The 24th dawned with me at the gym getting in a last workout before heading out of town for the rest of the week. Around 10:30 my mom showed up to cook Christmas dinner and we set up the infamous Wii. Evan and Nana, my mom, played a rousing game of bowling. The rest of the fam came around 2:30. We dined on roast beef, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, the works. As we were cleaning up, the doorbell rang. My nieces ran to see who it was. "Santa" delivered presents to each of the 6 kids (my 2, my sister daughters and my step-brother's 2 girls) and each of the adults got a gift as well. My youngest niece, who is 2, decided Santa needed a present so she gave him a purse. A good time was had by all and my kids were in their beds asleep by 9:30, a sign of the late nights to come.
Christmas morning we piled in the car, laden with gifts and suitcases, and headed to the north suburbs of Chicago. We lunched at Frank's cousin's house then drove 5 minutes to my MIL's home for cake and coffee (and presents, that kind of goes with out saying). My SIL is quite possibly the world's best baker and her cookies are to die for, especially her linzer and black & white cookies. I think I consumed a good 43 dozen over the course of the week. She also made a great cheesecake and a molded jell-o dessert.
The 26th we drove over to my SIL's house out in the NW suburbs for dinner and, yes, more Christmas. My kids were thrilled that they got to open more presents and play with their cousins who had to leave yesterday's festivities early due to a get together with their dad's side of the family.
The day after the day after Christmas we went downtown to the Adler Planetarium then walked over to the Shedd Aquarium to see the new baby Beluga whale (that's all Flynn could talk about when she knew we were going downtown) and the penguins. It was a whirlwind visit through the Shedd just to see the favorites. It's a good thing we have a membership. Then we traveled out to Brookfield to the zoo. We met my SIL and her family there to see the zoo lights, which were pretty neat.
Friday was our last day in Chicago and we spent it puttering around not doing much of anything other than watch 6 inches of snow fall. The week full of late nights/early risings was taking its toll on the kids. Both were rather emotionally fragile and kept saying they were tired, but neither wanted to lie down for a nap. That night we met up with some dear friends and their 16-month-old daughter. They surprised us with the fantastic news that they had moved back to the area after living in Dallas, TX for the past 5 years.
Yesterday after lunch we piled in the car and headed due south to home, that favorite of all things. After unpacking and sorting laundry, we settled in for a dinner of cold cuts, gave the kids a bath and promptly went to bed early. The kids slept until 8:30 this a.m.
We do this every year, but this year felt much more harried and tiring. I wonder why that is.
Frank's talking about us heading to Florida after Christmas next year.
I love him.