Christmas on the Cape

In October, Ian's parents moved to the Cape. From Kansas. We'd joked about it for so long that when they actually moved, it felt surreal. Dane got a job, they found a great deal on a charming Cape Cod style house not too far from a beach, and Grandma Judy moved in. They have been working hard the past few months to make it feel like home. After being halfway across the country from our families for the past five years, being less than two hours away by bus or car is a revelation. And with a busy and sometimes overwhelming fall, it was huge to have a quiet retreat from the fast-paced city.

Their move did, however, mean we needed to get a bit creative for Christmas. Since they stuck around New England over the holidays, we decided to celebrate a small family Christmas in late January.

Ren and Emily flew up late on a Thursday night. We spend Friday morning exploring Boston — we picked up treats at Mike's Pastry (we were early enough to beat any crowds), contemplated the New England Holocaust Memorial, strolled part of the Freedom Trail, warmed up at David's Tea and Thinking Cup, and enjoyed a classic New England lunch at Yankee Lobster before heading east.

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It felt both strange and perfect, celebrating the holidays in a new place, in a new home, cuddled up on a gigantic sofa with our two favorite cats in front of a crackling fire. (After getting the car stuck on the beach near the Kennedy compound and waiting for a tow truck... )

The next morning, we woke up early, bundled up, and headed across the street to meet up with a new neighbor and fast friend, who had promised to take us oystering. We loaded up the gear and headed to the beach. Oysters were everywhere! We gathered a big pile on a large rock, then sorted out the ones that were too small to harvest, not stopping until we had a full basket (the maximum per week per license). Those with waders took the rakes and headed into the water to dig for clams, until we had a basket of those as well.

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Happy, freezing, soaked, exhausted, and proud, we piled back into the cars and headed home to warm up and dry out by the fire. We're so thankful for Karla waking up early to spend her morning on the beach with us: an unforgettable experience that we hope to repeat (perhaps in warmer weather).

We spent the rest of the day alternately napping and sightseeing around the Cape, before a big Christmas dinner that involved lots of lobster. The long weekend came to an end faster than we would like, but we're already looking forward to spending more holidays there as a family.

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See the rest of our New England Christmas photos on Flickr. (Thanksgiving, too!)