Hines Christmas Recap

It’s time to overwhelm everyone with 43 pictures of our Christmas trip Up North with the Hines family!

Due to Theo’s work schedule, it was tough to make family time. Theo worked the 26th and we took off for Michigan on the 27th! I didn’t take any pictures that day. We spent 6 hours in the car and both of the girls did really well! We only stopped once for about 15 minutes because we just wanted to get there to spend maximum time with family!

I didn’t take any pictures until the following day when we gathered to do family Christmas!

Just a forewarning- if you don’t know the Hines family, I’ll give you a little intro. Dad and Mom have 7 sons- Barnabas, Ethan, Aaron, Titus, Isaiah, Theo and Seth. There are five sisters-in-law and 10 grandkids (plus Little Miss). Family get-togethers are just slightly insane- but we sure do love it.

This Christmas we were missing some very loved family members- they were greatly missed.

Here we are trying to gather everyone in one location to open presents!

Titus, Isaiah and Josie!

DSC02536

Titus, Josie Faith and Seth.

DSC02545

The guys were so funny all weekend. They claimed the chairs were not comfortable and carried these cushions around everywhere they went. And, no, I’ not talking about the young boy cousins. I’m talking about the grown brothers. It was hilarious.

DSC02546

Eryn and I mostly wrangled children all weekend. She has three girls and I had my two!

DSC02548

Tera Evelynne loved these hats Grandma found at the dollar store!

DSC02553

We were all gathered around waiting for Dad to arrive. Before he got there, we all decided to hide. Over 20 of us crowded into closets, the bathroom and the laundry room and then jumped out and yelled SURPRISE when Dad walked in. It was priceless!

DSC02555

 

Tera wanted nothing to do with pictures! Grandma, on the other hand, looks so delighted! I love it!

DSC02559

 

30 minutes later…still gathering.

DSC02560

Say “cheese”!

DSC02563

 

Theo and I with Isaiah and Sarah.

DSC02566

 

Isaiah and Sarah win the prize for most creative presents! We do a gift exchange where each brother draws and brother and each sister draws a sister. We have a budget and this way each person only has to buy one present instead of buying a present for everybody. Isaiah made it look like Theo was getting a gun…even though that obviously isn’t in the budget. Turns it, it was actually the $20 in coins, wrapped up like a gun. Haha!

DSC02569

Sarah and I! And Isaiah photobombing.

DSC02571

 

I think candid shots of the Hines get togethers are my new favorite. My camera has this awesome shutter speed that takes a ton of pictures in just a few seconds. Here is a series of Tera opening a present…..

DSC02578

 

….please observe Titus (on the left and his popcorn)….

DSC02591

 

…and Barn (on the right), cheesin’

DSC02597

 

After opening presents, the polar bear swim happened! I randomly threw out the idea at lunch, and here I was less than three hours later standing outside in 25 degree weather about to jump in the lake for a polar bear swim.

Please note how Ian is dressed in this picture…that would be the appropriate dress for their weather.

DSC02609

Before running down and jumping in the lake!

DSC02610

 

here we go!

DSC02613

 

Again, I wanted you to note Ian dressed all nice and warm, Theo and I jumping in the lake and Barn taking off his shirt.

DSC02615

 

Snow and ice…and water. Frigid water. And a little seawall that we had to climb down.

DSC02617

 

I decided right about then that my strategy was going to be this: DO THIS RIDICULOUS THING AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE AND GET MYSELF BACK INSIDE.

DSC02618

 

See? I’m done. I dipped down and came back up and was outta there as fast as I could.

DSC02620

 

Theo went in with his towel haha.

DSC02622

 

Sarah was seemingly unfazed by the whole thing and was the last one out of the water. I love how Isaiah is waiting with a towel (and a camera) to help her out! I was already back in the house by this point.

DSC02627

Thoughts on the polar bear swim: It was cold. 25 degrees air temp, and I have no idea what temp the water was. Probably right around freezing, as you can see there was ice on the edge of the lake. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I think once the adrenaline kicks in, it’s not too bad. The absolute worst part was how cold my feet were. They were so numb I couldn’t feel anything else! I was warned that I would be cold allll day after doing this, but I actually wasn’t…and I’m ALWAYS cold. Worth it? Sure, for bragging rights! Will I ever do it again? Maybe!

