Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Hannah, Rachel and I were roommates in college and hung out at Perkins for hours gabbing...just like old times!
Rachel and I are now shirt-tail relations as I am her brother's wife's brother's wife. We are both aunties to David and Daniel. You think that's confusing? There's a guy we used to go to college with named Peter and he is my husband's sister's husband's sister's husband's sister's husband!!! Rachel doesn't look a bit pregnant even though she's 24 weeks along with her 3rd child!

Josiah's parents with their 5 grandkids. Only one girl!

Two sets of brother buddies:
Daniel and baby David and Jeremiah and Justus
Jeremiah and Daniel are only 6 days apart.

The cousins had fun together!
I brought t-shirts and fabric markers so all of the kids could design a t-shirt with their name and handprint on the front and all of their cousin's handprints on the back

I'm pooped.
Those of you missionaries out there who routinely travel cross-country with small children to speak in churches and stay with strangers have my deepest sympathies.

In the span of 8 days:

We spent 34 hours in the van with 3 little kids

We interacted with 54 different people

We ate out 7 times and ate in a total of 14 different places (restaurants and homes)

We looked around in a combined total of 11 stores.

We entered a public restroom (eew!) at least 21 different times, usually with little kids along.

We got around 42 hours of sleep

We had 4 different Christmas events with our families.

We spent around 18 hours driving through the "exciting" state of North Dakota.

I had around 5 hours of terror and feeling like I was going to die in a wreck on the snow-covered interstate in North Dakota with semis passing us causing billows of snow around us and my husband driving at the same speed that he drives at when there are dry roads.

The kids were amazing travelers and there was very little crying or fighting, even though we did a day trip this time and not straight through the night. But they were definitely out of their routine and pretty rowdy at their Grandparent's house and at times extra-cranky from all the goings-on. Though most people assume I'm an extrovert, I think I'm truly an introvert deep down and it is REALLY hard for me to be around people 24/7 with no privacy or "down time." You definitely can't sneak away for down time when your children are awake and in someone else's house! Let me just ask a hypothetical question: Raise your hand if you think it would be fun to live with your in-laws for a week with 3 small children?

Some would say this exhaustion is my own doing and that I could tame down my schedule and go to bed earlier and cut out most of my visits. True, but it's also true that everything is a trade-off. Staying up late may not be wise, but if it is to enjoy the company of one of my best friends whom I see once a year it's worth it! Going out for a play-date may be extra work but the kids enjoy the change of scenery and have an outlet for their energy because of it. Not choosing to visit certain relatives can result in hurt feelings and family tensions. Not going shopping would mean that our next opportunity to see a Target or buy my husband some new work boots will be in late July. No, we don't want to be people pleasers. Yes, we want to maximize our opportunities. It's just rough that all of this happens in a week's time.

My Dad's mother, who lives in MN too, isn't doing well health-wise and was told she may not live more than 6 months if her kidney levels don't go up. Grandma's levels have gone up and she is on a strict diet and feeling better but because her health is in jeapordy, I wanted to see her a lot on this trip and bless her as much as I could.

I'm so grateful for the folks I could get together with to make the trip a little more bearable and ease some of our cabin fever. I'm thankful to have gotten to see and hold our precious new nephew David Zachariah and see my cousins' little ones, and to have been able to laugh with dear old friends and family. We enjoyed many games around the table in the evenings and enjoyed catching up with some dear folks. The kids received a portable DVD player for Christmas which helped make the trip home a lot easier! My mother-in-law is such a trooper to have cooked and cleaned up all of the meals for all of us and allowed all of the little kids to invade her usually very quiet and orderly home.

If it was up to me, we would never again visit MN in the wintertime, or at least so long as we have kids who are under the age of 8. It's so much easier to travel in the summer and then we can stay in my in-law's camper and the kids can run and play outside. We don't have to pack all of the snow clothes and have the stress of a major trip on top of the busyness of the month of December and the greater likelihood of catching colds or becoming roadkill. But we'll see how things go. Only time will tell.

In the meantime I'm thankful that we didn't come home in body bags and that we don't have to do this again until July. I also thought it was pretty cool that we ate breakfast in ND with 40 BELOW zero windchills outside and then walked into a restaurant in Billings to eat lunch in our t-shirts because it was 45 degrees ABOVE zero there!

This week I'm going to rest up from my "vacation." Alathia insists that we start school soon, but I told her that it will start next Monday to give us a week to take down the Christmas decorations, de-clutter, and bulk cook for the month. For those of you who spend extended holidays at your in-laws' home, what tips do you have for me in making these trips easier?


Lea said...

Well, our trip was Thanksgiving, not Christmas (I had to work until the 23rd and hubby had to work the whole weekend!) but it's still rough with littles.

We try do drive straight through nap time and stop before and after - at least we get about 2 hours of uninterrupted driving time! I prepackage snacks in individual serving zipper-top bags and buy juice boxes (I think you already do that too!). Our kids LOVE books so I try to have a couple they haven't seen before or haven't seen for a long time to pull out for the trip. "Finding" books are a favorite right now, so I look for those especially - hours of fun and relative quiet!

I don't think I have any other 'helpful' tips. :)

We used to live in ND and the wind is rough and makes for dangerous driving! We're having another cold snap in MN right now (-12F this AM actual temp in the Twin Cities) so it's probably good you're home again!

It sounds like you had a wonderful time visiting!


Kristin said...

Aren't you Rachel's brother's wife's brother's wife?

I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to see you guys while you were here, but it sounds like you kept pretty busy, as did we! Maybe we'll shoot for a July playdate. :-)

I've decided that I don't particularly like MN in the wintertime either. I think it's time for us to move south! You guys were very brave to attempt the trip this time of year, but I'm glad to hear that overall, the car rides went well for you. We may have to invest in a portable DVD player one of these days!

the momma said...

you look fabulous!!!

LS said...

You got it right Kristin! The way I had it, I would be married to Rachel's brother Royal (her brother's sister's brother's wife!) You should hear Rachel talk about how I am related to Peter Rood. He is my husband's sister's husband's sister's husband's sister's husband. How's that for confusing!
I was so bummed we couldn't see you but I knew you were super busy and so were we. So many people I would have loved to have seen, like the Larson's and Parker, etc. Maybe next time! You should move south for the winter!

Pin It
Pin It
Pin It