Thursday, February 27, 2014

Belated Christmas recap: An unexpectedly extended East Coast tour

This year we moved up Christmas to December 23 for a cozy little celebration before our trip back east. On our “Christmas Eve” we hosted a brunch for friends from church, and then we sat by the fire and read stories for the rest of the day.

“Christmas” morning we opened stockings and presents and enjoyed assembling Legos and Playmobil together.

Then we had a day to pack, visit with friends, and get the house in order before flying out to North Carolina on the 25th. We arrived in time for a delicious Christmas dinner and a rousing game of “Tellestrations” with my family. Then we had a second Christmas morning exchanging gifts and playing outside.

The next day we drove up to northern Virginia with Auntie C and had a lovely evening at her place with almost-Uncle Ryan. On Saturday we visited with some dear friends in DC and then drove up to New Jersey for a delightful holiday get-together with my extended family in northern Jersey (plus a cake for the birthday girl, Ellabelle). It was wonderful to see almost everyone from my mom’s side of the family, we just wish it could have been for longer!

Sunday we spent back in Princeton, seeing friends at our old church and taking it easy. Monday we took the trains out to Long Island to spend the rest of our trip with Erik’s family. It was wonderful to see everyone there and visit a few friends who live close by. We were so glad that Uncle Travis & Keri and Uncle Bryan & Aunt Chelsie were able to come down, and of course L & E were thrilled to play with Grandma and Grandpa again.

It had been a while since we’d seen Erik’s grandparents, and it was delightful to stay with them and catch up. We were spoiled by GG-Ma’s scrumptious cooking and the scenic woodsy views. We also delighted in introducing the kids to Aemilia, their sweet second cousin who’s just a little younger than Eleanor, and catching up with all the Long Island extended family.

Originally we thought that the toughest travel would be the long drive up to NJ in a packed car, trekking through NY Penn Station with the kids and all our luggage, or perhaps the flight home with two stops and an early departure. But Winter Storm Hercules and Winter Storm Ion swooped in to provide a bigger travel debacle.

After leaving Erik’s grandparents’ at 4am, finding our flight cancelled, and waiting in line at La Guardia from 5am-9:30am, we were told that the earliest available flight home wouldn’t be until 5 days later than our scheduled return! Most shocking was the fact that this was the case even though we’d inquired about departing from a dozen different airports, stretching from DC up to Manchester, NH! If Erik and the kids hadn’t all been sick that morning, we might have rented a car and driven home. As it was we waited it out and kept 1-800-I-FLY-SWA on speed dial.

Eventually we were able to move up the flight by a day and gratefully made it home without further cancellations. Unfortunately, we didn’t leave Long Island without infecting our beloved hosts with an icky virus that packed a miserable trifecta of nausea, fever, and cold symptoms. Despite the sickness, we did fit in some sleigh ride time courtesy of Hercules, and Luke loved racing down GG-Pa’s famed sledding hill.

Eleanor’s tolerance for the snow spray in her face was very limited, but Luke (and Daddy) played in it for ages before reluctantly consenting to return inside.

We always return home from these East Coast tours wishing we lived closer and could see everyone more often. This time that was mingled with the enticement of fewer travel complications and stranded with sickness possibilities! We hope to see everyone again soon and wish you all a much belated happy and healthy new year!!

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