Our 8-day Christmas Adventure began the Thursday before Christmas in a suburban – my husband and I in the captain’s chairs up front and our oldest daughter in the first bench seat back and our youngest daughter in the bench seat after that.  It was warm, spacious and my youngest spent the first half of our 8-hour drive fast asleep while I put a movie on my laptop for my oldest and I to watch while my husband listened to the audio.  It was a good trip, lots of pretty scenery as we wound our way through the river road, up and over the pass and through tiny little towns in the middle of nowhere.  Although we could see snow here and there the roads were bare and dry and we arrived safely at my father and step-mom’s house about 10 pm.

Unfortunately we could only stay for two nights and one full day but it was a nice day, we had a fabulous Christmas dinner of ham, assorted salads, scalloped potatoes, olives and finished dinner up with a lovely banana cream pie.  We exchanged gifts and watched a couple of movies together, played a few games of cards and while it didn’t work out to have a private conversation with my father I took a walk with my step-mother and we talked a bit.  It’s been a rough year with them, relationship-wise, and I think the visit helped to start the healing process – at least with her and hopefully I can work on re-establishing communication with my father this coming year.  He gave me one of his old cameras after I mentioned mine was broke – and I wasn’t even hinting or asking for another camera, I was just trying to explain why I wasn’t taking family pictures while he was!  It was kind of an awkward time but overall it was a good visit with family.

Saturday we drove to one of my brother’s house, about a 4 hour trip, but an hour or so away our transmission broke and we lost Overdrive, 2nd gear and Reverse.  Holding our breath we slowly drove the rest of the way to my brothers but we made it safely, yay!

At my brother’s house on the backside of a mountain we had a get-together with both of him and his family and my other brother and his family came over as well.  Unfortunately our sister was sick and unable to come to Christmas; I missed seeing her so much!  We had ham, mashed potatoes, green salad, a veggie tray, chips, sodas and baked goodies for dessert.  Instead of buying everyone a gift we did a White Elephant Gift Exchange instead and I took lots of fun pictures of the 10 cousins opening and “stealing” gifts.  When it was all over and I shared childhood memories of the times before our parents had divorced with the brother that was hosting us and his wife.  She seemed fascinated but he looked unhappy.  I wondered if it was because so many of my memories included the phrase “I knew I couldn’t tell Mom because she would get mad” or “Mom was so mad at me”, something my sister-in-law noticed and commented on.  The next day when my husband asked him about it my brother said he barely remembered my stories because he was too tired.  Hmmm…  That night it snowed almost a foot – if we thought it was beautiful before, wow!

Sunday morning we borrowed a teeny, tiny pickup truck from my brother, squeezed our two teenaged daughters into the side-facing rear seats and traveled through a Winter Wonderland – pine trees with snowy boughs and unplowed roads, snowflakes falling as we drove, we even saw a moose with huge antlers!  It was a much-needed infusion of Christmas…  We went to church with my husband’s parents, had lunch and then visited some friends before going back to my brother’s house to spend more time with them.

Monday, Christmas Eve, belonged to my husband’s parents.  We limped our suburban into town, unloaded our stuff at their place and then my husband and his father dropped the burb off at a transmission shop and then we spent a few hours waiting for my brother-in-law and family to show up.  Once they arrived we opened stockings and presents (Christmas is very Proper there) and then we had a family meal together.  Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, soda, pumpkin and apple pies.  I am so hammed out…  Then we sat around and played  with our presents until my youngest fell asleep on the couch.  At that point we said we needed to go to the hotel and rest because we were exhausted and getting sick.  We were reluctantly allowed to borrow a vehicle escorted to the hotel with a promise that my in-laws would return to share the hotel’s continental breakfast with us in the morning so no sleeping in for us.  We were so tired we just sat in the beds and watched “The Mummy”.  As soon as it ended we turned the lights out and I think we were all asleep by 9 pm.

Christmas morning we woke about 9:30 to the knowledge that my husband’s parents were on their way and would be waiting for us in the lobby for breakfast.  They were as good as their word and we spent about an hour enjoying homemade waffles and what not from the hotel’s breakfast selection.  We then rushed back to the room to check out by 11 am and headed back to their place for another few hours.  The trip was beginning to feel about two days too long at that point – and we couldn’t even go home because our suburban was still in the shop!  But we had a good visit with his parents and then came the best part of the trip (for me!)

 

Christmas afternoon we went to my best friend from high school’s house, yay!  It was like coming home…  It was so nice to hang out and visit with her and her family again – we even got an extra day with them because the transmission was still in the shop and we couldn’t leave on Wednesday as planned.  We spent some time together, talked a little, watched some movies as families and had a blast playing around with my new camera and looking at some art books.

Thursday morning we said goodbye to my friend and her family, picked up the burb out of the shop (over $3,000 – oh crap!), returned my in-laws car and headed towards home, arriving just after dark about 6 pm.  We unloaded the car and I discovered one of my daughters left my pillow in the car so I headed off to Wally World to get another one.

Friday my husband and I both went to work for a one-day workweek, which that and being casual jeans day for me were the only redeeming features about it, and today, Saturday, I slept in until 1 pm – it was wonderful!  I am hoping to make it all day without having to get dressed…

And that was our Christmas adventure… so now you know why I don’t write a lot about the everyday details – they’re kind of boring.  I did not recapture the Christmas Spirit but I did catch a glimpse of it here and there and that will have to be enough for this year.  Next year I will continue my quest to experience the peace and wonder of Christmas time…next year maybe I will come closer!

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