Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh pretty good

The dream:
To wake up on Christmas morning in our own home, leisurely opening gifts and enjoying time together over cinnamon rolls and hazelnut coffee (or dark coffee in Jeff's case.)

The reality:
We left in a snowstorm headed north into MN to celebrate a surprise 80th b-day party for my MIL Dec. 23rd ... and well ... I'm just now returning to the blog after 10 days on the road, as I have for the past 12 years, not with my family but with the in-laws. It's been a journey. Which I will spare you all the details and will try to highlight the happier moments (which unfortunately, in my opinion, are fewer.)
The birthday party went well especially considering she hates surprises, her age and birthdays. She does like attention and she got lots of that. It continued to snow throughout our trip which allowed for a very white Christmas. After Christmas Day, we continued North from the Cities into The Great White North "enjoying" more snowfall which all-in-all totaled well over 2 feet!

The highlights of the trip included a lot of ice skating on the plethora of outdoor rinks and downhill skiing with the 2 older boys (Easton's first time! and he did really well!) Brayden is fearless ... which scares me gray!

We returned home on Jan. 2nd leaving in weather that was NEGATIVE 30 degrees (straight temp) and then subtract the wind chill even further and it was nothing less than BRUTAL! In fact our truck (which is a diesel) started gelling up WHILE driving as the intake air was SO cold. Yes, we had let it warm up for over a half hour even! Luckily we made it from Jeff's mom's in the frozen rural tundra of Northern MN into the next big town in order to make an attempt at fixing the problem. We bought some fuel additive and waited and prayed for it to work through the system. We decided to swing through McDonald's for some dollar cheeseburgers while we waited ... which then led to Nolan hurling in the truck all over himself and the carseat. At the beginning of an 8 hours drive this is NOT the smell you really enjoy adding to the car. BUT the time it took for me to clean him up with paper towels, kleenex and wet wipes allowed our truck to warm up enough to get us home worry free.

It was far from the dream Christmas travel, but I was with my boys and Jeff and all in all they were well and happy. To be truthful I am a bit jealous of folks who feel a positive bond with their in-laws, I wish I had that. But for whatever reason, that is not the relationship I will have with them. I pray to be a good MIL someday to my future DILs ... I guess I am learning a lot and with 3 potential DILs someday that is wisdom that perhaps I should be grateful for, even if it comes at a cost. I just hope it's a cost that I can keep to just me.

Since returning home Brayden has endured a nasty flu bug and now Easton was up all night with it. Ug! I think I've had an hour of sleep. But I'm here. Just thought I'd let you all know, in case you were wondering :-)
Christmas was wonderful and it's good to be reminded not to overlook that or take it for granted ... even if it's not exactly the way I may have wanted to picture it. (P.S. It is Jan 11th ... it's taken me about 9 days to detach from the experience and gain this perspective ... please don't be fooled into thinking I'm deeply gracious all the time. I am continuing to grow I guess.)


Tara Anderson said...

I know your Christmas season (and travels) didn't live up to your dreams, but based on the pictures I'd say you did okay. :) The pictures of the boys are PRECIOUS and that snow is just gorgeous! I'm a Texan, I can appreciate the "novelty". :)

I've told you before, but I want to tell you again how proud of you I am for seeing the negative side of things and using them as a teaching experience to grow and develop you for the future. That is maturity, my friend! Love ya!!!

Gretchen said...

I missed you friend!

The Sanders Family said...

Ugh, Valerie! As you know, I have experience with kiddos getting sick while traveling, so I feel for ya! I am so sorry that your relationship with your MIL is less than stellar. It's hard to understand, knowing the wonderful person that you are!!! But you're right, you can be an excellent MIL someday because of the experience you're gaining now.

We got to Florida and had GREAT travels on the plane. I will be posting sometime soon, but wanted to let you know the kids are doing great and no sickness yet! Pray it stays that way :)

TanyaLea said...

Welcome back, dear friend! Next time you're traveling up here and the inlaw situation gets to be too much to bear, just call me up, and you can come for a visit!! :) No, I know it didn't work out this trip...but hopefully next time you pass through! I was certainly thinking of you, as I know that the MIL thing has never been too great. I'm happy (for me, not for you!) to say that I cannot relate. I do KNOW that you will be an AWESOME MIL yourself one day, though. Praying that next year you can live out your 'dream' Christmas. Glad you're back!!

Missed you and love ya lots!
~ Tanya

Girly Girl Mommy said...

Welcome back, Valerie! I can't even begin to imagine that degree of cold. I'm miserable here with our lows of 10 degrees. I can imagine the MIL issues you have. It's a difficult struggle for me too. My mom and I have bonded over it since her MIL was just awful to her. Paul has been great reminding me that I am his wife and he's my partner and I'm learning to let a lot roll. I still had a very difficult 4 days this Christmas season. Sometimes it's all I can do to remind myself of the lessons I'm learning. I love your positive attitude. And let me say that I think it's way cool to see your entire family out on the ice.

Football & Fried Rice said...

Oh, Valerie - I tried not to laugh, but almost immediately I could tell your Mother in Law does NOT read the blog :)

I KNOW that the snow "looks" beautiful but is really bitter - the kids don't seem to mind?! I hope everyone gets & stays healthy for the duration.

If you figure out how we can avoid (recycle our parents' mistakes) and be better MILs, let me know! I fear that already!!

Shawna&Co. said...

I sooooo know what you mean!! Christmas is so much work for us moms. I always have this idea of how Christmas will go. It usually involves family all coming over and helping with the meal, everyone smiling and happy with Christmas music being played softly in the background.
Instead family comes over but it's a mad dash in the door. 16 people all trying to out talk eachother, muddy snow getting all over the floor, dogs slipping into people, just sheer chaos. The Christmas music gets shut off b/c it just adds to te noise.

Then you have to factor in at least one good family fight. I work so hard and no one seems to appreciate it and it can be frustrating for sure.

I just try and tell myself the girls don't realize any of this. Their Christmas memories are still happy and that's what is important!

You may notice I hadn't posted from Dec 23 til Jan 11 either. I just couldn't wrap my mind around everything that happened and make it all sound positive on my blog. Anyways I HEAR ya!!!

It's hard for me to imagine you not having a great relationship with everyone you know. You truly are one of the sweetest people I know. Every time I talk with you I talk away feeling happy. Christ's love definetly shines through you!

I don't have the best relationship with my in-laws either but have come to think of them as my "cross" to bear. Through our struggles I have grown as a person. I'm a better mom, wife and Christian woman. So as hard as it is with family I believe they help shape who we are. And you are great! So thanks to them for that at least ;)

The family

The family