We're back from a Christmas trip up North to see Nicholas' family!  Being in the Midwest always feels "homey" especially around Christmas. Because our families live in different states (Indiana and Minnesota), and we live in a third state (Texas), we have to rotate time with both families, which is always hard. Like so many of us in adulthood who aren't able to see all their loved ones on Christmas, I really missed seeing my parents, my brother, and my grandparents this year. But I know that we are loved, and I hope that they know they are loved (so loved)! Until next time, we're sending hugs from afar. 

For this trip, we flew into Chicago by 9:30am, Nicholas' parents and his sister picked us up, and we all bundled up. We spent the first part of the day there with our regular trip to Intelligentsia for mochas and to Macy's to see the big tree. We stopped by Christkindlmarket to see some beautiful handcrafted items and for roasted nuts (so good!) and then grabbed a nice lunch before heading home.

We spent the rest of our trip in his hometown, going about daily life, albeit a festive, fun, pre-Christmas version of it. Our days filled with trips to the local grocery store nearly every day, baking cupcakes with my sister-in-law, and drinking coffee out of Christmas mugs. We also had a quick (but nice!) lunch with family as they drove through to Ohio. 

There was shawl-wearing, and viewing of Christmas with the Kranks, Santa Claus, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and too many episodes to count of Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting  and so many cuddles with puppies and soft blankets

We all had dinner at the loveliest Italian restaurant and Nicholas and my sister-in-law, Katelyn, and I went out for coffee at a newish coffeeshop in downtown Valpo.

We visited Grandpa DeVries and aunts and uncles at his farm, and shared coffee and cake together, while looking at pictures of Nicholas and the rest of the family from years ago. Katelyn and I snuck in a snowy walk before it got dark (because I've missed snow so much).

For the rest of our time in Valpo, we

  • Played games, including dominos, (lots of) Phase 10, Euchre, and Scattergories
  • Attended a beautiful Christmas Eve church service, and Katelyn did my hair for it (she's the best at hair)
  • Drove around to look at Christmas lights
  • Saw the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One
  • Read the last advent reading together on Christmas day and had cinnamon rolls and omelets for breakfast
  • Wrapped Christmas presents and opened them! 
  • Nicholas and my father-in-law worked on wooden sculpture puzzles that Nicholas got for Christmas
  • Snuck a quick picture with Nicholas between rounds of Phase 10.

And because I'm always knitting something....I did some knitting on a colorwork hat for Nicholas and the beginnings of a tweedy cowl (psst, you can expect a post soon about all the pre-Christmas knitting projects that were super secret until now)

Merry (belated) Christmas, friends! And I'm praying for safe travels for those of you still away from home. And for our loved ones, near and far, we love and miss you to pieces. xoxo