Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown to the move - Day 31

*UPDATE: I've finally uploaded pictures of our time in Wisconsin!
On December 30th we traveled up to Milwaukee to the Larson's home (Jeff's parents' house) to celebrate Christmas. I think we figured out that although the adults have gotten together a few times, it had been an entire year since the all the kids AND adults had been together.

We met around lunch time and Becky had put together a great meal for us - The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti and a skillet apple pie that was amazing. The kids had fun playing together in the basement between meals and it was the first time the adults could actually sit nearby at a table and have a conversation with minimal interruptions! The injuries were minimal, the fights as typical as those between cousins, and the interactions between kids equally precious and hilarious. There is something that is so special about 'Aunties and Uncles' who love your kids almost as much as you do, and to see all of these relationships continuing to form. It is such a gift, and although we wish we lived closer together, once we get to have the Larsons back within driving distance (WI) we can't wait to make these get togethers more frequent.

We all planned to bring our kids' Christmas pjs for the annual group Christmas picture. The busy rug beneath them ended up giving us pictures that will give you a headache if you look at them for too long! Haha. Photography lesson learned.

It took quite a while to just line the kids up and get them to stop messing around or wrestling.

{Pictures are grossly out of order}

It was crazy just trying to get everyone into the pjs in the first place. There was an excess of energy and excitement!

We had decided again to do a gift exchange and Becky had drawn names for all of the kids. Every child gave and received one gift each. It was perfect. Hilariously enough, after all the gifts were opened, everyone ended up playing with the gifts they GAVE.

Ellie received a snow white princess dress and princess puzzle, and gave Charlotte some art supplies which we christened. A big drawing pad, satchel with markers etc. to go, owl window clings and a matching owl art smock.

Char insisted on wearing the satchel right away! (Isn't it fun when kids love the gifts you give them?) Matt joked that she looked like she was going to a Phish concert, with her long hair falling down into her eyes as she marched around the room with her satchel slung across her chest. She is too cute. And very independent!

Joey stayed well hydrated during our time together. No one knew whose water bottle this was.

As we packed up to go, the Bellito twins kept coming over to Maddie as she waited in her car seat, and wanted to smother her with goodbye kisses! It was the cutest thing you ever saw. Until one of them crawled in there to love on Maddie, and she grabbed for his face and accidentally clawed him on the cheek. He scooted back out, totally confused as to why Maddie would respond to his love by scratching him!?

Earlier in the day the dads made a big fort, which every child wanted to climb inside. With the exception of Maddie, they got everyone inside. What a cute memory.

These twins - I can't get enough! They are turning into such big boys. They LOVE to wrestle, and will throw themselves down bum-first into another child's legs to try and start a wrestling match. It is so hilarious, I wish I had gotten it on video. Robbie was happy to oblige, until one time he ended up on the bottom of the pile, laughing so hard he couldn't get up, and everyone else took their shot at jumping on him until he finally took a knee to the head and started to cry.

Charlotte is in a precious stage of wanting to watch and help with everything. Neither of my kids are like this yet, nor do they show any interest in helping me with Maddie. But Charlotte was at my elbow with every diaper change, and asked to help feed Maddie her bottle when she needed it, totally unfazed by the awful smell of her formula. I have not seen a more patient 3 year old - she held Maddie for the entire feeding, quietly holding up her bottle and making adjustments as Maddie would squirm. And the look of love on her face the entire time!
{Mama Becky stayed close behind Char to help so that I could snap a few pictures}

This is my favorite picture from the night.

Aunt Becki with Maddie! Maddie had no problem warming up to everyone. I think she knows how loved she is by this crew.

Funny story about that beanie baby...

Beautiful Becki with some of the boys.

Miss Elle got to skip her nap but it came back to bite us around dinner time. She was soooo tired!

Sweet Joe, our godson. Talk about personality, this kid had us in stitches. Especially when he would get excited and show off by whipping toys clear across the room without warning. Everyone would duck and then try not to laugh as Becky would request that he stop chucking toys.

At one point, Char was doing a somersault and Robbie 'helped' her over. She was not pleased, and stopped what she was doing to complain.

Hilarious! Her mom encouraged her to talk it out with Robbie, and so she did. He apologized, and then as he did a somersault of his own, she 'helped' him over, evening the score. ;)

Two of my kids drew the Bellito twins, so we got them superhero capes off of Etsy. They were a huge hit! (Thank goodness, I feared that I went too old with their gifts and that they wouldn't have a clue as to what to do with the capes.)

The girls commandeered the capes and ran around the basement in circles screaming, until they needed a break to catch their breath {insert heavy breathing here}:

Aaaand, back at it.

The boys did get to try on their presents...

And are hopefully running around their house in Wauconda - saving the day and protecting their mommy from the bad guys.

Long but fun day! It's late, and this post needs time and thought in order to do it justice. So just a few pictures to hold you over and warm your heart - to have friends who feel more like family is a rare blessing. We are so thankful for these sweet people and all that they mean to us.


The Larsons said...

I'm so glad we did this! We miss you already. (Is it strange that I'm exhausted after reading this post?)
What a day of fun!

Becki said...

Thanks for documenting this, Ash! It's hilarious that I don't recall half of these events--probably because I was trying to control my wild children at the time! Ha! :) Thanks for the great pics, and we miss you all too!!