After a hard Fall dealing with tragedy, we decided in December to go back to Idaho for Christmas. The purpose was to spend time with family but also to spend time debriefing with people outside of the community and doing counseling. Although it really changed what our December looked like it was well worth the trip. And the bonus was getting to spend Christmas with my parents and my sister and her family. The trip started off with a "bang" in our house when we settled down on Sunday night after a full day of packing and taking down our Christmas tree. We had just started a movie when Nate got up to put Eden to sleep and I started thinking about the dates of our midnight flight. When Nate came back down he confirmed that yes, we should be flying tonight not tomorrow night and movie watching ended in favor of arranging an airport drop-off and showers before the 18 hours of travel. The kids were delighted to be woken from sleep a day early and thought it was a great trick!

 

We landed to a house already bustling with grandkids and Christmas activities. My sister and I did a few runs together in the frigid weather, we did kid-free shopping after therapy appointments. We spent a day at Jabbers, reading, talking and shopping while the kids tore around the toys, slides, etc. We pointed out every horsey and goat to Rajah from our 15-passenger van. We went to see the Caldwell lights, where my sister rued her use of cloth shoes and Canaan ended up slipping and terribly wet. We pushed the kids out the door to the park almost daily in the afternoon to work off some energy. We had a few dinners with Scoof that were chaotic with kids. Nona used a story book to tell the Christmas story and Eden has been obsessed with King Herod ever since. We picked out candy at WinCo and made easy graham cracker gingerbread houses that were each creative and unique and full of the kids' personalities. And we laughed the whole time as each kid vied for affirmation after a different cousin got an exclamation over part of their house. We made snow ice cream. We had a birthday celebration for Eden, Rajah and me in which I chose the cake because ... they are kids. They like any sugar. Cake turned into peanut butter pie for me, which I'd been craving.

 

The three older kids had a great time playing together. Rajah stole my kids' hearts. They coddled her, cuddled her, gave her whatever she wanted. And then begged me to let us take her home to live with us. There was lots of coloring. And cars around the house. And fighting. And then playing.

 

There were homemade cinnamon rolls, bacon, blueberry streusel bread. There were custom-made paninis for lunches, an assortment of Christmas cookies pulled out of the freezer after every lunch. There were cheese sticks and goat cheese. There was a LOT of yogurt consumed. I'm talking gallons of Greek yogurt in just one week between all of the littles and the bigs. There were berries and cuties. There were dinners with a large table set and the dishwasher ran constantly. 

 

My two favorites, though, were a snowball fight and sledding. We ran around in front of the house and let the kids break all the rules and throw snow everywhere. We made snowball baseballs and introduced them to snow baseball. I loved watching Canaan and Jordan try to bat. Sledding was so, so, so fun. Because Canaan is up for anything, but not always the most persistent kid, it is SO fun when he really latches onto something. The kids went in doubles, made trains, went on their parents' stomachs and backs and laughed and laughed. They dared to go off of little snow jumps and go faster and steeper ... all while our noses ran and our toes turned purple. Rajah was having none of this and after 15 minutes she and Babum stayed in the heated van and watched from afar. It reminded me of our first snow Christmas with Eden, when she cried anytime we opened the front door. It's fun to play, to be reminded that even though we are adults we can throw ourselves down a hill and feel the same exhiliration and excitement that a kid can. 

 

 

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Photo Credit: Kimberly Jordan Van Veen

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Photo Credit: Kimberly Jordan Van Veen

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Photo Credit: Kimberly Jordan Van Veen

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Photo Credit: Kimberly Jordan Van Veen

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Photo Credit: Kimberly Jordan Van Veen

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