The fun thing about vacation is that I do tend to keep busy.
The even more fun thing (for me) is that Michael takes vacation time ... and we all get to hang out together.
This year was a little frantic ... He gets his bonus (which is partly used for Christmas shopping) just about a week before Christmas. And I get all OCD on what to buy for whom. (I like to get presents that people will like ... and I like to be able to spoil people if I can. Oh, for unlimited funds, right?)
And Bruise and Bucket's vacation started only a couple days before Christmas ... so I was booking it around town trying to get things done with pre-bonus funds so that I didn't have to schlep all THREE kids about.
And I wanted to get my Visiting Teaching taken care of.
And all sorts of things like that.
Our plans were to take off Sunday, after church, to visit family on the 22-25 (which, of course ALSO shortened the amount of time I had to get things done pre-Christmas). Our plans did end up changing a bit ... but it all worked out well.
So, I SHOULD start where I left off ... which was shortly before Christmas break started. ...
Let's see ... I cancelled my blood drive appointment so that I can donate at the one at church (a better time/closer place). Mom came up. I sent wrapped presents down with her for Christmas Eve/morning.
The school had rescheduled their Winter Celebration, so we didn't worry about that.
Michael had his company party (got his bonus! Yay!).
Bruise, Bucket, and Bubbles all had their dental check-ups. No signs of decay! YAY!! (I give a lot of credit to the Sonicare. I heart Sonicare.)
Taking Bruise and Bucket back to school after their trip to the dentist, we also dropped off cookies from Costco for their class party the next day. Bubbles, seeing the office staff TAKING AWAY THE COOKIES started to cry. But the principal saw and brought Bubbles and me (after Bruise and Bucket left for their classes) to the staff room to have a cookie from the array set out for the school employees. I also got to chat with the principal and Bruise and Bucket's teachers. Then Bubbles and I headed out to finish some errands.
Friday, Bruise and Bucket had their class party. Bubbles and I had a playdate in the morning ... and a change of plans for Christmas travel ... Michael and I ordered Thai takeaway for lunch as we finished wrapping presents and running errands before the kids came home.
Saturday, we cleaned house and prepared for Christmas travel. And ran last-minute errands.
Sunday, we had church ... and then drove down to visit my Nana, Uncle M, and Aunt I. The kids opened their presents (We broughr presents for Nana, M, I, and R, my cousin's son. And my great-aunt and her girls ... who had presents for our family).
We had a good visit and then headed down (with presents from M, I, and Nana ... and the ones we brought) to my Dad and L's to visit and spend the night.
In the morning, we opened presents and my Uncle S came over and was able to get his presents).
I worked on updating L's computers and helped her color her hair.
She gave me some nail polish and a tub of carnation-scented body butter (I LOVE the smell of carnations/carnation oil. Carnations from the florist, being kept cool, NEVER smell like a fresh carnation. So this body butter is a total treat).
Then, instead of heading over and spending a couple nights with Mom and C (my stepdad), we drove back home (They're working on fixing the well, a porch, my mom was getting better ... but wasn't up to clean the house. C hadn't ever brought in the Christmas decoration ... Mom was really bummed that they didn't even have a Christmas tree set up).
So, we had an evening to relax and get ready for Mom and C and maybe Aunt J to come.
It ended up being just Mom who came up for Christmas Eve, but it was a nice visit.
We got her the wireless keyboard she requested ... and a little Christmas tree. I found a little partly-decorated cypress tree (smelled very nice!) and we put some little red bead-string on it to make it look a tad more festive.
(While out getting that tiny tree and a few last-minute supplies, I ran into a sister from our ward. We had a nice chat. She told me something that simultaneously flattered and saddened me ... that I'm one of two sisters at church who stops and chats with her. She did say that the ward is really sweet ... but that the other gals are so busy. ... I really wanted to cry. Instead, I just gave her extra hugs in the middle of Safeway.)
The kids have been thoroughly spoiled by this point ... and it wasn't even Christmas morning.
Michael and I stayed up WAY too late (almost 2 AM), helping Santa set up the present he got our family. (Of course, he wasn't able to stay long. So many good boys and girls out there that he needed to deliver presents to ... so many stockings to fill. But he enjoyed the cake-batter cookies that the kids set out for him.)
After about four hours of sleep (for US, that is. The kids were asleep around 8:30 or so), the kids woke up and were ready for Christmas morning.
They enjoyed their gifts from us and each other ... and Santa brought them just what they wanted.
And a WiiU ... so Bruise settled in to play LEGO City:Undercover for a bit. Then I got to play Injustice (that and a tablet were my presents from Michael).
I went a little crazy in gifts for Michael ... he got a tablet, too, to replace his old one (cracked screen and all). But I also had a little too much fun over at ThinkGeek.com. The gift I was most excited about was a business card holder. It's Han Solo in carbonite. I know, I know. Totally geeky. But I love it.
