Monday, January 20, 2014

*Home for the Holidays... Our Holiday Journey December 2013*

As it was our first married Christmas this year we knew we were going to have a TON of traveling to do this year.  We wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible with both families... PLUS we had a trip to Florida planned at the end of the holidays, so we knew it was going to be rough trying to squeeze everything in.  We had a plan to make it all work though and we were determined to be able to spend as much time with each family as possible.

On Monday the 23rd we headed to Millerstown to start our holiday off with M's family.  It was their year to have us for Christmas Eve & Christmas, so since we were going to have to cut our Christmas day visit a bit short we headed out a day early so that we could spend a little more time with them.  We got there Monday night in time for dinner with M's mom.  After dinner we helped her decorate their family Christmas tree.

Decorating the Millerstown tree

Christmas Eve during the day was pretty uneventful.  We basically hung out and I finished writing all of our Christmas cards.  We had a traditional shrimp and homemade fries dinner (M's family has it EVERY year for Christmas Eve) before getting ready to head to church for the Christmas Eve service.  Christmas Eve service was nice... a bit different from years past... more music than ever... but it was nice.  After church we headed back to open presents.  Once again M's family completely spoiled us with gifts... but I particularly loved the quilt that M's mom knitted for us... she has been working on it for about 2 years now and it meant a lot that she made something like that for us.  I also enjoyed M's mom's face when we gave her a new cell phone as hers had definitely seen better days.  We had such a great time laughing, opening presents and spending time together that I was sad to see the night end.

Super excited about her new cell phone from us
Our 1st Married Christmas Eve
Christmas morning was very low key.  We had breakfast together before starting to get ready for Christmas lunch.  Some of M's family joined us for lunch and it was fantastic to be able to spend some time with everyone.  I feel like we don't get to see  them nearly enough and it was nice to have the quality time with them.

After lunch we were able to hang around a bit more before heading to NJ for Christmas part 2 with my family.  We tried to time it so that we would get to NJ as my family was finishing dinner, but of course it wouldn't be a holiday dinner with my family if something didn't go wrong and if dinner wasn't on time.  Christmas night at my parent's was very low key.  Had dessert with the family and just hung out by the fire until everyone was too tired to talk anymore and we all went to bed.

Thursday morning we did my family's typical Christmas celebration.  We got up, opened presents, and then had a breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast.  Opening presents at my parents is always fun... I particularly love seeing my Grammy's reaction to her presents... especially when they have cardinals on them.  (Grammy is a HUGE fan of cardinals as they were her high school mascot).  After breakfast we spent the day hanging out together before having a nice family dinner.  After dinner it was more just hanging out and catching up around the fire... and of course we had some eggnog!

Love the fireplace at Christmastime!
NJ Christmas tree
Dad loved his nutcracker ornament
Grammy's Christmas tree
Our 1st Married Christmas
We all went to bed fairly early as Friday was going to be a long day for most of us.  Mom & Dad were headed into NYC to the Botanical Gardens for the Holiday Train Show (M & my birthday present to dad) and we were headed back to West Chester to unpack, repack and head to the airport to head to Florida!

As always... today I am thankful that we are lucky enough to live close enough to both our families to be able to spend so much time with them.  So many of our friends do not have family members close by and we are so incredibly blessed that we get to see our families as much as we do.  Of course we definitely don't get to see them as often as we would like due to crazy schedules, but it is always nice to know that they are only are car ride away should we need them (or should they need us).  

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