Friday, January 6, 2012

"Home" for the Holidays

We have been "home" for the holidays. I say "home" loosely because of course we have not really been back in our actual home in Chicago, but we have been traveling between various locations including time spent with Scott's family and my family in an effort to see everyone during this time of year. It has been wonderful to see everyone and Crosby has been a trooper during her various moves between hotel rooms, houses, plane rides, train rides, car rides, etc. For the most part, our time back "home" has been spent fighting jet lag, unpacking, repacking, traveling, and visiting with family (oh and eating more meat than we ever thought possible!). I think we crammed a lot into our visit this time and yet it still doesn't feel like we've spent enough time in any one location, or seen everyone we had hope to see. I know this is just often the case when traveling in from out of town, and now with a baby, time seems even more compressed.

I am not sure if it is better to have both families in one city or if it's better to have them in different locations? I am aware that either situation has its own set of benefits and challenges. For us this year, it felt like neither side of our family got a fair bit and of course we felt like we were a bit sandwiched in the middle. We were rushed on Christmas Eve to pack up all of our belongings and get everything ready for our travel on Christmas Day, and then we didn't get to stay long on Christmas Day with my family because we had to fly twice, transfer planes, etc. and drive another hour to get to Scott's family once we landed at our final destination. So, we ended up eating Christmas dinner back at O'Hare airport where we had to transfer flights. Then once we got to Scott's family's house, it was late and so we did Christmas gifts, etc. the next day. So much pressure around one day and it just goes by in a blink of an eye! I am not sure what the answer to the splitting of the holiday is - it would be a challenge even if we were just in Chicago, still but of course the international aspect makes it even more complicated. Despite the headaches of travel, we did enjoy our visit as much as we could and were very glad we decided to spend the holidays back in the US. Crosby of course probably enjoyed it the most because she had everyone's attention!

Crosby at the train station in the suburbs of Chicago. Crosby & I took a train from the suburbs of Chicago while Scott stayed on to do some work for a few days at the start of our time back in the US.
Having dinner in the city with some extended family. Crosby loved being out in public and eating at the table in a proper high chair.
Bundled up in her snow suit for the cold Chicago weather. Thankfully no snow, but it was cold!
Enjoying a dinner out at one of Dad & Mom's favorite old restaurants.
On the plane again....leaving Chicago and off to see my family.
Crosby's ride through the airport (she will have seen the inside of O'Hare airport 5 separate times during this trip back to the US alone!!).

We spent some time with my family and then flew out to see Scott's family on Christmas Day.
The three of us on Christmas.
Crosby loved playing and being with her Aunt Carrie again!
Playing with her nativity set on Christmas morning.
A brand new baby doll for Miss Crosby! She was so happy and loves giving the baby doll kisses.

Hanging with Grandpa Craig at his house.
Crosby has really become attached to her little stuffed lamb. The lamb even had to join her at breakfast a few mornings while we were with Scott's family. She would not let it go!
A gift from Grandma Cris - a motorized hamster. At first Crosby was scared of this pretend pet but by the end of our week's visit, she had really warmed up to it and was chasing it around the house instead of letting the hamster chase her around.
Spending time with Uncle Todd & Gail was fun.
A third Christmas gift opening event for Crosby. Gifts with Great Grandma!
Visiting with Great Grandma and practicing her wave.
Watching football games with Uncle Matt.
Enjoying her visit with Grandpa Craig & Grandma Cris.
On the plane again....another flight, back to Gram & Pa's house on New Year's Eve.
Ringing in the new year with Pa, Gram, Uncle Ray & Aunt Claire. Although Crosby didn't know it, she was the greatest entertainment ever for the evening.
Crosby has been busy sifting through the local newspaper and clipping coupons and sale ads while we've been back. The newspapers in England don't include such sale flyers and coupons.
Spending time with Pa and winky the lamb too.
Learning new tricks - first how to use her new snack "catcher" with Gram.
And then how to drink from a straw!
It's been a great visit but now it's time to start packing to go back to England....

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