Phil and I haven’t called Minnesota home for nearly ten years but it certainly still feels like home when we get to visit at Christmas. Call us crazy but cold, snow and family chaos = Christmas to us! After missing out on the last two Christmases in Minnesota we decided it was time to return this year. We took advantage of our close-ish proximity and road tripped making a pit stop in Michigan to catch up with the extended Wiktor clan. Uncle John and Aunt Janet were gracious hosts as usual and we had a fun afternoon visiting Grandma and Aunt Mary. The kids had their first taste of snow for the season and they still love it, clearly!
Our next leg of the trip brought us to Burnsville to visit with Grandma and Duane. Grandma had cookies waiting to decorate and more snow to play in so the kids were thrilled. We spent a fun evening at a local brewery, the highlight of the night being the rousing games of Rock’em Sock’em Robots. Somehow Will beat Grandma 99% of the time. We also took the kids to see the Macy’s holiday display. This is one of my favorite childhood memories, back when it was the Dayton’s holiday display of course. The theme this year was Santaland so obviously the kids had a visit with the jolly guy while we were there.
After a few days in Burnsville we headed south to Rochester to begin festivities with the Wiktor/Case clan. The group keeps getting bigger and somehow Bill and Elaine manage to find space for all of us at the house. In a few years we may be like the Griswolds with a camper out front…kidding, sort of! The first full day was all about the party – preparations all day and festivities all night. Although, we don’t rally quite as late as we used to.
A big highlight of our time in Rochester was meeting the newest addition to the family – Ramona! Laura and Gabe welcomed Ramona to the family in October and this was the first time many of us met her. Sophia was thrilled to meet “her baby cousin” and there was lots of snuggle time had by all. Our rest day between the party and Christmas Eve was complete with more snow time, lobster races (I’m sure this is a completely normal tradition, right?) and lots of cousin time. We enjoyed our usual Christmas Eve traditions of oplateks, lobster bisque (sorry, Larry) and fondue followed by gift opening.
Christmas day brought a return trip to Burnsville to celebrate with Grandma, Duane, John & Lauren. Unfortunately, no pictures from this day. It was a lovely relaxing Christmas day complete with lots of Chewbacca noises thanks to the gifts from cool Uncle John & Aunt Lauren, conversations with Alexa since the kids found this toy wildly entertaining and lots of yummy food. The next day we were on the road again and somehow ended up outside of Cincinatti visiting with some of our dearest friends. It was such a fun last minute stop and definitely worth the extra hour of driving.
We returned on the 27th and made a quick turnaround before Phil and I left on our next adventure. Minnesota…thanks for a Merry Christmas!