As if our Thanksgiving travels weren’t busy enough, December was a whirlwind. Despite the busy weeks leading up to another round of traveling, we fully enjoyed each moment of the holiday season.
Sophia and I were thrilled to resume our annual Nutcracker tradition. Despite the masks and a mishap with the Cavalier during the pas de deux, we both agreed it was one of our favorite performances. I decided Will deserved his own holiday date as well and I surprised him with tickets to see Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Grinch is a holiday classic in San Diego so I couldn’t let another holiday season pass without going. Just like myself, Will loves the Grinch so it was fun to go with someone who enjoyed singing along with me. The afternoon certainly filled our hearts with the holiday spirit. In between ski trips and work weekends, Dad squeezed in some quality time with Will as well placing wreathes at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. The kids still remember the year we spent Memorial Day placing roses at Arlington National Cemetery, so it was nice to have a similar opportunity on the West Coast.
Holiday fun in San Diego complete, it was off to enjoy the winter wonderland in Minnesota. Minnesota must not have heard that four Wiktors were coming to town and had high hopes for a white Christmas. All the snow from previous weeks melted and we did not enjoy a white Christmas. Lucky for us, that was the only disappointment of the trip. Our time in Rochester was filled with the usual lobster races, more Grinch fun with the family reading of the book (one of my favorite Wiktor/Case traditions,) our traditional lobster bisque and fondue on Christmas Eve, and of course lots more cooking and eating. Even though the cousins couldn’t sled or build an igloo like they hoped, the kids got out of the house to go ice skating, Will tried his hand at ice fishing with Aunt Kim, and Sophia had a fun morning spending quality time with Aunt Anne learning her famous cookie recipe. While Sophia was busy baking with Aunt Anne, Will got a biscotti lesson from grandpa. As I said, no shortage of food! I’m not sure if the ugly Christmas sweater pizza party will become a new tradition, but I think most of us agreed it was a lot of fun. Maybe pajamas next time, Bill?
After four days with 20 people under one roof, the house cleared out after the requisite Christmas morning breakfast bakes and stockings leaving behind just the Cali Wiktors (us). The foie gras and quiet, quality time with Bill and Elaine, and Anne and Dan who joined us for Christmas dinner, was the perfect end to our holiday time in Rochester.
The day after Christmas we headed north eager to start round two of Christmas celebrations. Our first day there was a relaxing day of football, family game time (Sophia had fun making a homemade Scattergories game) and more food. Grandma was busy prior to our arrival and there was no shortage of cookies and treats – yum! Minnesota finally got the memo and delivered on the snow during our time in the cities. While the laundry baskets and cardboard boxes worked in a pinch for sledding at Grandma’s, Theodore Wirth Park is where it’s at for some real sledding. The snowfall that day was heavy and beautiful but didn’t deter all the hearty Minnesotans from getting out there to sled, snowshoe or cross country ski. Cool Uncle John spent the afternoon racing the kids down the hill on their tubes. Aunt Lauren even made a few runs before joining me to watch from inside with a warm beverage.
While the kids missed seeing family the last two years, they were also excited to reunite with some of their favorite furry friends. Namely, Grandma’s dog, Annie, and all five of John and Lauren’s cats. Sophia was in her element, even helping with Theo’s feeding tube. The requests for her own cat haven’t stopped since the trip.
We certainly crammed a lot into our ten days in Minnesota, but as usual we left eager for our next trip. We have high hopes of a trip there this summer fishing and tubing on unfrozen waters. Thanks for the memories Minnesota!