Thanksgiving – a time for being thankful that you don’t have to see your relatives that often (just kidding!).  The timing couldn’t have been better, as I had just gotten through my “project from hell” stress master event and, although I had plenty of homework to do, it provided a nice break.  The eight hour drive down was broken up nicely by a visit to my nana’s house in Little Ferry, New Jersey.  I love seeing her whenever we can and just spending time with her and Sarah, her mini poodle.  Nana always makes me sloppy joe’s – they are the best and no one makes them better.  The rest of the drive to Maryland is long and uneventful, so unfortunately the homework comes out.  Even so, it’s the beginning of time away from school so I’m happy.  That night we crash with our things, ready to just relax from the long drive and defuse a little.  The next day is Thanksgiving and we start cooking early, as we plan on having our feast at noon.  My dad and uncle pick up my grandmother from her assisted living home down the road while my sister, two aunts, and I prepare the food.  There is so much of it and all of it looks amazing, we can’t wait to eat it!  Finally, everything is ready and for once there is barely enough room for all of the family to fit around the dining room table.  We all say grace and dig in for a meal we know we will love and simultaneously regret because we will all inevitably eat too much.  The rest of the afternoon is spent being lazy because we don’t have enough energy to do anything else.  Glogg is made, trivial pursuit is pulled out of the closet, and there is plenty of talk as we all haven’t been able to gather like this in ages.  It’s overwhelming to an extent, but also wonderful in it’s abundance.  I’m still working off a cold that I caught on Sunday, and it’s not making things easier as I just about blow my brains out through my nose every five minutes (sorry about all the tissue boxes I went through aunt Jo), but it doesn’t deter me from enjoying myself. 

Friday is spent, well, shopping – what else?  We aren’t the type to be waiting for the place to open at 5 am, but we try to make an early start of it, before our enthusiasm wears out.  We don’t spend a lot of time shopping, but it’s fun just trying to grab a few select Christmas gifts and feel as though you are getting into the spirit of things.  Next, we have an amazing lunch out, with hand made milkshakes, the good kind that no one serves anymore.  After that, we went to Byler’s and another outlet just to check out a few other gift ideas, but mostly to just enjoy the day out. 

Saturday was amazing!  We spent the entire day out at Longwood Gardens.  They were so beautiful and definitely worth the trip if you haven’t seen them before, especially during the Christmas season.  We went early

The ultimate tree houses


And a Partridge family in a Tree house

enough to see all of the gardens while it was still daylight.  The gardens were beautiful, as well as the tree houses (yes I said tree houses…they were epic!), and special exhibits.  Then we ate dinner while it got dark.  It was wonderful to eat and watch as one by one, all of the lights in the gardens turned on.  All I could think of was, how the hell did these people get those lights everywhere!?!  After dinner we all walked around and watched the light and water shows.  It was freezing but so much fun.  I got as many pictures as my memory card and fingers could stand, but it was just nice to be out doing something different with family I never get to see.   

Unfortunately, it was time to head home after that, back to school and Vermont.  It didn’t feel like much of a break, as we never really stopped to relax while we were there, but we had a great time!  I’m not looking forward to going back to school, but what else is new.  At least I only have a month left of school and than I will hopefully really have a break!  ‘Til than, it’s head down and plowing through!

Christmas at Longwood Gardens