2019 chapter 1

Happy New Year!!! I spent midnight freezing while getting gas at a Loves gas station on the way back from Texas.

Christmas day we got in the car when we knew the kids would fall asleep and started the 14 hour drive to Texas. When we were ready for dinner we realized our dumbness of our plan, because not even a McDonald's was open - which, good for them, but we were hungry! Ended up at a Denny's. Then we got in the car and I drove until we needed gas, then I accidentally put in a lower octane gas (our dumb car only runs on premium, I've always wondered what would happen if I put in less than premium...now I know) and it lit up like a Christmas tree - didn't it know that it was after midnight, so Christmas was over?!! We think it misfired and that's why everything lit up, and then it couldn't go over 2 rpm's, so we couldn't use cruise control or it'd go above that on a hill and the car would throw a tantrum like Jacqueline. But, luckily, most of the way is flat and every time we got down 1/4 tank of gas, we'd stop and put in good gas. Finally on the third fill up, things were smooth. Phew. We still made great time and our kids just slept, it was amazing. Before I get into our wonderful (but not warm) week in Texas, let me go over the week before.

I had my birthday!! 32! My friend made me an email address (melissaturns32@gmail.com) and signed me up for all the free birthday deals and then she surprised me with and we all went out and I got a delicious burger for free!! I am seriously blessed to have wonderful friends and that I could be surrounded by then. Also blessed to have a husband that was cool with me going out and then let me put him to work to "make it up to me." Haha - I'm the one who went out and didn't spend my birthday night with him, but he has to make it up to me. Great to be the birthday girl. His warm up was hanging up bamboo blinds in the girls room.

Someone gave me these fun slippers and Jac was so excited to match.

We made a gingerbread house and I thought I'd put it on the table so the kids could enjoy looking at it more. I told them to not eat it, and the first time I left the room and came back to them not eating it, but licking it and sucking on the candies still attached to it. 

Blake got a quick stomach bug - lasted about 18 hours (what a perfect thing to write just under the picture of communal licking). Not bad, but terrifying right before a trip, cause who knows who else would get it!! Plus, for lunch she wanted a banana, took a bite, then didn't eat more. With bugs going around I've been trying to make sure we don't share drinks or food as much, but, you know what... I ate the rest of her banana. So two hours later when she was puking I was so sad both for her and for my own future. But I never got it. And I tried to keep to healthy and the unhealthy somewhat separate, but then I found that they had made a blanket pile with all her germ sheets, all dog piled together. Face palm. But, no one else got sick! And I know why - my friend gave me some foaming soap for Christmas and in less than a week the kids had used about 3/4 of it. My future game plan is to buy a new, good smelling soap whenever there's a bug going around. The mixing of the clean and the unclean: 

Christmas was wonderful. We took some family pictures:

We did a nativity - which consisted of me reading a kid level story and then the kiddos dressing up. We started with a Mary, a Joseph, the angel Gabriel(a), a baby Jesus and our heard of bouncing donkeys. We ended with two Mary's ...or two Jesus mommies, Blake told me she wasn't Mary. And two Jesuses (we ended the day with three) and the whole crew riding into the sunset (kitchen) on their bouncy donkey's. Here's what I loved about it - the pictures (duh), and everyone wanted to play with baby Jesus and it spurred all kinds of questions: "Mommy, what's a stable?" "So why did he need to be born there?" It brought the story alive. I loved it. 

Blake announcing that Jesus Christ is born! 

And then Blake picking out some toe jam, Jac digging for gold and Wade asking if he could be done with the stupid head thing. 

Mary wore an Elsa dress and and white sheet on her head (that I had to keep putting back on her for days). Our Angel wore a 90's Barbie wedding dress. Joseph wore a Yoda costume. 

Christmas eve Wade and Bryan got hair cuts, then everyone got baths. When the kids got out I was cleaning up and I was telling them about the rest of our night and that we would open one present. Then they left and I kept cleaning up, then I realized...I didn't specify that I had a gift in mind and they likely went down and opened a present. Sure enough, they all picked Grandma and Papa Billa's presents to open. They were in love! Wade got foam floor tiles that he's been building with - the plus of opening them Christmas Eve is that Santa came and made a cool fort for him to see on Christmas morning. And the girls got 100+ hour quiet books (meaning, my mom spent at least 100 hours making them), they're amazing and I now have little bowls and jars around the house with the express purpose of putting in pieces I find that belong with the quiet books. I have this dumb dream of only letting the girls play with them sometimes, but they absolutely love them and toys should be played with, but losing any pieces feels like losing some of my moms genius! Plus, these are items my grandkids will need to play with, but I'll probably be even loonier then and they'll be just for looking at (kidding! Hopefully. Hopefully I'm kidding. Please don't let me be crazy). Today Wade made this fort: 

