Thursday, 31 January 2013

Home for the Holidays

Yet another great year with wonderful holiday memories came and went so quickly.  We had not been back to the states since June, so we were VERY ready for our visit.  We put up our tree, hung the stockings and  baked Christmas cookies here, but it just was not Christmas until we were with our families.

I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year.  I had about one suitcase full of gifts for family from England, but I spread the gifts among clothes in all of the suitcases.  We also packed one medium suitcase inside of a large one to have an extra for our trip back to England.  I did not bring many clothes for the kids since I knew they would each be getting new clothes for Christmas.  Our car was PACKED on our way to the airport, and we wondered how we would fit on the way home with an extra suitcase.

The three kids were just about perfect for our 17 hour trip to Missouri.  Those passengers who gave us "the look" when they sat next to us with three small children were telling us how well behaved and quiet they were at the end of the 8 hour flight.  Thank God for the TV screens and lift-the-flap board books!     

Dylan brought Barnaby Bear from his class. Cora enjoyed a Baby Einstein video on our portable DVD player.

We were greeted at the airport around 4:00p.m. in St. Louis by both sets of grandparents and Great-Grandma Reed!  Tears of joy were flowing, and even though it was 10:00p.m. in England, the kids' excitement kept their energy going.  That evening, we had 7 cousins and several aunts and uncles come to greet us.  We had the joy of meeting my new niece, Gretchen, and our new cousin, Tommy.  I waited 3 months to have those sweet babies in my arms!  Cora was a bit overwhelmed with everyone, and preferred to stay with Mommy or Daddy.  After just a few days, she was waving and going to almost anyone.

It took the kids several days to adjust to the 6 hour time difference.  We had some 4:30 a.m. wake up calls (Nana got up with them most mornings), and some naps at all hours during the days.  Evenings were hard because that is when our families would get together, and my kids were exhausted.  But they were troopers, or WE were troopers putting up with their tiredness as we had at least one if not two gatherings to attend each day for the next two weeks.  

I have WAY too many pictures to post, so here are a few (ok, a LOT) of our favorite moments from our time in St. Louis...

Meeting my niece, Gretchen Catherine, for the very first time!  She is a doll!
Dylan and Grandpa Trost were ready to build Legos right away!

Hanging out with Gretchen and playing with Graham and Grace

Our picture with the "real" Santa  

That classic "Who is this man holding me?" cry from Cora.

Having fun with Grandpa Hefley

A family pic from Winter Wonderland

 Sweet Cora                                  Sweet Gretchen

Having SO much fun with Aunt Emily who flew in from Boston!

Dylan enjoyed riding his bike at Nana & Grandpa's house.

Fun with cousins (Lily, Grace, Amelia, Dylan)

Cheering on the Mizzou Tigers with Baby Gretchen

Ramona, Lily and Amelia playing Ring-Around the Rosie.  Lily saying "Cheese!"

Cora playing with Aunt Carrie     Grandpa and Uncle Dan helping Dylan with a puzzle.

Christmas Eve...time to open presents with Nana, Grandpa Trost and Aunt Emily

Christmas Eve at Great-Grandma Reed's house.  
Cora, Amelia and Gretchen in their matching dresses.

Christmas Eve family picture

Gigi and Grandpa Hefley with 5 of their 7 grandchildren.

Amelia + Samantha = Best Buds                      Lily is a Daddy's Girl!

Santa came!  Mac, Amelia, Sam, Dylan

We always have a wonderful time on Christmas Eve with all of the Reeds!

Lily wasn't sure what to think of Santa. Brooks, Grace, and Charlotte stayed back too.

Christmas morning at Nana and Grandpa's!!!!  Dylan was counting how many gifts they each had.

Cora loved her Cozy Coupe and the Johnny Jumper!

Dylan was in heaven with all of his new LEGO sets!

Amelia loved her new dolls and her new LeapPad games!

 Christmas Day at the soccer club with the Trost and Randazzo families.  
My parents, Gigi and Grandpa Hefley, with Cora on the field

My mom and I with the 5 Randazzo sisters.  They are as fun and talented as their cute headbands!
Aunt Trina, Aunt Nina, Aunt Jessie, Angie, Debbie (my mom), Elna (Eric's mom) and Aunt Maria

The Trost cousins who played the annual soccer game this year.  
There were about 33 players on the field this year.

The youngest generation of Trosts. 35 were there this year.
Yes, that is why we go to a soccer club for Christmas.  We have over 90 people!

The adults' table at Christmas dinner with the Hefleys on the 26th

The kids' table at Christmas dinner with the Hefleys

Who is excited to open presents?!

Opening gifts with the Hefleys...more presents!

Fun at the St. Louis ZOO with some more cousins that we didn't see on Christmas.
Joe Joe, Cora, Amelia, Dylan, Mikey and Abigail.  Maddie was in another stroller.

Joe Joe was great with the boys.  We loved meeting Maddie!  Another blonde hair and blue-eyed girl!

Here I am with my best friend, Erin, at our 20 year grade school reunion on the 27th.

Fun at the Magic House for Dylan's birthday on the 28th with Reed, Conner and Lily

 A little birthday party for Dylan, the big 6-year old.

Samantha, Amelia                            Conner, Dylan

Aunt Becca and Uncle Dan with the birthday boy

Uncle Ron and Gretchen
The pinata was a lot of fun!  Thanks, Uncle Dan, for holding the hockey stick!

Well, that's all for this post.  Up next...Gretchen's Baptism and our visit to South Carolina.  Then, a little blurb on our return back to England.  Thanks for reading!