Friday, December 31, 2010

Yes Virginia, there is a grinch

This year we decided that instead of being outside on a warm and sunny Christmas Day, we should be with family on the east coast. So after careful planning, we invaded Virginia.

We began the trip with a red-eye flight out of Phoenix to Newport News via Atlanta where we managed to get a little sleep. It was so cold at the Atlanta airport that we briefly considered heading back to Arizona to warm back up. We were met at the airport by Steven's parents and Dawn's mom. For lunch a special request was fulfilled, Pierce's PITT BBQ. After settling in at Steven's parent's house, where we were staying, it was time for a trip to Pembroke Mall, especially for Steven since all of his winter coats were two sizes too large.

Monday night was when Steven's old Boy Scout Troop met so he took the girls to the meeting to see some of the leaders he used to work with and for the girls to also see some of their old friends. The church was also performing their live nativity scene that night so we were able to see a couple of other folks as well. Meanwhile Dawn went to visit some old friends at the school she used to teach massage at.

Tuesday Steven, Dawn, and Lindsey went to visit ODU. Walking across campus it was funny to run into folks that just kinda stared as they were trying to figure out of it was us or not. We met up with Dawn's sister and then headed over to the distance learning building to see friends and former co-workers. For lunch, we met with my Master's advisor and several friends from the Instructional Design & Technology program, several of whom I worked with - it was great catching up with what everyone was doing now. We wandered campus some more seeing old friends and co-workers from both the computer center and athletics. But a real treat was meeting up with an old friend in the alumni office that was able to get us in to see the newly remodeled football stadium. That was a lot of fun and now we have to figure out how to get there for a football game. We tried to see a lot of people and there were people we missed because they were either out or we ran out of time, we hope to see them next time. After a full day at campus, Steven's parents, Lexi, and Dawn's mom and sister all met for a quick bite to eat and then to see the ODU Lady Monarchs win a game. After the game, the girls headed home with Dawn's mother for the night. She brought them back late the next afternoon.

Wednesday was a slower day where we started by hanging out with Steven's parents. Dawn had wisely decided we needed to get some alone time and booked us a room at the Hilton on 31st Street with an ocean view. We enjoyed a very cold and breezy stroll on the Boardwalk before going to dinner at Catch 31. Afterwards, we used free passes that Steven's dad had to drive through the Holiday Lights at the Beach.

Thursday started off to a visit to Steven's mom at her office, where Dawn used to give chair massages. Then Steven and Dawn finishing up shopping and meeting up with friends, followed by his parents and the girls meeting us at Fuddrucker's. Once again, the Alumni Office hooked us up with great tickets for the ODU Men's Basketball game. The six of us enjoyed sitting up in club seating area to watch the team win.

Friday morning, Christmas Eve, had the four of us, Steven's parents, and Dawn mom all in a van together heading to Dawn's hometown of Orange. Dawn took us on a tour of her hometown, including the church she grew up in, before heading to her aunt's for the annual Christmas Eve gathering. Dawn really enjoyed seeing her Dad, aunts and uncles, and cousins. This was the first time Steven's parents had met these folks and a good time was had by all.

Steven started Christmas morning by making chocolate chip cinnamon rolls. The four of us and Steven's parents opened gifts in the morning. Later on Dawn's sister and mom came over as well as Patrick and his girlfriend (Nicole) and we opened more gifts. Unfortunately, Dawn's sister and mom left early due to the threat of snow (it was already falling on the Peninsula). Then Steven's sister and her family arrived from North Carolina, followed by more food and gifts. Then we looked outside and noticed that the snow was falling and already sticking to the ground.

Sunday morning there was several inches of snow on the ground and it was still falling. So Steven and the girls went out to throw snowballs at each other, clean off the driveway and make a snowman. By the time we were ready to go to the Grate Steak, several more inches had fallen and we had to clean the driveway again. Once we got there, the only people in the restaurant was the four of us, Steven's parents, and Steven's sister's family (Kevin and their two girls). The ten of us were well looked after while we were there. When we finally got home, we had to clean the sidewalks off AGAIN, and the snow was still falling. We were supposed to spend the afternoon with Patrick, Nicole, and her family and there was no way we were not going to see them. So the four of us piled into a truck that Steven's dad has and went to Nicole's house. Yes, the road were slippery and somehow we plowed through the snow in the cul-de-sac where Nicole's parents live. We had a great time talking with Nicole's parents and seeing Patrick again, but we had to cut it short so that we could get home because the snow was still falling. After some maneuvering, we finally got the truck out of the cul-de-sac and hit the treacherous roads. We finally got back to Steven's parents without any issues. For the record, the snow is listed as the third biggest snow storm in Hampton Roads history at 14.2 inches.

But the roads cleared enough on Monday that we were able to fly out of Newport News and arrive back in Phoenix (via Atlanta) at home and be back in our own beds shortly after midnight Tuesday morning. We were very glad not to be flying through New York or Philly, we observed several folks that were rescheduled to a January 2nd flight, but were playing the standby lottery for an earlier flight into those cities. Of course, we arrived in Phoenix in time for winter storm to hit here bringing with it cold wind, rain, and freezing temperatures. Some spots in the valley even saw a brief snow flurry, but not us.

We had a great time and we enjoyed seeing everyone. We wish we would have had more time to see everyone longer and to see more people. However, we recommend you come and see us in the winter where we are usually a bit warmer than the east coast.

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