The Holidays

Phew.  It's been a long time, hasn't it? Long enough that I almost forgot I had a blog.  Not really, but still a long time.

Oh, "the Holidays."  Where to begin?  I look forward to the time off every year, but it's also so exhausting and this year was no exception.  We traveled over 1,000 miles over the course of 10 days.  We visited my family the weekend before Christmas and attended a family Christmas party where we were embarrassed to learn that a "Dirty Santa" gift exchange was not the same as a "White Elephant," although in the end I think it worked out fine.  We woke up on Christmas morning excited for EH to open his presents, but it seems like all 3 of us woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day some how, and everything just felt off. We were moody.  EH didn't care about his presents.  He was fussy. It was hard. 

EH got a wagon from his nana and papa for Christmas!

On the 26th we were supposed to hit to road in the morning, but those of you in Pennsylvania know that there was terrible snow that day, that started right around the time we wanted to leave.  The traffic reports that we could see - given our lack of cable and poor antennae reception - showed tractor trailer accidents on every major artery we were going to travel.  So we waited.  By the time we decided it was safe to travel, it was 5:30 p.m.  "Night," as far as I'm concerned, and I had sworn that we would never travel with EH at night again, after a particularly nightmarish episode a few months earlier. 

But we left anyway.  In some places the roads were manageable.  In others they were horrible.  Near Breezewood we stopped moving altogether, and given it was closing it on 9 p.m., and we were still hours and hours away from our final destination, I decided that we would start looking for hotels.  DH, who is usually anxious to just get to his final destinations with as few stops as possible, looked at the traffic, the deteriorating weather conditions, and the screaming crying baby who was already 90 minutes passed his bedtime and showing no signs of calming down, agreed.  We called every hotel in Breezewood - the self-proclaimed "town of motels" - and found everything to be booked.  So we called a few exits ahead and found that they had availability and thus made Carlisle, PA our final destination for the evening.  We checked into a Motel 6 that was as nice as I could have asked for (reminder to self - write review for Motel 6 Carlisle on Trip Advisor) and 30 minutes later were all laying down to sleep. 

And a sand and water table from "Santa"
We departed the next morning rested and in much better spirits, onto much better roads as well.  We arrived at DH's dad's house and spent the next three days attending a party, playing outside, and generally just "visiting."  We made a quick trip to Delaware to visit some of DH's family there and then around 7:30 p.m. on the night of the 29th we headed towards my parents house, where Murphy was staying. 

Notice that time up there? Yep, that's right, we left at night again.  AGAIN.  We drove about 2 hours north of Harrisburg and stopped at yet another, impressively nice, Motel 6 and spent the night, not willing to let EH get to meltdown mode like he had the last time.  It worked, and we arrived at the hotel with a rather chipper baby who had a blast rider around on the luggage cart (this particular Motel 6 wasn't actually a "motel," and was instead a 4 story hotel complete with elevators, luggage carts, and a fridge and microwave in each room.)  The next morning we drove a few more hours to get Murph, stopped at my parents for lunch and to let EH run of some steam, and then returned home that evening.  We had two blessedly quiet days at home before going back to work.

All in all I know that it was a good holiday break. We saw lots of family, EH got lots of great presents, and there were some definite moments of relaxation and wonderful times. 

But my god, when I think back on the trip as a whole all I can think about is all of that time spent sitting in the backseat of a car with a fussing baby who didn't like being in his car seat much in the first place and certainly didn't like it after multiple hours per day.  I think about the horrible weather, the stressful driving in the snow (that I was doing from the backseat.)  The lugging around of suitcases and large bags of gifts and then packing them back into an overcrowded car a day or two later.  So much work for so little relaxation. I want to focus on the good times, but when the majority of the time is spent in the car, it's hard to forget about and not focus on that.

He had a blast playing outside at his Grandpa and Grandie's house

We say this every year, but now that we have a toddler I feel that it is going to finally come to fruition - we are going to stay home next year. No more driving during the holidays. We will still visit family, but we're going to do it during a time that is NOT late December.  November. Or January, even February. We're going to spend one Christmas at home, just the three of us (although family is more than welcome to come and visit us!) and see what all the hype is about that I hear from all of my friends with families who spend their Christmas breaks at home.  I hear it's awesome. I can't wait to find out!


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