Tuesday, December 30, 2014

After Christmas Family Gathering: The Good, Bad and Ugly!

Several family members on my Dad's side of the family live in Nashville and Northwest Arkansas. We decided to plan an "after Christmas" gathering. We hadn't all been together in over a year so we were all looking forward to the visit. But sometimes things just don't go completely as planned.

Earlier in the week we found out that my Dad's cousin, who'd been suffering through chemo treatments and several different forms of cancer over the past few years, finally, was relieved from his earthly pain. Though that news is always hard, I think being right around the holiday made it that much harder for their family. As we all discussed what to do (whether to head toward Alpharetta, GA or continue on with our family gathering) several of us decided to go while the rest decided that we'd go to the burial which will take place in Arkansas sometime in the New Year. So, from the get go, our "after Christmas gathering" had a different feel, since Aunt Debi and Pete weren't able to join us. Then my cousin Kim and her son got hit with a horrible case of the stomach bug that lasted more then five days, so they weren't able to come either.

It felt like we were dropping like flies. Thankfully the Bush crew still braved the roads and rain, making it to Little Rock safe and sound. We enjoyed visiting and catching up on Friday night while the kids had fun playing and watching a movie (that's always fun and a sure fire way for Momma's and Daddy's to be able to have a conversation!!) We told all kinds of funny stories; there were lots of laughs going on and memories being made. I was shocked when I got up from the table to see we'd been sitting right there talking for two and a half hours! What a blessing!
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On Saturday, the guys were supposed to go golfing but the weather didn't cooperate so they postponed it until Sunday. So all of us headed to the trampoline park to get a little energy out. The kids always have fun…but I'm pretty sure that Adam had more fun then all six of the kids combined. He pulled out his gymnastic skills and stuck his front flip with ease! There was a dodge ball game, flying squirrels into the foam pit, flips and flops. I think everyone had a good time.
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See what I mean, I think Adam was totally enjoying himself!
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Pure joy was had by this little guy for sure! Can you see the blurry smile?
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And here was one of two moments of calm.
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Lindsey and I thought this sign was kind of funny…I guess you technically should try and "plan your landing" but don't think many kids are actually doing that!
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"Hey Mom, we just want to go jump!" I just love those fake smiles…they're learning to humor me though.
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And heres proof, and what I know you've been waiting for with baited breath…Adam's gymnastic skills. He stuck it folks!
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And lookey there we got a decent group shot! (Its the only one of the weekend, since even more people got sick.)
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We'd planned for us girls to have the afternoon to go get pedicures and do a little shopping, since the guys were supposed to have golfed earlier in the day (though that didn't happen). We still kept our appointment at the nail salon and then did a little shopping.
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I'd left homemade lasagna's for the guys to put in the oven so that all us ladies had to do was come in and set out the salad, warm the green beans and bread then eat. It was supposed to be real simple and easy, right? Well, things don't always go as planned. While in Old Navy I got a call from Adam saying that he'd followed my instructions to the "T", he'd put them, while still covered with foil, in the oven for an hour just like I'd asked him to, then he went to uncover them for the last 30 minutes only to find that they were the breakfast casseroles we were supposed to eat for breakfast the next day. Mmmmmm….I was in the middle of ordering some pants for Peyton and the sales associate must have thought I had lost my mind as I stood there with my eyes squeezed shut with my head nodding back and forth as I grasp the concept that it was now 5:15 pm and my sweet husband had done exactly what I'd told him to, except I'd shown him the breakfast casseroles instead of the LASAGNA'S!!! WHAT!!! What's a girl to do except say, "well, then, lets order pizza" to which my loving husband said, "Honey, I already did. Four pizza's will be ready to be picked up in fifteen minutes." I wish I could say I took this news with a perfect reaction, but I did not. Thankfully, I was able to bite my tongue a bit and say "thank you" to my thoughtful man who saved dinner!
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After I got over the lasagna/breakfast casserole faux pas, set the pizzas out and the kids started eating, I became aware of my Dad's lack of conversation but more then that his tiny, mice like bites that he was taking from his pizza. About ten minutes later he said, in pure Stan fashion with a little hand clap, "guys, I'm not feeling well, I think I'm gonna head home and hope to feel better for golf tomorrow." I quickly went and got my trusty ear thermometer and he did in fact have fever. So he and Mom headed home. Not ten minutes later poor Bailey came down with red cheeks and not feeling well either, she too had fever so Mitchell and Lindsey gathered up their kiddos and headed to the hotel. Turned out Dad had the flu, Bailey had strep and by the time the Bush's got back to Nashville, Mitchell too had come down with the flu!!

