Surprisingly since we have been over here in England, we have actually not been home for Christmas in the US. Our first year we had been home in November so we saw our families right before the holidays, and then we took a vacation to Egypt for our first Christmas. I was quite sad not to be with my family for Christmas that year, but since I was with Scott is was ok.
Our second Christmas over here, my parents took my sister and us to Italy for a week. We really didn't do Christmas gifts, since we all took a trip together, and it was wonderful. I look forward to doing this type of Christmas celebration again and someday treating our children to vacations. It was so nice to spend time together and to experience Italy together.
And last year, I was too pregnant to fly on a long-haul flight at Christmas time, so we stayed here in England and ended up with an unexpected guest for Christmas day (my friend Sarah) due to the snow storm that hit England last year. It was a quiet Christmas but a very relaxing and enjoyable one.
This year we are flying home to the US with Crosby since it is her first Christmas and all of our families want to see her. Although our families are relatively close in proximity [just a mere 5-6 hour drive apart----to Brits, this is NOT close in proximity! but to Americans, it's "close"], the physical travel between the two cities, the stuff / gear we now have to travel with for a baby, the extra baggage for Christmas gifts, extra clothing and gear for a visit in the winter months, not to mention the attempt to please everyone involved, is already a bit overwhelming.
We are trying to secure all of our flights for this trip back, and it appears Crosby & I will be taking no less than SEVEN flights over the break. Scott will be with me for half of these flights so I will appreciate his extra set of hands for sure. Let's just hope we don't have any snowstorms or flight delays thrown in there, or else my worst travel nightmares might be coming true.....after hearing about the recent planes that were grounded in CT for over 7 hours on the runway with no electricity or assistance, I am fearful of these situations now that I will be traveling with a baby in tow. Traveling just as two adults at this time of year seems to require extra patience since it feels like every public gathering place and airport is extra crowded with people and lines for waiting are always twice as long! However now traveling with a small child, the stakes seem even higher because it is no longer just about us, it is now about trying to keep an infant appeased during all of this travel and change from her daily routine. Why do things always get so crazy at the holidays? Besides the crowds everywhere, it seems everyone is so busy and everyone is trying to cram too many visits into a short period of time. Why does it happen year after year?
Then upon arrival, we will of course be living out of suitcases, staying with relatives in someone else's home, shuffling back and forth between various houses with all of the baby gear and suitcases in tow, and will be without our own surroundings that Crosby is used to, so I know it will be twice as much work to watch her every move to make sure she is not exploring nooks and crannies that are not meant to be.
Hopefully our travels will be uneventful and punctual at best. It will be nice to go home but I do look forward to having Christmas in our own home without the hassles of travel and the worries of bad weather at this time of year. It will be nice when Crosby can wake up in her own house and we can start our own traditions as a family. This is when living so far away from home is not as attractive as being only one [short] flight away from family. For this year, we will be taking a lot of deep breaths, hoping for good weather, smooth flight connections, and a well behaved little girl!