This update is a longer time coming than I meant it to be. I took literally HUNDREDS of pictures over the last 3 weeks, and I had to sift through them to find the best ones to tell the story (and the ones that weren't too blurry- I have an aversion to flash, and due to winter-indoor activities plus fast-moving children, I have lots of blurs instead of people.)
Christmas with my family was wonderful. We went to my Mom & Dad's house to open gifts from them, and my sister and her Josh were there. Their gifts from my parents were themed around their summer study-abroad trip they're taking to Europe- they got a bunch of Euros & travel books.
We left the day after Christmas first for the Indianapolis Auto Show- one of Josh's presents. We checked out cars we've had our eye on, with expectation that we'll get one in the next couple years to replace Josh's 15-year-old Civic.
Next, we drove to Bloomington for a 2-night stay at a bed and breakfast there, the Grant Street Inn. It was beautiful and peaceful and exactly what we needed. We brought games to play, and played not a few games of Skip-Bo, Scrabble, Fluxx, and the newest addition, Eco-Fluxx.
After our getaway in southern Indiana, we headed north, back through Indianapolis to Lebanon. we spent the night at Josh's parents' house then packed up his mom & brother VERY early in the morning and drove to Wisconsin by breakfast time. Along the way, we stopped at O&H Bakery (very early in the morning) to pick up a belated Christmas gift for my dad- a kringle, a pastry seemingly only available in the town of Racine, Wisconsin. Sites in Wisconsin included the Cedar Grove windmill, a modern windmill, the Port Washington pier, scenic farms, the village of Lake Church in the mist, and the Lake Michigan shoreline. The highlight of the trip, however, was not the sights but the people. We were able to spend a lot of time with Josh's grandmother, including a couple piano recitals on the nursing home's piano by Josh's brother. The kids didn't understand the meaning of "rest home". (Yes, they're the colorful blurs.)
The few days we visited consisted of lots of meals with lots of aunts and uncles. The New Year's party was the biggest event, and we enjoyed seeing everyone, even if I didn't understand all of the food. (A fish to dip crackers in? Raw ground beef to spread on crackers?! I didn't try that one.) I lost horribly and painfully at Uno.
There is a large Catholic population in the area (I'm not saying the people are large, there's just a lot of them! :) ) and we got to visit the Catholic church in the small village. I really appreciated the service ("Today we're celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family. We're all a part of that family, so I guess we're celebrating our own feasting!" I thought it was funny. No one laughed.) and the sermon on Jesus as a boy in the Temple. A new aspect of the story hit me when it was read- When Jesus was 12, he was in Jerusalem for Passover, was missing for three days, then was found again, chiding his parents for not knowing where he was, and amazing those with him at his understanding. Twenty-one years later, for Passover, he's in Jerusalem again, goes missing (dead!) for three days, and is found again, and meets people on the road to Emmaus, chiding them for not knowing where he was, and amazing them with his understanding. I hadn't seen that parallel before. it wasn't mentioned or anything, I just thought it was cool. Anyway, the other adventure in Catholicism we had was on our way home- we took a detour and went to see a site called Holy Hill. The shrine was impressive from even a ways off, even more so close-up, and was beautiful inside. A service was to start soon, so we didn't stay long.
It was back to work this week. A coworker re-gifted me a box of tea, because he's not a tea drinker, and I thought that was cool. It is from Israel!
Oh, and if you don't check out the rest of the un-linked-to pictures in the album, you're missing out on a lot.