Well, we are home from our whirlwind trip to Denver for Christmas! (Now we just have Christmas gift exchange with hubby's parents and siblings followed by another Christmas gift exchange with my parents and sibling to go...) But I thought I'd write up a few highlights:
Hubby's sister managed to get a plane into the Denver airport after all...apparently when she asked if there was any chance, they told her that if she got to a gate right now, she could get on a plane leaving in 20 minutes...of course, then she got picked for the super terrorist screening which involved some machine that puffed air on her, and all her bags being dumped out and inspected.
We managed to close down several stores. First dumb move, hubby and I decided to stop at Wal Mart on the way up (I had some gift cards, was out of several baking staples, and thought that we might want to bring breakfast for the morning to the hotel)...we didn't close Wal Mart down, but apparently my MIL and SILs did (a different Wal Mart) getting last minute stocking stuffers. We closed down Barnes and Noble (getting a copy of National Geographic's Green Guide to wrap up for my parents, since I got them a subscription to it, and hubby thought they needed something to open) and later hubby and his sister closed down Walgreens getting diapers so that we could go to midnight Mass...
Everything that hubby's family does takes longer than hubby thinks. We got to the hotel first, but hubby figured that they would be there pretty soon...when they did finally get there, they got stuck in this one elevator that was possessed the whole time we were there...then we had to try to figure out where to go to eat on Christmas Eve...we were meeting Brittney's parents and sister, plus the nine of us staying at the hotel...so we had a party of twelve. Hubby was calling around, while MIL and SIL and SILs husband went down to the front desk, because MIL had paid for two rooms on Expedia, but they only found one reservation when they got there, so she paid for another room...eventually they figured out that the second room was under SILs (married) name...eventually we found a restaurant that was open until 10, and could handle a group of 12...
While eating, we decided (all still in our traveling clothes) that instead of getting up early to go to Mass before heading over to the hospital, we might as well go to midnight Mass at the church on the way back to the hotel. That was fine, except Charlotte was in her spare diaper that we brought for dinner and pooped, so that demanded a last minute Walgreens run for more diapers.
Midnight Mass was listed as starting at 10:30...well, we got there at 10 ish, got a pew that would hold the nine of us (Britt's family had already gone to Mass at the church near the hospital), the choir started singing at 10:30 (Charlotte started singing then, too) and Mass started at 11 (Eva was asleep on her aunt at that point...Charlotte didn't fall asleep until about communion). It was a beautiful Mass at a beautiful church.
MIL has a tradition of getting everyone Christmas jammies (which, at this point she is buying 9 pairs per year), so after Mass and back at the hotel, everyone came to our room to get their pajamas...of course hubby and his sister already had the girls in pajamas...they were very happy to change into their new "Hannah Montana" (Eva) and "Disney Princess" (Charlotte) jammies. Then hubby's sister ended up staying in our room (she was originally going to sleep on the sofa bed in her parents room, but Eva wanted her to stay and sleep with her in the sofa bed instead). Charlotte was between us, and fell asleep tugging on my hair...it was past 1 am...so I wasn't going to complain!
The girls woke up at about 7:40...so we took them swimming in the hotel pool from 8 to 9, then from 9 to 10, they watched some horrible version of Heidi made with dressed up dogs on PBS (I am NEVER going to support public television...the dog thing has turned me off for life...) while we all got showered and dressed. Then we exchanged our Christmas presents, then at about 10:30 we did stockings in grandma's room. (I got the dryer balls I have had on my Christmas list for a couple of years now, and Charlotte got the Tinkerbell movie, which the girls are currently watching). Finally, we checked out of the hotel at about 11:30 and headed over to the hospital for a very lovely family dinner with Brittney and her family.
We left Denver at about 3:30, and were able to get home with plenty of time for me to cook a nice dinner...while I was finishing up cooking, hubby called his mom...it turns out they were still an hour away from home and cruising one of the bigger cities to see if anything was open so they could get dinner. Hubby told them to enjoy their 7-11 cheeseburger dogs while we were eating a nice home cooked meal...I told him that it reminded me of "A Christmas Story" where the neighbors dogs eat the turkey, and they end up at a Chinese food restaurant with the proprietors singing "Ringle Rells, Ringle Rells..."
Overall, we had a really good trip! It was great fun to be together as a family.