Then on Christmas we hung out and then took of to visit Bryan's brother, Brett, and his family. We told the kids a few days beforehand and they were so excited - like, can-Christmas-hurry-up-and-get done-so-we-can-go-to-Texas kind of excited. Wade kept saying things like, "Mom, when we go to Texas we'll need to bring our toothbrushes." And we said we'd go to the pool (which ended up being closed, on winter break!!) and Jac carried around her swimsuit for days and Wade sais, "Mom, when we go to the pool in Texas, I'm going to have a nice relaxing break." Cause being 5 is oober stressful, didn't you know? And as soon as breakfast was done, Blake got on her coat so she'd be ready to go. 

We got there just as it got a little chillier, but were still able to make it outside a few days to go to some parks and throw sticks in lakes and such things. 

But for the most part everyone just played. Leah (sister in law, as if you couldn't figure that out from the context) kept laughing that we felt kind of useless cause our kids were so happy and content - and we didn't want to risk intruding and potentially ruining the perfect harmony. Their girls are older (4&6) and they have play make up. Jacqueline was obviously thrilled. Jac's a true extrovert and was continually egged on and rejuvenated with all the play - she actually threw fewer tantrum (they did pick up later in the week as she was more tired and the newness of cousins wore off a tiny bit).    

Blake wasn't too upset either. 

I don't know why this pic is so cute to me - but I just couldn't leave it out. Happy little Blake staring out the window. Blake is an introvert - she plays and interacts and loves being with others, until she's done. She'd have to wonder to a corner to play by herself, or wonder downstairs to sit with Bryan watching football. She found refuge with the adults and ended up falling asleep snuggled up to someone almost every day. 

Oh, these faces! We did have to hid the nail polish and several markers. 

They figured out the very important knowledge that they could fit under Isabel's bed. And they found it out on the first day - so valuable. 

Aunt Elizabeth gave the kids a bunch of fun science experiments for Christmas and we took them with us to do with cousins - they were the biggest hit! I was asked so many times each day what experiment we were going to do, and could we do one again. They hypothesized and made observations (some you shouldn't make in real science, like, "Mom, they made the water taste good."). 

We went and visited one of my best friends from college and the kids all played and had so much fun. They watched part of a 3D movie, but then went to play and it was just Jac and the dad watching for a while, haha. My friends name is Jackie, which Jacqueline thought was so cool. Jackie's daughter's name is Lydia, I told the kids that Lydia is Jackie's baby and Jac said, "Yeah, Lyda my baby." And I am going to encourage her to name her babies Lydia and swoon over to cuteness. 

We spent our last day at the "castle park" playing with acorns. Wade brought some home and I brought one home as a souvenir and Wade had to inspect it to make sure it was really special. There was one that had a hole in it and I said it looked like a bug house, and Wade said, "Yeah, like a small pox or something." Um, okay. He also said a baby doll had a parasite earlier that day, so, that's weird. Listening to him and his cousin Clara talk about the acorns was my favorite (Wade is just a few month older than her and they are just two peas in a pod, they get along so well and it's fun to watch the same age interact with each other). Wade, "Do you want to help me look at these?" Clara, inspecting them as only a true enthusiast can, "Wow, this one is so beautiful!" Wade, "Yeah, I guess they're pretty special and gorgeous."

We drove home through the night and it was harder than the way down, even with open restaurants and the correct gas. In the wee morning hours we had to switch off every hour - I think it's cause we both finished our books on tape, that's what keeps ya going. I ended off the drive singing along to Hamilton with a good amount of drama and as much theatrics as can be in the front seat, just to stay awake. We got in around 7 AM and Nana and Papa were there to give cuddles and fix breakfast and we crawled into bed.

I've got big plans for 2019. Well, actually, I just have my normal plans, which are always big. They include a kitchen update, drinking more water, staying in better contact with loved ones, and really studying the gospel as a family.I want to make my bed more and play more games with my kids. Eat more healthy food that I love and cut out on easy treats, that I don't even really like. But, really, the priorities: play with my kids, study the gospel. The floor can be unmopped (it's natural state). The crafts can be undone (also, pretty normal). But family and church. This years focus. And the water thing. Oh, and I decided to put everything in the dishwasher and do minimal hand washing. That's not really a new year's thing, that's just something that happens to coincide....and apparently feels substantial enough to mention.

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