December 21-30 was a whirlwind of a Christmas vacation for the Wood family. We had a great time visiting with friends and family. I took lots of photos, so we’ll give you the brief rundown here with links to images from our trip.
* December 20: We had a sort of “Pre-Christmas” at home after I got out of work. We exchanged our gifts so that we didn’t have to bring the stuff for just each other all the way out to Ohio. The rest of our evening was spent packing for our trip!
* December 21: We left after I got out of [work](http://www.christianbook.com/) and drove to a Knight’s Inn in Liverpool, NY. That helped break the trip up a bit.
* December 22: We left Syracuse early in the morning, and, after a stop in Madison, Ohio to visit with Melanie, we drove to Mount Vernon. [Pics from the drive](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/driving_to_ohio/), [Pics from visiting Melanie](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/visiting_melanie/), [Pics from the first evening in Mount Vernon](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/first_evening_in_mount_vernon/)
* December 23: We went to church at [Lakeholm](http://www.lakeholm.org/) in Mount Vernon, then headed down to Columbus to visit with Becky’s friend Heather and her husband Jeff. Then it was back to Mount Vernon for the infamous “Reindeer Hat Party.” [Pics from visiting Heather and Jeff](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/visiting_heather_and_jeff/), [Pics from the Reindeer Hat Party](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/reindeer_hat_party/)
* December 24: We attended the Christmas Eve service at Lakeholm, then had Christmas Eve dinner at home. [Pics from Christmas Eve](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/christmas_eve/)
* December 25: We spent Christmas Day at home with my family! [Pics from Christmas Day](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/christmas_day/)
* December 26: On Wednesday, we went up to Mark and Kirsten’s place in Mansfield for a nice Birthday brunch for Mom! After that, we drove back to Mount Vernon to attend a Game Day that Amy Walton was hosting at her parents’ house. Later in the evening, we had a birthday cake and another little party for Mom. [Pics from Mom’s birthday brunch and that evening](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/moms_birthday/), [Pics from the game day](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/farnham_game_night/)
* December 27: On Thursday, we had some outings sans Catherine. Rebecca and I went out to breakfast at the Southside Diner while Mom and Dad watched Catherine. Then, Rebecca, Dad and I went out to lunch while Mom watched Catherine. Later that evening, Mom and Dad watched Catherine again while we went out to dinner and a movie with Mark and Kirsten. We ended the evening with a family photo shoot. [Pics from the Southside Diner](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/southside_diner/), [Pics from Thursday afternoon](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/thursday_afternoon/), [Pics from dinner with Mark and Kirsten](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/dinner_with_mark_and_kirsten/), [Pics from the photo shoot](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/thursday_evening_photo_shoot/)
* December 28: On Friday morning, we left Mount Vernon and drove back to the Knight’s Inn in Liverpool, NY. The hotel clerk recommended dinner at a delicious local restaurant, Mother’s, and gave us a free voucher to see the local [“Lights on the Lake”](http://lightsonthelake.com/) holiday light display. It was a nice evening with just the three of us! [Pics from the drive](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/mount_vernon_to_liverpool/), [Pics from Friday evening](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/friday_evening_in_liverpool/)
* December 29: On Saturday, we left Liverpool and drove to Townsend to spend the rest of the weekend with Becky’s family.
* December 30: On Sunday, we had lunch in Townsend with Becky’s parents, then they drove back to Danvers with us to help cart back our additional haul of gifts and see our new staircase. [Pics from the “After-Christmas Christmas” in Townsend](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/after_christmas_christmas/)
[See all of the Christmas pics here](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/travels/2007/christmas/).
Phew! Since then, we’e been unpacking our stuff and trying to get readjusted to a life back at home. 🙂 We hope that you have all had great holidays with your family or friends, and that you have a happy new year!
Nothing about the Christmas season is better than spending it with family. Here are some photos of Christmases past!
The Wood family wishes you a very Merry Christmas!
Every year there is a small tribe of Tomtegubbes that watch over my Mom’s kitchen. They were always my favorite of her Christmas decorations. I was thrilled last year to find some of my own at Bestemors Scandinavian Shop
in Mystic, CT this past summer.
I did a little internet searching to find a little more about them. Here’s the wikipedia entry: Tomte.
We didn’t do a whole lot of decorating for Christmas this year but I did make sure that those little guys were up and they have added to my Christmas Cheer. Who else has something that makes them feel especially festive?
