Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Santa Claus Came!!

Alas!  I finally get to blog about our exciting Christmas!  We've been so busy with life lately that I hope I'll be able to remember all the exciting stuff that happened at Christmas time.  One thing I do vividly remember is that we ended up using the video camera for most of our Christmas memories so my pictures are kind of lacking.  Just know that we had a very Merry Christmas and Santa Claus was very good to the two little kiddos who live in this house.

We started off December by having a personal visit with the big man in red himself.  Addison was pretty comfortable with him this year but Jonas was a little apprehensive.  Luckily, Daddy met up with us during his lunch hour and was able to join in the fun. 

Addison had already remembered (most days I'm amazed by this girl's memory) from last year how she was nervous to meet Santa Claus but then he shared his rocking horse (Rudolph) with her and he was very friendly and gave her a coloring book and a candy.  Her memory was quite accurate and also helped squelch any last minute nerves on this visit.  She did great with him and Jonas had Daddy and Addison to help him brave the big man in red.  It was such a fun little outing and Santa Claus is reallllyyy nice and friendly with the kids so that always helps too.  

Addison, Santa, Jonas & Daddy.  So glad Daddy could join the fun and help Jonas be brave.

Our lone picture of Christmas and all the loot that Santa left.  We were very good apparently.  Good and lucky!
We went through all of our Christmas traditions before it was time to call it a night.  We read the story about Jesus' birth and also the 'Night Before Christmas' book.  Addison even had some reindeer feed that she made at preschool so we let her sprinkle that on the front lawn before bedtime.  We left cookies and milk for Santa and a few carrots for the reindeer.  The carrots were a bit on the wilted side but luckily the reindeer didn't seem to mind.  

Christmas morning was very fun and exciting.  It's always a blast to watch it through your children's eyes and tap into the memories you had of that age.  Everyone got exactly what they wanted and we were very grateful for Santa and his elves for all their hard work.  I hear it was a late night on Christmas Eve to get all of that put together.  Assembling toys is not an easy task and at this age...it seems like EVERYTHING needs to be assembled!  For a more detailed posting as to the play-by-play of our Christmas feel free to request and watch our video.  We got it ALL!  ;o)

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sick Boy For Christmas :(

I didn't ask Santa for much for Christmas this year.  Honestly, I can't remember what I actually did ask him for.  However, I'm pretty positive I did NOT ask him for a sick little boy.  :(

Poor Jonas has been a trooper while dealing with the typical run-of-the-mill winter yuckies.  (One of the reasons I'm not a fan of Winter).  At first it was just the sniffles and a cough.  I debated on even taking him in since most people say  "Ehhh, their bodies are built to handle this stuff.  Kids are overmedicated anyway.  Builds their own immune system when their bodies are allowed to fight it off.  Etc."  Plus, it didn't help that nothing is offered over-the-counter anymore for one year olds.  Boo.  So, I let his body have a stab at trying to kick the ickies.  It didn't do it very good or very quickly in my opinion.  He was achy and sickly for most of the "Bell Family Christmas" and I was feeling sorry for the guy.  Plus, sad at how much sleep he and I were both losing by battling this congestion.  By the time we got back from our pre-Christmas weekend with my side of the family he was pretty sick and miserable.  

