Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A South Dakota Christmas

Once again, I failed my blogging goals last week...I didn't post 4 times, didn't post a meal, AND didn't get to my March trip post. I started out on this thing writing all the time and I don't know what's happened! Oh wait, I do - the month of December offers me NO margin whatsoever. :) I hope to post a bit more this week but make no promises - I have a lot going on (again) this week before we do Christmas with Tyge's family. I love this time of year, I really do, I just don't have a lot of spare time!

Anyway, this past weekend we had my side of the family's Christmas gathering in South Dakota. We headed to my parents house on Friday and had a meal and opened gifts with them. Tyge got some really cool camera gear and I got some beautiful sweaters, perfume (plus some other awesome things) - my parents know us well! We spent the night there and got up early to drive to Sioux Falls for the early afternoon potluck gathering. We all drove together (Keely too!) in my Acadia with Tyge driving, Mom in the front, and Dad and I in the back. We were listening to Christmas tunes and chatting away, and an hour in Dad and I closed our eyes for a snooze in back. A bit later, we woke up in Iowa.

Now to get to SD we take 35E South to Interstate 90 West - Tyge had missed the turn and drove 40 miles further South before noticing. My mom and him were chatting up front and he really doesn't know the drive all that well, so it was an honest mistake. He felt horrible about it and I feel bad because my parents and I certainly didn't try to make him feel bad, but we brought it up a few times. Oops. We called my uncle saying we'd be a bit late and they said they'd hold the meal until we got there. The rest of the drive went smoothly and we rolled into SF just 30 minutes later than expected (Tyge hauled the rest of the way!). We were literally ONE block from my uncle's house when we ran out of gas. Yup, the gas light had gone off but we figured we were okay and just wanted to get there since we were already late but lo and behold, we ran out. Thankfully we coasted through the intersection and parked on the side of the road where we again, called and explained. We waited there a few minutes until we saw my other uncle (the farmer!) drive up in his pickup with a gas can to save us! Once again, we were on our way to the gathering and managed to make it the final block without problem. We walked in and were greeted with smiles and hugs, a glass of wine for me, and a whiskey for Tyge, haha! It was so great to see everyone and once we were there, the frustrating trip down there faded away.

We ate our share of food and did a fun activity where everyone went around and shared their favorite Christmas memory. It was neat hearing everyone's memory, and many of my favorite memories were with my 12 cousins growing up! We're all older now and many have their own families so we don't all get together much anymore, but when we do it is so special. We also opened the yearly monetary gift from Grandpa, which he insists we SPEND and not save, and let him know what we did with it. With full bellies and happy hearts, we all say around reminiscing, laughing, and telling tales. After everyone left for the night, Tyge and I went out downtown Sioux Falls with a few of my cousins. Again, we had a great time and stayed out a bit too late but it was worth it as I rarely see them!

Saturday morning Tyge and Dad got up to hunt at the farm, and Mom and I had a nice lunch with Grandpa. His apartment was decorated so nicely with all the wreaths and things Grandma picked out, and I can see her there even though she's gone. He had all the Christmas cards he's received proudly displayed on the table and it was neat to look through those. He was particularly chatty that day and told some stories from the war that I'd never heard before. For the most part, he can talk about Grandma now without crying, so we shared some memories of her as well. I guess holidays get easier each year without her but I still miss her presence, smile, smell, and voice and I can only imagine how Grandpa must feel...

So after lunch and visiting, Mom and I drove out to the farm to once again eat with the hunters. My aunt had made a pot of chili that we enjoyed and got to hear about the day. They only got 1 bird but hunting outside in 50 degree weather in DECEMBER is unheard of so they enjoy walking the fields! Weeks ago I was worried that Keely (not Tyge or my dad, but the dog) would freeze out there but it was as warm as the opener! My cousin also took Tyge and I around to the cattle fields to see all the new calves they were immunizing - what an awesome operation they have going! It was cool to hear all they do and we'd love to come back in April for the birthing season.

We left the farm and headed back to SF, where we retired to our hotel rooms for a nice long NAP - even the dog was passed out and exhausted. When we woke up, we went across the street to Buffalo Wild Wings for a few apps, then had plans to play games in the hotel before bed but were just so tired we went to bed. We got up at 6 AM yesterday and drove home in time for Tyge to work after lunch - it's a crazy time of work for him too! I cleaned and did some laundry, wrapped the rest of the presents, and had dinner ready for my hunny when he came home before chilled and watched the season finales of Dexter and Homeland (what will we do on Sunday nights now?!).

It was a nice weekend away and I can't say enough how much I love spending time with my family during this time of year. I also look forward to being with Tyge's side to celebrate the season a few days from now!

PS - Sorry for another long, no picture post. My mom took all the pics this weekend and I need to get them from her!

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