I’ve been pretty light on the posting of actual content the last two weeks but now I am back home after a nice 15 days in Michigan visiting family and friends. We lucked out with the weather and there were no delays in any of our travel and actually, there was no snow in sight until the 14th day when we had to drive across state from Caledonia to West Bloomfield. There were quite a few cars off the road, but our trusty little rental car stayed the course. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me take ya back for a play-by-play of our trip.
We flew out on a direct flight to Detroit on 12/13 and after the full day of travel, Tyler and I met up with my dad for dinner (my mom was out of town for work). We caught up that night and then the next day, we went to breakfast with Nana before starting our first drive across the state to his parents house where we stayed for the first chunk of our trip. When we got there we were locked out of the house since we were a bit earlier than planned so we went to Katie’s parents house to hang with them for a bit.
That night Tyler and I went with Katie, Brandon and the kids to Suzi’s school for their children’s Christmas singing service. It was nice and Silent Night got the best of my emotions. I thought of Zachary a lot and tried hard not to cry. It didn’t work.
Friday we had professional family photos taken, but Nathan was missing because his flight from Seattle got canceled for some reason and he wouldn’t have made it in time then would have had to just fly back home, so he never made it to Michigan. The photos turned out well, but my heart just wasn’t in it and I didn’t like most of the images of myself. Someone was missing besides Nate. Nonetheless, we all had fun. Carmen (my 3 month old niece) made a bit of a stink about getting her photo taken… that proved to be eventful and funny. I love my nieces and nephews! They make life fun and oh so eventful.
Almost all the Furts…
We actually got to help out and take care of Carmen overnight too! It was nice to give Katie and Brandon a little bit of a break since they were just in the room next door and Tyler and I loved it :) We snuggled right up with her in between us and I gladly woke up to feed her when she was hungry. I can’t imagine having to do it with two babies, but was so happy to have the chance to try taking overnight care of one!
Saturday the girls shopped and was relaxing and Saturday night was a blast. We did game night with the family and the drinks were flowing so everyone was a bit goofy.
Sunday the twins got baptized. I can’t believe I didn’t take a single photo of their cuteness in their white outfits, dang it. After the baptism, Tyler and I headed back to my parent’s side of the state to start our stay with them. We got there in time for dinner and went to a movie afterwords. We saw New Year’s Eve and it was pretty good with an awesome cast. We even ran into Jesse and Adam and made plans for lunch the next day. It ended up being a very long lunch which was wonderful.
Me, Tyler and Leigh
Leigh drove up from Chicago and arrived Monday evening. She stayed till Wednesday and while she was there we did some Christmas shopping which was accompanied with my complaining (sorry to all who had to listen). We also had some good dinners with my parents. It was a fun visit and we vowed that next time we’d just fly into Chicago and drive up in the rental since we ended up having to do just that to get to Ty’s parents anyway… and it would be cheaper and easier to coordinate a visit with Leigh! So Leigh, you have that promise in writing now ;) Count on it and start planning for our visit in July.
Mom decorating cookies
Wednesday my mom, Tyler and I baked and decorated cookies and night my grandparents came to town. They drove up from Florida! Jill also came over and she cut my hair and we caught up. We couldn’t believe that it had been two years since we saw each other.
Thursday morning my mom, grandma, Nana, Tyler and I went to breakfast. Afterwords, Tyler and I hightailed it to the mall for our last minute shopping. Thank God we finished that day and wouldn’t have to step into another store for gifts any closer to Christmas. That night, Tyler and I went to Jesse’s new house and we hung out with Jesse, Adam, Brit and Amanda. It was good to catch up with them.
Friday was a rough day for me. We just lounged around getting ready for Christmas and I was kind of down about everything.
The whole family - Tyler, Me, Dad, Mom and James
Cousins - Jen, Kelly, Me and Tyler
Saturday was finally Christmas Eve and the day went fast. We went to my aunt and uncle’s house as we always do and it was a good time. It was nice seeing my cousins and aunts and uncles and as always, my Uncle Jeff’s famous “Winter Fun Slush” was a big hit and I was glad I could partake in drinking it. I’m sure if Zachary was still in my belly, he’d have still gotten a very very small taste because that stuff is too hard to deny! Anyway, we had fun playing games and watching gifts get opened. After the party, my mom, dad, grandparents, brother, Tyler and I went home to bed so Santa could come.
Tyler, Me, Grandma and Grandpa
with Zachary in spirit
Me, Nana and Tyler with
Zachary in spirit
At Miss Shirley’s - Tyler and
me with Miss Shirley
On Christmas day, Tyler and I gave our family some gifts and then we stopped to give Nana her gift and headed out to drive to Miss Shirley’s for his family Christmas party. We had lots of fun at Miss Shirley’s with all of Tyler’s family and it was nice to see everyone because we didn’t come to town last Christmas or see them during our summer trip. After Miss Shirley’s party, we went back to Tyler’s parent’s house and we played games before heading to bed for Santa to come for round two.