After breakfast (a pastry-thing from Safeway ... see? I totally planned ahead!!), we got showered and dressed and headed up for Christmas dinner with Michael's side of the family.
Good times, good folk, good food.
Then we headed home to rest up ... since Boxing day was spent over at Michael's youngest brother's house, helping to renovate the garage into a bedroom.
Dad and J picked up Michael around 8AM or so. The kids and I got ready (played some Just Dance and they watched me play Injustice ... no, really, they requested it. Who was I to deny them?? ;P) and then headed out to J's town.
We first went to a children's museum (Bubbles LOVES the ball pit there) and then picked up drinks at a grocery store. (They didn't have the Rose Lemonade that I adore at this one ... but I tried a Cheerwine soda. Not bad. Tastes like Coke+Dr.Pepper) and a Watermelon Creme soda.
Then we headed to J's place. Due to some unforseen circumstances, the renovation is taking longer than it could. (Of course, I COULD say that it's because my husband, the engineer, wasn't asked to check the plans [no dimensions written on them. Sillies.] ... But, if Michael and C, his other brother, had been in charge, it would have been much further along. Oh well.)
Mom C and I helped to get things set up for when the rest of the family arrived for a late lunch. (Not much prep involved ... she had gotten Subway sandwiches. Just had to get things set out. No biggie at all.)
And we just kept the kids from getting hurt or wrecking J's house.
In related news, Bruise and Bucket can play on the trumpet.
This is nice, since Bruise has expressed an interest in playing the tuba when he's older. He also wants to play the violin.
Bucket has now asked for a trumpet. ... I don't know how the neighbors will feel about that. Because I'll be sending her outside to play that. Until we get a garage. And soundproof it.
Yesterday (Friday), we took the kids to his mom's (Dad C was still helping J on his garage renovation) and Michael and I went out for the day.
We did an endowment session at the temple. I'm not even going to guess at how long it's been since we've been to the temple. It's shameful.
But it was really very, very nice.
After that, we headed to OMSI for the Sherlock Holmes exhibit.
It was CRAZY CROWDED ... like, we had to park four blocks away from OMSI. And we waited in lines for about 45 minutes to GET into the exhibit. But we were behind a fun family ... They had all dressed up for the exhibit (They said that they like to dress up to go ANYWHERE). Now, it wasn't period-accurate (Yes, I'm a costuming geek. Once, I came back from a SOTW rehearsal when Michael was watching an episode of Doctor Who. I sat down, looked at the screen. "So, this is set in, what, the 1860s?" He looked at me and stated, "1864 (or 1865)." "I thought so." ... Yeah, I have a bit of an eye for this stuff. Too bad I don't sew with any confidence, huh?) ... Their outfits were a bit more steampunk inspired (corsets as bodices, gears, etc. One lady in their party had a Renaissance dress with a satin bustled section pinned onto the back. Turns out that one of the gals is a VERY good seamstress. They were really fun to talk to. It made the line seem to take less time.)
The exhibit was very good. It wasn't covered by the membership, but the discounted price was quite fair (unlike the Bodyworks prices. Those are pretty outrageous. Which is why I still haven't gone to one yet).
(There also was a trip to Deseret Book between the temple and OMSI. Some children will be getting some Baptism presents.)
The one not-so-great part of this last week is that we learned that barely any of Michael's family is able to attend Bruise and Bucket's baptism.
His parents will be out of the state with one of his sister's family.
One brother has to work that day.
His other sister's family is living in the midwest, so they probably won't be able to attend, either.
It's disappointing ... and I did cry about it.
We did offer the kids to move the date. Or to be confirmed (receive the gift of the Holy Ghost) the next day.
But both Bruise and Bucket were adamant that they wanted to be baptized as soon as they could and receive the Holy Ghost the same day.
Not that I can blame them.
I mean, when I was baptized, none of my three sets of grandparents were there. It was just Mom, Dad, and me ... and probably some folks from our ward. There were other wards with children being baptized, so it's not like I didn't have people there.
Michael only had one set of grandparents at his baptism.
And Bruise and Bucket understand what's going on.
It's a bummer, but it's not like they won't have some family there (My mom is coming. And probably my stepdad and aunt. Our SIL will bring our kids' couisins. Maybe J can come. Maybe their great-grandma can make it. I don't know if anyone from my dad's side of the family will make it ... but, well, I'm sure that other families that Bruise and Bucket want to invite might come.)
Well, I'd better close this up and finish getting ready ... and make plans for Bruise and Bucket's birthday party. *Oy* ... Seriously, I need naps. Lots of naps. And maybe chocolate. And some (medicinal) Cherry Coke. Good times, right? ^_^