So, unfortunately this gathering ended ugly, with two visits to Urgent Care, one visit to the pediatrician and lots of Tamilflu and antibiotics. Things just don't always go as planned and even as I typed this last night, Emerson went to bed running fever. So today, I'm praying that God will have mercy and spare us the harsh reality of having to endure either of those two yucky illnesses, only time will tell. All your prayers would be appreciated!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I can hardly believe that Christmas has come and gone. We had a full week of Christmas gatherings each night over the past week. We had fun catching up and visiting with extended family that we don't see as often.

Christmas Eve we went to the Candle Light service at our church. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about how the children would do during the 50 minute service so I went armed with fruit snacks, peppermints (already unwrapped--to cut down on the crinkling noise) along with crayons and coloring books. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with how well they did, particularly Emerson and Ava Jane and I was impressed that we made it through the entire service--no one had to leave and no one caught anything on fire!
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As we put the kids to bed that night we set their alarms and told them that they could not come out of their rooms until their alarms went off at 6:45. Adam and I set ours too for twenty minutes earlier so that we could "ease" into the Christmas morning a bit, prep the camera and get some hot tea to sip on. The kids were super excited to see what they got…what fun it was to see their enjoyment!
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We had a big breakfast and celebrated Jesus' birthday in true birthday fashion with hats and candles. We finished up our advent book and enjoyed singing a couple of Christmas carols before the kids dove back into their toys and games. It really was a fun, laid back morning!
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Mid morning we headed over to the Head's house for more Christmas goodies. We ate a tasty brunch and enjoyed singing some Christmas carols with Uncle Joseph after we opened up all the presents. Emerson got a cowboy outfit complete with chaps, a Sheriff's badge, 2 guns and a holster…he loves dressing up and he enjoyed this gift very much!
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                                                                "Stick 'em up partner!"
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               It was such a beautiful day that we played outside a little bit and enjoyed some fresh air.
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                      She has a big "crush" on her monkey, he must go with us wherever we go.
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Cousin time is a fun time, particularly while watching old home movies of Aunt Molly and Grammy tap dancing! It was super cute and kinda funny to see the outfits, hair and of course the cute dance moves!!
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In the mid afternoon we headed to my parents house for a delicious dinner and more gifts to open.  The kids were excited to have more to unwrap!
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Ava Jane loves her new kitchen, thanks Gigi and G-Dad!
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We had a great time being together! We ate a delicious dinner and watched our family favorite, White Christmas. I love the Sister, Sister song…we can't help but sing along!
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I hope that even in the midst of the crazy fast pace of the Christmas season that you were able to experience a little "all is calm, all is bright". I am so thankful that love came down so that even in the harry moments (of whiny kids, and in the midst of fevers that have come and gone over the past few days, and the flu that has struck several in my family over the past 48 hours) we can still find peace, "heavenly peace". Because Jesus chose to come down into this mess of a world to save and restore, he offers perfect peace that I can't imagine doing life without it.

I have to be honest, my tree is still up as are all the other decorations, but that's OK. I must say that I'm still enjoying the lights on the tree and the glow of the fire. Right now, in this moment, I'm enjoying the "all is calm, all is bright." Hope you had a Merry Christmas!
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