I decided to spend our Christmas Eve day in insta-care with a sickly little boy, his older sister, and about a million other people.  Lovely eh?  Luckily, I made it a point to get our booties in there super early to beat the rush.  Which explains why I don't think any of us had our teeth or hair brushed.  We were doing good to just get our clothes on.  The wait itself wasn't too bad.  Within the hour they had called us to the back.  It was that wait that was a little bit longer than I was anticipating.  I thought, well, they'll probably just give us a scrip for an antibiotic and send us on our way.  Nope, that would have been too easy.  And apparently the little guy was a bit more sick than I had anticipated.  They checked his breathing and it was about 96%.  I didn't think that was too shabby but apparently they can't discharge you until it's between 98-100%.  Then they gave him a breathing treatment to break up the nastiness in his throat.  Then they told us we needed to get his chest x-rayed to rule out Pneumonia.  Whuh?  I just thought it was a cough!?  We went down and got him x-rayed.  Addison was actually pretty good through all of it, with just a few moments here and there.  She and I both had to stay out in the hallway while two guys took him to get x-rayed (since I'm pregnant).  Jonas did pretty good without me and we were quickly on our way back to the clinic room.  Luckily it was all in the same building so we only had to traipse the hallways over and over again.  While we waited for the x-ray results, we kicked back in the clinic room and watched Yo Gabba Gabba on my phone.  The doctor came in and said she thought it was just Bronchitis but there was a small spot on his x-ray that made her think it could possibly be Pneumonia which would obviously require hospital admission pronto.  I guess I'm the only clueless one that didn't know pneumonia=hospital stay.  The doctor wanted one more check at ruling out Pneumonia before sending us on our way so she sent us down to get his blood drawn/pricked at the lab.  He was obviously NOT a fan of this but it was definitely necessary to make sure his white blood cell count wasn't elevated and fighting infection (aka pneumonia).  After that was all over, we were free to go home and the doctor promised she'd call once she got the results.  In the meantime, we had a couple of scrips to get filled for the little guy that would hopefully provide some relief soon.  

Baths were the only thing that seemed to make the sick little boy happy.  It probably helped that he got the whole tub to himself.  That doesn't happen often around here.

Suffering through a breathing treatment in the clinic.  Poor thing looks so sad but he handled it like such a big boy.  I'd think this process has to seem a bit scary and odd.  Luckily, the doctor let us keep the mask as a souvenir.  It has provided lots of entertainment.

Later that day, the doctor finally called and said that it wasn't pneumonia (phew!) it was just a case of bronchitis and the antibiotics would do the trick...along with the breathing treatments we had picked up at the pharmacy already.  I was glad we wouldn't have to spend Christmas in the hospital.  I was also glad that we could get most of this nipped in the bud before Christmas so he could enjoy a little bit of the big day....even if he was medicated during it.  However, one thing they did catch on the blood prick/lab was the boy had some low iron levels.  Which was likely due to his appetite not being normal since he's been sick.  He can usually put away some serious food folks.  She recommended after the holidays to have his doctor request another lab/blood draw to make sure he wasn't anemic.  Once again, that involved ANOTHER blood draw that was even more painful than the first.  This was the "stick-the-needle in your tiny little arm and leave it there while they got the blood" type of draw.  Thankfully, sister got to play with her cousins which allowed me to put all my energy into holding the guy down and then consoling him afterwards.  He did NOT like it a bit.  I think the nurse was more worried about me than him and kept assuring me it'd be ok.  I wasn't enjoying myself but I figured Jonas had more room to complain than I did.  All I had to do was hold down a very strong little guy and hope/pray that they got his tiny vein on the first try.  Thankfully they did and thankfully we were able to get the little guy a nice doggy balloon to take away his pain after it was all said and done.  Results?  He was only borderline low iron levels but we have to go back again in March to confirm it's back to normal. :(

Nursing the wounds/blood draw at Mercy with a doggy balloon.  I think it helped me more than it did him.  ;-)
I'm just so glad to finally see the little guy get better after all his sickies.  He's been dealing with it better than I would have but it always breaks my heart to see him when he's achy and miserable and coughing up a storm.  I just wish they could put some medicine out there for guys his age that could give him some relief from all of this.  :(  Boo for recalls!

