After a long autumn it was wonderful to be reunited with family at home in North Dakota. Between the siblings and in-laws and nieces and nephew we shared mom and dad's B&B (www.dakotahrose.com) between eleven people. It was amazing! Nothing beats sleeping in for a week in a hundred year old mansion with two feet of snow outside and a never-ending supply of home-made goodness flowing from the kitchen. Although I didn't take as many pictures as I would've liked, I got a handful that documented the week of bliss.
Amtrak served as our sleigh, but Santa certainly wasn't driving. Instead, we had an train conductor that was less human and more evil elf (a terrible troll, an ugly ogre - all three aptly describe his look and/or attitude, but evil elf fit the metaphor). Additionally, our train was delayed by three hours so we got home late, but we did get home. Underscore home. Sigh of relief.
Before the siblings arrived we had an informal open house for all our ND relatives and friends who were unable to be at our wedding back in June. Naturally, some people who did make it to the wedding decided to crash the open house - Ben... Aleks... :)
Here's a pic before the festivities began of Amy and I in front of the main tree (there were six!)
It was great to see so many relatives and family that I never get to see anymore and that Amy had never met. I won't lie, though, I definitely cracked open the old photo albums the night before to brush up on some relatives that I hadn't seen in a while. Fortunately, there was only one or two people that came through the door that gave me a panic while I whirled my mental rolodex for their vitals - name, relation, profession...
Things really kicked into high gear once the three-pack arrived. And by three-pack I mean my five year old niece, my three year old nephew and my two year old niece. The youngest promptly found Harrison the bear and a two-year-old size chair and planted herself in the hallway. What a cutie!
The next day we were greeted with 12 inches of snow! Woot! Dig out the tractor and attach the snowblower! Pull on the snow pants and make a few angels! Climb aboard with Papa and take a ride on the tractor!
So many pictures, so many stories. More in the next post!