Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas with the Blackburns

This year, in order to save money, we decided to do the unthinkable: drive 18 hours to VA for Christmas with two little ones! Thankfully, we had friends to stay with in the Nashville area both directions, so it made it much easier. We left around 2:15 a.m. on the first day of driving (in order to allow for the kids to sleep for half the trip) and arrived in Smyrna, TN around 2:30. We had the opportunity to visit with my dear friend and college roommate, Jen Brand Warneld and meet her kids for the first time. Upon arriving, we learned that the biggest blizzard in 10 years was approaching the east coast, so the Warnelds graciously allowed us to stay one extra night so we wouldn't have to drive in blizzarding conditions. Luckily, the Warnelds are also big gamers like the Westdyks, so we played lots of games while the kids had fun running around the house together.

Once we got on the road again two days later, there was over a foot of snow on the ground, but the highways were crystal clear. The kids were very excited to see snow for the first time!

Steve and my brother Joel offered to shovel the snow from around the mailbox so the mailman would actually deliver the mail!

Me and my little snow bunny. She really wasn't a big fan of the white stuff actually and wouldn't let me let go of her.

It was such a joy to have my Mom play the piano for my kids. They loved listening to her play!

Sydney had a love interest in their dog Becca the entire week! She loved to pet her, squeeze her and hug her. Thankfully, Becca is a very sweet and loving dog and took the abuse graciously. Sydney also took off with the walking thing while we were there that week. She also learned to climb steps quite well.

It was great to have Joel and Angela spend some time with us from Phoenix, although it was way too short. Since Angela had to work on Christmas day, they were only able to be with us for a couple of days. So we celebrated with them on Christmas Eve Eve. Sadly, they spent all of Christmas Eve in airports and didn't make it home until after Midnight on Christmas day.

It was great to have the WHOLE family together for once. Pictured: Steve, myself, Sydney and Carter, Angela and Joel, Dad and Mom, Alanna (13 almost 14), Tyler (11), Amy, Caitlyn (9), Emily (7) and Walt, and Becca the dog.

On Christmas morning it was fun to have all the kids together!

And it wouldn't be Christmas morning if we didn't have our traditional picture coming down the stairs to open the presents! Except this time there were a few more people in the picture than normal...

Carter and Emily spent a lot of time reading together. I think Carter really misses his cousin Emily!

On our last full day together we went to my Dad's church. Here we are with my parents in front of the church.

Amy and the kids headed back to Pittsburgh just after this picture was taken!
On our way back the next day we were able to stay in Clarksville, TN with our friends Vincent and Ingrid Luttrell. Vincent is an Army Chaplain on the base in Fort Campbell, KY and is deploying next month. It was great for Steve to visit with his Seminary pal. Since there was ice/snow supposed to be coming to Dallas the next day, we left at 1 a.m. to miss it. It was great to be home again but we really enjoyed spending time with family for the week.

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I am a homeschooling mom to four. I just had a VBAC after 3 c-sections this year after I was told I no longer had the choice by my first Doctor. I am a childbirth instructor for Birth Boot Camp. My first class starts January of 2013!