Well, this Christmas season has been ones of ups and downs for us. It started off great with Christmas with my side of the family the weekend of the 15th. We ate our annual finger-foods meal and opened the gifts we got for each other and enjoyed watching the kids open their gifts!
We then all headed to Rhema to look at Christmas lights.
The next day we went to church together and then we ate lunch at Mazzios where our Uncle Ralph and Aunt Shirley met us.
We then headed home for the girls to finish up school and I could get ready for our big trip north to be with Misa's side of the family for Christmas. However, on Tuesday I got a call that Mema would only live a few hours more and then the call that she had passed from this life. My sister and I went down on Tuesday to be with my mom for a little while before we had to be back that afternoon. Wednesday, I put on Allie's Christmas party since I was the home room mom.
We had a hot dog party, hot chocolate, and decorate-your-own-cookie station. As soon as the party was over we headed to Claremore for the viewing of the body. Thursday we had the funeral. Thursday night after we ate dinner with the family we headed back to OKC so that I could try to finish my mile long to-do-list. I was beyond exhausted and so I crawled in bed with the anticipation of a good night's sleep and not getting out of bed until I woke up. However on Friday morning about 8:00 a.m. misa called to say that HR was there when he got to work and that they informed him that they were closing the yard where he worked. They then offered him a manager position in Conway, Arkansas with a great moving package full of incentives.
He then had to layoff 28 out of the 35 people that work there. Needless to say it was beyond a rough day. We were supposed to leave that night when he got off work for Michigan but we were both feeling shocked so we decided to wait to leave until Sunday morning. After discussing it we decided that we would accept their offer and move to Arkansas. Misa would head there in January and the girls and I would follow when they finish school up for the year and I could finish up my job at Udining. We then went back and forth on when would be a good time to tell them. Should we wait until after Christmas? or Should we just tell them? I called my very dear friend, Amy, who gave me some advice (she is a military wife who has moved 14 times in her families army career). She told me to research what was in Arkansas and particularly around where we would live that would be fun to do and tell them when we see them so that is what we decided to do. We left OKC before the sun came up and I put on my headphones and listened to my peace playlist I had made and watched the sunrise as we headed down the turnpike. We picked up the girls and we told them about 10 minutes into our Michigan drive. They both cried and Chloe was just really angry. Allie now says she is excited about it and Chloe is still not happy about it. Allie has been studying the St.Louis Arch in school and has become very interested in in so we decided to stop and see it. She was soooo excited!
We took the ride to the top in the tiny tram car capsule where we could look at the very top of the arch at St.Louis. We then went down and the girls got some souvenirs at the store. We climbed back in the car and headed to our destination for the night in Indianapolis. We got there about 10:00 p.m. We got this hotel free with Misa's reward points and thought because it was a Radison it would be nice but it was pretty run down but we settled in for the night. I got up early to do payroll and email my Kumon bosses and let them know what was going on. We then headed to cracker barrel for breakfast and then we started on our short 5 hour ride to Lansing where we would meet our Michigan family for the Christmas Eve party for Papa Ron's side of the family. However about 10 minutes after our drive our car broke down. What a God thing, that we were only 10 minutes from the only dealership in Indianapolis. It was Christmas Eve and several so the dealership was closed. We decided we would leave our car there and rent a car to make the rest of the trip. We finally found that Enterprise was open but the only car they had was 1/2 the size of what we were driving. So we crammed everything in the car in the freezing rain and got the kids in the backseat where they could sit all-be-it VERY close. I guess when I was praying that our family become closer through this transition I needed to be more specific!
We then headed out to Lansing. We arrived there just before dinner and then after the party we headed over to Grand Rapids to Nana and Papa's house. The kids stayed at the house with the other cousins and Misa and I stayed a few miles away at Auntie Lou's house. Santa presents were going to be opened at 7:00 a.m. the next morning so we were up early to head back to see that.
After that we headed back to Aunti Lou's house for Christmas Breakfast! After our tummies were full and the kids had opened their goodies from Aunti Lou and Uncle Dick we headed back to Nana and Papa's for more presents. Then all kids then headed out with Pete for an afternoon of hockey!
