Living so far from any of our families, we have developed a 3-year travel rotation for the holidays. Year one: Ohio with Dawn’s parents on Christmas, travel from Ohio to St. Louis for my family, and home by New Year’s Eve. Year two: St. Louis on Christmas, Ohio immediately after, home by New Year’s Eve. Year three: stay home. Can I just say, I love those year 3s? And this year…it was a year 3! Dawn’s parents cannot make the 12 hour trip anymore, so they sent presents with us when we were there for Thanksgiving. My family was unable to coordinate one weekend to visit, so we ended up with three celebrations this year.
My dad and his partner, S, came to visit the weekend of the 11th. We went tromping around in the cold and snow to find the perfect tree. We chopped down, drug home, and decorated said tree. We ate, laughed, visited, and opened gifts. Olivia got the DSi she had begged for. Owen received a very large, red, remote-controlled dinosaur–I am not sure if he or my dad enjoyed it more. We even got an extra day to visit because an ice storm stretching the entire length of Illinois prevented their return home as scheduled.
The following weekend, my mom made the same trip up. Her husband, J, came down with the flu and was unable to make the trip. We were all disappointed, but the kids were especially sad that Grandpa wouldn’t be there to play “monster” with them. Again, we ate, laughed, and chatted. The gift opening was a blur of flying paper that ended with all sorts and varieties of new clothes and playthings. I have tried to get my mom on board with the less is more concept, but it just doesn’t seem to fly. Oh, well.
We enjoyed a lovely, laid back Christmas morning. We peeked in stockings, popped cinnamon rolls in the oven, and opened gifts while they baked. It was so nice to spend the rest of the day in our own house, just the five of us. No agenda, no schedule. Olivia’s main gift was a pair of tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet, so we spent a fair amount of time researching the ballet itself as well as our seating location and nearby restaurants. Owen spent hours arranging and rearranging the furniture in his new doll house. Amelia stacked blocks and danced to Christmas music (oh, so adorable!). Dawn and I relaxed and revelled at how awesome our little family is. A wonderful Christmas, indeed.