Yes, I'm home.
I actually have been for over a week. The drive home was easy, thank goodness. We split it into two days, including a chance to have dinner with some friends. We didn't need chains for the drive home, although it did snow on us a bit. Pretty!
The Portland snow, the likes of which hadn't been seen in over 40 years, was pretty much completely melted by the 27th. It sure was tough getting up there, but we were glad we got to see it and play in it before it was gone!
We spent our time in Portland playing with family. Playing, my nephew's baptism, then playing, and more playing!
We drove home on Jan. 2 & 3. This means I had to watch the Rose Parade on television FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. It's kind of lame of us to live here but be out of town during the Parade. Maybe next year I'll be able to see it in person again...
The first week back to school after vacation is always kind of a shock to the system. It's kind of a feat just to make it through. By Wednesday, I woke up exhausted and with a headache, and didn't improve until the weekend. I did manage to get Christmas packed up and put away. I'm not quite as happy with my pack-up job as I was last year, but after several re-arrangements, it's all in the bins... so all's well that ends well.
This weekend, the kids spent some of their Christmas money. They all got things that go with their Christmas gifts. Big Girl got a DS from Santa, so she bought herself a case and a game cartridge. The Boy got a Leapster, so he chose a cartridge. And Middle Girl? Well, Middle Girl got an American Girl doll* from Santa, so she decided to order an outfit for Kit.
We also took the kids over to the golf course to practice on the putting green and the driving range. The Boy got clubs for his birthday from my MIL, so we had to go use them and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend! Everyone shared the clubs and started working on these skills. I think it really warmed Daddy's heart to see them!
* She's been looking forward to having her own American Girl pretty much ever since Santa gave Elizabeth to Big Girl two years ago. Big Girl was 6.5 at the time. My rule is "no American Girl until you are six years old," which in some ways has been hard on Middle Girl: she has some fellow little-sister friends who got American Girls at the same time as their big sisters, so that they were four or five. Luckily, I can point to the "For Ages 8+" in the catalog and say, "see how Mommy spoils you? I won't make you wait until you are eight!" and she has been appeased.
She turns six at the end of this month. She spent the last year deciding which doll she would ask for for her sixth birthday, and the decision was made by summertime: Kit. I wanted to come up with a way to surprise her, though - it was so fun to see Big Girl's face when Santa surprised her with Elizabeth. There was an obvious answer - let Santa bring Kit even though it was before the sixth birthday.
And it worked! She was speechless. She couldn't bring herself to open the box and touch Kit, so amazed was she that Kit was really here. I had to help her! She just stood there, across the room, and pointed!
My Santa errand was so fun, too. I went over to American Girl Place to pick out the perfect Kit, and as I was taking all of them off the shelf and examining them, a wonderful store employee came over to help me. She was an African-American woman, probably in her fifties. She was much more picky about the dolls than even I was! She took the lids off the boxes, examining their eyes, hair, the way their clothes were sewn, the even-ness of their legs, and when she found the best three, she put them up on a shelf together (lids off) and talked to them. "Are you the one, honey? I'm feeling you. Oh, Kit, girl, you sure are hot right now..." She asked me which one I thought was best, and when I chose one, she said, "now I can say that that's the one I was feeling all along. She was meant to be the one for you..." It's kind of cheesy, I know, but I had the best time with her, choosing the right Kit for my Middle Girl! What a Christmas it was for Mommy.