We drove to Maryland December 18th. For the record, rather than go across Tennessee and up Virginia we went through Kentucky and West Virginia. If ever you find yourself driving from Memphis to Baltimore, I highly recommend the Kentucky to West Virginia route. The highways were not packed with truckers and the scenery is beautiful.
Most of the trip, as is typical, was spent visiting family. My sister was in town from California and my brothers were up from South Carolina and Florida. We hung around, did some shopping, attended our traditional holiday parties, and enjoyed our time in Maryland. This was actually the first time Peter had seen some of my family members in two years since we stayed in Memphis last Christmas.
My sister turned 23 while at home so a few of her friends organized a surprise party. They had dinner then suggested that they go downtown. When she arrived at the bar, she was shocked to see 20+ friends and family members! The surprise was enough to be fodder for conversation for the rest of the trip.
The morning after Kelsey's birthday we went to New York. I love, love, love being able to visit New York for a day. Or Philadelphia. Or the beach. Or DC. Growing up in the Mid-Atlantic certainly spoiled me in terms of accessibility to other places.
Back in Maryland, TJ took care of a varmint problem that mom was having. TJ figured that a few bb pops would scare the squirrels away. I'll go on record saying that I do not know if any squirrels were hit. What I do know, is everyone took their turn. Except for me. I just took pictures.
Every year, a day or so before Christmas, my dad's folks drive in from Delaware. We celebrate Christmas with Grotto pizza and Cathy's oatmeal cookies. My mom's dad also comes to visit since my grandfathers have been friends for a long, long time.
Christmas Eve we went to an annual not-quite-family party. You know those people that you call uncle because they're your parent's good friends? Well that would make them not-quite-family. Either way, I've known the hosts my entire life. We had a nice time catching up with friends we do not see very often.
After the party, Peter and I took my brother Ryan and his amiga to 34th Street. For 62 years, on 34th Street between Keswick and Chestnut, the neighbors have lit up the block with holiday decor. It is certainly a sight to be seen!
On Christmas we followed our traditions just the same as always. We went from my mom's house to my dad's where we ate a breakfast that was way too big and way too good. After lounging, we headed to my aunts for dinner where all of my mom's immediate family gathered. I know my grandfather loved seeing all of his grandchildren in one city, under one roof no less. I'm not sure of the last time that occurred! We took a bunch of pictures of the cousins and each family.
We loaded up the car and headed back on the 26th. I'll say it was perfect timing because snow was headed East. We drove back the way we came and were in snow until Nashville. Peter had to get back to work and I needed to warm up. I think spending the last eight winters in the South has decreased my tolerance for cold weather.