You may have noticed, but I took an unplanned, but also completely necessary, week and half off from blogging! I was so caught up last week in getting ready to leave for Christmas that I decided to take a few days just to live my life rather than writing about it. Since I’ve been back in DC on Monday, I kept wanting to write about my Christmas break, but the words just wouldn’t come. So, I listened to myself and decided to wait to write until I felt like it, and here I am!
Christmas this year was really fun, but really different than any Christmas before it. I took last Thursday and Friday off from work, and headed up to Brooklyn, NYC on Thursday morning. The drive itself was pretty uneventful, and I made it there in just about 4 hours to see my sister and these guys!
Ben and Claire!
We all ate a low key dinner at home on Thursday, and my sister asked me to babysit for an hour while they ran to IKEA to get a few things. One hour turned into three, and once the third hour approached I was very ready for the parents to return because the kids were both having minor meltdowns and reiterating the fact that I am not yet ready for my own kids. Thank God they’re cute!
We ended up getting on the road a little later than planned, and headed to my sister’s new house in Woodstock to celebrate Christmas.
It’s a super cute 4-bedroom house that she just bought in the last few months and it was my first time there. It is nice because it’s big enough to accommodate everyone, though I wish it wasn’t quite so far from DC!
My parents ended up coming to meet us there on Friday and we spent a few days doing Christmas-y things, including making frosting:
To decorate a gingerbread house:
Drinking hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps (for the adults only, don’t worry!) and homemade marshmallows:
And then the COOLEST part, which was seeing the REAL Santa Claus! On Christmas Eve every year, Santa Claus makes a grand entrance onto the green in the center of Woodstock. His entrance is always super hush-hush and only a few people know beforehand how he will arrive and from where. In years past, I’ve heard he’s arrived by hot air balloon and even on an elephant!
It was coooooold outside, but I stayed warm by giving a headride to Claire and singing Christmas Carols while we waited for Santa.
And then finally the time arrived and Santa made his grand entrance on a Rocket Car!
The car lit up with fire in the back.. and the look on the kids faces was PRICELESS despite the crappy photo.
It was so cool! He even made time to talk to and give a stocking to each and every kid who came out to see him arrive.
We went home afterwards and had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of fondue with cranberry walnut bread (!), basic sourdough, veggies, and apples. And of course, plenty of wine, and a fig tart for dessert. We woke up Christmas morning and Claire and Ben were thrilled with all the gifts that Santa brought for them!
Highlights included a metal detector for Claire (yes, really) and a toolset with a working drill for Ben.
After we opened presents, I took Claire to the park to get her outside and we played on the jungle gym and then a little soccer in the parking lot. I asked her to smile for a picture so I could show her mommy:
And she told me I was allowed to put it on Facebook, too. Kids these days!
While Christmas was super fun this year, I was sad because my other sister Wendy and her family couldn’t join us. Since Harper was born so early (23 weeks!) he is still very susceptible to getting sick and cannot be around anyone who has a cough/cold. Unfortunately several members of the family were sick (‘tis the season), so they ended up being unable to come to the house. That, along with the 7 hour car ride home, were the only two negatives of the holiday.
Outside of that, I also went extremely overboard on eating and drinking for the ENTIRE weekend. I ate more desserts in those 5 days than I have all year probably, and found myself eating to the point of uncomfortable fullness more times than I care to share. I did manage to get outside for one run on Saturday, but that was the only exercise I did for the entire break. On my drive home on Monday, I was feeling GROSS and really ready to get back on track. I’m proud to say that it’s my third day in a row on track with eating, and then I finally got my butt up and to the gym this morning to start training for my half marathon. More details to come later this week, but I’m ready to get a head start on some resolutions for 2012!
What is your favorite holiday tradition that your family does year after year?
Food-wise, I love fondue on Christmas Eve and challah bread french toast on Christmas Morning. Non-foodwise, my family usually has all the guys and gals buy matching pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve night/while opening presents. This year we didn’t do it, but we’ve done it every other year and I hope to start it back up in 2012!