Okay, so this is a few days late...but the first day (night) home, nobody wanted to do much but enjoy being HOME again, the second day we just wanted to enjoy being HOME again, then I started blogging about other things, unpacking (there's still a pile of "extra stuff" in the foyer), and having cousins over.
We set off for Ohio on December 21, half an hour later than we were shooting for but at least an hour or two earlier than I thought we'd manage. I'm still amazed at how much we piled into my little green SL-1 Saturn. The trunk had to be sat on to close (and thankfully not opened until we reached Ohio). The kids had great foot-rests on top of all the things piled on the floor of the back seat, Tony and I sat on our coats (the kids' coats were buried in the trunk...we were all wearing warm clothes so we wouldn't need to travel wearing coats), my feet and legs were crowded out by everything else on the floor of the front seat, and I'm amazed Tony could see out the back window with everything piled on there. BUT, the travel was great and uneventful (notice I said the TRAVEL and not the trip?). The kids did fantastic, keeping themselves occupied with everything I'd thought to pack into their backpacks (which added to the clutter in the back seat, stuffed within reach between their car seats).
We had great traveling weather -- overcast and a bit gloomy so we weren't wishing we were out enjoying the sunshine. It did get a bit foggy towards the southern end of WI and through IL, but nothing too bad. We arrived at our hotel in West Dundee (Elgin) about an hour later than expected, but we also took two hours to play Burger King, too! I posted earlier about Luke hitting his head, his mid-night bout of erps, and our rush to the emergency room, so I won't add more here...except when the nurse asked him where he lived, he told her "Across from Cypren," our neighbor boy who Luke very rarely sees.
Saturday we started earlier than planned, although by the time we attempted to fill Luke's anti-nausea medicine and picked up a caffeine-loaded Starbucks for me to stay awake long enough to drive through Chicago so Tony wouldn't have to deal with the big-city traffic, we were right on schedule -- hitting the highway just before noon. Traffic was great -- we were just about through Chicago when Tony asked if I thought we could make it through all the way without having to deal with the mess that is usually in that area. I am so thankful we stopped for the night and didn't have to deal with Chicago rush-hour traffic on a holiday weekend!
We got to Papa and Grandma's about 7:00 local time, and sat down to a welcomed meal. After cleaning Luke up again, we all settled down pretty quick, not surprisingly. Sunday we went to my parents' church and enjoyed visiting with some of the people who watched me grow up. Sunday after naps, the cousins came over, and we all enjoyed some more good food, opening presents, and the general ruckus that comes with nine children running around.
Tony, however, didn't have a good night and stayed home while the rest of us went to Doylestown to visit my grandma Toth on Monday. He enjoyed a quiet peaceful house and day consisting of not much more than sleep, and we enjoyed visiting with Grandma and more cousins. My cousin and her family from Canada joined us for lunch...her two older boys, one a bit older than Luke, one a bit younger, were highlights of Luke's day. Or maybe it was all the Thomas toys they had brought with them from Aunt Liz's house.....I was just glad to have time with my grandma!
Christmas came with the kids all excited about Jesus' birthday, Luke's "conversation" with Jesus (see my previous blogs), and a relaxed morning. The kids had a blast decorating a birthday cake for Jesus (thanks, Aunt Tammy, for sending over an extra cake!). Then the cousins descended again, bringing more merriment to Papa and Grandma's basement....until Susi's tummy rebelled. After getting her cleaned up, everyone went back to their respective corners for much needed naps before coming back to Papa and Grandma's for more fun in the evening.
On Wednesday, we all headed to Akron after piling up the car again (after Tony gave it a good cleaning). This time it was off to my uncle Julius', Dad's youngest brother. He has a gorgeous new home and I am quite envious of his bathroom. It's at least as big or bigger than our bedroom, has a huge tub, a shower as big as our bathroom, a wide-screen tv to watch while soaking in the tub, two sinks, and a butt-warmer on the toilet seat! (and other contraptions we won't go in to here....) However, the highlight was spending time with lots and lots of family. Oh, and the great food.
That night, we stayed at my aunt Sarika's in Doylestown. She recently got married to a wonderful guy, and we had a great time getting to know Neil, too. They live in an old farm house, and when I say "old," I mean...they aren't sure if it was built as noted in 1803 or what the oldest records show, in 1828.
Thursday we spend visiting with Sarika and getting ready for a Watkins party in the evening. While the turnout wasn't great, the orders have been fantastic, and we had a good time visiting. However, Susi got sick again shortly after bed time, and Tony hunkered down to sleep with her on the floor as she continued her battle through the night. What was I doing? Spending the night in bed, praying "please God, don't let me get sick! Thank you for Tony. Help Susi to get well soon." Yep, I was battling the same thing but thankfully it didn't progress as far as the others' did. Our departure was delayed by two hours the next morning mainly because of my yucky tummy, but I think it was also God's way of making sure we missed the nasty weather in Chicago that we would've run smack dab into if we'd left on time!
All in all, we had a good visit, good trip, with little bumps along the way that couldn't be helped. However, God gave us the grace to get through them all while enjoying the time with family. We're also very thankful for safe travels and good weather. And as much as we enjoyed our trip,
It's good to be home.