We left for Cincinnati Tuesday morning, December 21. I took this picture from our airplane window (we didn't fly Cayman Airways, but I like the picture of "Sir Turtle" on the side).
It was an awful day of traveling. The flight from Cayman to Miami was smooth, but going through customs and and security took longer than expected. We made it to our gate 2o minutes before departure, but they said they had already closed the door and we couldn't get on. I felt my stomach drop. The not-so-nice attendant informed us that our only options were to fly through Chicago and get to Cincinnati around 6:30 pm, or to wait for the next direct flight which would get in at 12:30 am. We decided to fly through Chicago, but that flight was delayed 45 minutes. By the time we got there, we had missed the flight to Cincinnati. Now our options were to sleep in the Chicago airport and take the next flight to Cincy in the morning, or to fly to Dayton and get there at 11:00 pm. We checked with my dad and he said of course he would get us in Dayton (heck, he would drive to Chicago if he had to). I was so grateful! By this time I was absolutely exhausted and miserable, so sad to have missed a whole afternoon and evening with my family. Seeing my dad at baggage claim was the best feeling in the world. I could have stood there hugging him for hours!
When we got to my parents' house, Joy and Mom were waiting up with dessert and hot drinks. Brent and I marveled at all the Christmas decorations. It was awesome spending the week in such a Christmas-y home.
One of my favorite parts of the week was the non-ending supply of hot chocolate. We had tried to drink it in Grand Cayman but practically had to turn on the air conditioning to survive!
Our second morning home, my mom made one of my childhood favorites - spice pancakes with hot cherry sauce. The whole week was filled with the most amazing meals. Thanks for feeding us so well, Momma Bear!
Brent claimed to "not be very good at puzzles," but we both got hooked on this Christmas one. Of course Brent hid the last piece in his pocket and played along as everyone searched the floor and box and under the table centerpiece. Sneaky guy - I suspected him all along!
On Christmas Eve, we got together for the Bongey family Christmas (my mom's side of the family). Each year we do a Bongey trivia game where everyone brings a gift card and writes down two questions pertaining to Bongey history or any member of the family. Usually we display the gift cards and last place picks first, then the next higher place can steal, like a white elephant exchange. This year we decided to do it a little differently. My youngest cousin had his college apartment broken into a few months ago and EVERYTHING was stolen. We secretly emailed plans to all get gift cards to the same place and then give them to Jake at the end. We had to disguise the surprise, so we said we were going to do an envelope decorating contest instead.
My favorite was Brent's diversity-themed collage envelope:
It was such an awesome surprise! In the end, Jake got around $700 to replace his stolen things. I really, really love my family. We have so much fun together, but we also really love and take care of each other. I am richly blessed.
Maw Maw and Dad:
Three of four sisters (Sarah and Garret were running late)
Brent's pick from Maw-Maw's Christmas grab bag. For Brent's sake, I won't share the shots of him trying on the nightie, but I'm sure you could find them easily on facebook if so inclined...
Jack and Noah dressed in matching sweaters, adorable as always
Wonderful, fun night. Next up - pictures of Christmas day!