Since arriving in Billings, we've been a busy group, sleeping far less than I would have liked, thanks in part to Jack's terrible cough that kept us up the first few nights of the trip. It's gotten better, fortunately, and sleeping in the same room with him hasn't been as terrible as I thought it would be. For the record, his little blow-up mattress from The Shrunks has worked out great, especially considering this was our first stint with a big boy bed. I highly recommend it to other traveling families out there.
|Reunited with my twinny!|
Because we're us, a family gathering is never without its moments of humiliation, stress, and utter terror. The highlight for me was on Christmas Eve when Jack tripped on a carpet and sliced his eyelid open on a metal bar stool. John and his mom had just arrived from the airport when all of this transpired, so I can only imagine what Patti thought when she opened the door to find Jack shrieking in pain, me nearly passed out in an armchair (the moment I saw the blood seeping out of his wound I naturally concluded that Jack was permanently blind in his left eye. At least he would have had his grandpa to show him the ropes of one-eyed living), and everyone else arguing about whether or not it was worth the struggle to get ice on Jack's eyeball.
|We conned Jack into this photo by telling him Santa was outside. Photo by Sarah Joseph, the Liar.|
Fortunately, Jack's eye is fine, I recovered from my swoon with a glass of orange juice, and there were plenty more mini-crises to replace the memory of that one. Christmas day was awesome, however. Jack is obsessed with his train set. Too bad I can't get it back to Russia, because I'm an idiot and didn't check the oversize baggage cost to a foreign country (we could buy two more train sets for the price of getting this one home; sadly, we still wouldn't be able to get them to Russia). John's current solution involves sawing this one in half and "taping it back together" when we get home. For some reason, I'm a little skeptical about all of this... We also had an epic sledding adventure that nearly culminated in the decapitation of my mother-in-law. I'm happy to say everyone managed to retain their heads.
|Grampoopa sporting his new Russian headgear.|
We've also taken two awesome mini-trips since we got here. Sarah and I drove two hours to Bozeman on Thursday with several goals: to sit in on a National Geographic writer reading and recording his article for the iPhone app (just one of the many cool parts of Sarah's job), to visit with our college friend Jaime, and to see The Hobbit, the one film I resolved to see on the big screen (without Russian dubbing, thanks). Sadly, the movie was sold out, but in the end we got to spend the entire afternoon with Jaime, catching up and reminiscing about old times (Jaime was with me the second time I hung out with John, at a Halloween party in Davis where Sarah, Jaime, and I went as Charlie's Angels). The whole day was perfect, even if I spent the entire two hours driving home terrified I was going to be attacked by another suicidal deer.
|Sarah, Jaime, Mara, aka Charlie's Angels. You can totally see it, right?|
Yesterday we took a day trip out to Cody, Wyoming, where my dad is going to be working in a few months. Sarah and I got to explore the town a bit and meet just a few of the many characters I suspect are living in Cody. My parents should fit in perfectly there! Then we all screamed at my dad on the drive home, because his driving is terrifying and it's way easier to complain than drive ourselves.
Which brings us to today. John and my dad are going skiing, my mom is clearing out the pantry since they leave tomorrow to drive back to Washington, Sarah and I are currently arguing about who gets to use the Internet (It's just like old times! Hey, at least it's not dial-up anymore), and Jack is, well, being Jack.
|The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.|
But there is good news that comes out of all this, at least if you live in Washington D.C. and actually kind of like me. John and I have decided to change our itinerary, so now instead of spending three more days in Montana and another two in Frankfurt, we're going to be in D.C. from Wednesday night to Sunday night! (Lauren, I envision you screaming with joy right now - I expect you to tell me that's what happened regardless.) I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!
|Happy New Year from the nuthouse!|