We got back last night after five days full of holiday cheer in Seattle. It was great fun to see both our families and friends and brave the crazy snow around Puget Sound. I only have a few photos, but am hoping to get more in the mail/email over the next couple weeks.
We were lucky that our travel plans coincided with a lull in the weather. We took a gamble that Owen would sleep through the drive if we drove at night, and it paid off! Minus a couple quick pull overs to rescue a binky tossed under a seat, a 40 mile (planned) detour due to construction, and 30 minutes wandering through Toppenish looking for an open bathroom at 11 PM, we had a very uneventful drive. We got to my parents house (all the way up, up, up, up their hill) at 1:30 AM, and had Owen back asleep by 2:00. I didn't get much sleep that night (does a hour dozing on the blue couch with Owen aleep on my shoulder count?), but at least we were there. By 6:30, our car had another 3 inches of fresh snow on it!
Christmas Eve was with the Boettchers. My brother hiked up the hill through the snow and was rewarded with Rock Band for his Xbox. That kept us all rockin' for the rest of the evening. After Owen crashed (a hard day of playing with mom's old toys will do that to you), my dad barbequed steak in the snow and we broke out the Wii for some tennis (I put a dent in the wall...), golf, bowling, and boxing (my best game). We opened presents Christmas morning, had french toast, and then Scott had to put on the chains to get us down the hill.
We braved the snow through Seattle to reach the Maxwells for Christmas afternoon and dinner. The whole family was there and we had a great time opening gifts, catching up, playing more wii, and devouring prime rib and potatoes (and a few more snacky foods along the way!). We kept commenting that Christmas is a lot more fun with little ones around. Owen and Calla were so cute with their matching Tonka trucks.
It was great fun to see how much Calla has grown and share mommy stories with Sara. Calla is 9 months old and such a happy baby. Now that her eczema is under conrol, she is very content and generally happy. She loves to study faces and is such a talker - she babbles as falling asleep, after eating, etc!! She and Owen are like matching opposites. Same shape, opposite personality. We're looking forward to many years of holidays watching the cousins together.
On Friday, we had our montessori group brunch (25+ years and counting) and then took Owen to meet Scott's grandpa. It was a special opportunity to see him, as he is in hospice care. We got to take a "four generations" photo with Bill, Jeff, Scott, and Owen.
On Saturday, I connected with Amy (and Sam - nearly 2) and Katie (with Billy - 10 months). The three boys tore Amy's house apart and us gals got to catch up after way too long. We also had a major Wouters Family (Scott's mom) gathering on Saturday afternoon with all four Wouters siblings and Scott's cousins. 20 people in all makes for a full and loud house!
As if that weren't enough, Scott and I ducked out Saturday night, left Scott's mom monitoring the sleeping baby, and met Spencer and Jonny (and Beth and Amy) for a few beers and a rousing game of Apples to Apples. If you live in Seattle and haven't been to Cooper pub on Lake City Way, it's worth a visit. Beer and Board Games - great combo!
On Sunday, we were privledged to attend Calla's baptism at UPC. For such a large church, it was a beautifully intimate ceremony. We had to dash out of the reception a bit early to hit the road, but we're glad we were able to be there for Calla's special day.
Our drive home was quick (only 6 hours!) and my mom was with us to help entertain Owen.
If that's not five days of Holiday Cheer, I'm not sure what is. After all the fun, we are glad to be back home. We're paying for all the fun with a few yucky head colds, but it was worth it!
For those still reading, here's my favorite shot of the festivities...