Life With Nine Kids

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big wonderful, amazing, magical Christmas Surprises!

Las Vegas was an absolutely fantastic time. Everything fell into place; it was an easy peasy, extra fun, trouble free, perfect trip there and back. Seeing my family was amazing. So many people to visit with and enjoy. So many people loving to see the kids and to share Christmas cheer with. Christmas morning couldn't have been better, the kids had so much fun, then the truly unexpected happened.

Rewind back to the day we left for Vegas:
I walked our house sitter Erin through our house as I explained to her the unpleasantness of our really janky toilet situation. The upstairs toilet hadn't worked in a year. We had it fixed once but it soon started having a leaking problem again. We needed to eventually call someone to look at it again but decided it was most likely just the toilet that was leaking. The downstairs toilet over the past year has been working less and less well. Finally it got to the point that we had to pour a half a pitcher of water down it, while simultaneously holding the flusher down in order to get solids to go down. Pee would go down, just maybe not your toilet paper. We lived like this for a long time partly out of not knowing where to begin (we usually try to fix things ourself first) and partly out of the costs involved. We also have a 'well things could be worse' attitude about life - makes things easier that way. We live in a very old house and we are do-it-yourselfers. If it can't be fixed by us then we live with it for usually as long as possible. The toilet thing was really getting crazy though. We needed new toilets.

The dishwasher situation wasn't much better. Our frugal side kept us buying used dish washers on Craigslist. They'd last a couple years but we only had to spend 20-60 bucks on them! This is what big families do. Families of nine don't go out and buy new dishwashers on a whim. ;) This last one we nabbed for 20 bucks was a real pain though. It wasn't cleaning anything. The kids complained. I told them to be happy we even have one. Besides, limping by builds character.

Once our character was built up some and we had limped and limped by a good long while someone put a call into Santa and Santa must have put a call into my parents (because he doesn't make appliances at his workshop).
On Christmas morning 1200 miles away from our home we opened a present that had a toilet seat inside! Attached to it was an invoice for 2 toilets for our house. In another box was dishwasher soap and an invoice for a dishwasher already purchased.

I was so shocked I could have fell over. It was UNBELIEVABLE! We were so excited. (Not kidding THE FIRST thing we did when we arrived at my parents was comment about how we have "working toilets here" and how nice it was to not deal with our freaking toilets at home.)
We were so grateful and felt so blessed and loved to receive such a helpful and amazing gift for our family.
A Toilet Seat!
The last gift we unwrapped was this piece of paper:
My shocked face opening the above paper. See how happy and surprised we are. Awesome.

What went through my head: "Are you kidding me, Ricky doesn't have to install all of this???!!!!"
What went through Ricky's head: "THANK GOD I don't have to install this, all of this would take forever!" (And it would have, we did need a little plumbing work done after all, and without the tools and experience it would have been a headache and we probably would have been with no toilet for more than a day -or 5!! lol.)

At some point I cried happy tears!
Then more of the story and gift started to unfold ...
Before we left for Vegas my parents asked several times who was house sitting for us. I did not ever think anything of it but I never gave them a name I just kept explaining she was a good friend who had three little boys and she's a great person... Finally my dad asked me over the phone, "What's her name?" I never thought it was weird. I thought it was out of character of my dad, but not weird. I told him, "Erin."

I had no clue my parents, being the sneaky sneaks they are, were trying to hunt Erin down. My mom found her through my facebook and asked her if they could talk on the phone... she set the whole entire thing up with Erin. Plumbers were to come the day after Christmas to install everything. So when we got home we would have it all already done. The entire time I was telling Erin about our Janky situation during the house sitting walk through she was smiling on the inside. She said that it was so much fun watching me explain everything and I agree, it was! I love thinking about it.

I realized immediately I now didn't have to mess with setting up appointments, putting the dogs up, wrangling the kids, having the water turned off. My house sitter had it all covered. I felt like a princess. When I talked to her on the phone Christmas day and told her I knew everything it was really fun. She was so happy for us and thought the whole thing was wonderful. It was. Everything was WONDERFUL.
When we got home from our trip we had a stomach bug so the new toilets got use right away! LOL! They flush so fast. It's fantastic. To be so excited about toilets is hilarious! I called a very good friend of ours, a family we enjoy having over, and told them the news right away. They had just been to our house before we left on our trip. We are so happy we can have company over without telling people they'd be better off just not pooping at our house. Hahahaaaaaa.

Because of the excitement I can't remember which surprise came first but the surprises just kept on coming! I believe this is what happened next...

My sister, Heather, the youngest of us five kids gave every household a tall package. Inside was a frame full of old pictures. Everyone loves old pictures! Childhood pictures of myself, my family. It's really special and priceless. She made several for our parents. One of each of their sides of the family, one of just them, and one of them and their 5 kids. The hours she poured into it was unbelievable.

Then everyone, one per household, opened up a tiny gift box. Inside was a flash drive. She explained that she had scanned, over the course of just about a month, 12,000+ old photos from mom and dads photo albums and photo storage. Baby photos of them, of us, family pictures and thousands of old snap shots now all digital and on the drive we each held. It was unbelievable. I knew instantly the amount of work that was. I cried! Her fingers hurt, her eyes were seeing nothing but pictures, she was sleep deprived. I'm a picture person and I spend a lot of time on my pictures. I can not imagine taking on a project like she did. For an entire day I was in shock that I now had all those treasured photographs. I love pictures. Memories are so important to me. It's why I write this blog and it's why I take insane amounts of pictures.

What a blessing my family is, and what a beautiful time we had. Both those gifts are life changing to us. The appliances because they make our life easier and better, the photos because they are treasures that can be passed on for generations to come. I can't wait to put some old photos on our walls!

 Photos of my dad
My Great Grandma
My Grandma reading to her kids
My Aunts!
My Uncle Doyle

5 kids (I'm the oldest)
My sister, Christy, and me
12,000 photos... can you imagine?


Arkay said...

When you are a family and household built on love-the love comes back at you from all directions. When you radiate love, the love radiates back. <3

Rebecca said...

How amazing. What a happy Christmas!

Kimberly said...

OMG this made me cry happy tears, too! What WONDERFUL gifts! Truly thoughtful, and from deep in the heart!

And holy smokes, I know everyone says it the other way around, but you are like a little Charlotte in that last picture!!!

Love you guys so much!