Thursday, January 08, 2009

We have the vision -- now let's have some fun

The holidays for Darren and me have been extended until this weekend, when we go to Herkimer to celebrate with my family. The actual holidays were spent in Tennessee with his sister, brother-in-law, nieces and nephew. I got to finally meet them all for the first time and spend the holiday in the South, with no snow (which was kind of strange, since it was my first Christmas without snow). I think the kids absolutely love me, and I them. I played dolls, colored in coloring books, played on the new Wii they got, and watched videos with the littlest two. The smallest one, Lauren, crawled right into my lap when we would be on the couch watching stuff. It was really cute and awesome to feel so loved even though we've only known each other for a little while.

Christmas morning, I made everyone a big breakfast of baked eggs and vegetables, Morningstar Farms breakfast "sausage" and French toast, which they seemed to really like (even the picky kids), since I think they're mostly used to quick- or no-cook and fast-food meals. The kids even helped make the French toast. They helped me dip the bread in the egg, put it in the hot pan, and then I supervised them as they flipped the bread over.

It was so great finally meeting and spending time with Darren's side of the family and see where he spent a big amount of time growing up. We went by the Navy base where his dad was stationed, and I looked through photo albums of him as a little kid -- he was the cutest kid! I even got to meet a couple of his friends. We went to a couple casinos in Mississippi and hung around for an evening. We also went to a childhood friend's house to watch "The Dark Knight" on the theater-size screen they have, with booming surround sound.

So this weekend, it's my turn. My family already knows Darren well and considers him a member of our family anyway, but it's always nice to get back to where I grew up to relive my own childhood memories and share them with him. It's strange knowing we'll be exchanging gifts so far after the season, but then again, my company's holiday party isn't until next Friday, so we're all trying to extend the holidays as much as possible, I think. Personally, I like the idea, but this holiday has been so hectic and stressful for me, I just want it to be over with. Not that I don't absolutely love family get-togethers and exchanging gifts and sharing good food and conversation -- it's just a hectic time of year that really is supposed to be about relaxation and time off from the daily grind. I guess I realized I'm so stuck in my own routine that it's difficult and even more stressful when I get away and do something out of the ordinary.

The two youngest of Darren's nieces sent a couple items for me to remember them by with Darren's luggage. It was really cute, and they included a note asking for something from me, as well as my birthdate and contact information. I handwrote them a cute note back and mailed them a stuffed dog with a heart hanging from his mouth. It should get there today.

So for now, while this week was largely a return to what our routine has been since we moved here (except Darren's been coming into work later than he probably should, haha ...), this weekend will be a mini revisiting of Christmas and the closeness of family.

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