We had a wonderful dinner that night together followed up by Nana's homemade Michigan blueberry pie! We went back to Auntie Lou's early that night so I could do some laundry and then go to bed early. I feel asleep while waiting for my clothes to dry and sweet Auntie Lou folded all the clothes for me. The next day everyone had Christmas money to spend and Allie had $50 to build-a-bear we headed to to the mall and after an hour we left the store with Mo (a redwing hockey playing monkey).
We then shopped for about 5 hours before returning to Nana and Papa's for dinner where we discovered that papa had come down with the stomach flu, followed since by Uncle Terry, Aunt Joni, and Nana. The next day we packed up (only to discover that the girl's dirty clothes bag with a lot of their new Christmas clothes was gone. I am convinced it was put out with the trash) and then headed to Detroit to spend a couple of days with Pete, Janine, Chase, and Cole after another stop at the mall for exchanges. We got into Detroit about 7:00 where we ordered the best pizza in the world: Hungry Howies!
Everyone piled on the couch to watch Harry Potter while I did some Laundry and packed and repacked our bags trying to make more room for our trek back in a few days. There was about 6 inches of snow when we got to Detroit so the next morning as soon as Allie woke up she headed outside to make 35 snowballs with the snowball maker Meme got her in anticipation of a snowball fight after all the teenagers woke up. After lunch, Misa, Cole, Chloe, Allie, Pete, and a good family friend Ricardo headed out for an epic snowball fight!
After that we got ready and headed to one of the greatest places in Michigan.... Costco!
We came back to the house and the girls got to skype with Ronnie, Mary, Hope, and Uncle Craig. Then everyone but Janine and me headed out for a night-time sledding adventure.When everyone came back and had a quiet dinner at the house and then Janine being the awesome grandma that she is made cake pop's with Allie!
Uncle Terry texted late about the latest causalities of the "Stomach Virus Epidemic 2012". Several of us went to bed wondering if we were getting sick or if it was all in our heads. As usual, Pete and I were the first ones up. Belgian waffles were on the menu for breakfast while we waited for Aunt Mindy's arrival the kids planned the plot for their movie that they were going to make that afternoon. (I will share the link when it is finished.) After lunch they headed to the backyard to begin filming! After Misa's part was over,
we made a quick run to the mall and 5 below in the afternoon. (A store where everything is $5 or under).
Sunday, we got to worship with Heritage and Pete delivered a GREAT lesson on clothing ourselves for the New Year and challenged us to see and be Jesus in 2013.
We headed back to house after a lot of hugs and warms wishes from the church family there. We then had lunch (after an appetizer of Michigan-SNOW-cones made by Ricardo)
and loaded up the car and drove to Indianapolis for the night where we had our first Culver's experience for dinner.
Then we headed back to the hotel to get some swimming in before turning in for a good night's rest! Michigan was full of laughs and memory making!
Chase, Cole, Will, Kelly, Kristen, and Ricardo were AWESOME to the kids and were patient and played with them. When we were in Detroit, Chloe got to stay until the wee hours of the morning hanging out with her COOL uncles without little sister and doing cool things like playing video games and watching movies!
We begun the last leg of our Christmas adventure on Monday morning. We had a quiet ride in the morning and hit a snow storm and hour from St. Louis. We stopped for lunch in St. Louis before heading the rest of the way home. We had some great road trip treats compliments of Nana and Pa sent all the way from Scotland!
My dad made a great homemade meal for us and we stopped and ate with them and dropped Allie off for a few days. We made it home about 10:30p.m. and we had a quiet transition into 2013.
As you can see, we had an eventful Christmas break! Lots of ups and downs. Once again, I am so thankful for my recovery and the deep anchor it has given me in the storms of life. A few days into our trip one of the Celebrate Recovery Leaders wrote this on their facebook page and it was so perfect to how I was feeling:
"Just like my recovery when things don't go the way I want them to I can give up or work harder. Even though things are crashing all around me I know my Father is going to come through. So I will work hard, and sometimes it is just hard work, to do the next right thing. Keeping in my mind that my Father will work ALL things out to THE good.
I am going to have a great day knowing I haven't lost what's most important------relationships!" Mac CR Natl. Dir. West
I couldn't help but be in awe at the "winter-wonderland" view as we drove home. Thinking about the path that has led us to where we are and the new path our lives will take in 2013.