Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Early Iowa Christmas

(I have a bunch of posts in the works...I only just now getting around to finishing/editing and posting them!)

Being that I'm from Georgia and Eric is from Iowa has it challenges some days. Besides the occasional language barrier, my rather persistent groaning about the never-ending winter, and a constant battle as to whether tea is meant to be brewed and sweetened or instant and disgusting (sorry but I do the writing here, I'm entitled to my opinion), there is the issue of the holidays. It's a little hard to do Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas Day with the other like my brothers and sisters-in-law do (although we did manage that in 2006!) So you can imagine our delight when Eric's sister in Florida, Tanya, announced that she and her four kids were coming up to Iowa for two weeks in early December. Eric's family decided to celebrate Christmas early while everyone was here! (Thereby freeing us up to journey down to Georgia for the 25th.)

Madison, the oldest grandchild and very much the "mother" of all the youngins', liked holding Lilian, the youngest.

We went up to Eric's parents' house both weekends that Tanya and the kids were in town. (Brian wasn't able to come since he was finishing up the school semester.) It was crazytown with all the kids: Madison (6), Kaylee (4), Hannah (2), Gabriela (20 months), Carson (3.5 months), AJ (3 months), Lilian (2.5 months). Yes that would make seven grandkids total under the age of 6, with two toddlers and three itty-bitty babies.

I should also mention that we had the great idea to take all the kiddos up to Sears Portrait Studio for a group picture. With no adults in it. Bless their hearts, the girls at the studio spent tons of time with us and did their very best. But here's the thing: it is impossible to get two toddlers to cooperate and three babies awake and not crying all at the same time. IMPOSSIBLE. We quickly realized that we were certifiably insane for even thinking that was a good idea. We agreed to try again later...once they're teenagers.

Lilian and Carson (5 weeks apart) spent lots of time smiling, laughing, and "talking" to each other.

The second weekend they were in town, we had a busy schedule: get together with some of the aunts and uncles at Tammy's house on Friday night, deer hunting on Saturday morning, Christmas on Saturday night. I ended up leaving before the festivities even began though.

Some of the family that got together Friday night at Tammy's

My very first doula client went into labor that day, so I high-tailed it back to Burlington Friday evening, supported her all night and day through a very long labor, came home Saturday at 6:00 pm after the baby was born, and (after eating my weight in pasta) slept for 14 hours straight. (For those who are wondering: it was a fantastic experience, left me in complete awe at the amazing miracle that is birth, and left no doubt that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. A 30-hour labor (I was there for the last 20 hours) is exhausting and tough on everyone involved, but even that didn't deter my enthusiasm for this new venture!)

The baby line-up: Carson, AJ, Lilian, and Mary Jo (their second cousin)

Even though I wasn't there and I'm certain that the absence of their favorite daughter-in-law (I maintain that it's irrelevant that I'm the only one) was greatly felt, it sounds like everyone had a great time celebrating Christmas. Good food, good company, lots of toys was basically the report I got.

Nena and Papa with their grandkids on Friday night (late enough for half of them to be in pjs already)

I hated to miss out on the weekend, but was somewhat consoled by the fact that we were planning to be in Florida with Brian, Tanya, and the kids for several days after Christmas!

Gabriela tearing into her presents on Saturday night
(How impressive is it that Eric even got the girls into Christmas dresses all by himself?!?)

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