Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas, continued

We made it safely to Idaho after a long and exhausting travel day.  The 27th was a really busy travel day and we were right in the middle of the chaos.  Finding the Philadelphia airport was pretty easy, but when we got to the economy parking lot we were told it was full and we could go back to the day parking, but it was $20 a day and we could not afford that for seven days.  We asked if there was another alternative and were told there was off-site parking lots and given vague directions to those.  We drove and drove and were about to give up when we finally found the parking and it ended up being cheaper, so that was good.  

We were dropped off at the Southwest terminal and greeted to some of the longest lines I have ever seen at an airport.  Our poor kids were so patient while we waited for AN HOUR AND A HALF to check in.  On top of that, our flight was already delayed over an hour, and we had gotten to the airport a few hours early, so after we finally checked-in, we had a lot of time to kill.  During the twenty minutes between checking-in and going through security our flight was delayed another hour and a half.  I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get on the airplane, and so was little Richie.  He was so excited to go on an airplane and got very tired of waiting in all the lines but was thrilled when we finally boarded the plane.  We were pretty happy, too, until we sat on the plane for at least 45 minutes waiting for some other passengers that were on our flight, but their other flight had just landed.

We finally got in the air THREE HOURS after we were scheduled to take-off.  It was nice to finally be in the air, but were weren't done yet.  We landed in Chicago, but didn't have to deplane because the plane was continuing on to Salt Lake.  Both kids were asleep, so we weren't wrestling with them, which was nice.  Before Sophia fell asleep, she was so active I almost couldn't stand it.  She liked to switch from me to Dad and then back again, like a game.  It was fun for her, not so much for us.  In Chicago we waited once again while they were making sure everyone's luggage was on the plane.  It was frustrating, but nice to know that they were at least making an effort with the luggage, I know how upsetting it is to lose your luggage.

During all this time we realized we weren't going to make it to Salt Lake in time to get our rental car because the company we were going with closed at 11:30 and we would be later than that.  So we coordinated with my father-in-law to come pick us up while we were sitting on the plane in Chicago.  We finally arrived in Salt Lake at about midnight and were soon on our way to Idaho.  As we pulled up to the house at 4:30 a.m. this is what we were greeted by...

...and most of the family awake and waiting for us.  I couldn't believe our crazy family was still awake, but it was a nice welcome.

We had a few hours of sleep and then on Sunday evening we opened presents.  It was like Christmas day all over again.  

I got a beautiful nativity set.

Sophia got a baby doll

She was desperate to get it out of the box

Richie got a Lightning McQueen RC car

We all played "Guitar Hero, World Tour"

Even Sophia wanted to get into the action
At the end of the day, after Sophia's bath
We are having a good visit.  My mother-in-law's sister, nephews and niece are visiting too, so it is a full house of family and we are enjoying it.  The kids love all the attention and it is nice to have a lot of people to entertain them.  We have a few more days here, before we head back home and hopefully our travels will be quicker and easier.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


We have had a wonderful Christmas season this year. Christmas is much more fun with little ones and we have had lots of fun! This is the first year little Richie has sat on Santa's lap, and I think it was good that we waited because he was really excited about it and not scared at all. Sophia would have nothing to do with Santa, so we'll wait to introduce her to Santa. My favorite thing about this time of year is all the time we get to spend together as a family.

Richie told Santa he wanted a crocodile for Christmas. Santa's response was "Well, I'll start looking in the New York City sewers for that." Richie was thrilled with the Dinosaur coloring book Santa gave him.

The Sunday before Christmas.

We went to Drew and Eryka's for a yummy Christmas Eve dinner. Sophia and Stella did some more bonding and everyone played with the Thomas train set. Thanks for having us over!

Christmas Eve pajamas.

The kids had fun opening presents and eating chocolate.

We probably went a little overboard with gifts for the kids, and even each other, so we will probably do things a little differently from now on. We learned that the kids would have probably been happy with much less, so we will try to do much less. I think that is going to be a good thing, ultimately.

