Christmas of 2008 went by in a blur. In brief numbers:
* We drove over 300 miles (all in Eastern and Central Massachusetts)
* We saw nearly 50 family members and dozens of friends
* We attended eight different gatherings in seven different homes
* We hauled a station wagon full of stuff out *and* back.
In more detail:
Rebecca and Catherine picked me up after work, and we headed out to Townsend to stay with her parents.
The next day was Christmas eve, and after a relaxing morning with Catherine helping Nonni make cupcakes, we headed to the Gustafsons’ home. They’re friends of Rebecca’s family, and have an annual Christmas Eve party. Lots of good food and a chance to catch up with all of the Townsend friends. After the Gustafsons’ party, we drove out to Shrewsbury to visit my aunt and uncle Joan and Errol, and my cousins Scott, Kim and Mark who were all visiting. It was a brief visit, since we had plans to visit them later (but couldn’t pass up a visit since we were headed in their direction anyway). After that, we headed just down the road to the Quitadamo Christmas Eve party (my mother-in-law’s family). Lots more good food (Italian, of course), and conversation with many aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relations. Lots of play time for all the kiddos, too. (View some photos from the party.) Finally, we headed back to Townsend for the night (the three of us were too tired for Christmas Eve service!).
Christmas morning and afternoon were spent in Townsend with Ken, Dianne, and Corey, opening stockings, having the traditional breakfast of Belgian waffles, opening presents, playing around, and finally having Christmas dinner. The highlight of my gifts was the set of Geeky Onesies that Rebecca made for baby #2. You can see some photos of Geeky Onesies v2 and compare them with Geeky Onesies v1 from three years ago. On Christmas afternoon, we drove over to Pepperell to visit my cousin John, his wife Lisa, and their kids, as well as my (other) aunt Joan. Then in the evening it was back to Townsend for more time with the in-laws.
Friday morning we packed up the car and headed back to Danvers to rest a bit and clean the house, and get ready for the next event: my parents’ arrival! They arrived Friday around dinner time and we all feasted on Thai food from Siam Delight.
Saturday morning, we drove down to Cambridge with my parents to have brunch at my cousin Mark’s apartment, with Joan, Errol, Kim, and Scott. Mark and Kim regaled us with tales from Mark’s trip to visit Kim in Uganda, including showing us the high-definition videos he shot while exploring with Kim, on safari, in villages, and at their lodge. Elephants and lions and warthogs – oh my! After a great brunch, we drove back up to Danvers. We had “second Christmas” with my parents, down in the living room gathered around a fiber-optic tree. 🙂 After we opened gifts, my parents watched Catherine for a little while so that Rebecca and I could take a break. We had a quiet and very nice date at Panera with some hot chocolate and a cobblestone muffin split between us. We arrived home to find Catherine asleep and bid my parents good night!
We went to church with my parents, and immediately afterward drove up to Townsend (!again!) for a Christmas-y luncheon with my father-in-law’s side of the family. It was good to get to see Tom and Gabi and their boys, as well as Sue, Pete and Greg. There was plenty of fun to be had for Catherine and the boys, and we all got to enjoy more of Dianne’s cooking! After this gathering, we all drove back to Danvers, and my parents again watched Catherine for the evening while Rebecca and I went out. This time we had Chinese food for dinner, and then went out to see the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. An excellent film, highly recommended if you haven’t seen it yet. It was nice to have another chance to go out with Rebecca. We don’t get to do that very often! We arrived home to find Catherine asleep yet again, so we said our goodbyes to my parents, since they were leaving early the next morning. Thus our Christmas adventures came to an end!
We were definitely worn out after all of the driving, visiting, chasing Catherine and such, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Being with friends and family is really the best part of Christmas.
Now we’re closing in on the end of the year. We’re still processing the events of and loot from last week. I’m drawing close to a deadline on a big project at work, and we are also closing in on Rebecca’s due date for baby #2: February 27! Here we go into the home stretch!