To me, Christmas is in Maryland. It has been for 31 years. The only year it wasn't was when my niece was born in 2011. That was special in itself.
So I was SUPER happy to head north.
Mills and I drove up on Sunday the 21st and made it in 8 hours with only two stops. A record for traveling with this little puppy. He made himself right at home.
Monday we were busy running around. That night we went to dinner with my parents good friends at The Nut House as they call it.
Tuesday AM started by going to Dunkin Donuts. Mills couldn't ride in the back seat...he had to be as close to poppa as possible!
Later that morning we sadly went to a funeral for the lady who has lived across the street from my parents for 30 years. She was only 61...breast cancer. It was so sad for her husband, three kids, their spouses and her grandchildren. It's still very weird that within 2 weeks, she was gone. She had beat it once a couple years ago...this time there was nothing that could be done.
Tuesday afternoon Mom had set up appointments for us to get pedicures. She had set these up weeks ago and it was a fun treat. I hadn't had a pedicure in an embarrassing amount of time.
Tuesday night we had family dinner at our cousin's home on the water. It's gorgeous. It's become tradition to do this on Christmas Eve Eve like this year and a few years back. Before that, it was always on Christmas Eve. She had crab cakes as appetizers and for dinner - tenderloin, sweet potato casserole, mom made green bean casserole, salad, wet cornbread (ever had it? amazing) and an apple casserole. All wonderful.
Afterwards the kids do a gift exchange and the adults do a gift exchange.
Our usual picture.
Christmas Eve was like this - Mills refused to leave my Dad's side the ENTIRE time we were there. It was crazy.
Then we went over to the lil airport and picked up Kevin! We were all so glad he was HOME-HOME! I don't know about you all but the only time I can turn my phone off or on silent is when my parents and husband are under the same roof. My brother and his fam can call my parents if they need anything. It's SO freeing!
This lil reindeer was happy to see his Daddy!
Christmas Eve dinner was a little unusual on the meal choise but we like to cater to those North Carolinians and change our tradition when husbands join the family. We had crab dip and SPAGHETTI! Haha. He had the choice of crab cakes or spaghetti and obviously he chose the pasta. Crazy guy!
Mom always fixes a pretty table though I did inform her I didn't like the table runner. At least I'm honest!
That night, some of us went to church and some of us went to bed because they were up at 4:30am listening to really hard rain. I'll give you a clue who did what - the boat shoe wearing guy didn't go to church.
But Dad and I did. And we met up with my friend Ashley and her Dad. Both our Dad's ushered and she and I sat together.
Christmas Eve service at our church is gorgeous. We always go to the 10:30pm service and usually it's after a few cocktails. This year, I was on my best behavior since I wasn't with my pyro brother (we like to play with the fire) or goofing off with Kevin.
Ashley and I. We go wayyyyyyyy back. Like as in pre-school together. We have had LOTS of good times together in 30 years and I'm thankful we still talk often even though she's in Raleigh and I'm in Charlotte! Nothing like old friends!
When we got home from church, Santa had been! That chicken for Mills cracks me up...
Thursday - Christmas - We had a wonderful morning together, just the four of us. We had our usual breakfast casserole and cinnamon buns. I think we finally finished around noon. When it's all adults, we don't get up at 6am! ;)
Mills' cousin Fin didn't forget him.
Kevin surprised me with a big daddy iPad AND a fancy camera. Don't know what I did to deserve all that! I gave him a few clothes he wanted (or at least I think he did) and a jambox. Yeah, I should have done better. But his BIG birthday is coming up in February and I'll make up for it then!
We gave Mom Tory Burch flip flops and Dad a Kiawah shirt and some gadgets that were geeky. They gave me a Dyson Animal Complete vacuum and a Shun knife to add to our collection and some other goodies! They gave Kevin a shovel, VV shirt, fancy flashlight, oil lanterns for outside, a VV tie and some other stuff I can't remember right now. He was excited.
Christmas night our new tradition is to go to longtime friends of ours home on the water for dinner. Isn't the view amazing?
Ew I look gross but the view is unreal.
Mom and Kevin!
Mrs. V makes Bourbon Slushies and boy are they AMAZING. She keeps this made in her freezer so whenever guests are over, she can pop this out and wa-lah!
Add a little ginger ale and you have a delish wintertime cocktail!
That cheese on the right is called Truffle Cheese - best cheese I think I've had!
Oyster crackers mixed with a buttermilk ranch packet, olive oil and grated Parmesan. I don't release quantities of each ingredient because that would be giving away her recipe haha!
Her beautiful table set. Gorgeous, gorgeous!
Hostess with the mostess! She literally is like a chef. She makes the best meals.
Check out this beef wellington stuffed with lobster tail.
We had a wonderful time!
Dad was back with ole Mills for an ear rub after dinner.
Friday the 26th we hung around the house in the morning. Poor Mills didn't get any toys for Christmas - these were all his new ones!
Then we had to take Kevin to the airport so he could go back to work and finish out the year. He works too hard!
Friday night we headed to EVO for dinner. This was a burger with crab imperial on top. Umm yes please. It was worth every calorie!
Saturday I laid around the house all day like I needed to do the week I had been there. We were just so busy the whole time. I had planned to go back to Charlotte on Saturday but I felt like I had hardly been there. So, I stayed an extra day. That evening we drove over to the beach (about 30 minutes) and had dinner at Fagers Island.
Then went to see the Winterfest of Lights! It was fun! We waited almost an hour but it was worth it.
That evening Mills was off to bed with Chance and we all were too.
Mills and I drove back to Charlotte on Sunday and only made two stops again this time. Took us 8 hours and 15 minutes. I was happy with the time we made. He was one sad pooch to leave his grandparents. I think yesterday and today he's in a state of depression. Hopefully we can give him enough attention to make him happy again! ;)
We had a VERY Merry Christmas and hope you all did too!