Monday, April 27, 2009


We had a nice relaxing visit with Brian’s parents over Christmas. Brian got to play lots of games of pool with his dad, and many games of rummy with his mom.

Early on, the weather was a bit sketchy – biting cold and rain freezing rain, and Brian and his dad got to spend time bonding while breaking up the ice in the driveway. We started using the treadmill in the basement for exercise because it was just too cold to run outside.

Brian’s sister Christie came home a few days after we got there, and by Christmas everyone was ready for the big day. We woke before dawn and lit the tree.

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Our stockings sat waiting for us to dig in.

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Sarah curled up with a blanket while she waited for the rest of the family to wake up.

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It wasn’t long before Christie was ready for her morning coffee, and of course we had to add a little Christmas spirit to it in the form of Bailey’s.

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Before opening presents, we took a few family pictures by the tree. Christie and us:

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Brian’s parents:

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Then we opened our Christmas cards. Christie liked her card comparing George Bush to a monkey.

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Finally, the time had come! Time to open the gifts! We’ve become more orderly in our gift unwrapping than we used to be – generally taking turns instead of all tearing into the wrapping paper madly. Brian gave Sarah a classic book of Washington hikes.

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Christie got a package of “Christie”-brand cookies, which we picked up for her while we were in Canada.

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Sarah gave Brian a book that perfectly fit our year of traveling.

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Brian also got some Toasted Oats. We think there was a present inside the box, but we’re not sure anymore.

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Christie was apparently a mad knitter in the months leading up to Christmas. She made golf club head covers for Dad.

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A hat for Mom.

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A sweater for Dad.

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A sweater for Mom.

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Here’s Dad with his ensemble of knitted items.

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After we had opened our gifts, drunk too much Bailey’s, and eaten way too many Turtles, Brian’s grandparents arrived. Here’s Brian with his grandfather.

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Brian’s aunt Pam and uncle Ron also came over.

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Grammy enjoyed opening her presents.

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And Grampy made out well, as always.

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The unwrapping of knitted items continued unabated.

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Sarah took advantage of breaks in the action to take some close-up photos of the ornaments on the tree.

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After opening this second round of presents, everyone was famished when we finally ate Christmas brunch around 1:00 in the afternoon, so we all agreed it was the best Christmas brunch ever.

We stayed with Brian’s parents through the end of the month to celebrate Brian’s dad’s birthday. One day, we all drove out to Starved Rock State Park, where we were supposed to be able to see bald eagles. We did see a couple, but spent most of our time looking out over the flooded Illinois River.

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After a restful stay in Illinois, we finally set out on Monday, January 5, to begin our final drive across the country to Seattle.

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