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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

December 2012.

Oh, December.  I have a love/hate relationship with that month.

I love the holidays, hate the chaos that comes with it.  Love the cooler temps it brings to FL, hate when the temp spikes and I get back sweat while putting up my outside decorations.  Love the decorations, hate the fact that Floridians put up icicle lights and snowmen (My husband is totally included in this category.  He put icicle lights on our house last year.  I mean really, let’s not pretend that it’s ever going to snow here.  Frosty the Snowman would be a puddle.  Snoopy in a snowglobe?  I’m fine with it.)

 I saw this while at HobLob one day.  Of course I wanted to buy it immediately so that I could measure how much snow we get this year.  

I managed to muddle through and get some decorations up, despite my slight bah-humbug-ish mood.  Decorations are not easy, however, when you have 3 short people running around your house.  They  get very excited and distracted by shiny! Bulbs! Twinkling! Lights! MUST GRAB THEM ALL!  Creativity was my best friend and some of my fragile favorites stayed in the attic this year. 

On the 5th, Mr Beckett and I were supposed to head to the mitten for his Big Adventure.  The week before we were supposed to leave, Brian’s boss was all “Hey, since we have a lot going on right now, could you not be out of the office next week?  How can we make that happen?”   And Brian was all, “Uh, sure if you fly someone down to watch them.”  And his boss was all, “Yeah.  Book it.”  So we booked a ticket for Brian’s mom to come down to watch the boys while Bri was at work.  She was admittedly a little sad at first that I was taking Beckett with me, but after spending 2 days with just Brennan and Kiernan while Brian worked til 1am each night, she was glad I did it because she was exhausted.  Happy, but exhausted.  It’s always nice to hear that other people think my life is a bit hard so that it’s not just me thinking that it’s hard.  Cuz ya’ll?  These boys are no joke.

Grandma making up for lost time with Mr Beckett.  He's not really into being around women other than his Mommy lately, hence the angry face.

The trip with Beckett went swimmingly.  It was nice to get a taste of the cold weather while there.  Definitely helped boost the Christmas spirit level.  Of course when we came home everyone was sick again.  Life continued as usual – doctor appointments, playdates, finishing up school work for the semester.  

Santa visited our house on the 15th, so the boys woke up to a living room full of presents on the 16th.  It was more fun than Christmas last year and I have no doubt that it’ll be 10x more fun next year when the little boys can grasp the concept. 

And then came the packing.  Ohhhh the packing.  Preparing to be away from home for 2 weeks with 3 small children is intense.  Add in the fact that we were making the drive from FL to MI?  Ha.  Intense is an understatement.  Then factor in the fact that I have to actually care for those small children while packing for the drive ... yeah.  You get the idea.  I spent a lot of time doing laundry, making sure we had enough cold weather clothes, making lists and checking them twice, and of course, cramming crap into bags. 

Our plan was to leave bright and early on Friday, the 21st, but after a long night of preparations, it became clear to us that this wasn't going to happen.  We eventually got on the road around 11am, and then decided on our way to the e-way to stop for lunch and fill up bellies  since naptime wasn't too far off.  It ended up working out perfectly.  Everyone took great naps, were awake for a few hours til we stopped for dinner.

We got off the highway and found the cutest little BBQ place somewhere in the south.  Truthfully, I have no memory of where we were.  SC maybe?  Regardless, it was adorable and the food was delicious and the boys ate for FREE so that was beyond amazing.  After changing everyone into their PJs we hit the road again.  Driving through the night was tough for us Brian.  I had stayed up all night before preparing for the trip, and I’m a terrible car sleeper, so I wasn't much use driving through the night.  He was fine with it until I woke up somewhere in the mountains to blowing snow and curvy slippery roads and slightly freaked out that he was driving too fast.  I annoy the crap out of that man.

We arrived at his parents’ house on Saturday morning, exhausted, but excited to see everyone.  We went to see Brian’s Grandma, went “bowlin bowlin” as Brennan calls it, and then I headed out to run some errands and prepare more Christmas gifts.   Grandma’s house made me twitchy because my boys almost broke 12 things within 46 seconds of being in the house.  Bowling with 3 little ones is HILARIOUS and SLOW.  Errand running without any children and any time limit?  Priceless.

Sunday we headed to my aunt’s house for my Mom’s family Christmas party.  The boys had fun playing with my cousin’s son, Desmond, who will be 3 in June.  I think my Grama and all the aunts and uncles had fun watching all of the boys play together.  And I think they also enjoyed buying gifts for the boys because they got some pretty cool stuff.  It’s fun to have little ones around at Christmas time. 

