There's too much to 'splain about our trip, so I'll sum up (in no particular order):
- Christmas Eve at Brendan's aunt's was nice, and the kids were a big hit. (As if it were possible that they wouldn't be!)
- Snow and ice: just as yucky to drive in as I remember.
- Poor Sean had to endure many exposures to the elements during diaper changes on the journey to and fro. He seems none the worse for wear, but I felt bad for all of his personal stuff. He sure seemed surprised!
- Seeing our friends from Purdue was super great and it's amazing how easily the time passed. No awkward silences or anything like that. I think that's one way to know that friends are true, when tons of time has gone by and you can pick up the conversation as if you'd only just seen them yesterday.
- My sister-in-law's place in Chicago is really nice and decorated and color-coordinated and neat and tidy. It should be obvious from that sentence that she does not have kids! We all enjoyed seeing her boyfriend again, and meeting her dog (a black lab). Even Ryan liked the dog (eventually), such things are very stressful for him, since he has kind of a dog phobia thing going on.
- The Museum of Science and Industry was fun, but I think it would have been more enjoyable had we gone at a different time during the year (as in not during Christmas vacation), we had had more time to spend, we had purchased tickets to the submarine online, and possibly we had not had a baby with us. Sean and I spent much time locating and riding in the various elevators while everyone else moved quickly on to the next attraction. Lots of wasted time. Plus, it was so freaking crowded you could barely move. Also, the museum peopleguys would benefit immensely from my consultation regarding the types and placement of signage. Or just, you know, adequate/accurate signage.
- The kids visited the LEGO store and Hello Kitty store at Woodfield. Always a blast. Even better, I got to stay behind with baby and did not have to endure the mall!
- We had a nice visit with Brendan's grandfather (aka "Papa"), who was very taken with all of the kids, but especially with Ryan, who exhibited no shyness or inhibition whatsoever. Papa attempted to nickname Ryan "Rocky" but Ryan stood firm and respectfully declined the nickname, insisting upon his given name. Papa really respected that, and honored him with a "World's Greatest Irishman" pin--making rather a ceremony of presenting it, too--which Ryan is very proud of! He should be, because Papa can be quite intimidating.
- I hate Chicago's toll roads. It's ridiculous, the amount of money it takes to get anywhere.
- I learned that everyone in Illinois is just as appalled and embarrassed by Blagojevich as the rest of the country. And of course I include his hair style.
- We got to spend a bit of time with my brother in West Lafayette, and got a couple of pictures of our family in front of Brendan's and my old dorm, McCutcheon Hall. Good times. Also got a sticker for the minivan--that's one Purdue sticker, two Objectivism stickers and five Apple stickers (2 big and 3 little), if you're keeping count!
So those are just a few things, I'm sure I could think of others if I had more time. The kids did wonderfully in the car, even the baby who is beginning to resent having to ride facing backwards. Really, they couldn't have been better! So far, we have several long trips planned for 2009, but not until the end of the summer and into the fall. Hopefully, we'll stay around the homefront for a few months. Even though everyone was great, I'm exhausted and it might take me about 3 or 5 months to recover!
Hope you had a nice vacation, too!