We left off right before our road trip to Chicago. But in true Kummerow style, we squeezed in a few more Christmas activities before we left town.
On Thursday the girls and I spent the day with our sweet babysitter friend Sarah. I picked her up for a lunch date and we did some shopping before hanging out at home while the girls napped. She sweetly helped out while I ran to the post office and baked cookies for our evening activities…
Thursday evening we hung out with the Sorenson’s. The moms sipped wine and the girls decorated sugar cookies for Christmas. The men were there too, but not sure what they got into. It was the perfect evening with friends before we left the next day. Friday I scurried around knocking out my to do list so we could hit the road as soon as Alex got off work. We left right on schedule and made it to our stopping point after driving through a little white stuff in the mountains. My friend Angie graciously put us up for the evening and fed us breakfast the next day.
On Saturday we were back on the road and arrived at our destination just after noon and just in time to celebrate Karina’s big birthday. While we had lots of plans we wound up cozying at the Schumacher’s for most of our trip. The rainy weather kept us indoors but even the girls didn’t seem to mind the down time.
On Sunday we celebrated Christmas with Alex’s sisters and their families. Eleanor and Ruthie are the youngest cousins by a distance but their big cousins love to play with and entertain them. That equals lots of free time for mom and dad. I felt so relaxed the entire day! We had brunch with eggs and ham and monkey bread (so good!) and played a riotous round of White Elephant. Alex’s family can get pretty competitive so I sat out a game of spoons in which the underdogs Jessi and Emily battled for the win. I can’t remember who ended up as champion. Eleanor received a new game, Balance Moon, for Christmas from Nene and the cousins played and played. I am amazed how quickly E caught on!
I remember Monday being a very relaxing day and I can’t remember a single thing I did apart from downloading a book and reading- something that I haven’t done in so long. Alex and Nene went to the movies to watch the new Star Wars and the girls both napped super well.
Tuesday we were back on the road with a quick trip to Alex’s dad’s house. It was a hectic day full of shopping, cooking and eating. That night we headed back to Karina’s (Nene = Karina).
By Wednesday the girls were a little stir crazy but the rain would not relent so we headed to a local library to find a little distraction. After an hour of play we realized it had stopped raining and we headed outside for a walk in the balmy weather. We popped into a few shops in Geneva including our two favorite children stores and then made the obvious trip inside the All Chocolate Kitchen. Eleanor and I had gelato and Alex enjoyed a decadent chocolate brownie and we sipped a cup of their delicious coffee. Then we spent the afternoon back at Karina’s baking four dozen Empire Cookies.
Finally it was Christmas Eve. We scratched our plans to head into the city due to bad weather and train times. Instead we walked around the local outlet mall and watched the crowds buzz in and out of stores with last minute shopping. Back at Karina’s the girls napped and we prettied ourselves for church.
We attended Karina and John’s home church, Harvest Bible Chapel. James McDonald is a teacher that we admire and respect so much and the message was a great reminder of what God has done for us by sending his son Jesus and our responsibility to share the good news with others. I left feeling peaceful and joyful for the wonderful gift of Jesus!
We parted with Karina and John after church and drove to Alex’s dad’s for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
Back at Dave’s (Alex’s dad’s) we enjoyed heavy appetizers and good company. Many of Alex’s family joined us there and we all sat up late into the night watching Holiday Inn. Christmas morning came fast and even little Ruthie got into the excitement.
We all opened some wonderful gifts on Christmas Day and then enjoyed a giant breakfast of homemade crepes and catered pastries and casseroles from Limelight catering. While the dinner feast was being prepared I entertained the girls throughout the afternoon. We escaped for a short walk right before dinner and then dug into the turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes. We ate a ton of Empire Cookies and went to bed stuffed.
The next day was Saturday and we were on the road again.
Another day, another house, another Christmas celebration. We all caravanned to Long Beach, Indiana for our final Christmas with Alex’s sister Jacqui. Her new house is beautiful and the girls enjoyed climbing on the window seats and staring outside at the dreary weather for hours. We opened more gifts and sipped Bloody Mary’s. We relaxed knowing our big drive was soon coming. After much debate and talk of going to the movies we delayed our departure a day and ended up staying through Sunday too. Alex and his sisters took Eleanor to watch her very first movie at a theater, The Good Dinosaur. I stayed behind with Ruthie. Eleanor loved the movie and loved eating popcorn and Twizzlers with her aunts. I wasn’t at all bummed to miss it. Instead I curled up on the couch and vegged.
We left early Monday. It took us 15 hours to get home. We were all ready to see our own beds and shake off the travels. I am so grateful for safe travels, for healthy kids (and parents) the whole time we were away, and for family and friends who we love so much and spent so much time with. This Christmas was especially exciting because Eleanor was so into it all. She was counting down all of the Christmas celebrations and genuinely grateful for all her new toys. Ruthie also got into the Christmas spirit. She loved to peek into gift bags looking for presents and climbing on top of all the boxes. She loves her new rocking horse from Auntie and can make it rock on her own and practiced walking at every stop on our trip. It won’t be long before she is really walking on her own.
I am especially grateful for the gift of Jesus. Our family is blessed to know Him and worship Him and I wish that for all of you during the Christmas season.