It includes having the kids sleep on our bedroom floor for the week, dealing with the inevitable stomach flu or nasty cold that passes through all of us pretty much every year, and listening to the screaming (or gleeful playing) of a houseful of kids under the age of seven.
It's the constant picking up of toys, making of meals, breaking up of fights...
In the midst of it, I always question if it's worth it. I am always completely exhausted and overwhelmed.
But then there are those magic moments with family that I would not trade! And seeing the relationships that my kids are developing with their cousins and grandparents is completely priceless. That alone makes all of the hassle of worth it!
This year we spent Thanksgiving in Denver with my family. One day we visited the Denver Aquarium, and when we got home, the kids set up their own aquarium in the basement with stuffed animals. They set up all sorts of different displays and tanks. Then they hung hilarious advertisements all over the house and tried to charge people $1 to get in. So funny and creative and totally something my sisters and I would've done at their age.
A few of my favorite signs were "Go! Go! Go! The 5566 acwareeum is the best acwareeum!"" and "100 is the best and the 5566 acwareeum gits 100! yes! yes! yes!" "Awesame acwareeum daoon stares! Only $1!" These kids are the cutest!
Callum, who is in second grade, has been taking Strings class at school and has started playing the violin. It is truly terrible to listen to, but Noah thinks it is just amazing. ;) He truly worships everything Callum does. One night they started their own band, with Luke on the piano, Noah on the recorder, and Cal on the recorder. Heaven help us all (and get us some earplugs!).
We also spent lots of time with Great Granny and Grampy, who have all of our hearts. The kids helped Granny decorate her tree and spent lots of time reading with Grampy.
We also got some professional family photos taken with them. Who knows how many years we have left with these two, so we just love to soak up every moment.
Probably my favorite part of the week was snuggling my fat turkey butterball of a niece, Alice. Oh my gosh she is scrumptious. I don't get to see her enough. She lives in Virginia now, and it's not fair. Too far away!!! Waaaaah!
So in spite of all the effort it takes to get there and to manage the chaos once we are there, it is totally worth it to go home for the holidays! I mean, cultivating relationships like this is what life is all about!
Part 2 about Christmas in Pocatello/Sun Valley with Ryan's family tomorrow!