We made the road trip to NJ this year for the first time as a family of 5. We decided to drive through the night to make it easier for the kids. We left at 8pm on Thursday, December 22nd. Kaden watched a few DVD's at first and finally fell asleep at about 10:30pm. We stopped at 11:30pm to feed the girls, change them, and have a potty break for everyone. The stop took about an hour, and was certainly an interesting experience breastfeeding twins in the front seat with my big nursing pillow at a rest area. We hung blankets from the windows and got a good laugh out of it, but I can't say I really enjoyed the experience! :) I had to climb in the back of the van by Kaden a few times because he was crying because his feet fell asleep. It's hard to explain to a 3 yr. old why that happens and how to cure it, especially when he's overtired and having a problem sleeping soundly and comfortably in his carseat. We switched drivers for awhile to keep us all sane, and made another stop around 5:30am to do another feeding. The last 3 hours were the hardest, but we made a stop at Dunkin Donuts for some energy. Thanks to this stop at Dunkin' Donuts for officially getting me addicted to Mint Hot Chocolate with a turbo shot- YUMMO!! Good thing all of the Dunkin' Donuts went out of business around here! Anyways..... we arrived at my parent's house at 10am on Friday morning. The girls slept the ENTIRE time (except for our stops), and we are so thankful for such smooth travels and safety on the road. We did the normal 12 hours of driving, plus 2 hours of stops for a total of a 14-hour trip. Not my most favorite thing to do, but we managed. Once we arrived at my parent's house I fed the girls and we handed off all 3 kiddos to Grandpa and Grandma while Andy and I took a nap. The rest of the day we just relaxed, shopped, and hung out as a family.
Christmas Eve was spent with the Van Der Heide side of the family, which consists of our family (my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, and us) and my aunt and Grandma. I always enjoy the Van Der Heide celebration because it is usually pretty laid-back and a smaller group. Plus, it's always a blessing when all of the siblings and family are together under one roof! As usual, we were spoiled rotten with gifts, ate lots of good food, and shared many laughs together as a family. Most importantly, we were all together making memories as we celebrated Christ's birth.
Here's our Christmas Eve in review via photos (most of which were taken by my brother since I was busy taking care of babies all day! :) )
Makenna hanging out in the bouncy seat
Kaden was very excited about his angry birds game from Uncle Brian
I love the look on his face here
Uncle Brian and Maya
Awesome!! Gotta' love the joy and wonder of kids at Christmas.
Mommy and Makenna
Helping Mommy open up a used candle from Uncle Brian. Thankfully there was a gift certificate in the box, too. I was getting concerned about the used candle gift! :)
Grandpa and Maya
Andy got a Kindle!!
Checking out Kaden's new digital camera. He LOVED it!
Kaden shows his pictures to Aunt Kelly. It was awesome to have the newlyweds join us this year- love them! :)
Grandma and Makenna with a real lady-like pose.
Maya sleeps on Grandpa while he opens his new GPS from all of us kids!
Kaden is clearly excited about his new Cubs lunch box!
My Grandma with her new suit top. Gotta' love her. She dresses in these all of the time, complete with matching shoes, and still works 4 days a week while wearing them. This lady means the world to me.
Yay! Kaden finally got his very own Hess truck. This is a tradition that my brothers used to have growing up, and now I'm excited for Kaden to get his very own every year. Hess gas station (local in NJ) makes a new toy/car/truck for kids each year, and it's a craze that many people get into. Some people don't even open the boxes. We're not that crazy. I say, open the box and let the kiddo enjoy the toy already- which he did to the fullest!!
We got all of the guys their very own wooden shoe putter for Christmas, complete with their name wood-burned on the Klompen. We were SO excited to find these, and everyone thought they were the greatest gift ever. This also continues our tradition of crazy golf clubs. Last year it was the fishing golf club, which I blogged about earlier here. We'll see who can top this next year.
Showing Maya her new, oh-so-soft lamb from Uncle Brian.
Another trash truck! One of these days we're going to take a picture of Kaden with his trash truck collection.. He's obsessed with trash trucks.
Steve tries out the putter
Siblings getting a little crazy
Our precious Makenna all tuckered out from the celebrations.
Miss Maya making a silly face