We live out East. My family lives out West. I don't see them much. This is why I gave up my Friday night to drive 6 hours (round trip) (driving until 4:00 am) to pick up my Mom, sister Dana, and brother Kevin from O'Hare in Chicago so they could spend the week before Christmas with me.
Good thing it was worth it.We had a pretty busy week--and I started the whole thing off by playing frisbee in the snow (yay for free babysitting!), dragging them along to the ward party (and asking them to help set up tables), and getting the flu. Thankfully, that last one only applied to me, but it left me out of commission from Saturday night to Monday morning. In retrospect, it wasn't a terrible way to start the vacation because it left me with very little appetite for several days, even though my Mom was cooking some of her specialties. (My appetite has since returned in full force, just in case you were worried) I felt awful about sending them to church without me, skipping the
musical number I was supposed to help out with, and overall being a very lame host. However, my kids enjoyed the intense bonding time with relatives they don't see very often.We spent the the week doing the usual Christmas prep--shopping, wrapping, baking, movie-watching, etc. My kids enjoyed beating up on their uncle. Kevin quickly learned the signs for "hurt," "no," and "don't." Later on in the week, he expanded his sign vocabulary to "Don't hit me with the blue dinosaur." My kids loved having family in town!We had a fun Christmas Eve. In the morning, we dragged Kevin along to a special session of Ultimate Frisbee in the snow, and then returned home for some massive baking. After assembling plates of goodies, he headed out caroling and adding to the overall Christmas calorie count of some of our friends and their families. We returned home for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of burgers and rice pudding. We acted out the Christmas story (Dana played a shepherd, Rachel is always Mary because she thinks its funny to put a doll up her shirt). We let the kids open one present before bed.
(the boys thought their new pjs' gave them special spider man/toy story powers)(Kevin gave Hannah a ride to bed)Dana was excited for all the stuff that happens after the kids go to bed--who wouldn't be? We totally forgot to leave Santa a plate of cookies, but we'll send him a thank-you note to make up for it.
One special tradition we have--we use our baby gate to lock the kids in the hallway so they don't sneak out to the tree to open presents before we're ready. I think its pretty funny.
We enjoyed our Christmas a lot, and I'm glad my family could come. I had a blast playing Just Dance, watching my kids beat up on them/bond with them, and felt a little less disconnected with my west coast family. I drove them back to the airport Christmas afternoon, and spent the next day recovering before our next adventure....