Chad and I (and Sock Monkey, of course) were traveling machines for the holidays! We traveled via car, Metra, and Amtrak to get to Jackson, Michigan and Blackstone, Illinois to spend time with our families. By the time we returned to Kenosha, we had taken 6 different trains and 6 different car rides in just under 9 days. The original intent was to avoid the unpredictable wintry weather. Ha, unpredictable indeed: we didn't end up with ANY wintry weather. When was the last time that happened in the Midwest? Regardless, the relaxation, reading, snacking and movie-watching on the trains were SO worth it. It's our favorite way to travel.
I will say, a 6pm train out of Union Station in Downtown Chicago just 3 days before Christmas yielded the most entertaining people-watching I may have ever experienced. It could be the fact that there were about 4 times as many people as what fits in one station or the fact that everyone was carting 3 times as much luggage as normal with gifts & such (ourselves included). The giant blob of people were basically just shuffling to and fro, hoping the direction they were facing would eventually reward them with their intended destination point. What I would have paid to see an aerial view of that madhouse… I do always love the historic waiting room area at the station, though. Beautiful architecture and beautifully decorated. I could take pictures in there for hours.
The days we spent with our families were pretty great. I miss being able to see them all more often! Anyone know when teleportation technology will be available?? As we all get older and family locations and groupings change, we continue to start new Christmas traditions. One of my favorite parts about this Christmas was that our focus really wasn't on decorations or festivities or presents, but on spending quality time with each other.
We hung out with my sisters, catching up on life and sleeping on their couches. We visited with my Grandparents, learning all about our family's history. We sat with my Mom & Charlie and played games together. We celebrated Christ's birth at a candlelight Christmas Eve service. We spent time with my Dad, Jennifer & Dave over a tasty feast. We snagged a couple hours to catch up with a couple of my closest high school buddies. We swapped stories and hugs with Chad's extended family. We stayed with Chad's Dad (John) & Jeanette at their home and shared the latest happenings. We laughed with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law over friendly board game competition.
All of this reminded me of how truly blessed I am. No matter what challenges may arise over the course of the year, no matter what tension may exist or stresses that distract, family is still family. The good will forever outshine the "not as good". Every moment spent with them will be considered a privilege to be enjoyed. I will always, always, always value every single one of my sweet family members. I love you all!