Sunday, January 11, 2015

Crazy Six Weeks!

Ok, I'll try not to write too much. . . it's been a crazy 2 weeks so I'll try to sum it up in pictures.
The week before Thanksgiving, Brad's mom, Lynn, came into town.  We started off her visit with a 'birthday party' for all of us because since she never gets to spend birthdays with us, we celebrated everyone's birthday, ate cake and opened a ton of presents she brought.  So fun!  Thanks Lynn!
 Then, my parents and sister flew in to share Thanksgiving with us so we had a full house!  We had a great time talking, going for walks, a hike in Napa, and eating way too much.  We had a great visit.

 Here's Jenny swinging on a rope swing we found on our hike in Napa.  What a beautiful day!
 We did our walk to the 'duck head' and here's the grandmas enjoying (?) themselves.  I think it was a bit chilly once the sun started doing down.  oops
 Yeah for Auntie Jenny!
 The boys after lunch at Sailor Jack's to get some yummy clam chowder on the waterfront in Benicia.
 One of the highlights of the visit was all the girls (except Jenny who had to fly home) going to the Teddy Bear Christmas Tea.  We heard Christmas stories, sang carols, ate treats and drank tea and hot chocolate.  So fun!
 Grandma Lynn brought the kids a special surprise which was her LGB train set for the kids to keep.  We set it right up under the tree and the kids LOVED it!  Especially making it go way to fast.
 After Mom and Dad left, we spent a day with Lynn in Chinatown.  We went out to an amazing lunch and enjoyed so many amazing dishes (That I couldn't pronounce if I tried!  I'm talking authentic Chinese!)
We walked around Chinatown in the rain and visited some tea shops. . . 

 We rode a bus (all by ourselves because a nice bus driver on break felt sorry for us that all the cable cars kept passing our stop because they were full and so he drove us to where we were headed). . .
 And we enjoyed hot chocolate, ice cream and coffee at Ghirardelli Square. . .
 And we finally got to ride our cable car.  Actually, the one we rode back to Chinatown was decorated for Christmas and full of high school football players from back east.  What an adventure!

Two weeks after Lynn headed home, we headed to Dallas for Christmas.  I seriously can't even remember what happened in those two weeks. . . it was a blur.

Christmas in Dallas was a bit unexpected because of Brad's dad's leukemia taking a turn for the worse in the weeks right before Christmas.  We planned to be in Houston for Christmas but the whole gang transported Christmas to Dallas to be closer to the Bill since he couldn't leave the hospital.

The kids took no time at all to warm back up to the family (actually none but Bill & Judy had even met William and the girls hadn't seen the rest of the bunch in 2 years).  They had a ball with all the cousins, aunts and uncles and of course, Bill and Judy.
 Here's Bill sharing his love of Lowly Worm with the girls.
 The kids opened their presents from Gramma Juis and SOPA in the hospital so Bill could be there.  What a circus.  I'm sure the cancer wing at MD Anderson hadn't seen that much activity in a long time!
Christmas Even with the fam. . . There was no coaxing a smile out of William.  He was sure he was going to be taken from us again.  He's spent a bit too much time away from Mama since we got to go on a date that lasted most of a day the day before and he'd had it!  What a great time (for us!)!
 What's Christmas in Texas without some personalized Christmas PJ's for the ladies  :) 

 and the littles!

 It wouldn't have been Christmas morning without SOPA so we had him on Facetime. 
Our pictures of Christmas morning don't even begin to capture the chaos of 9 little kids, 5 big kids, and 15 adults opening presents and enjoying eachother. 

Gramma Juis with her oldest and youngest grandsons.  Love!

Thank you Christy and Chris for hosting all the family for Christmas!  Your hospitality was amazing and we had a wonderful time.  The kids want to know what all the Texas bunch is going to come stay at our house.  
On Christmas day we were able to go to Ice at the Gaylord Texan.  It was an amazing display of ice sculptures in the theme of Frosty the Snowman.  Man, was it cold at only 9 degrees!  We were all frozen despite wearing their coats.  It was amazing though!

Here's just one of the sculptures of Frosty.  There were rooms and rooms of these, a nativity scene and a huge ice slide that we all slid down.  Unfortunately while William was acting like a penguin on the way out, he took a nose dive and scraped up his face.  It was really funny until the end.  :(
Here's what some of the decorations inside the Gaylord looked like.  Amazing.

  We even got to visit Uncle Jeff's new Chick-fil-a store in Dallas.  Thanks for the tour Jeff!
After all the mayhem of Christmas, we were able to spend another afternoon with Bill at the hospital.  He seriously needed a nap after the kids left.  :)

So here's the crew, minus Bill & Judy.  What an amazing family we have.  And why are we (the NON-TEXANS!) the only ones in full matching garb?!  Come on you guys!
Thanks Uncle Don for taking a family picture for us!  Merry Christmas from Texas!
 The next day we flew home.  10 minutes after we got home I said, "It is good to be home!" and WHAM!  I heard bone hit wood.  I turned around and William was screaming with blood all over his face.  He had hit his forehead on the corner of the baseboard and had a pretty crazy gash in his head.  Awesome.  We loaded up the car and headed to the ER.  After waiting a long while, I left William and Brad at the ER and took the girls home to put them to bed.  My friend, Audrey, came to stay with them while they slept (immediately because they were so tired from traveling!) and I went back to the ER to arrive just in time for the Dr. to glue William's head back together with super glue.  Modern stitches.  After his grape popsicle he was as good as new.

 Here's our family the next morning getting ready to open presents at home.  As if they needed more. . .
 Yeah for princesses.  We've got it bad around here.
 And here's Williams amazing dump truck.  He's really into construction trucks right now and this one is super fun!
For Christmas Brad got a juicer that can juice greens and so he's started into a juicing reboot.  We're buying enough fruits and veggies to feed a small community and we are enjoying all the varieties of juices you can make with the new juicer.  Fun, and surprisingly filling and nutritious.
 On New Year's Day we loaded up our bikes (on our new bike rack!) and headed to the city to bike the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was a beautiful day and super busy on the bridge.  Here's us before the ride.

Here's us halfway through.  We rode from Sausalito to SF, had a picnic, and then back again.
 Here's Brad and the girls on our way back.
As beautiful as the day was, it was stressful watching my babies ride their bikes in such heavy bike traffic with all the loud noise from the cars right next to us.  The were amazing though.  Even when Addy fell, she just pulled her bike out of the way and waited for me to help her since she still hasn't figured out how to start herself without training wheels.  Elsie thought it was great fun to ride on my tail bumping the trailer.  Whatever kept her going.  By the end, William had fallen asleep in the trailer.  I'd say the ride was a success. 

And here's where we'll drop of the planet for a few months until I set aside all I'm supposed to get done to update again.  :)  We're settling into homeschool, Bible study, regular life and another run with a cold.  Is it spring yet?  No, but it probably will be by the time you hear from me again!  Happy New Year!