Sorry for the hiatus, but as most businesses get a bit hectic around the holidays, I suppose it makes sense that life does too.
I made a trip down to my parent's house about 2 weeks ago so that I could retrieve my car, came back up to my apartment so we could do our own 'family' Christmas, and then headed back down again. We never managed to acquire an actual Christmas tree, so I used a recently purchased house plant (thank you Ikea) to take up the position.
My parent's have much better decorations...
The second time I went down to my parent's house for about 5 days. I left Wednesday to drive down, knowing that the weather was going to get really terrible. Turns out I didn't leave early enough because the typical 3.5 hour drive was almost 6 hours due to snow, wind and ice. I made it in one piece however, so it was worth the extra time. It always seems to amaze me how every year, without fail, people drive like morons during blizzards. I saw like 15 cars in the ditch, 3 of which actually happened right in front of me. Just because you have a truck or SUV doesn't mean you're not going to spin out...
We got quite a lot of snow, I'm not sure of the exact number but it was at least 10 inches on top of the 12 or so we already had. And then it warmed up and rained so everything melted, followed by sudden freezing, so of course now everything is covered in ice.
Anyway, the holidays were good. My family has developed a tradition (accidentally) of some small disaster or another by way of exploding food and drinks every time we have a nice dinner. This year was no exception. We managed to knock a crystal glass into a bowl of potatoes, send wine spilling over onto the floor, and send a cork flying across the room - up to the ceiling, bouncing off the fan, and back again. At least we keep company entertained with our shenanigans.
Every year my Dad's side of the family always gets together and we have a sort of pot-luck Christmas. We meet at the church in his hometown (as most of his family still lives there, or very near by) and every one has to bring a couple of inexpensive presents for the grab-bag. I brought a reusable bag, blanket and candle from Ikea.
After eating lunch, we all sit in a circle and take turns opening presents. The rules are you can either grab something from the middle or steal a present from someone else. This goes on until all of the presents are opened. There is usually one or 2 'hot' items that everyone fights over. Usually this is a Green Bay Packers or Vikings blanket (or something of the like) or a case of beer. This year however it was home-made cinnamon buns.
On the opposite end there are always a few presents that no one wants, like dollar-store games or a coffee mug. One year we brought a packet of sponges as a joke, but my aunt really like them! haha. I suppose you can always use some sponges. I walked away with a small crockpot (that I stole from my uncle,) so I think I did pretty well this year.
I leave you with my favorite part of the drive to and from my parent's house. Near the boarder of Iowa and Minnesota there is this small section of land that is just covered in windmills on both sides of I-35. There is just something really majestic about them, and the best time to see it is at sunset - which it just so happened to be while I was passing through. I'm not sure if the photos really do it justice. You'll just have to take notice if you're ever in the area, or take my word for it.