And another random story...after our morning in insta-care on Christmas eve, we went to eat a quick lunch at Wendy's.  Jonas had crashed in his carseat and Addison and I were able to kick back and dine together.  We both looked a little sad since we weren't bathed or brushed from our crazy busy morning.  However, she must have charmed her way into an old lady's heart because this random woman came up and asked me if she could give Addison a toy.  Um, sure?  Thinking it was just going to be a little happy meal toy.  Instead, it was a full blown doll.  It was so kind of her to do and Addison just loved that doll and we made sure to let her know how appreciative we were of her.  Even if she did think we were some homeless family that was finally getting their first warm meal of the season.  We were pretty pathetic looking but apparently we worked it to our advantage.  It makes me very grateful we live in such a nice area and surrounded by such nice people.  It was a little gesture that really meant a lot to a 3 year old girly.  I'm convinced she loves that dolly more than anything Santa brought her for Christmas the day after. ;o)

A little girly and her dolly.  She is in love.  And I'm in love with this town and it's nice people.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bell Family Christmas

The week before Christmas, we were able to get together with the Bell side and have a mini-Christmas celebration with all of our Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandma Bell of course.  It was such a fun weekend and we consider ourselves so lucky that we are still relatively close to each other and can still do these kind of fun things.  

We headed down to Willard on Saturday morning with two excited little kids.  We always love us some cousin time.  Especially when it involves getting/giving presents in the cousin gift exchange.  Poor Jonas was a little under the weather but he was such a trooper and still managed to have lots of fun as well.  

We arrived safely to Grandma Bell's house and played with cousins for a short while before it was time to eat lunch.  And this wasn't just ANY lunch.  This was Grandma Bell's "Yearly celebration of birthday's" lunch.  She usually treats us all to breakfast but since we were all arriving at different times of the day, lunch worked out better for everyone.  And I definitely think we need to make this our new-tradition.  It was a blast and everyone was satisfied and left happy and tired....which is a good thing with 11 cousins under the age of 6.  We met up at Incredible Pizza and even got to enjoy a few extra "Bell Family" members.  My Aunt/Uncle Kenny & Sharon, and cousin Kevin, and my Aunt Lorraine and cousin Sara and her cute little family.  The pizza was delicious and even more fun began after the food was eaten.  Little did I know that they had a HUGE arcade/play room in the back of the restaurant to help us burn off our energy.  It was getting close to nap time for a lot of the kids but with all those lights and noises, they managed to get a second wind and push through it.  We enjoyed playing in the kiddie arcades and watching the go-karts race around the track.  We even got to score some loot at the prize store with all of our ticket winnings.  You'd think the kids were at Disneyland as much as they were enjoying all the fun.  Again, one of many reasons why I think we should do this again next year!  Thanks Grandma Bell!!

After our delicious lunch, we all headed different directions for a few hours.  Some to the hotel to let kids nap, some to run errands and get some last minute Christmas gifts to exchange, and some back to Grandma's to crash for naps of their own.  Eventually, we all reunited back at Grandma's house for some more fun.

That evening we got to have the cousin gift exchange.  Do you know how difficult it is to ask all these little kids to HOLD a present and wait until it's their turn to open it?  Granted, we let them attack their Grandma present all at once (since they were all similar) but when it came time for their cousin present, we went from youngest to oldest and they all did so well patiently waiting their turn.  Aside from a few finger/hole pokes from the little guys but who can blame them?  Everyone was thrilled with their loot and ran off to play while the adults got to enjoy our annual game of Dirty Santa.  It's always a fun time except we never manage to get very "dirty" while playing it (i.e. stealing each other's gifts).  Well, except for John.  He is the one that willingly goes in for the kill every time.  He doesn't even care what he gets, he just wants to steal what another person says they want instead.  Sorry about that Cassie! ;o)  It always makes for some fun times and everyone enjoys it enough to do it again next year so apparently there are no hard feelings!

