maybe not so fun for them. Mom of the year right here. I am sure my award was lost in the holiday mail.
We were pretty packed to the gills, but not as much to Dallas. Thank God. We could actually see out of the back window which is a lovely safety feature.
Anyway, we arrived to Matt's Mom's (Barbara) late afternoon and shortly thereafter the rest of the family arrived. We all caught up and the babies had some time to rediscover their newly cleaned out and "baby safe" playroom before we went to dinner.
Playing with the cousins and the toy kitchen
Quinn, Ady, and Riley - apparently it takes 3 to cook whatever they were making.
Ryan downing his "drink". Looks eerily familiar to how mommy does it.
Not to be outdone, there's Quinn chugging away.
It's been a big Christmas for the babies. Multiple dinners out with mommy and daddy. And this one I knew would be smooth because of all the extra hands. Anyway, we headed down the street to this place called "Juniors". I guess it's a restaurant/bar? All I kept thinking was that line from Sweet Home Alabama...
"You have a baby. In a bar."
Yes, yes we did. Two of them in fact. They enjoyed the music.
Well, Quinn really enjoyed it, enough to go dance around with cousin and Mommy, and a couple of strangers. Ryan enjoyed the music but was so tired, he kinda went baby catatonic.
In the process, we rediscovered Quinn's love for french fries - yikes, thanks TCH! - she ate a HUGE adult portion, plus a quesdilla, some of my chicken breast, and would not touch any of the veggies. Awesome. Someone was on the holiday diet. And after all that, she went and danced it off. Evidence below:
Uncle Zeb with Ryan
Uncle Christian and Ady
Grandma Goober and me (Matt's grandmother & an extremely special, special person. She is the only great-grandparent the children have. She is such a wonderful, warm, and loving person - such a treat to have her in town when we were there!)
This is what Riley did 80% of the night - just played and played with Quinn and carried her around. Quinn didn't even mind. These two have had a special bond since the beginning. They just love each other - I pray that Quinn will always look up to her big cousin.
Tired Ryan. Shortly before catatonic state.
Everyone smiling. Except Ryan. I mentioned he was done with Juniors, right?
Sweet little Riley and me
Aunt Stacey and Ady
Riley shaking her groove thang
Quinn was the hit of the dance floor. Here she is dancing with a random woman at the bar - I mean, restaurant that happens to serve a lot of alcoholic beverages and has 2 bands on the weekend.
Quinn and Riley had to go check out the outside band. They were too fun to watch. Especially since Quinn had her squeaky shoes on and would "squeak squeak" everywhere. At least I knew I couldn't lose her.
Such a fun evening ---and lovely to be able to actually have plenty of hands to hold the children so we could enjoy our dinner and adult beverages. A rarity if it's just Matt and I with the twins out to dinner. They are just at that age.
Anyway, Stacey also shared with me a wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes. As I mentioned, Quinn and Riley have always had this special bond. I never even thought about how it would affect Riley when Q had surgery --- she's old enough to understand (7 yrs) that Quinn was going to have a big surgery on her heart. And of course, like it would be for any 7 year old, hearing "surgery" and "heart" probably really scared her. Anyway, apparently before Quinn's first surgery, Riley gathered up every single piece of green that she could find in the house - costume necklaces, bracelets, etc. She then took those green trinkets to school and passed them out to all of the kids in her class so they would all be wearing green on surgery day. Oh my. That sweet, thoughtful little one.
And then on the day of her surgery, Riley had a very tough day. Stacey had warned her teacher that Riley may be upset that day and explained what was happening in here in Houston. At some point, she got really sad so her teacher took her out in the hallway to talk about it. So Riley cried and talked about Quinnie - and the teacher cried as well, hearing her story. At that point, the teacher asked Riley if they could pray together - for little Quinn to be strong. And so they sat in the hallway and prayed together.
Just picturing that vision in my head still brings tears to my eyes. What a special teacher she must have to be so incredibly understanding --- and then to pray with Riley? In a public school? Amazing. As a sidenote, the stories I continue to hear about what people did during Q's journey and how they prayed just blows me away. I've said it over and over, but truly we are so incredibly blessed that God placed all of these people in our lives.
Ok - so moving on.... the next day the babies were so exhausted that they slept an hour later than usual. Score one point for Juniors. The weather was GORGEOUS in Austin that weekend and we wished so much we had brought the twins' stroller to roll them around in downtown RR. Instead though we let the twins play outside which they loved. Barbara has a pretty large backyard and a great little swingset so that was a total hit. At some point in the time outside, Ryan discovered his shadow.
Well, he was just amazed and perlexed by his own shadow - and especially confused when Daddy's shadow came up behind him. He kept trying to run from it which was hilarious once we figured out why the heck our son was turning multiple circles. And then he decided that he should talk to his shadow. So he would stand at the fence and tell "Shadow" what exactly was up. Pointing his finger and everything. I almost peed in my pants laughing so hard. He was so serious and intent on getting rid of "Shadow". I'll guarantee one thing - I bet Ryan is my child who will have an imaginary friend.
Later that night, everyone returned to the house to feast on brisket and ribs courtesy of Christian and open Christmas presents. If you'll recall from my Dallas posts, my family takes a sweet forever on Christmas morning. Too long for me. Well, Matt's side of the family is the exact opposite - it's a fast and furious, better keep up or you'll miss it, kind of Christmas. Presents were being tossed and passed like nothing I've seen before. As soon as I would open something, I had another gift in my hand.
The next day I went through the gifts as we were packing up and had myself another little Christmas, as I didn't recall or see half of the things that were being opened at the time.
But that's why families are special - different traditions and even different gift-opening tactics : ) Either way, it's fun. And the twins of course got some really neat stuff and I have a few gift cards burning a hole in my pocket. Super fun night - and another late one for the twins. At this point I was wondering if they would ever get back on schedule or if they would think after all their hard-partying in Dallas and Austin was the new norm.
The next day we got everything packed up again (we are such packing pros by now), watched part of the A&M game, and then hit the road. Thankfully we timed it just right so the twins AND mommy crashed all the way back to Houston. I can't tell you the last time I slept almost door to door like that but it was awesome.
So that's the Austin wrap up. So blessed that we got to see everyone over Christmas and spend some true quality time with all. And the twins have since recovered from the craziness and got themselves back on schedule. They are STILL taking 2 naps a day and we will keep it up until they finally decide to drop the morning one. But as it stands right now, they soooo need that morning nap and I think they just like their afternoon nap. I know we'd have a little more freedom to go places if I could just push them through but selfishly, I get a lot of work done during that morning nap and that's typically my shower time as well. So I'm really not in a hurry to let it go. We'll see what happens over the next couple of months.
So closing out 2011 with this post - kind of sad but ready to take on 2012 headfirst : )