Wednesday, December 30, 2009
First of all, we hope everyone had a great Christmas and we are looking forward to 2010!
This Christmas was very different from the typical Melcher Family Christmas of years past in a few ways. First and foremost, it was by far the most hectic. It used to be that we rotated Christmas with my side of the family and Kevin's side of the family since my family used to travel to Minnesota for Christmas. Now that my family stays put in Kansas there is really no reason that we can't try to see everyone during the Holidays, and that is what we tried to do this year. I say try, because Old Man Winter did all he could to try and stop us. I don't know the total snow fall on Christmas Eve, but it must have been close to a foot of snow that fell here. And that wasn't all, we got a couple more inches the following days. On top of trying to celebrate Christmas with both sides of the family, this Christmas also fell on the week that I work. Nothing like working 70 hours the week of Christmas, trying to fit in seeing both sides of the family and contending with the umm..."gift" from Old Man Winter. It didn't seem to bother Kinley at all though, she just went with the flow for the most part and seemed to really enjoy all the excitement, which made everything all worth while.
Here is how Christmas 2009 broke down:
Christmas Eve my parents and sister came over earlier than planned in order to beat the snow. They were super helpful and cooked dinner at our house while I slept during the day. We ate dinner together and then opened up presents.
Then Kinley went to bed and I went to work. My parents and sister stayed at our house so that they were there when I got home from work Christmas morning.
Christmas morning I arrived home to find a shoveled driveway, a cooked breakfast and that Santa had come and left presents for Kinley! After we ate breakfast, Kinley opened her presents from Santa.
Then it was time for her and I to take a nap. We originally planned to go over to Kevin's mom's side of the family that evening, but the weather changed those plans.
The day after Christmas we packed Kinley up and headed over to Kevin's parent's house for breakfast and to visit with his dad's side of the family. Well, those members of the family that were able to make it with the weather. After breakfast, you guessed it, more presents. (Sorry, no pics b/c we forgot to bring our camera.) Then back home so Kinley and I could take our naps. That evening Kevin's parents and sister came over to our house for dinner and presents.
Finally, on Sunday morning we packed Kinley up again and headed out to Kevin's Aunt's house for breakfast with his mom's side of the family. This time we (the adults) opened presents first and then ate breakfast. We fed Kinley as soon as we arrived to help keep her on schedule.
Shortly after breakfast we had to pack up and get home so Kinley and I could take our naps.
I do have to mention the gift that Kevin got me for Christmas. He got me a really nice new camera that takes 4 pictures per second! It was getting hard to take pics of Kinley with our old camera because she rarely sits still anymore. Hopefully with the new camera we will have more pics to upload and will update the blog more often. Maybe that should be a New Year's Resolution, or would that just go by the wayside January 2nd with all the other resolutions?
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This drive was very different from Kinley’s previous trips (Colorado and Minnesota) because we did the entire drive during the day. Kinley handled the change quite well. She must be getting more comfortable with her forward facing car seat because she actually took two naps. She also ate decently, as well as can be expected from Kinley when she is in a new place. We made sure to feed her outside of the car to avoid any chance of “back fire” in her car seat. Kinley’s choice of dining establishments were McDonald’s (on I-35 turnpike) and McDonald’s (somewhere in Oklahoma). We were able to arrive at our friends’ (Kevin and Candice) home in time for our dinner and Kinley’s bedtime meal. Traveling during the day was not an issue with Kinley, but stopping to feed her (twice) did add 2 hours on top of the already 8 hour drive.
On a personal note, Kathy and I are not fans of the toll highways surrounding Dallas. Luckily, Kevin and Candice gave us excellent directions to follow whenever they were not actually with us in the car.
Our first day in Texas, Friday, was a pretty busy day. Kevin and Candice (only a half-day) had to work, so after breakfast Kathy and I packed Kinley up and headed to TCU. TCU, like many other colleges, tends to have some parking issues. This was not helped by the fact that it was a football game weekend and that ESPN College GameDay was on campus. Luckily we were able to find a spot in the TCU Bookstore parking lot. Once Kinley was situated in her stroller we headed into campus to take a look around and show Kinley where mom and dad went to school. TCU’s campus is pretty compact so the tour didn’t take too long, but there was plenty to see because a lot of things had changed since mommy and daddy were there plus, ESPN was setting everything up for College GameDay. In fact, there were already some students claiming spots for the next day’s show.
We also stopped to pick up our football tickets for Saturday’s game. Before returning to the car we had to stop at the TCU Bookstore, so we could all get some new TCU apparel. Before heading back to Kevin and Candice’s we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants in Fort Worth, Charleston’s, so Kinley could eat lunch. By this point Kinley had become pretty comfortable eating out at restaurants.
When we arrived “home” we found that Candice was home too. We “grabbed” Candice and headed to the local mall to do some more shopping. (Don’t worry, Kinley took a nap both to and from TCU.) I dropped the ladies off so I could take our car in for an oil change. When I joined back up with the ladies I found that Kinley had completed her shopping so Kathy and Candice were free to shop for themselves. (While in Gap, I ran into my K-State baseball teammate/roommate’s wife.) Once we had all had our fill of shopping we met up with Kevin and went out to dinner at Abuelo’s. Kinley absolutely loved their tortilla chips.