Sunday, we were able to visit Grandma Bell's sacrament meeting and rush back to her house and eat a quick lunch before everyone had to be on the road back home.  It was a great way to celebrate the holidays and a great time to catch up with everyone again.  Already looking forward to next year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

5 Year Anniversary

John and I hit a big milestone this December 15th.  We arrived at our 5 year anniversary!  In the words/text of my sweet and loving sister on our special day "Congratulations!  And I thought it wouldn't last this long.  Guess I lost that bet!"  (Guess you'd have to understand my lovely family).  It gave me a chuckle.  I was definitely excited for our anniversary but mostly excited for our celebration of said anniversary.  


I feel the need to give a special and grateful shout out to Grandma Bell in helping us in this endeavor.  The idea came to me a few months before our big day and I decided to shelve my dreams of flying somewhere exotic to celebrate, and settled for a weekend in St. Louis (where we got married) which ended up being nicer on our tighter budget.  We will save the exotic destinations for our 10 year I suppose.  But really, anywhere without kids (that lasts longer than one evening) is ALWAYS exotic and exciting and relaxing.  

My lovely mother was actually excited about playing with the kiddos for 2 1/2 days while we were gone.  She'd ask me often how much longer before she could spoil them rotten.  It worked out well that her house was right on our way to St. Louis and made for a good stopping point before pushing off on our travels.  

We drove down that Thursday evening to Willard (my Mom's house) and stayed the night and played with Grandma.  I thought it'd be a good way to get the kids acclimated before we just left them high and dry the next morning.  They didn't seem to need much acclimation.  I don't think either of them even shed a tear when we left.  Ah, nice....we are loved.  (Note sarcasm).  Of course, I wasn't shedding any tears of my own either folks.  Sayonara!!  ;-)  The drive up to St. Louis went amazingly fast.  John and I were actually able to carry on a conversation without interruption.  It was bliss.  Part of our tentative plans included stopping at a few Triple D restaurants while we were in a big city.  Diner's, Drive-in's, and Dive's is one of our favorite shows on the Food Network.  One we actually both enjoying watching together.  And we dream of the day we can retire and drive an RV around the US and visit all the fun and delicious restaurants.  Have I mentioned how grateful I am that we have the same lifelong dreams?  It's true.  But, until we retire, we've resorted to just looking up a few restaurants here and there before we travel to the big cities.  We weren't expected to get into St. Louis until about 2:00 so we decided it'd be best to save our appetites and skip the lunch hour and just keep on driving.  Yep, we are crazy folks.  So, thanks to our lovely GPS (Rhonda) we arrived at our first restaurant destination "The Shaved Duck".  The name didn't sound very appetizing but we knew that restaurants showcased on Triple D HAD to be good and had to be homemade and reasonably priced so we pushed through it.  And also pushed through a pretty interesting and random drive in a St. Louis suburb.  Let's just say we NEVER would have found it on our own.  And lets also just say that we would have DEFINITELY missed out on a De.Lish.Us. meal.  It was heavenly.  Mostly the part where I didn't have to immediately start cutting it up into bite size pieces and putting it in childrens mouths.  It's the little things you enjoy on trips like these....or maybe that's just me?
We finally found it!  Right before it closed for lunch...phew!
The food was delicious!  Ever have one of those meals where you can't decide what to take a bite of next because it's all so good?  Yeah, this was that.

John and his meal.  We both had the pulled pork sandwich.  I had the french fries (REAL!), he had some jalapeno creamed corn (which he ate the fastest), and we shared the divine Mac N Cheese.  Heck, we shared all of everything.  We couldn't decide what was the best tasting.  Such GOOD food and such GOOD service.  And this meal was easily cheaper than anything at a Chili's or Applebee's!

After that heavenly meal, we were STUFFED.  We rolled ourselves into our hotel for the weekend....which was the same hotel we stayed at when we got married.  Yeah, that was my creative idea.  Which could have probably been to blame for our later circumstances....keep reading for those details.  

