So much to say about the last week or so...so lets get right to it!
On the 29th we celebrated Christmas with the Kelly side of the clan, with Tom, Debbie, Megan and Ryan flying in from Pennsylvania, and Jessica, Dan and Ginny, too. Brenden was spoiled like crazy, as usual, and had a great old time playing with Ryan's phone and getting pushed around on his new Thomas the Train toy. Unfortunately we only had the chance to see them the one day since they were flying back in the morning and we were starting our trek to Colorado early in the am the next day.
Tuesday morning began much earlier than the anticipated 4:30 am, with Brenden and his molars waking us up at 2:30 am. Some rocking and those awesome teething tablets got him back to sleep in about an hour, but seeing how we waited until the night before to pack we didn't get much sleep before or after that. I actually started getting really sick the week before and this lack of shuteye made me go from feeling kind of icky to feeling like complete garbage. Thankfully we got up on time and were out of the house by 5:30 am with Tim driving first, giving me a chance to sleep all the way through Wichita. 10 1/2 hours, 679.1 miles, 3 bananas, 5 books, 72 children's songs, ZERO meltdowns and one stop at a McDonald's play place later we were safely in Colorado. We were all really excited to see Grandma Karen, Grandpa Rick and Great-grandma Pat, along with Chrissy and Jason and their new puppy, Remy. The first thing we did was open presents, and of course Brenden's favorite was his new slide/swing combo. I was a little nervous at first that he wouldn't understand how to climb up the "rock wall" part but I forgot that he has no fear and he pulled and kicked his way up like a pro. After driving all day and then watching a terrible Oklahoma State bowl game we called it an early night.
The next day I'm not sure exactly what happened before 11 am. I was in a stuffy-headed coma and didn't get out of my pajamas until at least 5:30 pm. When I finally heaved myself out of the fluffiness of the comforter I found that Karen and Pat had already made meatloaf and all day potatoes. (If you haven't had Karen's meatloaf, you are missing out! I'll share the recipe on here someday. I think it feeds 10 people...or 2 people for a week, both lunch and dinner.) I did get up in time to help make a few perogis, both potato/cheese and cabbage/sausage, which were delicious. However, I missed my child's first time gambling on grandpa's slot machine, and beginner's luck seems to have been on his side. He hit a 600 nickel jackpot! Apparently he was still so worked up about his new found love of levers that he didn't want to go to sleep for his nap. Instead he found a way to start taking apart the crib by pulling out the slats. He won't climb it, he'll just tear himself a hole! Down came the crib, up went the pack and play. After an already eventful day we still had New Year's Eve to look forward to. Karen and Rick's friends Kim and Mark came over to celebrate and we all stuffed our faces on the previously mentioned foods and some yummy crab legs that Jason brought over. Halfway through Rainman Brenden woke up and when I went back to put him back to sleep, I fell asleep as well. Only 27 years old and falling asleep at 10:30 pm on New Year's. So sad! Tim didn't make it until midnight either, which made me feel slightly better.
On New Year's day we were all ready to get out of the house. We wanted to drive by our home in Colorado Springs and I wanted to catch up with my friend Michelle, so we all loaded into the car for a jaunt down I-25. After a short stop in Castle Rock at the outlets (Yay for spending $20 and getting 4 pairs of pants, a pair of shorts and a shirt for Brenden!) we headed to Old Chicago's to meet Michelle. It was awesome to get to see her and Brenden had a great time watching videos on her cell phone of their new puppy. After a quick drive by of the house, which looks great, we headed back to Parker for movies and hot chocolate.
Friday we planned a trip to the Children's Museum of Denver and then dinner at Magianno's. We weren't sure how much Brenden would be able to do at the museum, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that most of the lower floor was dedicated to babies and toddlers. Brenden enjoyed running around on the various obstacles, going down the slide by himself, and the little town with all sort of things to push, pull, twirl, and carry. After almost 2 hours of nonstop fun, we decided to head to the restaurant. I would definitely recommend everything we had to eat, from the fried zucchini to the stuffed mushrooms, to the clams that I was able to sample off of Pat's plate. What I wouldn't recommend is mentioning that we hoped the stuffed mushrooms were seafood free since Tim is allergic to the crab they sometimes shove in there. They were totally fine, but the humongous, bald chef that came barrelling out at us to loudly exclaim that we needed to let him know beforehand about allergies scared us to death. He was worried that something may have been cross-contaminated and that Tim would be out in the restaurant having a fit after eating his pasta. We eventually explained that he was not THAT allergic, but that he couldn't eat most shellfish and we thanked him for his concern. FYI: if you have an allergy please tell them. They take it seriously.
Saturday we had planned on going to Park Meadows mall to meet up with my friend Leigh and then to the Botanical Gardens to see their Festival of Lights. By the time we headed toward the mall the first snowflakes of many had already began to fall and we figured we would just spend more time wandering aimlessly inside where it was warm. Even though it was a short visit it was great to see Leigh, who Brenden took to immediately. She definitely gives off a "grandma" vibe, or maybe he remembers she was the first person to let him use a straw. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, with Karen and I finding a few very cheap, very cute purses and some more clothes for Brenden. By the time we were done most of Denver was a winter wonder land. The roads weren't icy, but we were concerned about the long drive the next day.
Sunday morning we woke up at 4:45 am with Brenden's feet wedged between my shoulders. I guess he woke up in the middle of the night and just came to bed with us. Since we packed the car the night before we were out the door at 5:15 am to brave the foot of snow and all of the drivers that think 4 wheel drive means they don't need to go any slower. By the time we got on the main road it was clear and Tim said that the roads were dry after we hit Burlington, CO. (I wouldn't know...I was yet again passed out.) We made it all the way to Salina, KS, before Brenden got too restless and we found another McDonald's play place to let him stretch his legs at. This one was not nearly as nice as the one in Hays, which is where we stopped on the way out. It had a stench of dirty diapers and a ton of unsupervised children, one of which was a little 4 year old girl who decided Brenden was part of the toys. She kept trying to lift him up but only succeeded in falling over with him a few times, which he was not enjoying. If another child came near them she would scream at them that SHE was his only friend and they couldn't touch him. We saved him from her clutches and strapped him back into the car to make the rest of the trip home. It took 11 hours on the way back, which is still an improvement over the 13 hours it took to get to Oklahoma in May. The most important part was another meltdown free drive. Hallelujah!
Somehow we managed to find the energy to unload the car and even unpack some of the suitcases that night, which made me feel extremely productive. That is until one of our circuit breakers blew up. It seems half the house is on the one breaker, so while Tim went to Lowe's I gave Brenden his bath with a candle and 2 flashlights pointed at the ceiling. It wasn't until we went to put Brenden on our bed to read him a story that Tim realized we had NO milk, not even 2%, in our fridge. We thought we could fool Brenden with some water for one night, but he's not dumb and refused it completely. So back out Tim went to Walgreen's for some milk. It was a crazy end to a very busy week, but we couldn't imagine the holidays any other way.