Friday, January 7, 2011

Heading East

Right after lunch on Christmas Day, we loaded up the car & set out east for Atlanta. Justin & I laughed about the fact that our Christmas dinner consisted of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the kids & leftover Pappasito's for us. Fancy, huh?

Jake & Mal were great travelers & caught some naps in between watching movies & playing with toys. Thank goodness for DVD players!
Other entertainment included putting random objects, like Mal's lambie here, on their heads...

& sending a few emails on Jake's Little Einsteins computer. I love his look of concentration here!
We knew that we wouldn't have tons of options for eating out since we were traveling on Christmas Day, but we were shocked at just how few things were open. You would think that a McDonald's on a major interstate would be open for travelers, but you'd be mistaken. We finally found an IHOP around 7:00 & stopped for a much needed dinner.At that point, I still thought we'd be getting to Atlanta sometime late that night. Not long after dinner, though, we talked to J's dad & decided that the roads in Atlanta, which were quickly icing over, would not be good to test out at 2:00 am with two toddlers & a pregnant lady. About 11:00 pm, we reached Birmingham & fell into our beds at a Hampton Inn there.

We set out early Sunday morning to finish our drive, which should have only taken 2.5-3 hours. Unfortunately, there was a stretch of interstate just east of where we got on with about 30 accidents due to the ice. We sat parked on I-20 for three straight hours until everything was finally cleared & then it was smooth sailing. We were just thankful not to have been in any of those accidents!Snow isn't great for road travel, but it does make for a pretty view!After cleaning & resting up that afternoon at Mimi & Pops' house, J's siblings & their families joined us to exchange presents. I love Belle's sweet smile here.
Jake getting pointers on his hoop shooting from Daddy
Each grandchild's gifts from Mimi & Pops were wrapped in a different paper. The kids got a tree-shaped ornament covered in their paper to use to find their gifts under the tree. Jake, my little OCD child, insisted on lining his up across the den floor before opening them.
Mal was not so picky & started into the opening.

The kids got lots of reading time with Mimi throughout the week.
Mallory also got to go to a movie theater for the first time! We took the cousins to a morning showing of Curious George, which was only a little over an hour long, so that was perfect for them.
Sadly, Jake had to miss out due to being up most of the night before throwing up. Poor baby demolished his bed & had to spend the night on a pallet in our bathroom. He even went through his entire pajama supply before I could get any washed for him, so he had to wear some of Mal's. This picture will surely be one he hates later in life!
The stomach bug was a quick one & we were able to enjoy the rest of our week hanging out with family. Sweet Jackson is the most content baby I've ever seen. He would sit forever, just chilling & watching the big kids.
All four big kids had a blast going through Mimi's supply of dress up clothes. Belle paired her wedding dress & veil with a sun hat. Nice, don't you think?
Ella wore this glitzy dress, which was dragging the floor, for a long time.
Mal experimented with wearing multiple hats at once, in addition to her ultra gaudy top.
Poor Jake - too many girl toys around mean you sometimes end up wearing earrings & get caught on camera.
I just love toddlers in footed pajamas!
Reading time with Uncle Mark
Lots of laughs were shared during our stay!

Cousin bath!
Me & Jackson - such a cuddler!
Our last night there was New Year's Eve, & we decided to have a slumber party so the adults could play some games once the kids were in bed. Each of the kids got a cute puppy dog sleeping bag from Uncle David & Aunt Debbie, so we lined them up in Jake & Mal's room to see if they wanted to all sleep together. This lasted about five seconds, until Ella ran screaming from the room because she was scared of her sleeping bag. Belle quickly agreed that room sharing was for the birds & went to the guest room. Since Jake & Mal have always shared a room, they weren't quite sure what the big deal was, but the did end up ditching the sleeping bags for their beds. We'll get there!
Our drive home was uneventful until I-20 once again came to a screeching halt about three hours from home. We quickly turned around & cut over to Highway 80 to bypass the wait & were definitely glad we did. There had apparently been a fatality accident because we saw after turning around that they were completely shutting down the interstate. Anxious to just get to Dallas, we fed the kids their first meal eaten in the car: cheeseburgers & fries from Wendy's drive-thru. I was very thankful to see our house when we pulled up at 9:45 that night!All in all, our trip had some mishaps but we still had a great time. Thank you, Mimi & Pops, for having us!

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