It's been almost a week since we returned from our Christmas adventure to the prairies of Manitoba. The sunny winter wonderland felt like a distant memory this week as we trudged back to school in our rubber boots through ankle-deep rain puddles under endless gray skies...
A road trip is never without some drama and adventure, and, believe me, this trip didn't disappoint! We drove through the States this time - 3 days of driving and 2 nights in hotels. Here's a brief synopsis of how the whole trip went down:
Day 1 - People are in good health and good spirits. Roads are great and we're excited for Christmas.
Night 1 - (Coeur D'Alene, Idaho) Silas starts throwing up in the night. I wake up feeling achy and feverish. And so the sickness begins...
Day 2 - Silas and I hang out in the back seat together doing a lot of sleeping. Silas starts having a major throw-up just as we're pulling into a rest stop and Erik manages to pull him out of his car seat and out of the van before the spewing begins. We consider it a major success that we only have to change his shirt.
Night 2 - (Billings, Montana) We stay in a super cheap hotel with a waterslide - kids who are feeling slightly under the weather magically perk up and make multiple trips up and down the slide. 1 hour later things start going downhill as sickness kicks in once again.
Day 3 - Keziah wakes up puking. I feel achy and disgusting. Micah and Silas aren't doing so hot either. Amazingly, Erik is in optimal health and I'm praying it stays that way as I have no intention of doing any driving. After a rough morning of travel, we make a stop in frigid Bismark, North Dakota to stock up on drugs and puke buckets. Around 7:30 pm on Christmas Eve we finally make it to my parents house.
We were pretty wiped.
The first few days the kids and I still felt pretty sick. There was a lot of coughing and sneezing and nose-running and tylenol-taking. The puking subsided for the most part other than Boxing Day when it was time for a family picture. While the rest of the Harder family was waiting for us outside in the -27 cold, Silas and Micah decided to simultaneously puke (only one made it to the toilet) and then proceed to whine and cry loudly while we dressed them and dragged them outside for the quick photo session. (My apologies to the rest of the family for how bad that picture is going to turn out...)
But even though we may have infected half of the family with our "plague", we hope they were still happy to see us...?? (insert sheepish smile).
We were definitely happy to see them.
Boxing Day was the one day that we were all together - so that was the time for presents and Christmas festivities. Erik & I haven't participated in a Manitoba Christmas since Keziah was a newborn, so it had been awhile.
Auntie Laura reading a Christmas story to Keziah.
Apple was well-represented at the Harder Christmas. There were plenty of ipads, ipods and iphones to go around... though Granny was smart to ban them on Boxing Day :)
Men actually did dishes.
We met our niece Amelia for the first time - she was born right after we left Manitoba the last time. What a cutie :)
A highlight of the Harder christmas is the program (a.k.a. talent show) put on by the kids.
There was some guitar-playing.
And the always classic recorder.
Micah's talent was showing off some artwork.
While Liam's talent was lip-syncing to Gangnam Style with his back-up dancers...
While I lounged indoors, blowing my nose and reading books - content to enjoy the snow and sunshine through the big picture windows - Erik had endless energy to be outside. He took several trips to Lake Adam with our kids and the other cousins to do some skating and sledding.
Silas tried single-blade skates for the first time and loved it.
Grandpa and the boys on the toboggan hill.
Not that I'm complaining or anything.
Keziah and I lasted about 10 minutes on the ice and then we put our boots back on and drank hot chocolate by the wood stove. Thank goodness for warming huts :)
Erik's highlight was probably the last day when he went snowmobiling with my Dad. It warmed up to about -8 that day (heat wave!) and he had a blast.