Christmas Tour - Part V

Our Christmas adventures continued as we loaded up the CR-V one more time the day after Christmas to go celebrate with my dad and Danette. When Noah woke up that morning, we already had the car loaded up and ready to go. Noah scarfed down a banana, and we put some Cheerios in a snack trap. Seriously, what we would do without the snack trap? I'd probably have 300 Cheerios and Goldfish spilled all over my car rather than just three or four. Kya joined us for our trip up north, too. After a quick stop at Hardees for our favorite bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits, we were on our way!

Sidenote - Kya and Noah are really becoming best buddies. She is so sweet to him, and Noah just loves her. We have been really strict with Noah about how he treats Kya, making sure he is always gentle and kind to her. We want him to be good to all animals, and you just never know how a dog will react if you get a little rough.

The ride up to my hometown went really smoothly, but we had one small pit stop to make before going to Dad and Danette's house. I had been in touch with an old friend, Desiree, about a possible Christmas present for my Dad and Danette. She is getting her photography business off the ground, so we bought a gift certificate for a 2-3 hour session fee and a CD with digital images from her. We met at the one and only doctor's office in my hometown, made the exchange, talked for a few seconds, and then we were off to get to Dad and Danette's house for lunch.

Once we arrived, we carried our belongings up to the second floor and settled into my old bedroom. My brother and Kristen had already arrived, and before I knew it, we were all enjoying a wonderful Christmas lunch. Noah was whining through the meal quite a bit, which I still haven't gotten completely comfortable with yet. I ended up deciding to let him just play with the toys while we ate. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles, and I didn't feel like fighting him if he wasn't going to eat anyway.

Lunch was fantastic, as usual, and after putting Noah down for a nap, it was time to open some gifts. We gave Dad and Danette their gift certificate, and they seemed excited for a chance to have some family pictures taken this Spring outdoors once the weather warms up. We also gave Dan and Kristen Partini, a board game we haven't played, though it looks like it will be fun. My Dad and Danette gave Ryan a bass guitar, and he loves it! Their dogs, Luca and Jada, wrote us a Christmas letter, which is always fun to read out loud. Again, I'm saving my gifts for a future post - I can't wait to share everything with you! :)

When Noah woke up, he opened his presents, too. He had received such awesome presents from everyone already, and my Dad and Danette were no exception. They got him two sleds (one saucer because they are the fastest and one that Ryan, Noah, and I can all fit on when we got sledding!), a set of MegaBloks, a horse's head on a stick (do you know what I'm talking about??), a Quad, Melissa and Doug's cookie set, a train, a wooden puzzle, and some really cute clothes. I think my favorite is this little Charlie Brown t-shirt. He wore that the other night with a pair of jeans and looked so cute! They picked out some guitar pjs and a t-shirt, along with a Pink Floyd t-shirt. What's wild is how much he loves every single thing they picked out! He thinks he is such big stuff when he rides his little four-wheeler around the house.

That evening we went to The Brownstone for dinner and met up with my cousin Joey, his wife Katey, and their kids Sidney and Aubrey. We had a nice visit with everyone, and once dinner was over, Dan and Kristen were off to Fort Wayne. The snow had been coming down for awhile that evening, so I'm glad they left at a decent hour. Even though my hometown is only 2 hours north of Indy, the weather is really very different! They will get several inches of snow, and we will get nothing. Plus, since there are so many country roads, they just don't get cleared as well as the city streets.

We went back to parents' house and tried to watch one of Ryan's favorite movies, Private Eyes. As per usual, I fell asleep in about 30 minutes. I still have never seen that movie beginning to end. I slept like a rock that night and can hardly remember the walk upstairs to bed.

We woke up early the next morning to go to church with Dad and Danette. They have been going to the United Methodist Church for several months now, so I was excited to attend their 8:15 a.m. contemporary service. I feel silly writing this, but I like to be honest in my blogs, so I'm going to tell you the truth here. I was nervous taking Noah to the nursery that morning. In fact, I tried to keep him with us during the service for as long as possible. At our church, there is a safety net for the kids. For example, they do criminal history checks on volunteers. There is a computerized check-in and check-out system, and there is actual security on duty during the services. This helps the paranoid part of my brain relax during church. My parents' church does not have these types of safety features for kids. When Noah became too noisy and busy to handle during the service, Ryan took him out to check out the nursery. When he came back empty handed, I asked, "So did you leave him in the nursery?" Ryan replied, "Yeah, there was just one other kid and his mom hanging out down there." I had to laugh to myself - I had gotten all worked up for nothing. SURPRISE!

Before taking Noah to the nursery, though, Pastor Rob did a little "children's discussion." All the kids went to the front of the church, and Pastor Rob used a fun toy to help share a message from the Bible with the kids. Ryan took Noah up to the front, sat on the floor, and watched as Pastor Rob shared his message. It was really sweet! I snapped a quick picture on my phone just to capture the moment.

The message Pastor Rob gave was really good! I remember going to that church from time to time and not really understanding the message. I don't know if it was my age or if the message had so much scripture that I didn't understand - I don't know. Regardless, I really enjoyed this one! It was also awesome to hear that even though the church is really small, they were able to raise enough money to feed a group of children in Africa for 6 months. Isn't it amazing what we can do if we work together??

After church we had breakfast at Bob Evans, and just like the day before, Noah was pretty out of sorts. He barely ate his brunch and was whining a lot - everyone's favorite when they are trying to enjoy a delicious meal! We drove back to my parents' house and put Noah down for a nap. I think he slept a good three hours that day. In the meantime, Dad, Danette, Ryan, and I played the new Mario Bros Wii Game. It was hilarious!! I seriously also peed my pants a few times laughing so hard. Danette had never played a video game like that before, so she was especially hilarious to watch. :) After playing for awhile, Dad, Ryan, and I fell asleep for a bit and didn't even hear Noah when he woke up. Luckily, Danette got him out of bed, so not only did we get a little extra sleep, but we also dodged a poopy diaper - AWESOME!

The snow was still coming down, so we decided we better hit the road. After a nearly tearful goodbye (it's always hard to say goodbye!), we were out the door. The normal 2 hours, 15 minute drive ended up taking us FOUR hours. I'm pretty sure we went 30-40 miles per hour the entire way home. It was pretty insane, but we took it slow and steady and didn't have any problems.

By about 5:00 p.m., Ryan needed a break from driving, so we stopped at McDonalds for some dinner. We almost never give Noah fast food, but this was a special occasion. We bought him a Happy Meal, including French fries (GASP!). He ate all six chicken nuggets, and I'm guessing he would have eaten the entire container of fries had I not cut him off. Ask Dad and Danette - this kid likes his fries.

Did you know McDonalds has special toys for kids under 3 years old? Noah got a cell phone with his Happy Meal, and I snapped a quick picture of him chatting with his friend, Evelyn. Please notice all of the grease and nastiness on his little face. :)

Four hours later, we found ourselves at home! Hallelujah! What was the first thing I did when we got home? That's right - I took Noah on a ride down the driveway on his new sled!! You can barely see us in this picture because it was so dark outside! Noah smiled the whole way down.

We let Noah play for about an hour before putting him to bed. He was asleep in no time! Ryan and I were so glad to be home after a fun week of touring around to our family's houses, celebrating Christmas with everyone. I think we parked it on the couch and stared silently at the TV until one of us was finally tired enough to say, "Let's go to bed." We had a lot of memories for the Christmas 2009 Tour and went to sleep excited to see how we were going to spend our last days of 2009.

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