We spent the first part of Christmas break (Dec 22-25) with my family in Indiana. We celebrated my immediate family Christmas on the 23rd. It was a time filled with family, food, presents, and computer games for Steve. It was an all day event starting with cinnamon rolls in the morning (a tradition dad began when we were little), a big meal at lunch, and our annual sibling exchange and family Christmas in the evening. Steve got an air compressor and air compressor tools while I got a serger. Steve is excited to use his compressor while working on car stuff (hopefully he'll find time between house projects this spring/summer/fall) while I can't wait to use a serger instead of a sewing machine to continue my sewing projects.
We left Indianapolis early Christmas morning and landed in "New Jersey" by early afternoon. Steve's immediate family all met up at the airport in Philly and we headed to his grandparents' house in Jersey. While in Jersey, we got to see some of Steve's aunts, uncles, and cousins and enjoyed lots of catching up time. The first full day we were there was marked by a big Christmas with Poppy's extended family hosted by Nanny. We got to have Steve's family Christmas the next morning, complete with Mom-Mom's waffles (thanks John!). The rest of our time in Jersey was spent indulging in Jersey favorites like the Boardwalk pizza (formerly Mack & Manco's), Shriver's taffy, and rolling chairs (subs). We even got to squeeze in a family movie outing with Doug to see Sherlock 2 (2 thumbs up in my book).
We returned to Indy on the 29th and stayed with my family for a few more days. Steve got to meet up with a friend in Indy while I helped my mom prepare a traditional Romanian meal -- galushta. My grandma (who passed away almost 2 years ago) was born into a 2nd generation Romanian immigrant family. Every year for Christmas they would make a meal of cabbage rolls stuffed with ground beef and rice cooked in sour kraut and sausage. We made it this year in preparation for my Grandpa's Christmas. He decided to have a Christmas at his house (the first time since Grandma's been gone) in which my cousins and my family got together.
We came back to Lima on New Year's Day. We spent the day pretty low-key just trying to re-cooperate from all the travel. Tuesday, Steve went back to work and I got busy painting the dining room and a big hallway storage closet. Wednesday-Friday, my mom, sister, and 2-year-old niece came to visit (my dad is on business in Poland and missed out on this round). While my mom was here, she brought us up some furniture, gave decorating advice, and helped hang some curtains. (And of course I got some bonus items from her during the visit!)
My mom and sister left Friday, leaving the 2-year old with me. Later that evening, my other sister, her husband, and 2 oldest girls arrived, joining the little one in my care. They stayed through Saturday helping us with various projects. Steve and Chris spent most of Saturday exploring the house and consulting over projects. While exploring the house, they discovered the original door bell chime set (which Steve is anxiously hoping to get working again) and a hidden access to the original attic. Upon opening the attic access, they found a rodent skeleton. At first it was believed to be a rat; however, after research and deductive reasoning, we decided it was a squirrel. If you'd like to put your input on the skeletal remains, we will gladly show you upon your visit, as we left the skeleton in place.
While the guys were exploring and the little girls were playing Wii, my sister and I hung some more curtains, blinds, cleaned under the stove, swept up a broken light (a fluorescent bulb in the basement randomly decided to fall form the ceiling and shatter on the floor), and tore apart the shower doors in the spare bathroom. Okay, really she did most of the work and I did the supervising. However, I returned to work today tearing out all the caulking from the shower/tub in that bathroom.
I finally feel like the house is becoming more "us". Now that I have a few rooms almost completely done, I'll start posting more pictures of the house again. Keep bearing with me and the blog as I try to catch up and post more consistently again. Our holiday travels and family visits have worn us out be we enjoyed ever moment of these past few weeks, but we're glad to be back in our own house.