We spent 8 days going through Ohio to catch family and friends for the holidays... It was only supposed to be 7, but I got a bit sick and we had to linger one more day. Elliot ended up with the hacking cough and snotty nose I had, but luckily, not the other junk.
We had the first half of the trip up in NE Ohio with the Papczuns' and other college friends. First was a night in Painesville with Pat's aunt. She certainly made Christmas morning feel like one for Elliot and spoiled him!
Putting together the nativity with Aunt Maryann and decorating the tree.
First train set was quite popular... we had trouble packing it up as the little engine and caboose had to stay in Elliot's hands. He fell asleep in the car still gripping them.
Then we got to stay with Dave, Jen, and Avery (the Ries's who used to live in Chicago... the "day younger" baby) and boy, was that great. Elliot thought he was in heaven with all the toys geared just for his age and they have so much space to roam in.
Avery is quite an impressive little girl. She has a lot of words and is very vocal and expressive. Elliot picked up a few sounds from her while we were there.
We had Christmas with the Papczuns and with some of Nancy's family, as well as a baby shower for Pat's sister. Christmas was very chaotic with all the young ones and managing all the gifts, that I failed to get any photos of the big gathering, unfortunately.
We caught up with the Miners, Lisa Winkler, and the girls from Kent (Stephanie, Jessica, and Andrea). Should have snapped some photos of these bunches, but I just wasn't on my game, I guess!
Grandpa Papczun and Elliot after a night of playing with cousins.
After two rough nights and only a 45 min nap, these music boxes and moving snowmen saved the day with keeping Elliot pacified. It was a little rough in the beginning.
Every evening was 10pm bedtimes or so, but eventually we settled in ok. It was so nice to have a home base where we could linger and let him nap and get into a groove.
His cousins got a drumset and Elliot took right to it. I had to take a video for Grandpa Ulrich, the drummer. I'll post it soon. I have to say, he may have some drummer in him!
Then we headed to the farm for the second half of the trip, which is always slower and time to recover, as there aren't as many people to catch. We had Christmas with my brother and his family and then with the entire Ulrich side. Lots of eating, not much moving.
These are all the "kids of the cousins" on the Ulrich side, minus a few. As you can see, it was crazy kid time!
Cousin Mya is 6 months older.
I got a set of Tupperware bowls that became helmets for all the kids-- forget all the toys they just unwrapped! And the lids became stepping stones. It was a riot.
Pat and I eventually got out for a hike in the snow when Elliot wouldn't nap by 3pm one day-- we stuck him in the backpack and voila, he was out within a few minutes. We investigated the beaver problem in the woods, which was pretty impressive.
Here's daddy's fun, using his bungee cords as a toy.
Elliot got so he would "conquer" the gift-- stand on it as if it needed taming.
Those are OSU pajama pants that Elliot decided to wrap himself in.
Hey, when patience is out, let's unwrap gifts upsidedown!
Elliot finally became a bit more generous with his hugs... both sides saw a little more affection from him and he will, if you coax him right, give hugs to people's legs. (But pick him up and it's all over...) My mom and dad finally, finally, got a few hugs. As you can see, Grandpa Ulrich introduced him to the 4-wheeler, and man, was that a hit! Too bad I failed to snap any photos of Grandma Ulrich with him. Guess I was getting camera tired by then (and there was more than one stint of "Have you seen our camera?") The 50-degree day helped with being outside a little. I think they shot some basketballs in the barn too.
We came home with more than we left with, which was not the plan! We had packed minimal clothes with no extra room for all the gifts we were taking and did laundry half way through. I asked Pat on the way home, "So when do we reach a critical mass of stuff where our apartment will no longer accept carloads being brought back from Ohio?" I already started weeding out his infant toys and got a little sappy.
As you can see, it was a great holiday. Happy New Year everyone!