Holiday Travels

When Wes was growing up in San Antonio, he had the great fortune of living in the same city as both sets of his grandparents.  His mother’s family got Christmas Eve, and his father’s family got Christmas Day.  It worked out well and made for many, many happy (and sane) memories.

When I was growing up in Alvarado, I had the great fortune of living in the same town as both sets of my grandparents.  My mother’s family got Christmas Eve, and my father’s family got Christmas Day.  It worked out well and made for many, many happy (and sane) memories.

We both spent a good portion of our childhoods and young adulthoods assuming that we would have the same kind of setup whenever we settled down and married.

In our foolishness, though, we never considered the possibility that we might (gasp!) marry someone who came from an entirely different part of the state or that we might (gasp!) live somewhere different than where we grew up. 

Silly, silly Faulks.

That said, we find ourselves in a quandary every year at Christmastime.  Where to go, when to go, when to coordinate with everyone, how to make it happen, how to create happy (and sane) memories for our children… etc, etc, etc.  If I do say so myself, I think we’ve managed quite well, even if we end up spending most of December jet-setting from one end of the state to the other, with Emma asking, every ten miles, “Are we still in Texas?!”  (Yes.  Yes, we are.) 

I think it makes for even happier (but not sane) memories for our girls, in all honesty.  How many kids get to go on two mini-vacations every year at Christmas? 

Two weekends ago, we made the trip up to Alvarado to visit my family.

Sure, it wasn’t technically Christmas weekend, but it was close!

As soon as school was finished that Friday afternoon, we picked up the girls and headed north.  It took us two hours to get to Huntsville, where we ran into a really awful thunderstorm.  We’ve grown accustomed to living in Houston, where every part of the freeway is lit up like it’s daylight, and in the pouring rain in between Huntsville and… well, nowhere (there’s nothing out there, y’all!), we could hardly make sense of the road in front of us.  This added some time to our travel and probably took some years off of our lives, but we got into Alvarado safely. 

After a long night (where I’m pretty sure my sister didn’t get any sleep at all since all four giggling children were in the same room with her), we woke up and opened presents with my parents.  The girls got American Girl dolls, and our nephew got a Bat Cave.  Wes insists that the Bat Cave was the better toy, but the girls were pretty excited about the dolls.  After the kids played for a good, long while with their new toys, we went into town to meet up with the rest of the extended family.  After all that went on with my grandmother this summer, it was good to be able to be together under better circumstances.  We had lunch together, opened more gifts, and then, Wes and I had to head back.

Quick trip, but with Wes preaching on Sunday morning, it had to be.  My parents had asked to keep the girls for an extra night, so the trip back wasn’t nearly as crazy as the trip going out was.  Imagine that!

Because we have plans to visit San Antonio in early January for a birthday party and because Wes’s parents are coming to Houston for Christmas, we hadn’t planned on going down to San Antonio.  But then, we heard that the rest of the extended family was getting together this past weekend, and…

… well, we changed our plans.

The girls had an early dismissal from school on Friday, which made traffic SO much easier to manage… until we got right behind a wreck on I-45 before we could even get to I-10.  I’m not sure how I get myself into these situations, but traffic was literally stopped.  In the middle of the freeway!  Once I got around that, it still took us a long, long, long while to get out to San Antonio.  Once we got there, the girls went crazy in the backyard, both delighting and frustrating Nana’s dogs in equal measure.  (Sweet, patient pups!)

We headed out to eat with the extended family then went back to Wes’s aunt’s house to open gifts.  The girls had so much fun and left making plans for a movie date the next day with the other girl cousins, while Wes and I made plans for an early morning run with his dad.  My father-in-law is twenty-five years older than me but runs twice as fast, so it was a credit to him that he slowed his pace to match ours.  And our pace was even slower than normal thanks to the crazy hills he had us running.  I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that Castle Hills would have hills, but… it did.

After a quick lunch, Wes and I headed back.  Yep.  Another quick trip.  And yep.  Another trip where the girls opted to stay behind for more fun.  Last I heard, they went to the movie, played on the playground at Nana and Coach’s church, and rode one of the riverboats along the Riverwalk.  Mini-vacation indeed!

So thankful for a good holiday season…

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