We packed our bags and got in the car for a two hour drive to Connecticut the Saturday after Christmas. It was our turn to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. The drive to Connecticut was slow moving. We got stuck in loads of traffic and delays, but we made it there before dinner. On the drive to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, we passed the exit for Newtown/Sandy Hook. It was really upsetting to think about what happened there around Christmastime last year. I held back my emotions as we drove passed a small memorial on the side of the road of one big American flag surrounded by smaller ones and said a silent prayer as we continued on our way to celebrate with our family. It’s so sad to think about all of those families trying to move forward, but will never fully heal from that day. It’s humbling and makes you really glad for the little things you take for granted every day.
We were the last to arrive at my family’s home. My parents, sisters, brother, sister-in-law and niece were already settled in at the house. One of the first things we did was exchange gifts. As grateful as I was for every gift I received, I loved watching everyone else open their gifts more. I loved all of the gifts I received (candles, Starbucks cards, coffee mugs and then some), but one of my favorite gifts came from my sisters. They collaborated on a Wizard of Oz themed gift for me that included the book Everything Oz. I never even knew such a book existed! I was so excited looking through the book and all of the projects included. I can’t wait to try some of the Oz inspired projects. You might even see a project or two from the book on the blog eventually!
The table was set for a big family dinner where we enjoyed lots of food and conversation. After dinner and, of course, dessert, my husband and I went outside with my nephew to play some basketball. Basketball turned into stargazing and my nephew brought his telescope outside so we could get a closer look at the stars. I had no idea my nephew was into astronomy, but it made me happy to have that in common with him. We came inside to warm up and huddled around some video games, then changed into our PJ’s. I played one unsuccessful game of Left Center Right and then headed to the guest room where my husband was already asleep.
We all seemed to wake up one group at a time the next morning and gathered around the table for breakfast. After starting the day with bagels, coffee and juice, my husband and I packed up our bags and said our good-byes to head home before the rain came. We got home just before lunch (and the rain) and put our things away. There are still signs of Christmas in our home (like the glitter that doesn’t seem to want to go away despite my efforts to clean it all up), but it’s all over for another year. Just like that! All that prep, all that wrapping, all that celebrating–it’s all put away for another year. It goes so fast, but we had a great Christmas. Now it’s time to take advantage of a whole new year ahead of us.