Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Sometimes, when it's ominously quiet downstairs, it means the little mice are up to mischief.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
When it comes to Christmas, our family is traditional. We stay home, we put up a tree, we go see Santa, we go to church on Christmas Eve, and then we wake up early and do Christmas morning. We have friends over for lunch on Christmas Day...the whole bit. Not this year! My parents were going to be celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary on December 23rd. That's a pretty huge occasion to celebrate, and my dad wanted to mark it by taking the entire family somewhere special. He and Mom chose Mexico, so...off we went.
We decided to spend a week in Kansas with James's folks beforehand, so that was our first destination. We pulled the J-bird from school a week early (he was not super thrilled), roused the children from bed at a truly brutal hour of the morning, arrived at the airport to a shockingly long line, screeched in just in time to board our flight and made it onto the plane.
Kids were tired.
Our kids have exactly two cousins and both are older. The J-bird is QUITE fond of Connor. It is always very sweet to see them together.
Grandma was pretty happy to see them as well.
And these two settled in for a long Winter's Chat.
Off to a formal event at the Country Club
Swinging in the back yard
We were able to visit James's grandmas in Warrensburg, MO while we were there. It's a short drive, and it's always nice to go see them. They used to come in to KC when we were in town, but they are both in their nineties - I think it's our turn to go see them.
This is Laura. We will be friends for the rest of our lives. She introduced James and I, and she is amazing. We were able to have some "just us" time, which was fantastic, and then our families got together and celebrated Hanukkah, which was so fun.
We drove from KC to Lawrence one day during the week to see my folks at their place and to visit a good friend of mine, Christine. It was so good to see her!
Jimmy kind of fell in love with her dog.
Once we got to my folks' farm, the kids got right down to business. We had brought some presents for Granny and Papa, and Granny had a tree for them to decorate!
It had snowed the night before, so, after lunch, we all suited up and went sledding. I hadn't done that in YEARS, and it was a total blast. Also amazing for James and I was watching our children sled down the hill we walked up to get married...
Also pretty great: my mother in law. We got to spend a lot of really nice, relaxed time together, even taking a trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which I love.
Whole Houx Family
Then, the week in Kansas was over, and it was time to leave for Mexico. We all met at the airport, went through the complicated process of getting on our international flight, and we were off on our adventure!
It was a long day of travel, so arriving at our resort was a relief. This place was lux.ur.i.ous. My parents did NOT mess around when they picked it out. (*gulp* Thank you again, guys!)
We settled in, had some supper, and then the kiddos crashed. Hard.
The next morning, we hit the beach. We go to the beach as much as we can in Oregon, but that's a Pacific Northwest beach - cool/cold, rainy, windy...you don't really get in the water. My little Oregon babies were not prepared for the glory of a Caribbean beach experience. The sand! The sun! The beautiful blue water! There were NO rocks or shells, but that didn't seem to be a big deal. We still found a couple of little weird things to marvel over, and they built 900 sand castles and LOVED going in "the deep water" (up to my shoulders)
And hopefully, the adults also got a decent balance between this:
AND WE WERE
Santa landed on the beach in a catamaran, ya'll. Christmas morning, 2014. Cancun.
And what did YOU have for Christmas dinner? We had sushi...from boats in a sushi river.
Morning snuggles with Papa are the best.
Always more beach.
I don't have ANY photos of our snorkeling adventure, but I wish I did. You guys, you guys...we went snorkeling, and I was TERRIFIED. I'm very scared of sharks and open water and drowning (even though I'm a very strong swimmer - Thank you, Mama for all the swimming lessons!), and I completely - quietly - panicked for a good five minutes after I hit the water, BUT...James stayed with me and made sure I was ok, and I got myself under control (BECAUSE I HAVE AN IRON WILL, AND I DO NOT KNUCKLE UNDER) (or something), and I ended up really enjoying it. It was a lot harder for James, because of his awesome, kick@$$ beard. Funny thing about snorkeling masks and stuff: they won't seal if you have a mustache. Wah wah. He gave it a good forty minutes of near drowning though, and then I went back to the boat with him, so he didn't, ya know, die. I was really proud of him and SO grateful TO him for staying with me those first few minutes. Good husband. Gooooood husband.
I also went kayaking with my sisters, which was amazing. Don't have any photos of that. Great.
I DO have photos of three of my sisters doing this weird thing though:
Beautiful sister, Olivia
There were many pools at this resort. I think we swam in all of them, because that is what you do when you have small children.
Always, more beach.
Beautiful sister, Emma
Respect the coconut
It was really, truly a beautiful week of family, relaxation, sunshine, laughter, and joy. We couldn't have asked for a better time.
We went back to Kansas for just one more day. Time for one last meal with an Auntie and a cousin...one last Kansas sunset...
And then we were off home. Home home home to Portland.
(double bonus points if you've read this far)
And the most beautiful reunion of all....
I promise my next entry will be MUCH SHORTER.