Now we are headed to Idaho for a visit and more Christmas fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Potty Training

We are so proud of little Richie, and his progress with potty training. He's now wearing "big boy underwear" all day long, and we're ready to try keeping them on through the night as well. He even lets us know he needs to go to the bathroom when we're at a store. Well, sometimes he doesn't tell us, he just shows us by doing the "pee-pee dance." This mostly happens when he's playing with really cool toys at a store and he doesn't want to be bothered with a trip to the bathroom.

However, there have naturally been some challenges and occasional accidents. More recently, the challenge has been his independence, resulting in his refusal to let us help him. This results in the occasional putting of the underwear on backwards or inside out.

We've anticipated most of these challenges. However, we were not prepared for the most recent one . . . the "oops, I got the toilet seat stuck on my head" challenge.

You may be wondering why I'm taking pictures instead of running to help . . . well, let's just say I have some growing up to do myself.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Deck the Halls

We put up our Christmas tree this week. We have a little artificial tree we got the first Christmas we were married and it works really well for our little family. We set it up on top of my drafting table so that curious little hands can't reach it. Little Richie was very excited and wanted to help, but mostly he thought the decorations were toys and played with them while Dad put lights on the tree. Sophia wants to do whatever Richie does, so she played with decorations when she could sneak them away from Richie. After Dad got the tree lit, Richie helped put up a couple ornaments and then Mom finished decorating while Dad put the kids to bed. We are all excited for Christmas, so much that I don't think we'll be able to put any presents under the tree, because they won't make it all the way to the 25th.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

This was such a FUN day!

Today we went to Strasburg, Pennsylvania for a "Day out with Thomas". A life size Thomas the tank engine visits the Strasburg Railroad three times a year and since it is only a couple hours away, we decided to go see it today. We only got lost a couple times on the way, but we were in some beautiful Amish country, and we were never too far off track. Little Richie was so cute on the trip. When he heard me giving directions he would say, "No, we not going to highway 202, we going to see Thomas." He said that several times; even though we were never that lost, it took some work to get headed the right direction.  He also said, "I'n SO EXCITED to see the cool Thomas today!" at one point as we were driving along.  His excitement made the whole trip more fun.

When we found the railroad, we could see Thomas at the station and we pointed him out to Richie.  We said, "Richie, do you see Thomas?"and at first he couldn't actually see him, but he was nodding his head and unenthusiastically saying "Yeah."  He suddenly saw Thomas' face and was absolutely giddy with excitement, his squeal was one of pure joy.

Then we looked for parking, and that turned into its own adventure.  We followed signs to "Thomas event parking" and all of a sudden we were on what felt like a wild goose chase through the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside.  The arrows kept directing us further and further away from the train station until we were miles away at the Strasburg Inn where they had parking and bussing back to the station.  When we pulled up a guy directing traffic told us that they had just opened parking up back at the station and we could go back there.  Poor little Richie was desperate to get to Thomas.  We turned around and made our way back and twenty minutes after we first saw the train, we finally parked.

We went and bought tickets and had about an hour before our train ride.  We passed the time by going into the gift shops and getting some treats in the candy store.  The train ride was very fun.  Thomas songs were playing the whole time, and Richie was singing along and knew most of the words.  Sophia was just as excited as Richie about the train ride and I could barely keep her in my arms because of her bouncing.  It was not a very long ride, but every minute was enjoyable.  The kids' joy was infectious, and we couldn't help but feel happy.  I don't think the smile left my face all day.

After the train ride we went to take pictures in front of Thomas and Richie couldn't take his eyes off him.  He kept saying, "I love you, Thomas.  I love you so much.  You're my best friend. "  It made his dad a little emotional, because he was so sincere and sweet.  Then we went to see Sir Topham Hat and Richie said, "Sir Topham hat is my favorite guy in the whole world."  I think today might have been the best day of his life, and it is pretty high up on my list, too.

Richie's first close-up look at Thomas

Giving the tickets to the conductor

Richie staring at Thomas and telling him how much he loves him

Waving goodbye to Thomas

Sir Topham hat
Sophia wasn't scared of Topham Hat, she just didn't want me to let go of her

So if anyone is wondering what to get Richie for Christmas, I think anything Thomas related would probably be a big hit.