Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It has been a little while since my last post, and since I sent out the blog address in our Christmas cards, I thought I should probably post an update so you had something to see. As you could maybe guess from the most recent blog date (sometime in September), it was a particularly busy fall. I worked overtime almost every week from September through Thanksgiving; Rick was busy with magazine and other things at work and Ethan was just having fun enjoying all sorts of fall activities--festivals at school, first Halloween trick-or-treating, pumpkin patches, and Avery's 2nd birthday party. I have pictures of all those things and will post them at some point, but for today I wanted to focus on our holiday travels.

After attending a church-friends' Christmas party on the 14th, we headed for Colorado on December 15th. We got a late start (around 1 p.m.), but managed to make it to Clayton, NM around 8:30 Mountain time, so not too bad really. We stayed at a hotel there that had an indoor pool, thinking that would be fun for Ethan after the long car ride. (He was great, by the way, watching videos most of the way--thank God for the portable DVD player. We introduced him to "Toy Story," which he calls "Beyond" and he liked it.) Back to the pool--it wasn't really heated, and given the frozen snow outside, it was pretty darn cold, so Ethan and I opted for the "hot" tub, which was more like bath water. On the way in, with Ethan in my arms, I slipped and fell, giving myself a couple of big bruises, but avoiding dunking anyone or any bumps on the head--a good thing since there wasn't another soul around. Next time we'll skip the pool. It lasted 5 minutes and wasn't really worth the time of remembering the bathing suits. The next day Ethan slept most of the way from Clayton to Walsenburg, CO, so we stopped for lunch in Pueblo and made it to Grammie and Sir's house in the early afternoon.

That afternoon Ethan got his first shot at sledding (on snow about 2-3 days old). Sir pulled him along the flat areas of the park. However, he didn't wait for anyone to jump in the sled with E before pulling him down a hill, where Ethan, of course, fell out. That was the end of sledding for this trip. I gave it a try and had much more fun that E--although I'm sure Sir hadn't expected to be pulling me all over the park.

We had a really great time with Grammie and Sir. Ethan liked hanging up the Advent calendar bows every day, and getting to blow out the Advent wreath and Swedish Angel Chimes after Grammie had read the daily verse. He enjoyed playing with Sir and would call out "Sir! Where are you?" if he couldn't find him. Ethan didn't even hesitate to wake Sir up from a nap with a nudge and a "Sir! Wake up!" We visited with friends and family, had many fabulous meals and really enjoyed our nice, long, 11 day visit. It was good to have lots of time for Ethan to get to know Grammie and Sir and see all the wildlife (deer, birds, squirrels, racoons!) at their house.

As a special treat and Christmas present to us, Grammie and Sir kept Ethan overnight and treated Rick and I to a night at The Cliff House, in Manitou Springs, complete with dinner in the restaurant there. We started the afternoon off at the movies (and we'd both recommend "Charlie Wilson's War"), and then checked in at the Inn, before heading down to the 8:00 dinner seating. Dinner was delicious and we ate as much as we could. Then we were able to enjoy a bottle of wine and some other goodies in our room, which was very nice, with a fireplace, jetted tub for 2 and even. . . heated toilet seats! Those were my favorite part. It was a really relaxing night and Ethan did great with Grammie and Sir, even sleeping all night (which he did not do any other time while we were traveling).

On Christmas Day, Ethan had to be coaxed into opening presents (he wanted to play basketball), but he eventually got into the swing of things. He immediately enjoyed playing with the magnets on his new easel, and he especially liked the blow-up "Thinking Chair" from Blues Clues. After that, he didn't care about any other presents. He squeeled with glee as he sat in it and got comfy with his "Handy-Dandy Notebook" proclaiming to all, "So, clues are: circles, a carrot, and snow." He says it over and over and over again everyday. (The answer is, a snowman, just in case you hadn't guessed.)

On the 26th, we left Colorado at about 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time and miraculously made it all the way back to Fort Worth by 10:30 p.m. central time--so we made the trip in 12 hours with only 2 stops (the second one really being a drive through at Sonic, because Ethan was very engrossed in his videos and said, "No dinner! No dinner!" until he realized he didn't have to get out of the car, at which point he happily ate his nuggets. Silly boy. On the 27th, we unloaded and reloaded, and took off for Houston around 1 p.m. Again, Ethan was fantastic in the car and we arrived at Uncle Brad and Aunt Nicole's house before 6 p.m. It was great to see them, and cousin Avery, as well as MeMe and Pop for the next few days.

MeMe and Pop (and Aunt Nicole) looked after Ethan while Rick and I attended the Texas Bowl, where TCU played the University of Houston Cougars. We had good seats and enjoyed a great defensive game, with The Horned Frogs coming out on top! Hooray! Go Frogs! The next day, Rick and his folks enjoyed the TCU vs. Rice basketball game, even though the Frogs didn't pull this one out (despite being the better team, Rick reported). The Rice grads (MeMe and Pop) did a little gloating after the fact. Ethan was, once again, reluctant to open presents, but was just thrilled when he got a pack of "Handy-dandy Notebooks" just like the ones on Blues Clues. He couldn't be bothered to pull another ribbon after those came out, so I opened most of his presents. MeMe and Pop brought Avery a play house, and you can see them both exploring it below. Ethan loved playing with Avery and he thinks Uncle Brad hung the moon, (he even wanted to sit by him at dinner), so it was a good way to wrap up the holidays.

We drove home on the 30th and got to spend a couple of days here (unpacking and putting together new toys and rooting through the old ones mostly) before going back to work today. Surprisingly, Ethan didn't have any trouble going back to daycare today. He must have been ready to see all his friends. So, we capped off a busy fall with a very busy holiday and we now have put a month-long (at least) moritorium on driving anywhere more than 25 miles away. Ethan has learned to do "Cheers" and say "Happy New Year," so. . . Cheers to all of you and here's to a great 2008.