Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pre-holiday jaunt to Elko

Since we knew that traveling to Elko during the holidays this year wouldn't work out (Chuck had to work the weekend after Thanksgiving and I'll be way too pregnant for a trip near Christmas) we opted to head down to visit Chuck's family the weekend before Thanksgiving instead.

You know a road trip is going to go well when your three-year-old draws this picture of you as soon as you get on the road. The proud mom in me wants to herald his artistic skills while the vain woman in me wants to tsk and shake my head and lament his lack of artistic skills :). Sadly, I think the former is more fair.

We drove through Twin so that we could make a quick stop in Hansen to visit Grandma Pam's classroom and meet her students, which Will especially loved.

We also retrieved our old camera that my mom had borrowed - Will thinks it's his camera, so he promptly went to work documenting the drive.

Speaking of the drive, we hit a slight detour about an hour from Elko. We stopped for a quick snack and bathroom break at a gas station with an attached repair shop, and while Chuck and Clyde were inside, one of the mechanics approached me and said one of our tires looked a little low and offered to put some air in it for me. I remembered the guy who did our oil change last week mentioning that tire being low as well so I figured we probably had a slow leak and agreed.

And thus began the LONGEST forty-five minutes of my life. Upon further inspection, the nice man decided that the tire was actually in need of replacing and we would need to put our spare on to make it to Elko. In no time he had the van in the air - and Chuck and Clyde were still inside the dang gas station! So then Chuck comes back out, but in the meantime the mechanic decides to go help with something else for a while so we're just chilling there on a random bench trying to keep Will from running around. I would have sought refuge inside the gas station, but A) it was tiny and B) my children wouldn't stop running around crazily in there and C) it was the kind of small town establishment where they charge so much that even they are too embarrassed to even post the prices. Chuck splurged on a package of M&M's for us to share but refused to tell me how much it cost.

Finally the guy came back, and tried to sell us all new tires. We knew this was an upcoming need for the van but we definitely had no intention of buying them from this nice gentleman - although I loved when he kept talking about their warranty and how they replace flats for free and such. Because that's definitely worth driving down from Nampa for :). In the end we promised him that we would get some in Elko and that we wouldn't drive back to Idaho on the existing tires (I did appreciate his genuine concern for us).

The saving grace of this little adventure was how much Clyde got into it. He loved milling through the stacks of tires behind the shop with the guy looking for certain sizes and such. I'm pretty sure by the end he was offered an apprenticeship there, which we sadly had to decline. Goofy kid!

At long last we made it to our destination and promptly settled in to eat dinner at Melissa and Kevin's and play with cousins, yay! Clyde was in heaven playing with a nerf gun and bow and arrow :). Then it was time to head over to the middle school to see Mallory's Christmas play.

Mallory played Santa's elderly mother, recounting the story of a very memorable Christmas to her grandchildren. She did a great job; it's so fun to see her developing such an awesome talent. It would have been slightly more enjoyable for Chuck and myself had we not had to wrestle a wee child with autism the whole time. Bless Will's heart, he is blissfully unaware of how to control the volume of his voice and treated the crowd to a running commentary: "Oooh, so dark! Christmas tree!! No, Daddy! Shhh! Mommy? Grandma!! Where Clyde? Star!! Look, Santa! Ohh nooo, where sleigh??" (That last line, delivered with a great deal of concern, caused our whole side of the audience to break out in laughter.) He also wanted to run around, which thus required one of us to hold him the whole time. And the play was in a separate building from the school, so there was no lobby or foyer or place to take him.

So after about an hour and twenty minutes, we cited exhaustion and sneaked out early. This meant we missed Mallory's big solo at the end, but luckily Melissa recorded it and Mallory treated us to a special performance the next day. We're so proud of you Mal!!

The next morning we talked Grandpa into taking the whole lot of us bowling :).