One Christmas many moons ago (four years ago, but who’s counting?) Peter and were spending Christmas in Pennsylvania with his family. It was my first Christmas away from my family and also my first Christmas morning in a hotel. I was feeling a bit melancholy about missing the big tree an ‘home-ness’ of the hotel and during a last minute gift run to the Schuylkill Mall, we decided to buy a little tree.
It was the cheapest tree that K-Mart sold. It was also fiber optic. I’ve had serious mixed feelings over the years about this tree. I typically do not like artificial trees, or light-up branches. It is too small and the branches change color on a too-fast rotation.
BUT-having lived in an apartment for years and not wanting a real tree this year (due to the two ts- travel and toddler) we continue to set up this little tree year after year. I fear it is starting to grow on me.
Still, I miss the pine smell, the cutting of the tree, the vacuuming of the fallen needles, the tucking of a bird’s nest inside and all the other things that come along with having a real tree. There’s always next year’s tree to plan for! How do you trim your trees?
As soon as all the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone I start stalking the mailbox for Christmas cards! Photo cards, homemade, letters, postcards…it doesn’t matter. I love them all. It’s great to hear from friends and family and to have something other than Chinese menus and Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons in the mailbox!
I’ve been hanging up each card we’ve received on the door in the kitchen and they’ve made the room so festive!
I know that sending out Christmas cards is a huge project, but I hope everyone knows that I truly love receiving them and looking at them day after day! They are physical reminders of all who we love (and who love us). Thank you!
I slacked off yesterday, and forgot to write up a blog post about this, but December 18 marked the 20th birthday of the [Perl](http://perl.org/) programming language! Woohoo!
I’ve personally been using Perl for about ten years, and for the past seven years I’ve been using it in my job at [Christianbook.com](http://www.christianbook.com/). I love coding in Perl, and I’ve learned how to make it do some really crazy things over the years! I guess you could say that Perl helps me “put bread on the table,” so I owe [Larry Wall](http://www.wall.org/~larry/) some thanks for creating such a great language and guiding it through all of these years of development.
Here’s to 20 more great years!
So our stairs are “official” now. Our builder finished his cleanup work yesterday, and today he was here at our house for the Town of Danvers building inspector. The inspection went fine, so we now have an officially sanctioned staircase to our downstairs! (We’re trying to get used to calling it that instead of the “basement.”)
At this point, we have a few tasks that we’ll complete on our own before the stairs are “really” done. We need to treat the stair treads with polyurethane and paint the new walls and trim. But we can definitely use the stairs. Hooray!
I’d like to recommend our builder, [Ben Lower](http://www.bjlbuilt.com/). He is a skilled carpenter, and does all of the work himself. A true craftsman, he takes great pride in the precision and finish of his work. He’s also very willing to work with his clients to come up with a solution that fits their needs. He works primarily in the Cape Ann area, as well as the greater North Shore. Visit the website for his company, [BJL Built](http://www.bjlbuilt.com/) if you are looking for someone to do any of your home improvement projects.
The stairs were mostly finished up today. There is still some cleanup to do, as well as the inspection by the Town of Danvers. Hopefully by tomorrow the work will be finished! Here are some pics of what the stairs look like now:
Looks pretty nice, I think! A little paint and cleanup, and we’ll be fine and dandy!
Yesterday, while the work was going on in our house, we took a trip to the [Boston Children’s Museum](http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/index.html).
I had never been there, and Rebecca hadn’t been there since she was a kid herself. We all had a great time… it’s a HUGE place, with a ton of fun stuff for kids and adults alike. We played around with water and bubbles, climbed around in forts, played with “Arthur and Friends”, and even did a cowgirl photo shoot:
I’d highly recommend it for anyone who has young kids and wants a great place to spend the day! They welcome nursing moms, have plenty of restrooms and water fountains, lots of places for parents to sit while kids play safely, and there’s even an Au Bon Pain. In addition to their gift shop, there’s also a really cool Recycled store where they sell random stuff that local businesses have donated.
You can see more photos [here](http://prwdot.org/gallery2/v/events/2007/boston_childrens_museum/).
On Saturday, our builder finished the knee wall and much of the sheet rock for our stair project. Here’s a view of the knee wall:
On Monday, the builder will be here to install the treads, trim, and anything else that needs to be finished up. After he’s done, we’ll need to paint the wall to match our existing color scheme, but other than that, the stair project will be complete!