Christmas trip (final post)

I had a really wonderful time seeing everybody while we were up north.  It wasn’t all just about the kids.  It had been a long time since I’d seen everybody and I really enjoyed getting to spend time with everybody.

We very much appreciated Tim coming to the airport to collect us.  And lending us a truck with 4-wheel drive so we could get around independently and not worry about getting stuck in the snow.  And Erica and Tim for letting us stay on the floor of their house so many nights.

I finally got to see the properties my parents are working on in Wisconsin.  I’d seen one of them, but not since they’d taken down walls and put up new walls and redone the kitchen and so many other things.  It’s looking great!  I’d never seen the house they have out in the next town over, and that one is super cute.  There’s still a lot to be done there, but it’s come a long way since the pictures I saw of it, and it’s going to be amazing once they finish it.

Justin and I also went out and looked at the property where they’re hoping to build eventually.  Dad took us out there in the dark and drove us around, and then we came back the next morning to see it in the daylight.  It’s got some amazing views!  When you’re coming from the low country, where everything is flat, standing on the top of a hill and looking out across other hills and pastures and fields to the Blue Hills is really a beautiful sight.  It’s a great piece of property.

Of course, the snow kept us from staying in Wisconsin as long as I was hoping to stay.  We went back to Minnesota with Mom and Dad to avoid getting snowed in so far from everybody else.  It was a little strange how we ended up working the holiday around the snow – I’m not used to opening everything on Christmas Eve.  But it was so much fun sitting around and watching the kids open presents, and then opening presents for all the adults with the kids helping.  I’m so glad that Luke and Krista were able to make it, with all their airport troubles.  It wouldn’t have been at all the same without them there.

I wish we could have spent more time together as a whole family, but there just wasn’t space enough for that.  So Justin and I spent time with Nathan and Amy and their kids while Mom, Dad, Luke, and Krista spent time with Erica, Tim, and their daughter.  We all had a fun time at our respective homes, sitting out the storm and playing in the snow.  And we had a good time when we all got together on Saturday for the Christmas dinner we didn’t have on Christmas.

Again, we left earlier than originally anticipated.  Justin’s allergies were getting really worked up for some reason, traveling and staying in so many different places and the cold and who really knows why.  We checked into a hotel for the night to let his sinuses clear up a little bit.  It was a nice hotel; our room was so cute!  There was only one bed, and after so much traveling with groups of people, I’m still not used to the idea that a room could have only one bed instead of two.  I think this was the second room that I’ve ever stayed in that had only one bed.  And the water pressure in the shower was so strong!  And we both enjoyed taking long showers without worrying about using up all the hot water before everybody else got a shower.

The next day, we took Tim, Erica, their munchkin, Luke, and Krista to lunch at Five Guys.  We’re enamored with this restaurant right now.  Best.  Burgers.  Ever.  So yummy.  After lunch, we had to say good bye to Luke and Krista as they went back to the airport, and Justin, Erica, and I wandered around the Container Store for a while before she went home to put the munchkin to bed and Justin and I went to the Mall of America to meet up with my friend Sara.

That was so much fun!  We wandered around the whole mall.  Justin figured it took us an average of an hour per floor for the 3 lower floors.  There really isn’t anything much on the fourth floor unless you’re going to the theatre, restaurants, or exhibits.  And since the exhibit was closed by the time we got there, we left.  But we wandered for hours along the other three floors, picking up a few things here and there (Order of the Stick board game for him, stuffed cow for me).  We went through the mirror maze and I would have gotten completely lost and panicked if they’d left me behind.  We drooled over a Bose home theatre system.  We were in that mall for a long time.

And then we went to her house, which I’d never seen, and it’s so cute!  She and her dad have done some work on it tearing up the carpet and restoring the hardwood floors.  Its’ a delightful home and it reflects her perfectly.

And then we went out for Indian food and it was delicious!

I’ve fallen into the chronological thing that I was trying to avoid by writing about the trip in separate posts.  It just gets so long when I write this way!

So that was Sunday, we left early Wednesday morning.  In between Sunday and Wednesday, we spent time at Erica’s house, went back to the Container Store so I could wander for a long time, went to see Avatar at the IMAX, went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch, and spent time with Erica, Tim, and their daughter.  Tim took us to the airport crazy early in the morning and we flew home without any problems at all, back to the warmer, more humid weather of South Carolina.

It was a great trip and I’m so glad that we were able to make it.  I’m already starting to think about how we can do it even better the next time we all get together.  Other than at Luke and Krista’s wedding, I mean.  That’s their party!  But next Thanksgiving or Christmas or whenever we’re together, how we can do this with less stress for people and better communication about plans and all those things.  We’re a family of planners!  This is what we do.  🙂

I’ve hit the end of the second page on this document, so I’ve really got to stop.  And I think this will probably be the end of the posts about Christmas.  I’ve written a lot and it’s about as much as my attention span can handle.  I want to write about other things!  But I had such a wonderful time and it was so good to see all of you and I can’t wait until the wedding so I can see all of you again!

Love to you all!