The snowstorm that struck the East Coast Friday night and Saturday morning did not affect our flight early yesterday, which relieved us greatly. Joshua and I had been worried about a flight cancellation ever since winter storm advisories had been issued, but Logan’s runways were still in use at 6:00 a.m. yesterday morning and our flight departed only a few minutes behind schedule. Flights to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond, however, were cancelled across the board.
My middle brother was waiting for us when our flight arrived at MSP, and he took us straight home.
Everyone was present when we arrived, because my older brother and his family had decided to spend the entire day at my parents’ house, from breakfast through dinner, in honor of our return. Everyone was glad to see us, not least the dog, who—according to my mother—fully understood that we were coming home yesterday morning.
We had a big breakfast as soon as we arrived home: cereal, berries, cranberry-orange muffins, ham-and-cheese omelets, fried potatoes, toast, juices, and genuine homemade Christmas Stollen, the gift of a beautiful lady from our church.
Even though she had not seen us for four months, my niece remembered Josh and me and she appeared to be excited to see us. For the last two weeks, she had been told, over and over, that we were coming home, and she understood this information and was not surprised or nonplused at our arrival.
All morning we played with her and my nephew, most of the time on the kitchen floor, and we even bundled them up and took them outside in order for my nephew and the dog to romp around in the back yard for half an hour.
My mother had prepared a substantial lunch for everyone: roast pork in pastry; Brussels sprouts; candied sour apples; and a very complicated and special version of macaroni-and-cheese. For dessert, we had apricot-raisin-sour cream pudding, which is to die for, made from an old Norwegian recipe.
We did nothing but sit and talk while the kids took their afternoon naps. There was not a lot to catch up on, but we nonetheless had much to discuss, from Christmas gifts to plans for the next two weeks to the possibility of a trip to Greece over Josh’s Spring Break.
After the kids woke from their naps, we played with them for the rest of the afternoon.
My nephew is a whirlwind of activity at all times. I don’t know how my sister-in-law keeps up with him. He goes nonstop from toy to toy, game to game, puzzle to puzzle, and he always seems to know exactly what he wants to do next. When he needs a bit of respite from his constant motion, he likes to sit on someone’s lap and have a picture-book story read to him.
My niece is more sedate. She ALWAYS likes to sit on someone’s lap, from which perch she watches what is going on around her. She watches the dog, she watches her brother, she watches her parents, she watches her uncle, she watches her grandparents—and yesterday she watched Josh and me. She likes to be talked to, and she smiles whenever something catches her fancy. She’s a little charmer.
For dinner, we had butternut squash soup, roast chicken and stuffing, mashed potatoes, homemade butter noodles, green beans, parsnips, homemade biscuits and a cranberry-nut salad. For dessert, we had Christmas cookies.
At 8:00 p.m., my older brother’s family had to go home, as 8:30 p.m. is bedtime for my niece and nephew, but my middle brother hung around until 9:30 p.m.
Josh and I were ready to turn in not long after. We had been up since 3:00 a.m. East Coast time, and we were having trouble keeping our eyes open.
We had no trouble rising very early this morning—we woke at 4:45 a.m. Central time—and, first thing, we took the dog to the park for his early-morning run.
The dog is aging, and it is more and more noticeable now. He’s still rambunctious, and he continues to enjoy his early-morning run, but he is not as energetic as he was even one year ago. After his morning run, and after his breakfast cereal, he now likes to take a nap, which he is doing this very moment as he waits for my parents to rise for the day.
When my parents come downstairs, I have a big breakfast in mind: Eggs Benedict, followed by apple pancakes and apple sausage. I suspect my middle brother will be over soon—he always knows what’s on my mind, and he won’t want to miss out.