Well, it's been an interesting week.
One week ago today we were loading the car for my husband's Big Family Christmas Eve Celebration and Pierogi Festival. It was a busy, loud, good day. I got a kick out of the little kids: these are the children of the cousins who were little kids when I first met my husband! Although we don't all get together much, the kids were quite sociable and comfortable around the adults and each other--what a credit to their parents.
My mother-in-law came back here with us after Christmas Eve and spent Christmas with us. As we have done for the past several years, we spent Christmas at home. Now that there are teenagers in the house, we let the kids open gifts as they wake up instead of waiting for everyone. The folk group played at the 11:00 Mass, and we had a FULL choir area. I don't think we could have fit one more person in there, and the 5 guitars had a lot to do with that. What a testament to the group, ranging from age 62 to the 5-year-olds who come along with their parents! We're there because we love what we do. And on Christmas, everybody sings along. There's no better way to give God the glory.
After church we came home to prepare dinner and just hang out. Big Brother's girlfriend came over to have dinner with us. We had a gift for her, and I had gotten her a funky stocking and put some fun stocking stuffers in with the gift as well.
On Christmas: The Day After, we dropped off my mother-in-law and then headed to my parents' house. It was a full house with both my siblings and their families, my parents, my great-aunt, my uncle, one cousin, and one niece's boyfriend. The day featured lots of presents, lots of laughing, lots of food, and lots of cousins playing card games like "Old Maid," "Go Fish," and "B.S."
Then it was Middle Sister's birthday, a big chunk of which my husband spent in the Verizon store procuring iPhones for me and Middle Sister. That's a gift neither of us thought we'd ever receive and I've been having some fun with it--though there's plenty still to be learned. I made her a giant cookie cake AND an apple pie. She spent some time with her friends, and after dinner, our neighbors came over for dessert.
TheDad had been talking all week about going to Pittsburgh; no one knows why he wanted to go to Pittsburgh in December, but he did, so we did. I refused to leave the house until he'd made a hotel reservation--there was no way I was going to play the "No Room at the Inn" game after driving for 5+ hours. We drove across Pennsylvania, with a detour to Shady Maple Smorgasbord for lunch. There was all the usual bickering that driving 5+ hours with 3 kids involves. For a few minutes there I thought there might be bloodshed in the buffet line (thanks, boys...)
TheDad's new GPS totally failed Pittsburgh. Maybe the highways are just too close together, I don't know, but we were driving on "unnamed roads" a lot of the time, according to TomTom, and spent a good bit of time being told to make a U-turn when we were in a cattleshoot of Jersey barriers on a four-lane highway.
We went to a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch and had Pho. I'm glad I picked up some lemongrass at Penzeys, because I want to learn to make this soup!
We spent the afternoon at the Carnegie Science Center (consensus: it's cool, but Franklin Institute is way better) and then took a ride up and down the Monongahela Incline.
And bright and early yesterday morning, it was back on the road again to head home. We were back by 3 and I've got plenty of laundry to keep me busy all day. Though I love the Hampton Inn's comfortable beds, it was wonderful to be back at home in my own.
I really am a homebody. It was an enjoyable trip but I do love being in my own home.
We'll ring in the New Year with friends, as usual, at their home. I look forward to it, except for the staying-up-late part. I turn into a pumpkin at about 9 PM.
Today, besides laundry, I'll be cooking or baking something to bring along with us tonight--as soon as I figure out what that will be!
Except for that 3-day detour to Pittsburgh, this has been our usual Christmas vacation. I'm kind of looking forward to Tuesday when they're all back at work or school and the house is quiet once again.