I didn't get in any posts for the last few days because we were out in Ohio celebrating Christmas with Heather's side of the family.
We drove in Friday afternoon and stayed until January 1st. As the kids get older driving with them on this trip is getting easier and easier. In fact, on this trip we were able to manage getting away with only one stop on both the to-Ohio and the to-Illinois drives. Making the overall time in-route lower than it's been in years.
It was a nice visit with Heather's family (even if I continue to be plagued with one of the strangest colds ever). Not only did we celebrate Christmas with all of Heather's brothers and sister (and their kids), but they took time to stop and sing Heather "Happy Birthday." (Her birthday is 12/30) There wasn't a birthday cake, but there were separate birthday presents (wrapped in birthday wrapping paper no less!).
In all the years that I have known Heather, outside of her 21st and 30th, I can't recall them acknowledging Heather's birthday in such a fashion. Usually it will get a mention or some birthday gifts will be offered on the side privately. However this year Heather's mom stopped everything, had us all sing, and then had everyone watch while Heather opened her gifts. I was nice to see Heather get that sort of spotlight. As anyone with late December birthdays can attest to, getting any attention for the birthday during the holiday season can be quite a challenge.
We also played a pretty fun game while with her family. It was actually a birthday present Heather got from her brother Kevin. It's called Pop5, and it's made by the same company behind Cranium. I'm not going to go into the details of how the game is played, but it's a fantastic party game. Lots of fun.
My family used to play games at family gathering all the time. At least when I was younger, and so were my dad and his brother and sisters. But as they got older they stopped playing them. Not sure why. But I'm thinking it's something we should trying starting up with my brother and sister (and their significant others) when we get together for Thanksgiving etc. It sure beats getting drunk and throwing knives at each other.
But now Christmas and the New Year holiday have come and gone. It's time to on to regular business. As I clear away the wrapping paper and dishes, I see we've got quite a bit of recovery to do at home. It's always a slow, painful restart for me in January. I have a tendency to get too relaxed and lazy in the closely weeks of December when it comes to work (at home or the office), and once I realize that I need to get moving again my body and mind doesn't always want to cooperate. But eventually I find my rhythm again.