What a trip. Due to expensive flights and the cost to board Greta, Chris and I decided fly back to the Midwest for Christmas this year. We left on December 19 at 1:00 pm and covered about 100 miles before the big New England snowstorm hit us. Roads were terrible from Springfield, MA to Buffalo, NY, with terrible visibility and multiple cars in the ditches. We passed a smashed semi, a SUV with its motor on-fire and narrowly missed smashing into an east-bound vehicle that slid through a median into our west-bound lane of traffic. We lost so much time during the snowstorm that we decided to skip staying at a motel for the night and just keep driving. We slept in the car for 4 hours just outside Toledo, Ohio, but wound up hitting another snowstorm near Hudson, WI, and finally arrived at my parents' house at 3:00 pm on Saturday. We took my parents out to eat that night at Lindey's Steakhouse in Arden Hills, near Bethel College.
Sunday, we went to church with my parents, met our friends, Jimmy and Joelle, for lunch and then drove to Eden Praire to see Rob and Allison and our new niece, Lilly.
Monday, my parents hosted my dad's side of the family for Christmas. It was great to see a lot of family that I hadn't seen in a year.
Tuesday night, we stayed with my brother Jamie at his house in St. Louis Park, and a few friends drove over to his house for a small Christmas party. We got to catch up with friends from high school, college and the military, and Rob and Allison made it over, as well.
We spent all of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my parents. We went to a Christmas Eve service and then ate an awesome salmon dinner. On Christmas Day, Jamie and the girls and my brother Michael came over, and we all exchanged gifts. Chris and I, Varsana and Malia and my mom played Clue for about an hour. Team Varsana and Erin won. Whoohoo (we are trying to make a "W" in the below picture).
Greta spent most of her days playing with Alistair, my parents' collie, and Onyx, my brother Michael's mixed breed dog. They chased each other and wrestled for hours.
On the 26th, we drove to to Indiana by way of Chicago and Sean and Bonny's house. We spent a few hours there exchanging gifts, eating pizza and also visits with Bonny's family who took the Amtrak from Minneapolis to spend Christmas in Chicago (Sean couldn't get consecutive days off from work for them to make the trek to Minnesota).