I also had the ingenious idea to let the hotel know it was our 5 year anniversary.  To which they quickly responded, oh we will take care of you......which platter of treats would you like?  I didn't really let them get through all the options after I heard him say "Chocolate Covered Strawberries".  Check!  Oh and they even let us substitute the wine for some sparkling grape juice.  So kind.  ;-)

After we took a LONG nap, we dined on our treats, and then headed out to the local theater to see the movie Lincoln.  The theater happened to be in one of the nicest malls I've seen in a long time.  I don't think I'd be shopping at ANY of those stores anytime soon.  Chanel, Gucci, and a whole bunch of other names I've only heard about.  The theater was wayyyy tiny but nice.  The popcorn was fresh and delicious, and the crowd was pleasant.  And what a crowd it was.  We were surrounded by grey-hairs.  They were friendly grey-hairs but they were grey.  By judging from our surroundings, I'm guessing the nearest neighborhood was only affordable to those who had successful careers and financially lucrative and now retired.   There were a lot of luxury vehicles every where we looked.  Too stuffy for us in a normal setting but it worked well for our trip.  ;-)

I spent most of the movie, worrying about a particular/possible dilemma.  Since becoming pregnant this time around, I've dealt with plenty of yucky things in this first trimester.  One of those being....um....stopped up?  Needless to say, I was a bit panicked that my system would want to catch up with itself while I was sitting in a cramped theater in the smack dab middle of the row and tightly packed on both sides with the elderly folks.  The ones that are too kind (and too feeble) to just stand up and let me wedge/walk past them....the ones that insist on actually stepping out of the aisle and waiting for me to leave.  Thankfully, my system didn't choose this moment to catch up.  Which instead caused another problem of having me sick and achy for the duration of the movie.  It was a good movie but I was sooo glad to have it over and head to the hotel to sit by my uncomfortable self.

The next morning (Saturday) we slept in and then headed off to do a session at the temple...yep, the same one we were married in.  I figured what better way to celebrate our anniversary right?  Thankfully, it was a peaceful and non-emergency time for my stomach as well.  We were able to enjoy ourselves and the fact that we were in no rush to run anywhere.  

Next stop, the mall.  What were we thinking?  Everybody and their dog were there.  It was mass chaos.  Especially when it came to fighting over a parking space that we fully deserved but that the car behind us REFUSED to budge to let us back up the 2 inches it took to get into it.  Seriously, it was ridiculous.  Even after John politely got out and asked him in person, he gave us a half an inch and we took the rest.  ;-)  But we got it!

We ate some lunch in the mall and enjoyed it.  Perused around Barnes & Noble and found the kids their surprises.  Then we were already drained from the massive crowd so John went back to the car while I ran around to get a few extra things.  We were so happy to finally leave that parking lot madness.  

That evening, we were able to enjoy another Triple D restaurant - Anthonino's Taverna.  I had assumed it was a "fancy" restaurant and even tried to make early reservations.  Um, they didn't take them and it turns out it was just a pub, crowd yourselves in the chaos, type of place.  And it was also an hour wait.  I was more determined than John to sit it out and come back and eat there.  We weren't starving quite yet but there was absolutely nowhere to wait without freezing outside.  We decided to drive around and look at Christmas lights while we waited instead.

And of course, I was lucky enough to get to open John's anniversary present to me.  How sweet was he?  I was lame and didn't even get him anything.  He is always thoughtful in his gift giving and even reassured me that he didn't give me something to get something in return.  So, I graciously thanked him for my thoughtful charm bracelet gift (not the cheap kind!) that had so much sentimental meaning, and we continued to drive until dinner time.  Which actually went by way faster than either of us thought it would. 