This is one of the least flattering pictures of me I've seen lately so ignore the "Mom lecture" face I've got going on and instead focus on the hilarity of my midsection next to the bowling ball. Makes me laugh every time I see it!

A few of the bowlers . . .

Will LOVES bowling.

This picture kills me. I just love my boys.

Staying entertained while waiting for the next turn. Clyde was quite intrigued by baby Eli; I can't wait to see him with our baby :).

Not to brag, but I definitely made bowling while pregnant look gooood - especially with my final score of 133. I'd like to dedicate that score to my dad, who took us bowling for FHE a lot while we were growing up and insisted that we all learn to bowl with correct stance and approach and such. Sadly it apparently didn't stick with Sam as much...

After bowling Pops treated us all to lunch, so to show our appreciation we all pitched in to rake up Grandma and Grandpa's yard when we got back.
It was an 'all hands on deck' effort since they have an awesome-sized backyard with lots o' trees. (I promise that I even put down the camera and helped!)

And we finished just in time - we hustled inside right as the snow started falling! That night we all hung out together and ate an amazing prime rib dinner and watched the snow come down. Luckily the snow wasn't too much of a problem for Steve and Amanda (and baby Anna!), who arrived safely that night from Utah to complete the family reunion.

The next morning it was time for family pictures, so we took over the gym at Grandma's elementary school :). As always it was a daunting task to get all nineteen of us assembled and smiling, but I think we did it! Afterwards Melissa and I did a little maternity photo shoot, which was fun.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and enjoying everyone's company. Will found solace in his beloved computer games. It's tricky because he thrives on the excitement of being around other kids but he has a hard time controlling that excitement. It doesn't help that developmentally he's on par with a two-year-old but physically he's almost as big as his five-year-old brother . . . which leads to either me hovering to ensure that no one gets hurt (not always possible) or us finding a quiet area for Will to play alone and decompress. Yay pbskids.org!

Other fun activities were painting fingernails the night before the photo shoot so that the 'girls' could have matching red polish, doing puzzles with Courtney, Clyde and George playing 'ninjas' all weekend, a big turkey dinner on Saturday night, playing Settlers with Steve, and being introduced to a new game by Steve and Amanda: 7 Wonders. At first it seemed super complicated, but we played it twice and I kind of got the hang of it. Not as much as Chuck the Wonder Kid who managed to win both times, but whatev.

Sunday morning we enjoyed church and then were treated to yummy brownies and ice cream to celebrate Chuck's birthday a day early! Then it was sadly time to pack up and get on the road :(.

First, however, we raided Dave and Terri's food storage supply; we're now happily stocked up on brownie mix, peanut butter, canned peaches, corn muffin mix, and honey. And Pops even helped load it up for us - man, we're spoiled :). Of course the major spoiling occurred when Dave not only helped Chuck with the tire-shopping task for the van but also insisted on buying them for us - such a blessing. Thank you again so, so much Pops - best Christmas present ever!

And it wouldn't be a trip home from Elko without cows on the road and two completely exhausted boys - they played hard!!

Oh, and here's a hilarious video of the little boys singing while we waited at Les Schwab for Pops and Chuck to pick up the van. Will randomly made up a new song, entitled 'Tingle, Tingle, Paya' which we proceeded to sing the rest of the day - warning, it's really, really catchy:


jayna said...

The bowling ball picture is destined to go down in your family history- awesome!!

Mallory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mallory said...

Sorry about the deleted comment pushed the wrong button.I was pretty much the narrator with a fancy name.The play wasn't all that great.most of the 6th graders could not get their act together.Tingle Tingle Paya should be a YouTube hit.it's so catchy that i was singing it the rest of the day.And Jana,you have mad skills in bowling pregnant.That should be an event in the Olympics and you would get the gold

Terri said...

I like the picture of the exhausted boys...we must have done our job well.

Sherry said...

That bowling pictures is just awesome. I will make sure I go bowling while very pregnant next time that ever happens.