Getting home to a melted, mostly snow-free city, that is. If you ever have the chance to take a 6+ hour car ride with an infant, I advise you to pass.
Actually, Charles did quite well, considering that it can't possibly be comfortable to be strapped into a carseat for that long. I think the trip down to Long Beach was tougher, as there were no defined stops to visit relatives, and really, Charlie the ham loves to be held by his admirers. We stopped lots, fed him lots, and have vowed not to take another trip of that magnitude for a couple of months.
We had a wonderful Christmas - I have a feeling next year will be more hectic and more endearing with a toddler, but we were very happy to be able to spend Christmas with both of our immediate families. As it turned out, most of Tony's extended family could not make it over the mountains and through the snow, and my brother opted to stay in Mount Vernon with his girlfriend (who had to work), so we had Christmas morning with both of our parents and the dogs. It was fabulous! I don't enjoy splitting Christmas into two days (I'm a traditionalist, and while I understand that Christmas can happen wherever, whenever, I would much rather a big present-opening party on Christmas morning with all the family at once), so I was thrilled we all got to be together on Christmas morning. We all spent just about every meal together as well, which was great because I got a chance to eat hot food while others took care of Charles. Charles mostly slept through presents on one grandparent's shoulder or another, which was probably the best gift they got this year.
We also made a trip to the frigid beach in the wind and rain to run the dogs, visited our friends Kelli, Rick, and Ruary, as well as Carole, Jarrod, Michael, and new baby Jenna, and spent a lovely evening with the Grub Club for their Christmas event. Good times were had by all. We stopped twice to visit family on the way back to Mount Vernon yesterday, and Charles got to meet his great aunts and uncles, cousins once removed, and even a second cousin! No joke, though, he wound himself up so much in his carseat at one point that he was completely soaked with sweat. He was not happy with having a wet diaper and being stuck! Buster has found all of his toys in the yard again, thanks to the melt, and I am working on getting the house back in order. It's amazing to me, whether it be the birth of a child or Christmas, how fast time sometimes goes and how quickly big events come and go. On to tax season now!
Buster sez, "Ahh, a rare moment with my mom... thank goodness someone decided to take that naked, squirmy puppy away, I hardly ever get loves anymore. Seriously, though, if that thing just grew some fur, I am sure it wouldn't squeal so much."
Charlie sez, "I LOVE Christmas!"