Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We had a very merry Christmas - in Ohio!

Last Thursday evening, we started our journey. We drove about 6 hours to Anika's rural digs sortof kindof near Scranton, Pennsylvania. We got in late at night and slept in her basement. In the morning, Bruce and Phoebe partied with her four kids, Scott admired Keith's P90X awesomeness, and Anika and I went for a very hilly run. She lives out in the boondoggles of nowhere, so we ran on dirt and gravel roads through forests, past farms and waterfalls, and by abandoned houses.
Anika is pregnant with No. 5, but that didn't stop her from her characteristic fast-talking while hauling up and down the hills.

After our run Friday morning, we had a pancake breakfast (and dance party, above) and then packed our cars. Anika and fam headed to DC in their car and we took some crazy winding back-road to I-80 to continue our journey to Ohio. We made it to the Mars resort that evening. The house was already packed with siblings and cousins. We had our annual gift exchange: Bruce scored an Angry Birds hat and Phoebe got a tea set with little plates and cups and such. Scott and I got running gear and homemade granola.

On Saturday morning, I went for a run with some high school cross country alums and a special guest - Suzanna Larsen. I've been seeing a lot of BYU XC alums lately! Suzanna is in an MD/PhD program at the med school near my parents' home and is in the same church congregation with them. It is a small world after all. It was great to run trails and chat with Suzanna. (sorry, no photo here. Somehow I always forget my camera when we get together)

Saturday afternoon was the big Christmas Eve family gathering with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and their spouses, nieces and nephews. Grandma Tompkins always says she isn't going to go all-out and make a ton of stuff, then she does. Every year. We eat lots of food and chat while the kids bounce in a bounce house, play on an Xbox, watch a movie projected on a wall, and make crafty stuff. After awhile, one of my uncles dresses up as Santa Claus and delivers gifts to all the great-grandkids. Bruce impatiently waited for his turn and "photo-bombed" nearly all his cousins' pictures in the process. Phoebe, on the other hand, did not want to sit on Santa's lap and cried when he handed her a gift.

Christmas morning wasn't the traditional hop-out-of-bed-and-rip-open-the-gifts. We decided to wait until after church since it was at 9 and I didn't want the kids fighting to bring their new toys to the service. So we went to church, enjoyed beautiful music and readings about the birth of Christ, went to my brother Dan's house to watch his kids open gifts, and then went home to open ours. It was worth the wait. My parents changed into matching Grinch pajamas and the gifts were passed out.

Phoebe got some cool gifts (documented in another post) and Bruce got a snap circuit electronics set, Legos, drawing paper, lots of books, and a Nintendo Wii complete with Mario Kart wheels, controls, charging stuff, and a few games (and lots of rules to go with them). The Wii was what he had been asking for most, and I resisted as long as possible. I am not a fan of 1) video games, and 2) purchases that lead to more purchases. But he loves it and hopefully someday I will at least like it. I got some new cookie sheets, a cookbook, and snowshoes. Scott got a campstove.
On Sunday evening, we video-chatted with my youngest bro, Ben (a.k.a. Elder Mars right now). As a missionary, he gets to call my parents on the phone twice a year - once on Mother's Day and once on Christmas Day. Besides that, he sends an email once a week but is otherwise focused on more important things. It was fun to chat with him and see his big ear-to-ear smile.
On Monday, we met up with friends of ours who used to live in Boston but now call themselves Buckeyes. We went to the zoo and let the kids run wild. Bruce and Christian were happy to play together again. That evening, my cousins came over and we had Girls' Night. We did pedicures while the boys played video games. Phoebe picked out a sparkly hot pink color for my toes, but did not want paint on herself. After my toes were properly pampered, I headed out on a date with Scott. We grabbed some dinner and went to see the new Mission Impossible movie (after seeing it, we think it's time for that series to end).

On Tuesday, we did our Tour de Columbus. We packed into the family Suburban and headed a few hours south to see four of my siblings and their Christmas trees. We went from house to house and got to see everyone's new cool toys and projects. That night, we went out to dinner with Grandma Tompkins, who had finally had enough cooking.

On Wednesday, we packed our car and headed back to Boston. When we finally pulled into our garage, Phoebe started crying, "Grandma's house! Grandma's house!"

We had a wonderful Christmas and hope yours was awesome too.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce is going to be a dancer!

8:14 PM  

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