Cory's grandfather is 94 and is quite content being the patriarch of the family. He decided he was having a party for his birthday/launch of his book on December 22nd. (Yes, you read that part about the book correctly.) Thus, the whole family trekked to Wichita the weekend before Christmas for a two-hour party in a retirement home. It's what he wanted, so we were happy to oblige.
But, seeing as we were down there for the whole day on Saturday AND we had two young children in tow, we needed to find something to do for the rest of the day. Enter Google. In a few short clicks, I found a "Skating with Santa" event on Saturday morning. Perfect.
Remember, I had been wanting to take the girls ice skating? Well, this was a perfect solution. Plus, Aunt Amber was going to be in Wichita, so she could help with the skating. That meant, I could get some good pictures and not put my camera's life at too big a risk. Double plus, I found out my friend Terah was going to be in Wichita the same weekend with her family, and they wanted to come, too. It was a great plan all around.
Until the actual trip came around. See, as anyone who knows me can attest: I need my sleep. Like bad. I mean, I am essentially useless unless I get a full night's sleep. So, when it came to packing up for Wichita after several nights and days of Christmas get-togethers ... well, let's just say my brain didn't work so well.
I forgot pretty much everything. Including hats, coats and gloves for every single one of us. Not such a great thing to forget when you're going ice skating. I felt like an idiot. Christmas came a tad early as the girls got new coats and hats and gloves. Heck, even I got new gloves! Thank goodness Target was a mere four minutes away from our hotel.
So, freshly dressed with new outerwear, we headed over to the ice rink to skate with Santa. Luckily, despite the shaky start, we ended up having a great time.
Cory and Amber grew up with a pond in their backyard, so they spent many a childhood winter skating. I grew up in North Carolina, so my skating experience was much less extensive. I think I recall a childhood skating party or two, then a couple times as a grown up. With experts like Cory and Amber in my midst, I was able to trust them with the girls while I took pictures. My mission was to stay upright to save the camera.
|Seeing Santa before getting on the ice. Molly later said, "I think that Santa is a girl!" Whoops. We had to explain about Santa's helpers ...|
|The whole fam ready to take on the ice. Check out the girls' new coats and gloves. Pretty snazzy for a last-minute Target run.|
|I love this picture!|
|Molly skating with Santa and Aunt Amber|
|Melese got in on the fun, too!|
|But, when Santa tried to hold Charlotte's hand? Not happening. Reminiscent of the day before at breakfast.|
|Charlotte's favorite thing: being spun around by Daddy.|
|Cory took the camera for a bit after I got my ice legs under me.|
|Molly and her daddy.|
|Skating with Amber and Mommy!|
|After a while, Charlotte was cold. She sat out with Mommom and Daddad and ate popcorn. She was perfectly content.|
|Molly practicing her curtsy.|
|Some of the ladies!|
|Goofy family picture.|
|Amber and Tom were photobombed by Charlotte and Molly.|
|All of the Lafferty/Nichols ladies!|
|Charlotte and Molly with their Great-Grandfather.|
|And, the entire family in attendance.|
While doing all that exciting stuff, we had to somehow entertain a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. Apparently, one of the old ladies living down the hall did not appreciate the laughter and tickling because she came right out and yelled at us, "There are people trying to sleep! You all need to be quiet!" I agree. 7 p.m. is far too late to have fun and be rowdy.
We packed it in at that point and headed back to the hotel. Because I had also forgotten swimsuits, there was no swimming. Molly was incredibly disappointed about that, so we headed to bed. We had adjoining rooms with the girls, but for some reason they gave the girls a handicap room. I didn't think anything about it until 4 in the morning when we heard noises. Cory went to check on the girls and discovered the door to the hallway was wide open. See, in a handicap room, all the locks are lower. While this is great for wheelchairs, it is not so great for little girls.
When I finally gave up trying to sleep around the noises of little girls and got up at 5:30 a.m., I started packing up everyone's things. We ate breakfast with everyone a couple hours later, then hopped back on the road. We had another Christmas get-together that night.
The last official fail of the weekend was not discovered until we reached home and realized that Molly's blanket had not been packed. It had been left at the hotel. This is the only thing that she has ever been attached to, and she has had it since she was born. We cannot lose this blanket. Cory called the hotel, and they found it in the laundry. Luckily, they found it before the laundry was sent out, because I don't think a tiny, satiny baby blanket would survive an industrial hotel laundry cycle.
Unfortunately, everyone we knew had already left Wichita, so we were blanket-less for two days until Aunt Amber came back up through Wichita on her way from Ft. Worth to Kansas City on Christmas morning. Molly drew her a picture as "Super Aunt Amber:" the superhero who brought her back her blanket.
|Reunited and it feels so good!|
(Christmas day with the blanket safely back in Molly's arms)
So, conclusions from this weekend: I am a horrible packer when I am tired. Ice skating was really fun. Charlotte is still not a fan of Santa. Old ladies do not like laughter after 7 p.m. Handicap rooms are not good for kids. And, Aunt Amber saved the day.
Valuable lessons for one and all. You're welcome.