Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Turkey Day and other adventures

Yay, it's Turkey month. I LOVE the fall. The fall is the best time of year. Light jacket weather, beautiful colors on the trees, lots of fun outdoor stuff still left to do.

First, my birthday was at the beginning of the month. My husband desperately wanted to get me a spa package for my growing pregnant body. It would have been wonderful, but I wanted to be together, not naked under some sheets with a stranger touching me ... eew. Maybe some other time. So, he decided we were going to go 4-wheeling, a past time I had not had much encounter with and was interested in. Him and my son piled as many of the millions of leaves around the house as high as they could, got me on the 4-wheeler and I got to BLAST right through them like a parade of leaves. It was so fun. Then with the kids' help, we did it again and again and again.

Bruce and Chris had so much fun with us playing in the leaves and riding the 4-wheelers. I learned how to drive it and took my husband around and my son around. Eventually, I caught the 4-wheeler on FIRE!! Oops. Luckily, Bruce and Chris have an amazing sense of humor. We all learned that leaves don't just fall out of the nooks and crannies of a 4-wheeler engine. After we played in the leaves some more, we dropped the kids off to my husband's cousin and we had a wonderful dinner date. His cousin, Karin invited the kids to spend the night so Darin and I had a quiet house all to ourselves with no obligations to wake up for in the morning. It was wonderful. We were still in bed by 9pm and we still watched our TV shows before falling asleep, but not having to do the bedtime routine, fight against stall tactics and waking up well before any one of us is ready was delightful!

Next, was the annual Westwood household leaf day. (In case I forgot to mention, we are living with Darin's Uncle and Aunt in Missouri while Darin finds work and we are able to get into a home. They are amazing people and have been AMAZING to us.) Apparently, every year Bruce lets his leaves fall until you can swim in them, no joke - there is a TON. Then a bunch of Elders come over (and they look forward to it every year) and help rake the leaves into the bed of a trailer, drive down their three acres and dump all the leaves into a fire pit, watch them burn and go back for more. It's fascinating to watch these boys have as much fun as they do. Darin loved it! The kids LOVED it. I haven't seen the kids play outside for as long as they did those days EVER. They were outside playing for the entire day, cold, it didn't matter.

Finally, the best part of the month when stores close, families spread out to their respective homes, get-togethers are planned, turkeys are cooked, corn and green beans are made into interesting plates and lots of downtime is found around the TV, the dinner table, the card table, wherever. For this Thanksgiving, we traveled South from Missouri to Dallas, TX to visit my brother. My brother has been living in Dallas for his whole adult life. He is 11 years older than me and he has NEVER had family come to him for a holiday. He hasn't always come to us, but he has never gotten to host HIS family. He was thrilled when we asked if we could join him. He worked so hard to get the dinner ready and perfect and his house ready for my poor asthmatic-and-severely-allergic-to-cats husband (my brother has five cats!!). We rented a hotel room, cheapest we could find (ended up being a pet friendly hotel, oops!). My husband was drugged on Benedryl and an inhaler all weekend with a Dr. Pepper in his hand to keep him from falling asleep - what a great guy, sacrificing so much so he can be with my family.

We arrived Wednesday night, met my brother at the hotel for a quick "hi." Got up on Thursday morning to head to his house and found our car DEAD. Oh, wow. What a weekend this will be. Turns out my six-month old battery was toast. We blamed it on Darin leaving the lights on, the drastic weather change to freezing, the no-name brand of the battery, who knows. Then we feared it would be something worse than the battery and started panicking (ok, I did the panicking) that it was the alternator or some other expensive part. My poor car has been an angel to all the abuse we've given to her for the last three years. I couldn't imagine she would give up now. So, on Thanksgiving Day, a couple nice boys tried to jump us. Sadly, their cables or ours wouldn't produce any juice. I called my brother to come rescue us, happily, laughing all the way, he did. We sauntered into his house since the car threatened to die on us the whole way to my brother's house, parked it and left it there until we left for the hotel 9 hrs later.

The 9 hrs at my brother's house was great! It was such a wonderful experience. We hung out, watched movies, played computer games, cooked, talked, hung out. It felt like such a great family time experience. I hope never to forget it. The kids enjoyed their time with Uncle David and Aunt Shannon, playing Wii, watching movies, playing with the cats and their cousins (all are God kids of my brother and his wife).

The next day (Friday) we avoided doing any shopping ... Black Friday and all. Instead, we spent the morning looking for a vendor who sells the type of battery in my car. We went to about a dozen places. ZERO luck, so we bought a new battery, had it installed and didn't have a problem again. We spent the afternoon at Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum.

It was a blast seeing all the freaking things. It was Dylan's only request and so we made it happen. The best was the mirror maze. The six of us going around in circles, returning to the entrance when we thought we were making headway out of there. Finally, we made it. It was hilarious, Abigail walked into mirrors, not understanding, David disappeared and played with the mirrors to direct us all over, Darin and Dylan wondered off and were lost together while Shannon and I stayed together confused. It was so fun. Afterward, back to Uncle David's house for left overs and more hanging out. That night the cousins babysat for us so we could go on a double date with David and Shannon. We went and saw Harry Potter 7. It was pretty good. Then Uncle David invited the kids to stay over night so Darin and I could go to the Dallas Temple.

The temple was awesome. It was the first time in a loooong time we had been able to get to the temple. Rather sad when we lived within 15 miles of 4 different temples in Salt Lake City. But we went, we were there, we served. It was a wonderful time. We both cried and felt the Spirit and enjoyed the companionship. When we got back to Uncle David's we enjoyed participating in their Christmas tradition of putting up the tree and decorating the day after Thanksgiving. It wasn't the day after, but it was a lot of fun. Abigail kept saying "Look Mom, we found CHRISTMAS!!" Dylan enjoyed fighting with Abigail about what ornament to put where. I love having siblings for my children.

Sunday we went out for breakfast at IHOP, my favorite and said our Goodbyes. We had such a blast and didn't want to leave, but the weekend was over. It was awesome to get back together with my brother and celebrate the greatest holiday of the year with him and his family. Next year, we plan on doing it again for Christmas! Should be fun!!

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