Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy New Year

For those of you who don't know me and only know our family through this blog might be wondering if we ever made it back from our trip. Did we survive? Were we sucked away by a twister therefore preventing us from returning to Oz? Did a week in a car with a 2 year old and a 3 year old render me so mentally incapacitated that I am therefore unable to ever blog again?

Kind of. Not really. I'm just slow.

We survived a 16 hour drive to Alabama, a 14 hour drive to West Virginia, and then a 12 hour drive back to Kansas. All in 9 days. Three hotels, two different homes, and lots and lots of advil.

Actually, the kids did amazingly well. We really love family road trips. Good thing, right? We've gotten into our groove and have our road trip songs, games, restaurants, and books. Just give the Websters a map and a Cracker Barrel and we are good to go. It doesn't take much, folks.

We left Christmas Eve evening and drove until midnight to St. Louis. Fortunately there was room for us at the inn. The Drury Inn. Ha! But it really was peaceful driving on Christmas Eve listening to music and just thinking about the meaning of that night.

We spent Christmas morning at the continental breakfast at the Drury Inn. We had to put our children in time out twice and Will got in big trouble with Daddy for crawling under the table. Happy Birthday, Jesus!!

We had lunch at a Waffle House somewhere in Tennessee. Of course? Isn't that how everyone has their lunch on Christmas?
And of course we slept. Not even the excitement of it being Christmas Day could overcome the fact that we hadn't gone to sleep in our hotel room until 1 am.
We finally made it to Birmingham around dinner time. Hooray! We were so happy to see our family!
We didn't get to Alabama until that evening so we had a wonderful Christmas dinner with my family and then it was on to presents! My oldest niece read the Christmas story from the Bible and then my youngest niece read Twas the Night Before Christmas from a book she has made herself in Kindergarten. Bennett recited the Christmas story and Will sang Jingle Bells. Everyone was happy. Here is a picture of Will singing. I like how the stack of presents is higher than he is.Oh, and he had to stand on the fireplace to sing. Of course. because he's my kid.
 Precious memories.

 Bennett's favorite present was her Rapunzel dress from her grandparents and then the matching wig and shoes from Aunt Lisa and Uncle Jason. Will's was a $4 train that moved in a ball from Walgreens. Go figure. Here they are checking out their favorite toys. I just love this picture.
So we had a wonderful Christmas Day but that night was kind of rough. Will kept us up all night coughing. He had gotten sick before we left Kansas but the doctors had said it was just a viral infection. By Christmas evening we knew it was much worse. So we spent FOUR hours on the 26th at an urgent care facility.
Good thing we went though. The little guy had a double ear infection and pneumonia. Great. Merry Christmas indeed.

While Rob and I were at the doctors office, my sister took her girls and Bennett to go riding through a neighborhood on a one horse open sleigh. Really. I mean how awesome is that? Can you say happiest little girl in the world?
I mean that literally. Happiest.
I am even going to post this shot even though it is so far away because you can see Bennett screaming in delight.
Some more shots from that amazing afternoon. And luckily we made it there in time to ride a few times ourselves. Even sick little Will woke up from his nap in his carseat to see the horses and hop on the final ride.

We spent four days in Alabama. I had the amazing honor of visiting my cousin Elliot while she was receiving her treatment at UAB. I hope that every single person that reads my blog takes the time to visit her caring bridge site and to take the time to pray for her complete healing.

Spending time with Elliot was as wonderful as it always is. I wish you all could meet her. She is the kindest, bravest, most loving, and gentlest person that I know. She is exactly like our Grandmother and I get to be the lucky one God chose to be her cousin. It is a privilege and a blessing. I also got to have breakfast with her sister, my other cousin Erin. Who also happens to be one of my dearest friends. Who also happens to be pretty amazing herself. Who also happens to be 9 months pregnant in this picture. 

She had her beautiful baby girl one week exactly after we had breakfast together. Can I just mention one more time how hard it is to be away from my family?

We loved enjoying the beautiful weather and wanted to take advantage before returning to the cold Kansas winter, so we took the kids to the Montgomery zoo. Which is where Rob and I kind of sort of met. We filmed a funny video for our church and the video was shot at the zoo. It was our first time ever really talking or hanging out. It's also where we had our wedding reception. 'Cause that how Websters roll.

 Recreating our first dance.
 Riding the train where we filmed the video and also where our entire wedding party rode in on for the reception.

We had a great time in Alabama and were able to grab dinner with friends, hang out with our family, and just enjoy being home for Christmas. Here are some beautiful shots of Bennett and Will with their cousins on my side of the family.

We then left Alabama for the next leg of our journey. We headed up North to good 'ole Parkersburg, West Virginia to spend a few days with Rob's side of the family. This was actually such a wonderful treat. We hadn't been with Rob's family for Christmas in years and so we were so happy to see all of them.

The main reason for our trip was to be there to support Rob's Dad, Jim Webster. He was receiving an award for all of his years of service at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. The pastor of the church had contacted Rob and his siblings a few months back to see if it would be possible for us all to be there for the presentation. Of course we all made it happen. It was such a joy to be there and celebrate Jim Webster and all he has meant to the church over the years. What a wonderful man.

Bennett and Will were so happy to see their cousins on the other side of the family. Okay, so maybe Will wasn't so happy in this particular picture, but he was at some point during the day.
We spent New Years Eve swimming, shopping, catching up, and just hanging out as a family.

Bennett chilling with her awesome cousin, Sophie. We sure do love this kid!!
Uncle Rob teaching Madeline how to play the guitar. Believe it or not, there's an app for that.
Brothers. In case you couldn't tell. Actually Will is sitting with me in my chair as I type this blog post and his comment on looking at this picture is, "Mommy!! They match!!"
 We spent New Years evening at a great Italian restaurant where the kids had the best table in the house.
This may be the worst picture of Bennett ever taken, but I love it because it is of her with her cousin Jameson. They are only 3 1/2 months apart in age and I so wish we lived closer to each other so they could grow up together. Such a cute little guy.
 Hugs and kisses for Aunt Laura.

We took some great family photos but they are being held hostage until Rob can finish them. I'll post those... oh.... in 2014.

And then we finally made it home. Another 12 hour drive, another hotel, and yes, another Cracker Barrel. But it was worth every second to see all of our family. 

I will close with a video montage of the horse rides we took while in Birmingham. It begins with Will yelling for his Uncle Jason to look at the horse. It may just be the cutest thing I have ever seen. Ever. Happy New Year, y'all!