And we're BACK!
After a multi-week break you know it's going to be a long one. Do yourself a favor and go to the bathroom, grab a snack and put on your jammies before you settle in.
Who's house? Carl's House! - We set out at 7 AM (which was actually an hour later than we had planned) after going to bed at 1 AM and getting up at 5:30. We had good traffic and good weather and made it to Murfreesboro, TN to spend the night at my brother Carl's house. He greeted me at the gas station by chastising my inadvertent support of Hugo Chavez, I called him a Yuppie Republican and we joked about my carbon footprint. Because that's what you do when you haven't seen each other in 3.5 years. We had an AWESOME night/morning hanging out with the Tennessee Kilgore's. Carissa is as cute in person as she is in pictures and Tyler and Drew are about 5 feet taller than the last time I saw them. Kendra is still as skinny as the day is long and Carl is still a DORK. They took us to a great Mexican place where Carissa danced her hiney off before settling onto my lap to finish off my dessert. When you're that cute you get whatever you want.
On the road again - The party didn't last long, though. We got on the road by 9 the next morning to head to my parent's house. Again we had pretty stellar traffic and we somehow missed the blizzard that everyone was expecting. I'm sure it hit somewhere but it wasn't near us. Which was slightly disappointing because I was hoping for a semi-white Christmas. We made it into town before midnight and got settled.
The Cast - By Sunday everyone had arrived. Lylla, Mike and new baby Emma came by for a visit after church and we made white chili for everyone. Chrysta, Karl and their munchkins Hudson, Cannon and Keaton arrived about 24 hours after us. We were all treated to the Keaton Experience. I could tell you about how big and tall this almost-9-month-old is, but it's something that you have to witness with your own eyes and feel with your own hands. Words don't do him justice.
Twas the Night Before Christmas - So at my house Christmas Eve is the big to-do. I think this originated sometime during my childhood but I'm not sure. Regardless, it's the best night of the year. The family gathers with our extended family - Matt, Deb, Mason, Chase, Steve and Gracia Blanchard - and we eat finger food, sing songs, do the nativity, read Luke 2 and open presents. And if you're Deb you do all this whilst looking crazy good in a Side Pony of all things. Because you're Deb and you can do that. Oftentimes we will end the night by joining said Blanchards at their church for midnight mass. But this year no one was feeling very Lutheran or something because we didn't go. Sorry Blanchards. You can totally count us in for next time.
Twilight; Part Deux - Christmas night Bird and I headed over the theater to see Twilight because she HAD NOT SEEN IT (and yet claims to be a fan of the books....sure you are, Bird. Sure you are.). I was very pleasantly surprised that the movie was okay the second time around. I didn't love it the first time and I didn't love it the second time. It was slightly better because of the way less bedazzled face on Edward (good job on the editing, Twilight Movie Editing People), but I still have higher hopes for the rest of the series.
Party Like it's 1999 - Or 1998. The day after Christmas my graduating class had an Ad Hoc Reunion. That was literally the name of it. Put together by the Awesome Miss Lauren. That's literally her name. So fun I forgot to pull out my camera (per the usual). Unfortunately Cameron was at home puking so I had to leave before the arrival of Matt Reedy. If you knew him you'd know that's a travesty.
Thank Heaven for Little Girls - One of the major reasons I wanted to be home for Christmas this year was to meet Emma, my newest neice, and be there for her blessing. When I arrived I found out that Emma didn't have a blessing dress yet! So Chrysta and I took it upon ourselves to see to it that Emma was dressed to the nines. We scooped up an adorable dress at Strasburg Children, I made an ENORMOUS bow and head band and then let Chrysta do her Martha Stewart business on the blanket and ruffley ribbon socks. The overall result was really, really, ridiculously good looking. And Mike did a wonderful job on the blessing. And I spent the entire sacrament meeting sitting in the hall with Sophie who was being a huge diva.
Cheers! (and Cheers Also Too) - The Saturday after Christmas we all got together at Bed's house for a little surprise baby shower for Lylla. The surprise part of it was her arriving before anyone else. So when we showed up she slid Risky-Business-Style into view doing jazz hands and shouting "Surprise!" I yelled back that she was the one with a newborn and it would be nice just for once for her to be late somewhere...But despite the tardiness on our part the party kicked off with Bed handing us yummy drinks in her prized Cheers and Cheers Also Too glasses (the glasses, it should be noted, that have replaced her very valuable antique dishes from her grandmother on the top shelf of her China cabinet). We ate pizza, played silly party games and decorated onesies with puff paint (all the while assuring Gracia that if she had her glasses, more practice and was right-handed she would have done a first-rate job!). The night ended with a nut-free, egg-free cake that was delicious and I took home my very own loaf of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread. It was awesome, Bed.
BFF's - Because of SickFest 2008 (which doesn't deserve it's own blog - it deserves NOTHING!) I didn't get to see as many people as I wanted to. I did, however, have the privilege of seeing Malissa, a BFF from high school. We ate chicken, played Wii and reminisced about every weekend of our senior year when the two of us, plus our three other BFF's Alexis, Jana and Jill, would spend the night at my house and go out at 3 AM to eat waffles at the Hearth. New Year's Day my college BFF, Pittsburgh Sara, came to visit. Contrary to popular belief Pittsburgh Sara actually lives and works outside of D.C. Anyway, she came up and we watched a small part of the Rose Bowl, ate Oyster Soup and got caught up. If I had my way I would own a private jet and go see these girls whenever I felt like it...BFF's make the world go 'round.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun - The BEST part of being home, hands-down, was hanging with my sisters. The Kilgore Sisters Ride Again was so awesome it's hard to explain. There are no words. I just love, love, LOVE my three sisters. It was a HUGE bummer to miss out on Kathryn, Christy and Sara, though. I'm counting down the days until our next reunion!
Homeward Bound - By the end of our trip I was feeling ready to go home. The kids were off their schedules and acting like maniacs. And I just couldn't wait to get home and put Sophie in her OWN ROOM so I could get some sleep again. So on Jan. 2 we packed up and rode out of town; back the way we came. We made Memphis by midnight, Sophie woke up at 4:45 AM and thus started day two of the trip. We were home by 3 PM. And I was completely unpacked by yesterday afternoon (I did laundry on Saturday but didn't do any other unpacking until Monday morning). Chase had a couple Inventory Observations yesterday and today and heads back to work for real tomorrow - busy season, don't you know.
p.s. Since it already took me, like, 3 years to upload pics to facebook you can go here to check them out. I swear I'll put pics on the blog soon. So much redundancy with facebook and blogs...