Friday, January 4, 2013

Merry Christmas fat birds!...Can I have some more BBQ pancakes?

**WARNING**  This is a super sized extra long post.
We were lucky enough to get to go to Arkansas for a Christmas/family reunion celebration.  On our way out of town we stopped by aunt Megan's work to drop off some gifts.  While we were waiting for Chris to come  out we saw some plump looking pigeons in the parking lot.  In the spirit of giving I decided to give them some cookies as a Christmas treat.  As I tossed my cookies (yep I did that on purpose) I called out "Merry Christmas fat birds".  My kids thought it was hilarious, so did the lady taking a smoke break that I hadn't noticed until she was headed back into the building.  We take three days to get there and it's as fun as... well a three day car ride.  Our kids are really good travelers though and the roads were great.  I'm sure they were made even better by the sheer joy Dalin took from peeing on the side of the road every chance he got.  We were even able to visit my brother and his family as we passed through Oklahoma.   We got there Sunday night and on Monday the weather was beautiful.  I think the high was in the 50's.  Like I said beautiful.  
My favorite part of the play was when "Mary" had to tell the shepherd to stop poking the baby Jesus:)
The kids put on a lovely nativity play with nearly professional costumes:)  There was an elaborate Christmas morning plan (more on that in another post) and it came super early as per usual.  Chris tried putting pie tins on the door to the kids room but it kind of backfired when Jayden had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Aunt Emily reset the trap, but said forget it after the third time.  Because we had to bring and take home all our gifts we asked Santa to go light this year.  Our kids did get a couple of Nintendo 3DS's to share, and life was good.
Some kids were more into the waking up before the sun came up than others
Santa got extra cutsey with his wrapping this year. I love it!
Chris and his dad are huge Les Miserables fans so we made a plan to go see it.  There was freezing rain when we were leaving so it was colder, but it was just rain, we weren't to worried.  The theater was about 20 min away and it started snowing on the way there, but it wasn't sticking no big deal.  We got to the theater about an hour before the show started and we kept checking the hourly weather.  It was getting colder and supposed to snow, but not until we got back to the house, we can handle that.  About 30 min before the show Nick and Kim, who had stayed home with the boys, called to say there was a lot of snow coming down and it would probably be a god idea for us to come back.  We talked to some locals in the theater who said we should be fine, so we stayed.  We weren't fine.  There was much snow when we came out and the rain had turned into icy roads.  It was slow going back to the rental house.  Ice and snow were weighing down tree limbs and power lines.  Cars had slid off the road and a broken power transformer or something had the road closed and us worried for a little bit.  The house were were staying in was in a hilly woody area and the road going up to the cul de sac the house was on was steep and we started to slide.  Two of our tires were off the road and we were stuck.  Luckily we had brought snow chains with us (I know why would Las Vegans even have snow chains!?!  But we did)  There was digging and scraping and cajoling (mostly by Emily...she's good like that), but we were finally able to get the chains on and Chris made it up the hill.  Buuuuut, the driveway to the house was probably 40 yards long and very steep.  Like steep enough that we didn't dare take a car down it because it would slide right into the house.  Chris's parents and brother in law had been following us so he went back to get them.  They made it up the hill, but Chris's dad is in a wheel chair and they still had to get him down the steep, steep driveway.  Did I mention the driveway was stee-eep?  Yeah it was.  After much digging and scraping and cajoling the guys and Emily we able to get their dad down the driveway, but they weren't done yet.  They decided to shovel the driveway so it wouldn't be so hard the next day.  After much digging and scraping and cajoling, (with a borrowed shovel, yard sign and dust pan mind you) they finished.
Note the purse.  Aaron was kind enough to grab my purse from the van before they came back.
Surely the worst was over.  Or not.  We were winding down and visiting and getting ready to send the kids to bed and the power went out.  The owners said "don't worry the heat is gas".  Except it takes electricity to make the heater and it's fan turn on.  "Don't worry the water heater is gas."  Except it takes electricity to make the spark that heats the water and send it through the pipes, so no hot water.  Luckily there was a gas fireplace and surely the power would come back on soon.  Or not.  The power was still off the next morning.  It turned out it was the worst snow storm in over 12 years.  The area were were in was one of the worst hit and there was a blown transformer or something.  The oven and stove were, you guessed it, electric and there wasn't enough milk or cereal to feed everyone so we made bacon eggs and pancakes on the propane grill.  It wasn't fantastic, but not terrible.  At least it was cold enough outside to keep the refrigerator stuff from spoiling.  Chris and the guys spent most of the day shoveling and the kids loved playing in the snow.  The guys were able to get to the store to get some salt and a few other things so we weren't completely stranded.  By the end of the day there was still no power but we were surviving, and surely the power would be back on by morning.  Or not.  Day two the power was still out, and temperatures were in the teens.  Like I said at least our food was staying cold. (Bright side, bright side)  The kids were still having fun in the snow, and Chris was still having fun(?) shoveling driveways.  The roads had cleared up enough to venture to the store and get a few groceries.
Kaylee made an indoor snowman for Collette
Megan and her family weren't coming in until Thursday so we decided to have our Christmas dinner when they got there.  We made ham and potatoes on the grill.  Chris thought it was the best ham he's ever had and has requested that we make it that way always.  I think he was starving from two days worth of driveway shoveling.  Unfortunately the luck we were having with the power was the kind of luck Megan was having with her flight.  She was supposed to get in at 1:00pm, but due to the snow they didn't get to Arkansas until after 8:00 with a six month old baby in tow.  Buuuuut at 9:00 the lights finally came back on and Megan didn't have to come to a dark house!  Hooray!  I've never seen such a scurry to plug in electronics:)  We had fun family time for the rest of the week (day and a half), and now we have plenty of stories to tell from our pioneer-esque Christmas.
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