Saturday was definitely more of a day for dad and Kevin. We woke up extra early to go to TCU and be a part of College GameDay. I won’t bore you all with details, but it was an amazing experience.
Kinley hung out at “home” with Kathy and Candice and they all joined us that afternoon, once the tailgate was all set up. We set Kinley’s booster seat right on the asphalt, in the middle of a circle of chairs, and she ate/tried just about everything we gave her. She was definitely showing off for everyone. After she was done eating we let her roam around, but she always ended up walking down hill and never wanted to walk back up. We figured too much walking around (and visiting other tailgates) would wear her out and make her cranky, so we put her in her stroller and I walked her around the parking lot. Game time finally rolled around and we all headed toward the stadium. The game was completely sold out, plus TCU sold an additional 5,000 standing room only tickets. Needless to say, it was packed.
Photos above courtesy of Kevin and Candice.
We had purchased end-zone (cheaper) tickets because we were not sure how Kinley would handle the game. She made it through the national anthem and the first five minutes of the first quarter, but then she decided that was enough. We placed her in her stroller and decided to walk around the stadium. The downside of walking around was that we couldn’t see the field due to all of the standing room only tickets. We decided we would head “home” and watch the remainder of the game there, but before we could go mom and dad had to get some Dippin’ Dots. Kinley confirmed that she is definitely our daughter because she could not get enough Dippin’ Dots. Her mouth was open and ready for more just seconds after we had given her a bite.
After arriving “home” we were really depressed, for two reasons. The first was that the TCU game was not nationally televised and therefore we couldn’t watch it. We did listen to it though. The second was that we realized that we are not very experienced parents. We forgot to take any pictures of Kinley at her first TCU tailgate and football game. Here are a couple pics after we realized we were bad parents.
Sunday ended up being a day of relaxation. For the most part we simply hung out at the house, but we did take Kinley on a walk around the neighborhood. We couldn’t pass up the gorgeous Texas weather. It was 78 degrees, in the middle of November!
Monday morning we packed up the car and headed home. We all had a great weekend and are hoping to do it all again in 2010.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
In early October Kinley made her first road trip to Minnesota. (Don’t worry, Kathy and I were with her to make sure she drove safely.) This road trip was around 11 hours long (not including stops) so we decided to drive through the night again, like Colorado. But to avoid the same incidents from our Colorado trip we scheduled a stop in Des Moines, to feed Kinley and visit some good friends. One of my good buddies, Brock from KSU baseball, lives in Urbandale with his wife, Liz, and their baby boy Hudson, a possible future boyfriend for Kinley. We planned the drive from KC to Des Moines to coincide with Kinley’s afternoon nap, but she didn’t sleep a single minute of the drive. The reason for her unwillingness to sleep during the drive is because Kathy and I had to turn her car seat to forward facing right before we left. Originally we worried that Kinley’s lack of sleep during the drive would make her fussy while visiting our friends. Fortunately, for everyone, she was not. Kinley ate as soon as we arrived in Urbandale and then spent the evening playing with Hudson. After Kinley’s “bedtime” feeding we loaded up the car and continued our drive. Thank you Brock, Liz and Hudson for allowing us to visit and use your home to feed Kinley. It really made our entire trip a lot easier.
Kinley’s new forward facing position continued to be an issue for her. She did sleep until around 1 am, but woke up when we stopped for gas and remained awake until we arrived at our destination at 5 am. We immediately broke out her pack & play and set it up in the guest room to try and let her get some sleep.
The main reason for this trip was to allow Kinley to meet her Minnesotan relatives, before it got too cold and too far into cold and flu season. Both sides of Kathy’s family live in Minnesota. We arrived early Friday morning (Kathy’s parents were already there), and soon after the house was full of family. In total: the three of us, Kathy’s parents, three of Kathy’s aunts, two of Kathy’s uncles and three of her cousins (all Kathy’s mom’s side of the family). Plus two dogs and one cat, we did bring Kobi. Kinley did great with the house full of people and pets. She wasn’t bothered by the crowd like she has been in the past. She was happy, played with everyone and even let family hold her.
The only rough spot of the entire trip was that Kinley had some MAJOR constipation. It was so bad we had to go out and buy her some suppositories and Miralax. Normally not a huge deal to buy, but we were in the cute, small town of Outing, Minnesota on a Friday night. The only store still open was a little grocery store that didn’t carry what we needed. We ended up driving to Brainerd, about an hour away to the nearest Walgreens to get what Kinley needed. Other than the constipation, Kinley had an absolute blast with everyone.
One of the highlights of the trip is that it snowed while we were there. That is not supposed to happen in early October, even in Minnesota.
For our drive home we were able to plan a similar driving schedule as the one we used coming up. Kathy’s aunt and uncle (on her dad’s side) live near the Twin Cities and we dropped by to say hello and also feed Kinley her bedtime meal. While Kinley was eating , Kathy’s uncle helped us find a Caribou Coffee that was still open. (We always make sure to get Caribou Coffee whenever we are in Minnesota.) Before hitting the road again, Kathy’s aunt and uncle packed us a bag of frozen venison and salmon. Kathy’s uncle is a big hunter and we LOVE venison. Kinley slept much more on the way home than on the way up. Luckily she stayed asleep when we stopped for gas. I also think that she was getting more comfortable with the forward facing position and she was probably worn out after meeting so many new people, discovering new places and traveling like a pro.