We left Boston on Thursday before sunrise, snow accumulating on our suitcases as we waited for the T. We arrived in Denver to no snow.
The disappointment was mitigated with a hug from Ren, who picked us up curbside. We headed east to spend the next eleven days in all four corners of Kansas.
Corner of Kansas 1 preface
It was so good to see Dane, Micki and "the kids" Pfluff and Ming. Last time we saw Ming he was a tiny kitten, and now he's all grown up (and huge). He's not the sharpest crayon in the box, but he is the fluffiest.
We also witnessed the church building in action at the Christmas Eve service. Before we moved to Boston we helped with the construction, but left before they finished phase 1. It's kind of fun looking up thinking, "I installed all those canned lights while navigating a fully extended genie around carpentry equipment."
Corner of Kansas 2
After the Christmas Eve service, we headed south to Susan and Marilyn's. Lots of hot cider, hanging out, football, and fire stoking. Possibly one of the best moments of the weekend was Grandma Marilyn playing up and down the river.
Corner of Kansas 1 chapter 1
Sunday we headed back to spend a couple more days with Ian's family. We opened more presents, watched more football, and had fun in the kitchen. Grandma Judy came down, we played cards (Grandma Judy and I pulled off an incredibly high pinochle score), and made a three-generational coconut cream pie.
As luck would have it, Karen and Jeremy were on their way home from a skiing trip, and they stopped by. So we conned them into taking our family photo. Please note, Ian's yellow sweater is not a CU sweater. We love Ren, we do not love CU.
Corner of Kansas 1 chapter 2
Then it was on to spend time with my family. We watched and analyzed Inception, assessed Caleb's dreds (it looks like he has a giant tarantula on his head but he looks good), and relaxed together for a couple days before heading to Grandma's (catching Voyage of the Dawn Treader along the way).
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Friday night, we introduced Grandma to Mom and Dad's new Mac and Photobooth.
Caleb stayed up with Ian and I to watch Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark ring in the new year. I have now lost all desire to see this in person.
We woke up early the next day and made a quick trip to Manhattan to catch Jordan — we had breakfast a Bluestem and Steve made our drinks. It's like we never left.
Coleen, Eldred, Brian and Ellen arrived, and the next 24 hours were filled with epic uno games, ESPN's 30 for 30, Alice in Wonderland, spritz, potato sausage, Grandma thanking us for her "postcahds from Bahston," and Chaos (pronounced chay-ohs), the friendly barn cat who is trying to convince Grandma to let her move indoors.
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Monday morning we got up bright and early, said goodbye to Grandma, and my family drove us to Wichita. Thanks to a cancelled flight and ensuing rebooking through Memphis instead of Atlanta, we got an extra hour to grab Starbucks with Micki, Ren and Aunt Patti (spending a few days with Patti after their family Christmas take 2). With a twinge of homesickness, we said goodbye.
Home again, home again, jiggy jig jig.
Thanks again to our rebooking, we picked up some Memphis barbeque on the way back. I glared at Ian in first class (again, rebooking). We were home by seven.
It's hard to say goodbye not knowing when you'll see family next, but it's also good to be home, just the two of us. And Ian's excited to be back and using all our new Christmas presents. I got a lot of kitchen things, so he thinks I'll be cooking him lots of treats. Little does he know, he'll be using them all too.
Thanks to everyone for your hospitality and generosity. We love you and miss you all so much. Feel free to visit us — we'll leave the light on for you.