Showing my gratitude for having such a sweet and thoughtful husband.
And back at Anthonino's Taverna before we knew it!
 Dinner was delicious and worth the wait although we both still loved The Shaved Duck more.  This place was more of a pizzeria style and well-known for their toasted ravioli.  They were handmade in-house and were definitely good!  I was very stuffed by the time my Chicken Fettucini came out (hand-made and also quite tasty) and John dined on more ravioli.  John had the idea to share the Christmas spirit and suggested we secretly buy someone's dinner in the restaurant.  I quickly agreed and he picked this Father & Son sitting right behind us.  However, we were lame and quickly changed our mind once we saw the waitress bring the wine to their table.  That stuff's expensive!  I'm all for being gracious as long as they are ordering off the dollar menu!  ;o)

We did eventually get to treat someone to their meal (at McDonald's lol) later that trip and it was hilarious.  We tried to do it anonymously but I ruined that when I turned around and looked at the car (drive-thru) through what I thought were our tinted windows.  Um, they weren't.  The guy waved his thank you and I felt so bad for being so "gracious....YOUR WELCOME???"  Oh well, guess we have yet to perfect that.

The trip went fantastically well, until Saturday evening.  I think the hotel and I are allergic to each other.  Seriously....Back Story: When we stayed on our wedding night, I showered and soaped myself up with soap I was apparently allergic to.  Either that or I was under some tremendous stress because I broke out in full body hives the next day which continued throughout our whole honeymoon.  Airplane to Utah, Sundance cabin, etc.  It was bad and painful and poor John was afraid to even touch me as to not inflame the hives and the painful itching everywhere.  It went away the DAY we left to go back home.  Lovely.

Fast forward to this hotel and our 5 year anniversary....and to the fact that my body was quite backed up for the past week plus.  Apparently, that can really do a number on you....as I was learning.  My stomach was incredibly achey and sick and I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom trying to encourage myself to do something....anything....turns out it only wanted to puke.  :(  Luckily, John was a saint and spent the rest of the evening fighting traffic, and finding Walmart and stocking up on every known medication that was safe for a pregnant woman to take to finally relieve herself.  I was willing to do just about anything to feel better.  

He finally made it back and I was able to take some Dulcolax.  I thought I'd start feeling better soon but I went from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I still spent all night in the bathroom but this time because I couldn't leave.  I tell you, it takes a special husband to see me in this state and STILL stay married to me.  It wasn't a pleasant sight.  I finally was able to get a couple of hours of sleep and spent most of the morning laying/moaning in bed and trying to talk myself up to enduring the 3 hour car ride home....where there was no bathroom just steps away.  :(  With some prayer and some coaxing, I finally left the hotel and survived the long drive back.  I spent 99% of the time focusing on my breathing, and the road, and mentally plotting out each nearby restroom just in case something were to happen.  Luckily it didn't and we arrived at Grandma Bell's house safe and sound.

The kids were VERY excited to see us and tell us about all the fun they had with Grandma.  They loved their books we bought them and they had so many fun stories to share with us.  I'm so glad they love their Grandma so much and that Grandma loves them enough (and us) to take them and raise them as her own for three long days.  

Even considering the tummy issues, I'm still so glad we had time to spend with each other and am SO grateful I'm married to my best friend.  As cheesy as it sounds it's true.  If I weren't married to John, I'd definitely just hang out with him.  He's a fun guy to be around.  Luckily I get both.  :D  I am blessed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Breaking Out In Song

Just a quick post dedicated to a very small but VERY exciting time in our lives that definitely needs to be documented.  John and I acquired a rental/income property in Springdale when I was expecting Addison.  It has served us well (and also been a bit of a headache...mostly due to tenants) but was definitely a learning experience a long the way.  Fast forward to almost 4 years later and we are FINALLY getting ready to close on and sell the property.  We definitely got a taste of the life of a landlord....especially of being one in Springdale....and have acquired lots of knowledge and life lessons along the way.  Were there things we should have done differently?  Sure....but overall it was a great life lesson we will appreciate daily.  And we also appreciate daily the relief of finally having it sold.  Our original closing was supposed to be the week after Thanksgiving and for reasons on the buyer's side, we had to postpone until the 2nd week of December.  But, the exciting news is that it DID finally close and we are NO longer owners of a duplex in Springdale.  Often we find ourselves breaking out in song....

