Visiting Home 4: The Joys of Home

To catch you up on my Connecticut trip check out Visiting Home: Getting There, Exploration and Touring Wallingford. This is the last installment of my week long trip home. It’s a hodge-podge of some of my favorite parts.

IMG_1662

I got to paint Grandma Gertrude’s nails one day. Gosh she’s so cute. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it was a sparkling light pink (on of grandma’s favorite colors).

Home1

I got in a game night with my parents. I (we) LOVE board games. Love them. We have so many because it’s one of our favorite past times. The above photo is of my favorite game (and my father’s least favorite game), Masterpiece. This board game is all about collecting and selling paintings (based off the Chicago Institutes Collection of classics).

Home2

Another day I got to layout in the sun in our backyard (notice David Sedaris’ new book? Amazing).

Home3

While laying out side I was being watched by a curious cat.

Home4

My mom brought me to a place in Hamden CT called Urban Miners. I want to own a store like this. It’s filled with recycled architectural materials. Just walking around this place the creative part of my brain was freaking out. So many ideas!

Home5

I could use this whole stack of wood. Badly.

Home6

Another day I met up with friends and went to Hubbard Park in Meriden.

Home7

We just laid out on the lawn like bums. It was awesome.

Home8

Such excellent weather in the park.

Home9

On my last night I got to see my good friends Alex and Jess play hockey (they are in a coed league). They didn’t win, but they played well and we tailgated under the stars afterword.

It was hard to say goodbye, but it was time to get back to normal life. This was a special trip home and I hope to sneak another one in before we approach 2014.

Christmas Eve

I’m back from NYC and now in Cape Cod, where I will stay with my family until the new year. NYC was a blast and that will be explored in another post in the next day. I’m a tad backlogged, as it’s a hard balance to stay in and write as well as go out and explore. But now it’s time to get up to speed before the new year! I have told you about my “trains, planes and automobiles” adventure of getting to Connecticut, which put me in my childhood home around 2pm on Christmas Eve.

Our family Christmas Eve is very traditional, and unfortunately my late arrival meant we lost some activities (cookie baking, wrapping gifts with care, listening to Christmas songs, visiting old friends). Instead, we all rested and showered while my Mom was working hard in the kitchen to prepare the perfect meal. Around 5:30p, we gathered in the kitchen for a buffet of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, dips, and of course crab cakes and baked stuffed clams. So delicious. We also do something on Christmas Eve that is extremely special in my family, we eat by the fire in the family room. Only on this night are we allowed to eat in the family room, and I love how intimate and special it makes this meal. We sit by the Christmas tree and the fireplace (although un-lit this year due to warmer temperatures).

Our stockings were laid out around the tree. Grandma, Erica, me, Mom, Dad and the Doggie (from left to right).

I added this photo purely to show off my gorgeous grandma 🙂 Grandma Trudie (my Dad’s 93 year old Mother) spends Christmas Eve at our house so we can all wake up together and get the most out of Christmas. She is such a cutie and it’s so much fun getting to celebrate with her.

The family went off to church while I stayed home to wrap all the presents I had sent directly to the house. By the time I finished, they were home and it was time for dessert and a little egg nog. Here’s a tip, courtesy of my mother, for those of you who like egg nog but can’t handle the calories (because it’s a ton!) try buying a carton of soy eggnog which tastes the same (maybe slightly less thick), add a little nutmeg and Captain Morgan and you’ve got a great healthier nog. We put on the Sound of Music while eating our treats and before we knew it, it was time for bed. My favorite day of the year was complete, and boy was I jet lagged!

Annual Tree Expedition

Another adventurous day in Denver! Today we slept in a bit so we could rest up for our annual Christmas Tree Search. Five cars full of people made the treck into the mountains each in search of the perfect Charlie Brown tree. We all get permits, of course, and arrived within the designated areas. We began our quest with some tailgating fun. Steve makes a mean veggie (and non veggie) chilli. People bring drinks, homemade desserts and thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a really special low-key tradition that we all really look forward to.

Once the food was digesting inside us, the tree hunt began. It’s all about finding the perfect tree while following the permit rules (can’t be too small or too big. Can’t be close to the road etc). While it is not a race… it totally is. After about 40 minutes of going deep in the woods, we found our tree.

We sawed it down and dragged it to the car like champions. Everyone gathers as trees start coming in. Before we knew it everyone was done and we were tying them to the roofs while saying our goodbyes. We will all meet back here in exactly a year where we will catchup and share more memories. The tradition lives on.

Tonight we are having an impromptu gathering for dinner and drinks. Tomorrow we are getting a tour of a new art museum before we leave for Los Angeles and our Denver thanksgiving trip comes to an end.