Marlee, Suzi, Carmen and Katie opening gifts
Monday, we celebrated Christmas again and Tyler and I were woken up by little Miss Marlee (our three year old niece) singing carols at our door. She was anxious to open the presents that Santa had brought. She was sure she heard the reindeer on the roof that night too!
Rogan was not thrilled to
Carmen couldn’t wait for the sparkley bows!
Opening stockings and gifts took quite a while and a little bit of chaos with so many people and gifts and it was fun. It was also hard to think about how next year there will be one kid missing from the excitement. It took all of my might to pull myself away from those thoughts and just try and enjoy the day instead, but I missed Zachary a lot that day.
Nick and Sarah
After presents, the boys had friends, Kyle and James come over for some game activities and that night we had Christmas dinner and played more games. Sarah and Nick left to drive back to Ann Arbor and it was nice to have gotten to see so much of them this trip!
Tuesday morning Tyler and I packed up the car and headed for our final trip across the state and this one was a white-knuckle kind of drive. It was finally snowing. After 14 days of Seattle-like weather, we were getting our Michigan winter. Like I said earlier, we made it just fine and were even on time for our lunch with my girl friends, Alex, Brit, Amanda and Jesse. We had a leisurely lunch and then went to see Alex’s new house!
Jesse, Alex, Brit, Me and Amanda - Thanks Ty for being such a good photographer :)
Alex, Jesse, Me and Amanda in front of
Tyler, Me, Erica and Dave at their new house
It was the last time I’d get to see my girly girls this trip so we said our goodbyes. That night after a nice dinner with my parents, Tyler and I went to visit Erica and Dave in their new house. This year sure was a busy time for my friends and house buying and I am so happy for all of them - Jesse, Alex and Erica - now if we ever get sick of my parent’s house, we can go somewhere else ;) But I know we will never get sick of our parent’s house… it’s more likely that there wouldn’t be enough room for all the visitors that tend to come at the same time for the maximum visiting of family!
After visiting Erica and Dave, Tyler and I went back to my parents to hang out before going to bed and when we got there, they had a cake out and were lighting candles while singing “Happy Birthday”. One thing I always hated when I was little was having a birthday so close to Christmas, but now, it is actually really nice because we can celebrate when we are home for the holidays. My mom had made her special banana cake and wrote on the plate “Ali… Rainbows… Stars… Love… and… Happy Birthdays”
Mom and me with her masterpiece
Daddy and daughter
Surprise!!! Even after talking about rainbow cakes during the trip, I was completely shocked!
Anyway, Wednesday was our last day in Michigan and it was pretty low key. Mom, dad, Tyler and I went to lunch with Nana and then the boys went home while mom and I took Nana grocery shopping and then helped put everything away at her apartment. No easy task! It was nice to visit with Nan for the whole day, even though we didn’t get to see my brother, James, one last time. Finally, the time came for us to head to the airport and return the rental car.
Our flight was long and uneventful and we got home really late so we just went straight to bed. It felt good to be in our own bed in our own house and we slept like babies. The first full day home was kind of hard. I was brought back to reality with so many reminders of what has happened in the last two months. I had to unpack our suitcases which made our room a mess and prompted me to “clean up” or I guess move most of Zachary’s things that were scattered around. So I got all of our paperwork, ultrasound pictures, cards, coins and memory box from our dresser taken down to his room. I also decided to take his teddy bear and hospital blanket from our bed down to his crib. I left the blue knitted memory blanket to still sleep with though. It was hard going through all of the papers that I neglected to look at since being discharged from the hospital. I found a nice “grief folder” which has info on support services and how the grieving process works for most bereaved parents. I sat in his room and organized all the stuff and just cried for a while. I guess I needed to do it though so we can move on.
Yesterday night Tyler and I went to dim sum for dinner with Kari and then helped her pick-up and put together her new dinning room table and chairs.
Lu snuggled with Zachary’s bears
This morning, or rather over night, Lucifer (our cat) decided that it wasn’t time for Zachary’s bear to be down in the crib. Apparently he went downstairs and into the crib (I didn’t realize he has been in the crib) and carried the bear up to our room. What a sweet cat. He must smell Zachary on the bear or something… I don’t know, maybe Zachary and Lu do have some sort of connection. And while I was writing this post in bed all day (yes this post literally took all day to write and, no, I did not get out of bed all day), he brought up one of Zachary’s other bears that is blue and is much bigger and has a shirt that says “Alive in our Hearts”.
Now, I do need to get up since Tyler just got home from work and we are going to go to dinner with Tony and Jess. So. I am all caught up and am ready for a new year.
Feel free to check out my pictures from over the holidays on Facebook (the link may not work if you are not my official friend - I think).