Whew. It's been a whirlwind week since I last blogged. I think catching you up will be easiest in bullet point style so we'll go with that. Plus, most of my "readers" will have been a part of some part of this week so then you can just skip the ones you already know all about!
The road trip - We drove to Texas in two 10-hour days. The kids did great! I'd say it was the best road trip with kids ever. I think Karma was evening things out to make up for the last time. Naomi and Asher watched movies and actually played with each other. Isaiah was a little whiny but was easily satiated with snacks. And Richard and I just enjoyed being together for that long. I sure do like hanging out with that guy. I should really do that more often.
Pre-Christmas - We arrived in Texas to a pretty good sized party-in-progress. Ruthie and Josh (my sis and bro) were already here. We met Ruthie's fiancee Brant (he seems great). Baking and shopping were in full swing. Meals were major extravaganza's. Dishes were never all clean at once. ...You know, like a house full of people should be. Pretty soon Joe and fam (my bro) arrived for a few night's slumber parties even though they live kinda nearby. That really put the party into full swing since there were suddenly twice the kids in the house. All the kids played nicely together. It's so great that they're really getting old enough to enjoy each other and not just get on each other's nerves.
Christmas Eve - We had a big dinner of turkey and all the trimmings and did our usual Nativity play. Naomi was Mary and sat very sweetly and angelically. Isaiah was my fellow-shepherd since he wouldn't let me set him down (it was kinda late). Asher was a horse. Or dog. Or cow. Or something. Some sort of wild animal anyway. After the kids went to bed we did our Ashurst tradition of opening the present that is from your one sibling who had you in the family gift exchange. My bro Joe gave the kids Lincoln Logs and us "Battle of the Sexes". We gave my bro Josh an herb garden since he's all happy to see the light of day again (he just got out of the Navy where he spent most of his time underwater in a submarine). Everybody had one present to open and it was a nice, slow experience as opposed to the Christmas morning craziness (which is why we started that tradition). When we started piling the presents under the Christmas tree from their various hiding places it was truly amazing. We felt very blessed. Mom shared with us that her Dad (William Benac) used to get great joy out of counting all the presents under the Christmas tree each Christmas Eve because he came from a very poor family and loved to think about how blessed he was as an adult. We didn't count the exact number - but it was a LOT.
Christmas - We woke up around 7:30 and I think we went down stairs to open presents around 8:15. It was pure, wonderful chaos. There were 6 little kids and 7 adults. I'm guessing that you don't really need a description of this part of the day since you all lived it too. But it was great. Then we just had a fun day of playing with new toys and enjoying being together. And of course good food. I win the prize for giving the most surprising present this year (Richard usually one-up's me). He got a mini HD video camera. That thing is smaller than my cell phone. He was very happy and surprised and has used it non-stop since then.
Traveling again - The day after Christmas was more playing with toys and such until the afternoon. Richard and I had an 8pm flight to Columbus for his sister Karen's wedding. It was grand to be traveling all alone. I got on the airplane and thought "When I stepped on this plane nobody looked at me and thought 'Oh great! I hope those kids are good!' or anything like that! Nobody even noticed me!" We arrived at the hotel in Columbus to find a party going on in one of the bedrooms of Richard's siblings but the sad news was that one of his brothers and wife were stuck at the airport if Chicago. They weren't going to make it at all. We missed you Carl and Stacy!
Wedding - The next day we got Karen all dolled up in one hotel room while everyone else got themselves dolled up all around her. It was so fun to see Karen so happy. At one point she just sort of paused, mid chaos, and hollered "This is so exciting!" She had pure joy on her face. The sealing was beautiful. We ended up missing the informal luncheon afterward, but we were with a pack of Worth's and had our own lunch at a restaurant. Then we drove the hour and a half to the reception - which was beautiful. The church was done up very well with a sweet wintry theme. Snow flakes and trees everywhere. There was good food and dancing and happiness everywhere as we celebrated Karen and Jared. They were just so happy - I can't imagine anyone being able to have a remotely unhappy thought anywhere near them. Congratulations you two! (Pics I hope will come soon. I have to check to see if I ended up with the camera or Richard did)
Back to TX - That night I just went to bed (gotta get some sleep while I've got no kids!) while Richard stayed up and partied some more with his siblings. The next morning it was back to the airport for me first thing. Richard drove home with his parents. And I flew all by myself for the first time since I had kids. It was glorious. It was even a smaller plane with only one seat on one side and two on the other and I got a one seater so I didn't even have to sit next to anyone! I read the whole glorious time.
Back to life - So now I'm back and all the excitement is over. My Mom and Dad went back to work today. My sister went back to her home town further South. I'm here for another two weeks with no plans. My plan was to go to the gym every day but Asher has shot that idea down by having a nasty little cold. No way will the gym take such a snotty boy. Hopefully he'll get better soon and I can proceed as planned. Hopefully he won't just pass it along to his brother.
So that's it - a recap for you. I know it's not terribly detailed. Maybe I'll share more stories later.