"We sold the duuuuuppplllexxxx, we sold the duuupppllleexxx, etc etc."  

We are definitely looking forward to NOT having to drive to Springdale for minor repairs or to collect rent (mostly John is thankful for this) and NOT having to search for new tenants that will be nice to our property and NOT trash it and leave high and dry.   Ahhhh, so thankful to be moving on from this phase of our life and this lesson.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Breakfast With Santa

Addison's preschool has an annual 'Breakfast with Santa' at Christmas time.  I've heard lots about it and was excited to finally attend now that we have reason to support a school that our little girly is a student of.  I talked it up quite a bit, hoping that when it came time to actually "meet" Santa that Addison and Jonas would mosey right on up to him.  Guess I should have prepped a little harder than I did....because neither of them were having any bit of it.

Oh they were definitely interested in the pancakes and milk and juice and sausage that we dined on when we got there.  So much so, that John and I never really had a chance to actually eat ours.  I am convinced Jonas ate three huge pancakes and two sausage patties while Addison managed to dump her milk within seconds of sitting down....and then proceeded to eat her weight in pancakes and sausage.  Yes, I promise we feed our children!  On top of downing every last morsel of breakfast, they were also on a personal mission to cover every square inch of that gym floor.  At least Jonas was.  Apparently that syrup went straight to those little legs because that boy would NOT hold still.  It was a very exhausting morning to say the least.

And of course, Mommy and Daddy had to join in on Santa's lap so the two little ones would hold still and dry up their tears long enough for a picture.  

Look at that lovely centerpiece by a lovely girly who refused to smile.  We scored the lucky table at Santa's breakfast!
Lucky Mommy volunteered to take the kiddos to the city parade after breakfast.  Considering how our morning was going so far, I should have just taken that as a reminder, and promptly headed home.  But nope, I was over zealous and ready to relive my childhood memories of the magic of parades...with two kids in tow.  Daddy apparently didn't have any fond memories of parades so he was given a pardon to excuse himself to do some Christmas shopping.  Lucky him.  Unlucky me.  

I pushed the kiddos in the stroller over to the grocery store to use the bathrooms before it started getting too chaotic.  Here I thought I was doing good and planning ahead.  That was the ONLY smooth part of our morning.  The rest consisted of us being about 45 minutes early to a parade.  Addison asking a million questions because she didn't quite understand why we were sitting on the road for so long and not seeing anything worthy of our time.  By the time the parade actually began, we were still sitting on the road, at least I was.  Addison was cranky in the back of the stroller and Jonas was strapped down in the front of the stroller and we were flanked by crowds on every side of us and quickly losing our "front row seat" to the festivities.  I'm not particularly fond of crowds and quickly grew agitated at the pre-tween boys who were creeping on top of us while shouting cat calls at the young pre-tween cheerleader girls.  Especially the part where the lone Grandmother, with her camera was inching closer and closer to me and two crying toddlers who could no longer even see the floats.  Niiiiccceee, nothing like squashing out a young child's excitement of actually SEEING anything float by in the parade.  Especially when both guilty parties could have collectively clocked this as their 87th time seeing a Christmas parade.  

The kiddos...pre-meltdown.
When tears began welling up in my eyes, I quickly decided it was time to bring our parade experience to a close and head out with two crying children and an almost crying mother.  Addison was puzzled as to why we were leaving and wasn't even buying my "Parade is over!" explanation as it continued to carry on, right beside where we were walking.  I threw two over tired children in the car, buckled myself in, and let the tears roll.  Easily one of the LONGEST days of my life....and it was only 1:00 pm.  Within minutes, I regained my composure and noticed the two sleeping children in the back, and decided I'd be dining on Burger King for lunch and enjoy the silence I was hoping for for so long.  Lets just say....it was beautiful.  Sad and desperate.....but beautiful nonetheless.  Here's to reviewing our game plan for next year and trying to achieve a more optimal experience.