White Christmas

This was my first holiday back home since Christmas of 2004.

I’m super behind in my blogging (I have about five drafts half-written), but I don’t want to get bogged down by trying to post in order. Here is what happened for Christmas… you know… yesterday.

This was my first holiday back home since Christmas of 2004. We’ve heard horror stories about family holidays and have built some fun traditions of our own, so we were a little bit nervous diving in head-first. Buying gifts on our limited budget was a bit stressful, especially as it came right before our trip, but in the end, all of the chaos and stress was worth every second.

Half-way into the month, my sister came up with her husband and three kids from Nevada. We enjoyed a couple of meals, ice skating at The Village in Meridian, and some present-opening before she had to make the trip back home before Christmas.

Throughout the month, our schedules were jam-packed with dinner and lunch dates. We met with high school friends, cousins, aunts, nieces and nephews, and Grandma. It was so nice to finally have the time to catch up with everyone. We always feel like our time in Boise is way too short to visit with everyone, so we made sure to take advantage of our extended visit.

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On Christmas Eve, Tammy took us a out for an amazing brunch at 13th Street Grill. It snowed for most of the day and night, ensuring a white Christmas. For dinner, we all went over to Dad and Martina’s house. We sat around a long table and enjoyed some delicious prime rib along with the homemade horseradish sauce I always look forward to when I come to visit.

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We woke up a little earlier than usual on Christmas day, had some cookies and coffee for breakfast, then broke into the presents. Mom joined us on Skype and watched me win $15 on the scratch tickets from my stocking. Tammy heard I was a present-shaker, so she trick-wrapped all of the presents using multiple boxes and decoy items. It made each gift a little more exciting to open.

We all went over to Dad and Martina’s for Christmas supper. It was a full house with both my step-siblings and their families. We had various sausages and potato salads for dinner. I tried a little piece of each and decided the chicken sausage was my favorite.

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After supper, we played games and opened presents. Josh and I had a lot of fun watching the chaos of five kids collecting and opening their gifts. It was a storm of wrapping paper, amazon boxes, and tissue paper. There was some light chatter, but the bulk of the noise came from the seemingly random shouts of “Thank you, Oma and Opa!” from every corner of the room and the occasional, “Does anyone see the baby?”

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I found her!

It was a wonderful Christmas. We got all the perfect gifts (nothing bigger than 3 inches square) and had an amazing time with our families. This is the perfect send-off before we head out for our next big adventure, and something to look forward to when we come home next year.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2017

We heard some great stories, improved our chess game, ate delicious food, made connections, and bonded with friends and family. 

Oh my. Where do I even begin?

The day before Thanksgiving, we made the “quick” drive down to Miami, Florida. After being told not to use our GPS, we were treated to the longest 1.5 hour drive of my life (the GPS later confirmed my suspicions that it was, in fact, a four hour drive). We did eventually make it and spent the next two nights with friends of the family and 19 other dinner guests.

I had the pleasure of witnessing all of the pre-dinner fun. I ate my first Cuban meal, watched my first turkey deep-fry, played with the cutest puppies in Miami, and helped Josh to invent a new cocktail (Crystal Light, pineapple juice, coconut rum, and spiced rum).

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Dinner was amazing with all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, including two deep-fried turkeys, home-made cranberry sauce, and whole artichokes. I particularly enjoyed my host’s rendition of stuffing which included mushrooms and nuts.

After a few days in Miami, we traveled back up north to Boynton Beach, Florida to stay with another family friend. She has a beautiful home on the river, a slew of delightful friends, charming birds, and dogs I fell deeply in love with.

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I was particularly fond of her large, secret garden-like back yard, which had a quiet dock on a slow-moving river. It was the perfect place to spend each morning drinking coffee and watching the wildlife. I spotted two new ducks, a bald eagle, and several large iguanas.

Although the town offers plenty of entertainment, Josh and I opted for quieter mini-adventures, like a short hike through what I can only assume was a spider sanctuary, and a 2-stop pub crawl. Back at the house, we were provided with delicious meals, great conversation, and games of chess filled with advice for both the game and for life.

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We met so many interesting new people over the holiday weekend. Being introverts, this was a little stressful for us, but it was a nice reminder of why we are out here. We heard some great stories, improved our chess game, ate delicious food, made connections, and bonded with friends and family.

Happy Thanksmas Holiday

In my family, holidays are celebrated when it is convenient, not when the calendar says it’s time. Mom continued that tradition this week by announcing yesterday as Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas). Happy Thanksmas!!!

In my family, holidays are celebrated when it is convenient, not when the calendar says it’s time. Mom continued that tradition this week by announcing yesterday as Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas). So Happy Thanksmas!!!

On Monday, we put up the tree. The tree was decorated in a cartoon theme to match Mom’s ‘toon-style decor. We turned on the Christmas music and went all out. Later that night, we left the house and felt instant embarrassment at the sight of our beautiful tree through the window… in early November… in 80 degree weather.

Tuesday was spent wrapping up work projects so that we could take the next couple days off to celebrate. Wednesday was meal planning and grocery shopping. Then Thursday was the big day.

We woke up early, wished each other a Merry Thanksmas, put on our holiday best, and celebrated the day. We played games, watched a movie, did some yoga, took a walk, and really just took the day to relax.

Attendance: Mom, Roommate S, Grandma B and Woodstock (the elderly neighbor and her dog who kept randomly barging in), Josh, and myself.

Menu: Cornish game hens, cornbread stuffing (my fav!), candied yams, cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, corn, olives, deviled eggs, dinner rolls, mud pie, and pumpkin pie.

All in all it was a great holiday celebration! We had fun making the house look great, eating delicious Thanksgiving favorites, and passing out in front of the TV.