Christmas Eve morning we opened gifts with Brian’s parents and his sister Jen.  Her hubby (also named Brian … funny, right?) wasn't able to make it and we definitely missed him.  It wasn't the same as it would've been if he was there.  The boys were of course spoiled beyond belief by their grandparents and aunt and uncle.  While Jen, Brian, and I were opening gifts, Jen declared it a “wear all of your gifts” Christmas, so we piled everything on and laughed our asses of the entire time.  

Later that day we headed over to Grandma’s house for Brian’s Dad’s family Christmas.  Nine kids (6 & under), 14 adults, lots of presents and food in Grandma’s tiny house was chaotic, but so much fun.  Even though there was no Cherry Bounce this year.  That, my friends, was a tragedy.  Santa showed up with candy for the kiddos ,liquor for the adults, socks and an ace bandage for my in-laws (inside joke and hilariously fitting), and some beer and condoms for my husband … who promptly tore the pack of condoms in half and threw them to Santa’s wife (who just had their 3 baby).  Such a fun night.  I love that family.

That night we headed to my parents’ house.  After tucking the boys into bed, Brian and I headed to midnight Mass, then came home and collapsed into bed.  The next morning we opened gifts with my parents and sisters, and the boys got spoiled yet again.  The haul wasn’t too giant though, as they had already sent the boys a big playhouse for the backyard.  After a nice brunch, we headed over to our family friends’ house to celebrate Christmas.  We grew up getting together with this family every Friday night of our childhood.  They’re like family to us, so it’s always nice to be able to reconnect with everyone on Christmas and Easter. 

Later that day we headed back to my parents house for Christmas dinner and after dinner my Aunt Lynne and Uncle Joe came over with even more presents for the boys.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives.  They have always been like a second set of parents to me and are definitely like a third set of grandparents for my boys. 

My Daddy & my boys.  When I look at this picture, I think that God gave me 3 boys so that this man could have this moment.

The day after Christmas we headed to Plymouth to get together with some of our friends that Brian used to work with.  We trekked through a snow storm to get there and I may or may not have had a complete crying fit panic attack over road conditions.  Seriously, I drive my husband nuts.  But we got there safe and sound and had an awesome afternoon catching up with friends. 

On Thursday we headed back to Brian’s parents house for his Mom’s family’s Christmas gathering.  We do a White Elephant type gift exchange with each big family gathering and Brian and I feel very strongly that stealing gifts from your family members is really what makes the game fun.  I mean, with a $25 limit, you can go out and buy pretty much anything you see in the gift exchange, but it’s the sport of teasing and taking things away that makes it fun.  The 2 previous gift exchanges were a bit lame because no one really stole anything.  But this one … was awesome.  It was so much fun to go back and forth and giggle about who took what and see family members bicker over a vegetable steamer.  Ah, Christmas.  The spirit of giving … and stealing from your family.

Friday morning we got up and headed to meet my college and high school friends at an indoor playland.  I’m lucky enough to have roomed with one of my best high school friends all throughout college, so our high school and college friends have gotten used to getting together in one big group over the years.  The kids played while the adults chatted and then we all headed over to Janelle’s house nearby for lunch and more playing and chatting.  Then we took a picture of all of our kids together and it was AWESOME.  I was so proud that Brennan held Janelle’s new little bundle of joy and didn't throw her off of his lap.  Bonus.

On Saturday we went to a co-ed baby shower for one of Brian’s childhood friends and then headed back to my in-laws house to hang out with Brian’s best friends.  Each of these guys are godfathers to our boys and it makes me so happy when we’re able to see them together.  Once the boys were in bed we were able to sit and drink beer and catch up on life.  It’s nights like this that are really hard on Brian and I.  We desperately wish we could see these people more, both for ourselves and our boys. 

The next morning Brian packed the Edge full of almost all of our stuff.  I’m telling you, I married a packing extraordinaire.  No shipping things home this year!  We said goodbye to Brian’s parents and headed out after lunch.  The drive home was long and exhausting, but well worth the trip.  We were glad that we kept each day to only one outing , as that was enough for the boys.

We arrived home around 1pm on New Years Eve.  After getting the car unpacked and some lunch in our bellies, we all laid down for a nice long nap.  When we woke up we were back at it again.  We packed up and headed to our friends Lisa & Clint’s house for a laid back NYE gathering.  The twins passed out around 9pm together in the same pack’n’play (unheard of!) and Brennan actually made it to midnight.  It was so nice to be able to ring in the new year with new friends, my hubby, and our not-so-baby boy.  He was so proud as he clinked his glass full of sparkling juice on my glass of champagne and said “Happy News Years Mommy!” 

Kiernan & Jenna decided to play in the toilet, so they bought themselves 2 tickets to a co-ed bath.  I'm telling you. I'm gonna have to have a keep-it-in-your-pants talk with this one at a very early age.

2012 was a tough year, but a great year, and I’m excited to see what 2013 has in store for our little family.  Hopefully nothing but good things!

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