Kyle has gotten serious about our renovations, seen here on a Saturday night after the kids were in bed measuring the house and building a CAD / 3D rendering of our first floor.
The kids survived the drive to the Midwest. We did 25 hours straight on the way there, not even stopping to eat at a restaurant, only to get gas at which time we refilled Liam's bottles and kids went to the bathroom. They did really, really well in the car. Liam was sad the last couple hours of the night both days, but slept well in the car even though we had to stop every few hours during the middle of the night to fill up. We didn't leave until about 5pm Thursday and got to Kentucky at about 8pm Friday night with the 2 hour time difference. Alexa slept on the bench in the back of the van, Tyler on the floor in front of her, Tad and Liam in car seats, and I attempted the floor in front of the babies but learned that I'm too big for that space. Kyle the Champion drove straight until 5am and then we switched. Despite death threats, every time he tried to rest some crazy thing happened with the kids and they woke him up. He might have gotten a couple 20-minute cat naps and that's it. Sigh.
We had a great weekend with Todd and Melissa and it was fun to see their new house in Kentucky. Saturday consisted of dress ups, naps, and swimming, and we did church and a fancy Christmas dinner with them together on Sunday.
Monday morning we took off for Indiana, about a 5-hour drive. We got to Brendan and Whitney's that afternoon, just in time to start the Christmas Eve festivities. I didn't think about the fact that we were throwing that many boys into a house together. They immediately started wrestling and play fighting, which the younger ones continued through the nativity re-enactment.
Grandma and Grandma Sweeny stayed at Brendan and Whitney's for Christmas Eve as well, so it was fun to have so much family together Christmas morning. The kids enjoyed playing with each others toys and there was definitely lots of Lego building on Christmas day. Alexa woke up bright and early before 7am (5am Utah time) to open presents with Sweeny cousins, but the boys slept in for a couple more hours. Tyler was the last one in the house to wake up, finally rolling out of bed at about 9:30am, long after everyone else had finished opening their presents. Poor exhausted kid.
The many faces of Tad opening presents--
It was lots of fun to stay with Brendan and Whitney because the kids all got along well and enjoyed playing together.
On the 26th we headed to a big house in Nashville, where the whole Sweeny clan gathered for a few days. We were able to pick up Maria so she could join in the fun. It was WONDERFUL to have everyone together and to stay up talking and playing games, allow the cousins to run around together, etc. We did gingerbread houses, swimming at a lodge in Brown County, walking and shopping in Nashville, a family recital (everyone brought their instruments and Michelle led the group), puzzles, and games. The kids even got violin lessons from Aunt Michelle. We also did family pictures at a covered bridge in Brown County.
On Sunday we headed up to Jonny and Michelle's house for dinner and Spoons.
We headed to the YMCA on Monday and met up with Anne and Corbin there. Then we had fun that night doing some Minute to Win It games to celebrate New Year's Eve with the kids. Maria made the best faces while doing the cookie challenge!
We drove back Tuesday morning, dropping Maria off on the way in Iowa. We stopped at a motel in South Dakota, where they left our key at the front desk stuck to a post it note with my name on it. No worker in site when we arrived, or when we left again the next morning at 8am. In fact, we never saw anyone in that entire ghost town during our stop. They didn't have a portable crib but Liam slept like a champion on the floor in a sleeping bag, much to our relief. We jumped back in the car and drove to Mount Rushmore, which was thankfully still open during the government shut down. By open I mean they let you pay for parking and take a picture, but the visitors' center, gift shop, restaurants, tour guide section, and bathrooms were closed. It was a few hours out of the way and very cold, but I'm glad we went to see the presidents in person. We can cross that one off the bucket list.