January 23, 2024

Christmas travels 2023

 Here's everything worth sharing from my phone, and for posterity's sake. 

Left Missouri early on the morning of December 16th, with two small children and all this stuff. I never, ever post about traveling in real time (I used to do it when we lived in Alaska because I figured if you wanted to rob our house in Alaska, good luck from the lower 48). But Scott had to work and had some projects he wanted us not to be here for :) I had 15 days off of school for some reason this year. So we went to Pennsylvania for Christmas. 

I kept promising McDonald's for dinner and then it was dark in Ohio and I didn't know the reputation of McDonald's near our hotel. So Cracker Barrel it was! We had the nicest waiter. I don't know that I've ever had such good service at a CB. Definitely not like the local one here where you wait for an hour for your food. 
Oh, they ate nothing.

It takes a particular set of skills to manage the stuff you need for a one-night hotel stay with a toddler. I was reminded of Wells' first hotel stay, as this was Sutton's first. 

They did well, all things considered (sleep. if you don't consider sleep.)

Enjoying the magnets at Nanny and Pap's. 

Sutton's first Trader Joe's trip. Baby Wells went every week/every other week when we lived in Pittsburgh

This year's gingerbread kit.

It snowed just for Wells

Trying to teach him how to play chess

Wells got a haircut (a mohawk) and a donut

The Christmas tunnel.
Here's the story: Wells calls Scott's mom and stepdad Tunnel Nanny and Tunnel Pap and my mom and dad Bridge Nanny and Bridge Pap because *this tunnel* is up at Christmastime in "Tunnel Nanny's" neighborhood. It's what he remembers each year, starting from age 2. 
My parents live near a bridge.
All this to say that you can ruminate over what you want your grandkids to call you for days and weeks and months...and you still end up nicknamed a piece of infrastructure by a then-3 year old who lives 6 states away and is just trying to make sense of the world. 

Sutton and her cousin

She ate well and then broke out into hives. I think it was the clothing, to be honest, since none of the food was super different and she isn't prone to reactions. It was definitely a contact allergy.

Sugar cookies

A cold walk

This path is on the Appalachian trail. 

Kids' table. I don't think anyone actually ate.

Will they every look at the same time? 

Fun fact: My grandparents' house is a Sears Roebuck kit house. It's been added onto, parts remodeled, but these are steps. I couldn't keep these two off of them because they're not used to steps. 

Really into whatever this was.

She and her cousin, I think, could be actual twins. 7 weeks apart.

Santa brought a stroller.
I'm impressed with the quality!

They loved A Christmas Story.

5 year old Wells ^^^ , 3 year old Wells, 2 year old Wells

My brother's vintage Pokemon cards. 

A Chickfila stop in Ohio

Trying to keep them busy with a new toy in the hotel room in Illinois. Worked for 7 minutes.

One last Starburcks stop before home.

Greeted by snow on our road. 

In the end, I'm glad we went for all the usual reasons and I'm really glad we got out of small-town Missouri for a couple of weeks. Last year we went for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas and I was shocked (and appalled) and how much work Christmas is with kids because I've been letting our families do the bulk of the planning and work for the last 5 years. I do the traveling, they do the labor. That seems like a fair deal. 

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