Our Christmas Vacation

posted on: December 31, 2006

In 10 days we...
Visited 4 families
Drove through 5 states (twice)
Spent 35 hours on the road
Celebrated Christmas 8 times
Exchanged gifts with 22 people

And somehow in the middle of all of that, I managed to get more sleep in the last 10 days than I'd had in the last month! While it may not have been a true do-nothing kind of vacation, it was a welcome change from our normal work-intensive routine. Plus, we got to spend much needed time with our families... though it never feels like enough.

We started off celebrating with my mom, brother, and their significant others (Jim and Amber, respectively) at our old house in Rochester Hills, MI.

(Pictured below from top left.. Mom, Jim, Me, Alex)

While we were there, I did a mini-photoshoot with Misty in her new outfit. Even though she didn't win the cutest dog contest, she still got a new outfit, and she's still a little diva...

Isn't she such a poser?! Look at her sticking her leg out and tilting her head! ... of course, when she's done, this is how she lets me know...

Next, we celebrated with my dad, stepmom, and siblings in Hartland, MI shortly before heading out to Lansing, MI to celebrate with the rest of my dad's family.

Then, it was back on the road from Michigan to Missouri, but this time Alex and I were able to stop at home in Terre Haute, IN to rest before finishing the 14 hour trip. In the past, we had to drive straight through, which usually meant a full day of sleep to recover once we arrived. We arrived in Missouri on Christmas Eve and headed out to Nevada, MO to attend a Christmas Eve service and celebrate with Alex's stepdad's extended family.

We spent Christmas Day in Butler, MO, and celebrated 3 times, at 3 different homes. First his grandparents, then his mom's, and then his dad's. The day after Christmas we had our final gift exchange and Christmas celebration with Alex's Aunt and Uncle. I don't really have many pictures from those days because I was using my brother-in-law's camera, so maybe he'll post some pics that I can share (hint!) Here's a self-pic I managed to take with my camera... looking elfish in my santa hat. ;-)

(note to self: get anti-reflective coating on my next lenses)

It's rare that we make a visit to Missouri without spending a day in Kansas City, where Alex went to high school and has many fond memories and favorite places to visit. We usually end up visiting the same places: Gates BBQ and Leo's Pizza (after all, they are his FAVORITES), so this time I asked him if we could visit some different places. We drove around and saw some cool monuments, and spent quite a bit of time in the City Market/River Market area which had a lot of cool little specialty shops, even in December.

Now, Alex loves St. Louis style pizza which uses provel cheese, but it's not really to my tastes. However, when we tried Waldo pizza, I fell in love! The combination of cheeses is delicious and the sauce was a perfect compliment!

For dessert, we had to visit McCormick & Schmick in the Plaza, which is the only location we've been to that serves the famous and delicious chocolate bag dessert. The stained glass ceiling and hanging lights are pretty awesome too!

And, of course, what trip to Kansas City during the holidays would be complete without taking a trip through the plaza to see the lights at night? Here's a small taste, pictured from the canal, even this size doesn't do it justice...

We made it back to Terre Haute early Saturday morning, with just enough time to rest before meeting my mom and, now fiancé, Jim for their first trip to Terre Haute. We took them to Clabber Girl for breakfast and the free Saturday morning cooking demonstration, which Alex and I love attending whenever we can.

This demo featured cocktail/party foods and presentation. We learned that you can turn a granite slab into a hot plate!

Then, we did a little tour of downtown, including the beautiful Indiana Theatre..

And then a tour of the local parks, including the fairbanks park along the Wabash River...

Today was spent unloading the gifts we accumulated over our Christmas visits, and planning our schedules and travel plans for the next few months. After tons of visiting and going out, we decided to spend a quiet New Year's Eve at home together. It's been a year full of changes and challenges, but it's also been very rewarding. I'm so grateful for everything that has happened in our lives, and I can't wait for even more excitement next year!!! Happy New Year Everyone!!

3 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. What great pictures. :) Is Misty your dog? We have a black male toy teacup poodle named Denson. She is just as adorable as can be!!!

  2. Misty actually lives with my mom, but I still consider her to be my sweetie. ;-) Does Denson have a Napolean complex like Misty does?? She thinks that she's so much bigger than she is and she likes to show people who's boss by barking at strangers. She can be terribly vicious and yet people will just look at her and say.. "awww... how cute!" LOL!!

  3. Actually, I think Denson might be human. LOL! He's such a sweetie, he's got no 'tude which is strange for a small dog. We get him trimmed up similar to the way Misty is. He doesn't like the *poof*. hehe He's pretty old, he'll be 8 years in Feb. Denny pretty much only barks at other dogs. However, back when my sister had him (we adopted him) he thought that his girlfriend was a rotweiler and would give the male rottie a hard time. hahaha!!


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