Friday, January 1, 2016

Five Days, Three States, Neverending Congestion

 No better way to kick off the new year with new starts than to recap the past week, right? My dearest Ashleigh has been nagging me to blog more and what can I say? She's exactly right. I had this week off from work and have filled it with luxurious lollygagging, Nyquil-induced napping in hopes of finally shaking my shaggy congestion and a lot of cooking. Decidedly, not a lot of blogging, which makes even me sad because this is the closest thing I have to a record of my life!

Last week, we packed up our packages and set off on one of our ridiculous, overstuffed but joyful holiday journeys in which we tried to see every single loved one we could squeeze in.

 We started our journey in my hometown, where I again stayed at The Inn at Wise, and my hometown pals gathered for our annual Ludachristmas get-together. We ate at The Pub and then retired to our hotel room for some rousing games of Cards Against Humanity and our gift exchange. No party would be complete without our posed photo shoot, this time on the balcony overlooking Main Street.

We're ready for our CW drama.

 The next morning, we were off to Kentucky, where we had a great day with my mom watching Christmas movies good and bad (Jingle All the Way was a laffer), noshed on delicious ham-and-cheese and turkey-and-cheese sliders and spinach dip and meatballs, exchanged gifts and played our annual terrible White Elephant, in which I won broken sunglasses AND a $5 bill. My favorite gift? These glasses that turn Christmas lights into snowflakes! So cool.

 For a few years now, we've gotten British-style crackers and worn our paper crowns. So fun!

 I love nothing more than Land O Lakes hot cocoa and my mom set up a hot cocoa bar!!! It was most excellent. The s'mores flavor is legit.

 As we were leaving, we caught the ring glow around the moon and it seemed magical for Christmas Eve. I've always felt like the sky is extra significant on Christmas, when I imagine the wise men guided by the North Star. It helps me feel connected.

 On Christmas Day, we headed to the border of Tennessee to see my dad and his family and watch their dog Poppit mess with their dancing Snoopy doll. Always delightful!

From there, we headed up I-81, making a stop to see my grandma, who is as funny and sweet as ever. I'm so happy I was able to see her, and wish I was able to do it more often.

 Not to be deterred, we kept at it until we arrived in Silver Spring, Maryland just in time for dinner with Sean's family. Sean's Aunt Elizabeth served up the most delicious nontraditional Christmas meal I think I've ever had, with cheesy orzo, roasted carrots and cousin Thijs's homemade crabcakes with remoulade and tarragon sauces whipped up by cousin Emily. It was truly scrumptious, and we had fun talking at dinner about all of our current favorite topics: Serial and Hamilton.

On Saturday, we exchanged gifts with Sean's family and tried to solve the world's problems at dinner. We haven't quite resolved all of them yet, but at least we tried as hard as a Model UN might have. Afterward, a few of us went to see the movie "Brooklyn," about an Irish immigrant girl adjusting to life in America in the 1950s. We LOVED it. The theater was packed and we ended up in the front row; thankfully, the theater had reclining seats, but I told Katie when it was over that it's the first time I've left a movie with bedhead. When I cried, my tears went sideways. LOL. 

 On Sunday, we were able to do something we haven't achieved in years, which was to get together a bunch of our college newspaper staff! We were finally able to meet our friends' children and they were so adorable and hilarious.

Things that bond you forever: designing a newspaper while watching the sunrise, midnight dance parties and drunk antics at college newspaper conferences. It was so nice to be together, and a perfect end note to our whirlwind holiday travel.

I received some wonderful gifts, and I'd daresay the most surprising and wonderful was a Kindle Paperwhite from Sean, who was tired of watching me aim my phone flashlight at my old Kindle in the dark. Very sweet. Thank you to all who spoiled us with wonderful treasures and sweets!


gina-gina said...

I was beyond happy to spend an entire day with you and Sean!... hope you are finally feeling better!

Laura R. said...

I'll have you know I give myself my lunch break to do whatever I so please, and today I chose to eat my sandwich while catching up on your blog. :) Your fries look PERFECT, your red (pink?) Christmas sweater is adorable and all of your December get togethers sounded super fun! You are blessed, girl!