The best part of the holidays this year was having my son visit from Denver.  When we decided to move, Jake decided to stay.  He’s 20 and has a stable, good-paying job back there.  He also has an extremely connected social life.  I get it.  I was 22 when I up and left Chicago for Phoenix on a whim.  He is a free-spirit.  More like me.  But it’s difficult being a mom and having one of my chicks out of the nest sometimes.  I feel so blessed that he was able to take some time off and come visit this Christmas.

He arrived on Thursday and we just had a low-key evening.  Kenzie was so excited to see her brother.  It was good for all of us having him home.  Friday we had family photos taken by the talented Alisha Rudd and I’m so thankful we did.  She captured us so well.  Friday night we went to see the lights at the botanic gardens.  It was a little strange recreating that tradition in a new state.  One in which we didn’t need heavy coats, scarves, mittens and hats.  It was around 60 degrees that evening.  A light jacket did the trick, while back in Denver it was hovering around 16 degrees.  Brrrrr chilly!

Saturday we went to see the house.  Progress once again.  The granite is all in and it looks AMAZING.  Backsplash was in as well only they didn’t honor my change request.  Immediately after I picked the backsplash (gray subway tile) I had a nagging need to change it to the more classic white subway tile.  Now, I have to admit, I actually love it in the kitchen and wonder if a white backsplash would make everything too white in that room.  It makes the gray in the granite pop for sure.


However, in the Mater bath — it’s more like a fancy … prison.  I HATE it.  It’s just gray and COLD.  Blech.


Upon arriving home I reached out to our realtor, alerted him to the issue and that I was penning an email with the email trail from July where I requested, and the builder agreed to change, the tile to white.  I asked them to change the tile to white in the MB but leave the gray in the kitchen.  I think that’s a fair compromise.  And I appreciate the work this will take and the craftsmanship that went into the first round, but if I have to look at that bathroom for the rest of my life I might go insane.  The builder will address it today but gave us a positive vibe that they would rectify the issue.  Go Fielding.  We have really enjoyed working with this builder.

Saturday night was rough.  Very “family reality” if I do say so.  Jake works hard and long hours, and lets face it — he’s 20.  He’s selfish.  We moved Kenzie here during her senior year.  She suffers from anxiety and is extremely introverted.  She has not made connections yet.  She has been counting the days until her brother arrived.  Jake on the other hand enjoys living on his own and enjoys playing video games with friends when he has the time.  He’s been working a ton of OT lately and has been counting the days to visit as a break from work.  He brought a gaming counsel with him and Saturday night sat down to a few hours of play.  Kenzie asked when he would be done, Jake snapped at her, she got emotional and Frank swooped in, the protective father.  He’s always had issue with Jake’s level of independence and has always felt the need to “control” the situation, which just leads to high tension and fighting.  Especially now that Jake is an adult.  Things blew up.  Kenzie cried, I cried, and even Jake was choked up in the end.  And Frank felt like an ass.  It was a mess.  We all went to bed upset, which wasn’t great.  Frank spent half the night texting messages to his son in hopes of repairing the damage.  Things were better in the morning and everyone seemed to move forward.  Jake is not the cause of Kenzie’s sadness, nor is he the solution.  I think Frank gets that – but it’s hard as a parent to see your child so sad.

Sunday we made it to church.  We have started going to New River, a non-denominational bible-based Christian church.  We love it.  We were attending another church for the first few months, but in the end, it wasn’t a good fit.  Frank and Kenzie weren’t excited to go on Sundays.  New River feels more like Plum Creek, and that is simply a better fit.  And bonus, our photographer, Alisha, attends there as well.  Small world.  I’m excited to begin building connections there.  After church, we came home, threw on the Ham and watched Elf, because who doesn’t watch Elf when getting into the Christmas spirit.  At 6:00p we opened our PJs and changed.  We all managed to head to bed around midnight.


Christmas morning I woke at 5am.  Wide awake.  Like I still had little kiddos.  Ha.  I went out to the living room, enjoyed the soft light of the tree once last time and texted or FBd all of our friends and family with Christmas wishes and finally fell back asleep around 6:30a.  Frank woke up about an hour later and finally the kiddos woke around 8:00a.  Opening of the presents commenced and both Jake and Kenzie seemed happy with their gifts.  As did I!  I got a gift card to Ballards — and an IOU for a punching bag with stand for the new house.  I am psyched about that! 🙂  Jake got some clothes and cash — and of course his traditional Ripley’s and Guinness books (10 years of collecting and it’s still not old), and Kenzie got her most desired gift – a MacBook Pro.  She almost cried.  It’s been a long-desire of her heart.  Along with the gifts we just enjoyed the time we had together.  It’s special to spend the holiday now that it takes more planning.  My heart was full having my children with us.

The only thing missing from the holidays this year was my sister.  Cathy is SICK.  Upper respiratory infection for sure.  She spiked a fever last Tuesday and Wednesday.  Her staff called me on Wednesday to alert me to the possibility.  For anyone reading who is unfamiliar, my sister Cathy is mentally challenged.  She lives in an independent small house facility in the Chicago area, near where we grew up.  There are 8 men and 8 women who reside in this facility along with 24 hour nursing staff.  She is highly functional other than she can’t read or right — and she’s emotionally around 8-12.  Change is hard for Cathy.  I quickly sent her all of her gifts overnight on Thursday so she would definitely have them for Xmas.  And my cousin Kerry is going to visit her this week, but it’s still not the same.  We called her on Christmas as a family and we’ll have her come in April to see the house once we’re in.  That will be nice.  But it’s not the same, and definitely not the same to her.  Just bad timing.

We also missed Christmas Eve at my brother Steve’s.  They were great to send us gifts ahead, just to remind us they were thinking of us.  And his son, my nephew Josh, lives in Orlando with his girlfriend.  They are considering road-tripping here for New Year’s — that would be so great.  An entire holiday season spent with family.  I hope that works out.

Jake leaves for home today.  We’ve mended fences, enjoyed our time and now I’m sure he’s ready to get back to his independent ways, but for a moment this momma’s heart was happy to have him back in the nest.  I’m proud of the man he’s becoming.  He’s got some room to grow still, but don’t we all?  I think in the end, we will all miss him.  Even Archie…


One Reply to “Family…”

  1. You have an awesome family! It can be hard at Jake age because even if you don’t try the world just revolves around you when you’re that young. I think it’s fantastic that you all got the chance to spend the holidays together. I got a new computer for Xmas so I know how happy your daughter must be. I’m so very proud of you all for not letting a rough night ruin the holiday! That is a huge accomplishment. Enjoy your day and thanks for the post I always look forward to your writing.


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