The Christmas Post

Christmas was terrific this year, as always. And, like last year, I felt an incredible yearning just to stay home when it came time to head back down south. I had a great time and managed to squeeze a lot of activities, family fun and fantastic meals into an extended weekend. Ali, Bob, Lel, Cromar, Andrew and Craig were all in town, as was my whole family as well as Sarah’s. Plus Stefan, Andrew and Jake’s significant others (Courtney, Maddie and Lauren) where over too, so there where lots people to see, presents to open and merriment to be had. Nana and Papa where notably absent this year, due to them taking a trip with Iris and Bob for the holiday, which was a shame, but nice to know they are having a great time over in Scotland with their friends. We spent one night over at Lel’s new apartment, which is shaping up really nicely. It’s nice to see it become very ‘Lel’ and see her fitting in stateside so well. Having Andrew, Craig and Cromar around for the festivities made it feel like Christmases I remember from my childhood. Maddie is really great, and it into the family dynamic really well (i.e. laughs at our jokes and has a similar sense of odd humor), it was lovely to meet her and see both her and Andrew so happy together.

Christmas Eve Mum and Dad took my siblings and I, out to the Russian House restaurant in Herndon for a nice meal together. Stefan brought Courtney with him and we had a great meal, fantastic food and lovely company. The plan is to head back once Stefan returns from his tour overseas at the end of next year. I know Sam is stoked about going back, because she left the restaurant declaring that “seriously…that was the best steak I’ve ever had” and went on to dream about it the following night.

I managed to steal a car and make a trip out to the Wantula’s one morning to surprise little Andrew (who was in his pajama’s and had no idea ‘Mr. G” was coming), which was nice. They have recently had heavy renovations done to their house, transforming the kitchen, master bed/bath and dining room areas. It looks like something out of an Ikea catalogue and is stunning. The whole family seems very pleased with it, and even more pleased that they can start living in their house normally again. After the traditional whooping of Mr. G in Super Smash Brothers, I left the Wantula’s to stop by Duncan’s to whish him a Merry Christmas and visit the family briefly. I do feel bad doing the ‘pop-in’ visits whenever I go back, but with the time restraints there really is no other option. There are so many people in VA that I’d love to spend day’s catching up and hanging out with… At least with the holidays in full swing everyone was just as busy as I was. We did get to see thing King’s this year which was nice though. It’s crazy too see how fast everyone grows up when you aren’t in day-to-day contact.

The Hunt’s had a photographer come by to capture some candid (and posed) pictures of the family hanging out around the tree and fireplace. It’s an interesting concept to me to have someone come in and just float about snapping pictures, but I have the feeling that quite a few of them turned out pretty well. Bart, the photographer was really nice and made the whole exercise surprisingly less awkward than I’d have expected. Sarah’s family is all doing well, and it was great to see everyone again. Melissa’s fiancĂ© Andrew* was there as well, which was the first time I’d met him. Good guy, a lot of fun and always good for a laugh. I enjoyed myself at Sarah’s, and as before, felt bad that I had to limit my time there to such quick visits. But I look forward to seeing how those pictures turned out. Should be a few goodies of Sarah and me, if I managed not to blink.

Christmas Day was awesome, and blew me away. The best part about family Christmases is that everyone knows each other so well, and the gifting that takes place definitely reflects that. I was spoiled extra rotten this year and found myself lugging an extra large suitcase home from the airport to prove it. After the traditional morning Christmas at Mum and Dad’s, then a second round at the Hunt’s, Sarah and I headed over to Ali and Bob’s new house for some Christmas dinner and Batchi. The house is perfect for them, and is extremely charming. With odd nooks, slanted rooms and doorways that make Lel blush in their shortness, the house is “Just as F’d up as we are”-Bob Ragsdale. We had a great time rolling spuds, eating far too much and swapping gifts, so much so it’s going to be hard for me to imagine a family Christmas any other way.

Boxing Day was a lot of fun and even more food. Despite the miserable weather, we where able to get the Fairy Launch underway. More on that and a video from Christmas morning in a later post…

*This is the 3rd Andrew I have mentioned in this post-Just so you don’t get too confused.

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