Christmas Part 2 took place this past weekend in and around Schuylkill Haven, PA… On Saturday morning, we drove from Beverly to Schuylkill Haven. The trip took about six hours, part of which was spent stopped in traffic on I-81 around Wilkes-Barre. Despite the traffic, we arrived safely at the Country Inn & Suites, a hotel that has become our de facto place to stay when visiting the Schuylkill Haven folks. The hotel is very cozy, clean, comfortable, and reasonably priced. It also has a pool, hot tub, and a nice free breakfast. Oh, and it’s located in the middle of NOWHERE: right off of the highway, no restaurants, stores, or gas stations around it, just a few industrial sites. Very, very odd location. Watch for it at exit 119 on I-81, if you’re ever on that route.
On Saturday evening, we went to the Christmas Eve service at the Schuylkill Haven Church of the Nazarene. It’s the church my mother grew up in, and the church where my parents were married. The service was nice, and my parents were called upon to provide some music; Mom played piano and Dad sang. After the service, we went to my Aunt Kay’s house for some late snacks. (Photos available with family login.*) After that we headed back to the hotel to settle in for a long winter’s nap.
For Christmas morning, Becky and I got up early (mostly because I had slept badly the night before) and ate at the hotel’s free continental breakfast (very good – they had added hot sausage and eggs so that you can make a bagel sandwich). After that, we exchanged our gifts to each other (you’ve already seen what Becky got me). Then we headed downstairs to swim and relax in the hot tub. Ahhh!
At midday, we headed to Aunt Chris and Uncle John’s house for Christmas Dinner. (Photos available with family login.*) The food was great, and it was very nice to get to sit around and catch up with family that we haven’t seen in a long time.
After dinner, Becky and I headed back to the hotel, along with Mark, Kirsten, Mom and Dad. We did our own family gift exchange in our hotel room, which was a very fun experience. My favorite part was giving my parents the combined gift from the four kids: a DVD player! My parents can finally take one more step into the 21st century. 🙂 Mr. and Mrs. Farnham, if you’re reading this, you should visit my parents and bring over some of your favorite DVD’s to help them break in the new player. 🙂 I heard from Dad tonight that he is just getting it set up, so hopefully it will work out for them.
When we had finished exchanging our gifts, we headed back over to Chris and John’s for the evening get-together. (Photos available with family login.*) We ate leftovers from dinner, and had the always-exciting Yankee Swap. I ended up taking back the chocolates that we had brought in, and Becky got a kit of Old Navy bath and body products. We had an excellent time hanging out with everyone. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone after just a few days… but we will be seeing them again this summer for my cousin Johanna’s wedding.
Finally, on Monday morning, we met my parents, Uncle John, Mark and Kirsten at Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We celebrated Mom’s birthday over meat ‘n’ eggs ‘n’ such, and departed from there to head back to Beverly. Our trip back took about eight hours, mostly due to extremely foggy and rainy conditions, as well as lots of traffic in southeast Connecticut and the entrance to the Mass Pike. Now we’re recovering from the trip at home, both of us fighting colds that we picked up just before the trip, and looking forward to the New Year!
(* Note regarding the family-only photo albums: If you’re a family member and you don’t have a login, please let us know. It’s easy to set up. We can also give non-family-members access to the family albums if we know you well enough – just let us know that you want in, and we’ll see what we can do.)