The girls showing off their Christmas dresses from Nana (my mom)
Pat is one of 7 kids and we all were able to get together on the Saturday after our arrival (except for 1 brother). We spent the day visiting, showing off our girls (no one had met Sara yet), watching football, and "noshing". I had never heard the term "nosh" before joining Pat's family but it means to eat, eat, eat. I am amazed that Pat's dad, all the brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends were able to come together during the holidays to see us during our visit. It was really special.
Pat enjoying a laugh with his siblings
Of course the highlight of the day was the "white elephant" gift exchange. The two top gifts were animals: a blow up head of a moose and a singing, dancing gopher from the movie Caddyshack (my daughter got that). There was some stealing involved but over-all it was tamer than in years past (too bad :) )
Clarifying instructions for the gift exchange
Pat's brother got this and I think it goes with his singing fish
Caitlyn enjoying her new Caddyshack gopher
About the running: I was able to get some runs in and it was cold. An ice storm had moved through the area a week of so before leaving clear, cold weather. I would get up early before the others and dress in 3-4 layers and hit the streets exploring. My brother and sister-in-law live in a small, rural town about an hour from Kansas City. My parents stayed at a darling Bed and Breakfast called the Mulberry Inn about 1.5 miles away so I made it part of each run to go by and write "hi" in the ice on their windshield. My last run was the coldest: 8 degrees with a windchill of minus 8. I know some people would scoff at that, they run in sub-freezing weather all winter but I'm not used to it. However, I must say it was quite enjoyable.
Strolling downtown KC
Pat and Sara
Another highlight of the trip was a surprise planned for Pat and I and the girls: an evening horse drawn carriage ride in downtown Kansas City to see all the beautiful lights. Our carriage was a "Cinderella" carriage, pumpkin shaped and quite beautiful (Caitlyn loves Cinderella). We got a wonderful tour of the downtown buildings all lit up for Christmas. It was very special.
Enjoying the carriage ride
This was one of those trips where we didn't have a lot of things planned. We could just be lazy, visit an antique store, relax and enjoy ourselves. On New Years Day we even got to see the University of Missouri win their bowl game. Unfortunately, Kansas won their game a few days later (it's a big rivalry). We flew back to Sacramento one day before the "big storm" hit California and shut down various airports. Perfect timing.
I thought I'd get tomboys...............