Our big holiday road trip finally came to an end on Saturday afternoon. Despite several challenges - the nasty stomach virus, the death of my grandmother, the horrible snowstorm that hit northern Indiana the day we were supposed to drive up there, and just the many hours of driving we logged with two munchkins in tow - it really was a good trip. I thought I'd focus on the highlights rather than the lowlights, including some photos.
First stop: Arkansas. Although we really were quite sick for a good part of our visit, I managed to get the kids out to the farm with Grandpa Jerry. The kids had a fabulous time. Sarah loved seeing the horses and didn't seem afraid of them at all. They both got a kick out of sitting on Grandpa's tractors, especially his new John Deere, and Ben even got to make the moving parts go!
Next we were off to Indianapolis for Christmas. We got to stay there for a week and a half, so the kids had lots of time to play with Grandma Emilie and Grandpa Bob. Sarah kept us in stitches with all of her antics. Her favorite things were a funky knit hat and a pair of pink rain boots that cousin Mary likes to play with. The boots were big enough that Sarah could get them on by herself, and she loved stomping around the house in them. When she paired the hats and boots with her PJs one morning, it was especially hilarious!
She also got in a bit of trouble with her cousins' cat Sadie. Sarah really wanted to make friends with Sadie, and it started out OK...
but later on Sarah got a bit too close for Sadie's comfort and Sarah got a little swat in the face - luckily, no claws! But it still really scared Sarah and after that she left Sadie alone.
One of the most important memories I will take from this trip is of my beautiful niece Hannah, who was still in the hospital when we arrived but came home on December 30. Because of being sick and my grandmother's funeral, I didn't get to visit the hospital until the 28th. Hannah was in a good mood that day - very calm and just taking everything in. I got to hold her a little bit, for the first time, and it was so wonderful.
Hannah's homecoming on the 30th came a few hours earlier than expected, so on the morning of the 31st they felt ready for us to bring Ben and Sarah for a visit. Hannah had just woken up and had a bottle and so again, she was in a peaceful mood. I held her for as long as she would let me, and it was amazing to see her just staring into my face as I held her on my lap. She has the biggest, darkest eyes, and she always looks like she is studying the world around her so carefully.
Our family has really been blessed by this baby - thanks to all who have prayed for her and will continue to do so as the second surgery comes up in April or May.