 

Right after the polar bear swim, Theo left to head back to Ohio for work. That’s right…we drove up the 27th, Theo left the afternoon of the 28th, he worked the 29th, drove back the 30th and then we both drove home the 31st. It wasn’t ideal, but it’s family, and that is worth it.

We also ate tons of good food. Tera was fed all day long by all sorts of people! It was wonderful having so much help with the girls, especially when Theo was gone.

DSC02629

 

The ladies all did a bunch of coloring (in between kid wrangling) while the boys played super intense strategy games.

DSC02634

 

Tera got this monkey from her cousins and carried it around all week long! She’s still carrying it around. #pleaseexcusethemullet

DSC02653

 

We wanted to get a picture of all the cousins, but this is the best we got! Tera and three of her girl cousins.

DSC02663

 

 

 

One morning I had Little Miss crying and Tera needing to be fed her applesauce, so I asked Ian if he could do it. He was so proud of himself! Ian, I’d love to keep you around!

DSC02676

 

After spaghetti night, we threw all the girls in the bath. They loved it!

DSC02691

 

Sisters//Friends//Moms

DSC02700

 

Dad also had to leave to go back to work, but when he arrived back he opened up the Treasure Box for his grandkids! They looooove this tradition!

DSC02706

 

Little Miss did great all week. She had someone to hold her almost the whole time. Uncle Tony and Aunt Cindy were celebrating with us, and they were both baby whisperers! They would just swoop her up when she was fussy and love on her. Her whole nap schedule was off, and she really wasn’t even interested in sleeping, but as long as she had someone holding her, she was happy! I also discovered one reason for her extreme fussiness: two teeth! They are coming through, and she is NOT happy about it!

DSC02714

 

Right after the polar bear swim, it started snowing! We got almost a foot in the last two days we were there. Grandpa pulled out the snowmobiles and we all got to enjoy some ride time! First, up: the grandkids!

We couldn’t find a snowsuit for Tera, so we made do with what we had: lots and lots of layers! And huge man-gloves duct taped on!

DSC02716

 

Ready for the snow!

DSC02721

Loading them up!

DSC02726

And their off!

 

With the Dads running alongside!

DSC02738

 

The view out the back of the cabin:

DSC02742

 

Josh and Jamie also came up for a day. It was wonderful seeing them again, since the last time we saw them was at their wedding a year ago! We got to go snowmobiling with them and it was a blast!

DSC02748

 

And that’s it! We really enjoyed our time with family, although it was not easy having Theo gone for a good portion of it. Lack of sleep and the fact that there is no alone time at the cabin really added up to some stressful moment for me. We love getting together with everyone, but we sure are glad to be back home!

P.S. A lot of people have asked me what it takes to travel with foster children. The process isn’t hard, but it can be made really difficult. We had to get approval from Little Miss’ birth Mom. A lot of birth parents will put up a fight about this. I mean…it must be difficult to sign off for some strangers to take your child out of state and do fun things without you. We actually didn’t expect any trouble from Little Miss’ Mom, she is very reasonable and kind to us. But nobody could find her. And the date was drawing closer where we needed her signature, and I was starting to think we wouldn’t be able to go. Finally, our caseworker just went to the court and got a signature from someone higher. I have no clue how it works for other agencies or cases, but in this case it was not hard, but it was a little scary there for a little bit!

2 comments

  1. Kelli {A Deeper Joy} says:

    Wow!! All of the snow and ice! I have yet to see snow this year 🙂 And y’all are crazy for jumping in that cold water…I’m super impressed. Very clever photos of Little Miss 😉 I’m glad to hear that it went well and that it wasn’t tough to bring her with y’all. I’ve heard both good and bad stories with those situations.

  2. Nancy says:

    I’m glad you had a good Christmas (well, after-Christmas) with the fam and that you got some extra help with Little Miss and that she wasn’t too fussy! Y’all are crazy getting in that lake!!! I won’t even get in the pool here when it goes down to 60 degrees at night. 🙂

Leave a Reply