A lot of people have asked about our trip to St. Louis, so I thought I’d share a few stories here before I get back into real life this week.  Again…sorry, no pictures (yet). I lost the digital camera. 😦 I’m hoping the fam will send me all their pics (wink, wink, hint, hint, family members).

As I mentioned in another post, it was nothing short of a miracle that our plane even got off the ground. I’m still shocked by it. We were supposed to leave Seattle at 1 pm and we actually left at 4 pm. Which is WAY better than what 75% of the people at SETAC experienced that day. I’ve never seen so many people, such long lines, heard so many flights cancelled or seen such crazy weather even.  (I bet there was 10+inches of snow on the ground at one point) Sure…our luggage was lost, and they diverted us to Chicago, and we got into St. Louis at 1 am…but hey, we got there! HA ha ha ha!

Before we left, I was trying to mentally karate chop all germs from all sources that could possibly come into our family. Cooper got extra vitamins all week and I was a freak about washing his hands, watching what he ate etc. The snow kept us at home so that probably helped too.  But alas, 8 hours at an airport and several more on countless airplanes will do ya in every time. Coop caught the stomach flu and by Christmas Eve was sick as can be. The puking began on Christmas morning in the wee hours of the day.  In fact, for everyone that saw us at EFREE on Christmas Eve, I really apologize for how distracted I was! Cooper was so lethargic and I just had that mommy intuition that something bad was coming. For the story of Cooper’s sickness, you can check Jer’s blog. (Yes! He ACTUALLY updated it!)

Needless to say, Christmas morning was not exactly how I expected or envisioned it to be with our very excited little boy. I had all these ideas about how he’d wake up and run downstairs and jump all around. But we were lucky to get him up and in the chair to open his presents. Poor kid. 

One fun new thing that we did this year was leave cookies for Santa (and milk). Cooper really got into it and he and Jeremy were hilarious. I had the whole thing on video on the camera…which is lost 😦 bummer.) Jeremy wrote Cooper a note as if he were Santa and left it on the empty plate for him to discover the next morning. It was so incredibly cute. Yes, I saved the note!

We muffled and limped through the next couple of days with all our family visits and our very sick kiddo. We were all pretty miserable. I probably apologized a million times over on behalf of the little guy. I think Cooper felt it was necessary to make us feel as bad as he felt for several days. I knew it might take a while to warm up to some family members, but it was worse than I expected; I think and hope because he was sick. 

Behaviorally, we hit the wall with the child. It was so terrible. And may I just say as a mom that it is REALLY hard to empathize with a sick child when they are being a TOTAL brat.  (Like “who-is-this-demon-possessed-child-brat-like-behavior”) I still can’t decide if this is a phase, if it’s because we were on vacation, if it is just because he was sick or what. It remains to be seen. Several of the things he did bad behaviorally when he was sick have carried over and mom and dad are not big fans of them. Jeremy and I figure we have a month to figure this out before Chase comes and we probably go back to square 1! (Much more on that stuff later.)

-Update- Upon reading this I feel like I should mention that Cooper did improve the last couple of days and was much, much better. Down right enjoyable even. Too bad it was at the end of the trip!

So we made it through lots of Christmas fun and we did have fun-even with our sick kiddo. It was great to be with the family and enjoy everyone. It had been way too long since we’d been home. We haven’t seen our siblings in a year!

We mostly went over to family members homes and hung out around the Wii or the dinner table. I so love the Wii by the way-consider me sold on it! We’ve gotta get one of those.  We didn’t eat out much, which really surprised us because we miss a lot of St. Louis restaurants, and that’s funny because it’s one of our favorite things to do.

However, we did manage to get down to the Missouri Botanical Gardens for the Train Exhibit. It didn’t seem to hold Cooper’s attention like it did last year, but it was still fun and very impressive! Then we had lunch at the South City Diner. If you have never been there-go! It’s on Grand down and over a couple blocks from the Gardens and it is SUCH good food. It’s good old comfort diner food with some trendy dishes thrown in there too (think italian style polenta).

Anyway! Cooper hit the motherload on Christmas presents. We brought 2 extra suitcases with us to St. Louis. Both were totally full of presents. We had to borrow another one from my parents and, in addition to all that, both of the moms are shipping us stuff that wouldn’t fit in said suitcases. WOW! It was really fun. I got a beautiful new watch, some pretty smelly stuff, new towels and jewelry and cook books and placemats. Jer got a Garmond GPS (!), some clothes, movies,  x-box stuff. Cooper got all kinds of games and toys-too many to even recount! More on presents later too-that’s a whole separate post just on Cooper’s gifts alone.

So anyway, it was a fun and emotionally refreshing trip. Jeremy and I agreed that a whole year of not being home is too long for our hearts. We need more time! We need to see our precious nieces, our siblings and our parents and friends lots more than once a year.  Our goal in 2009 is to make our visits home more frequent. That will probably happen, but it’ll be because Jer is deployed…not a fun thing to think about.

In the mean time, there’s tonsmore to talk about. We’ve got a baby on the way and my hormones are making me nest like something fierce. I have countless lists on the refridgerator of things I keep thinking of that I don’t want to forget. There is so much to do before little Chase gets here! I’m sure the time will go fast and that’s probably the best part of the whole package.

Thanks for all your prayers as we went home.  We are so happy to be back in our home and we are even ready to get back to our daily grind come tomorrow!

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