Saturday, March 12, 2011

Christmas Weekend 2010

This year Christmas was extra special because my parents decided to visit from Florida; it was the first time for them to visit us during Christmas. They arrived at 1:45 in the morning on the Thursday before Christmas (can't argue with cheaper plane tickets.) After a quick McDonald's stop so they could get some food we headed home and went straight to bed. The next day we slept in and spent time running around town to deal with chores, buying groceries and such. That night my running club had our annual Jingle Bell Run. As a club we meet up and do a short run to a neighborhood that goes all out in decorating. Then we running around the neighborhood randomly stopping to sing Christmas carols (badly.) The neighborhood is known for their decorations, so tons of people drive through it at night to look at the lights - and they are extra lucky on that night because they get to hear us caroling! It's a lot of fun and this year my Dad and Mom decided to join us. I was really glad they could meet my running friends; and I was surprised that even my Dad sang.

On Christmas Eve day, while Robb went to work for the day, the rest of us went to Seattle in the morning so we could take the Underground Tour. Robb and I went on the tour a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it; we think it's a must-see for tourists. After the Tour we came home and while we started watching Christmas movies Mom and I started prepping food for that night's and the next day's meal. Normally, our tradition is to eat Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, but this year Robb was working and we decided that with his schedule it would be better just to eat appetizers for dinner. We had pastry squares with homemade veggie cream cheese, shrimp cocktail, and baked onion-brie dip. It was delicious and we were comfortably stuffed as we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (a long-time Christmas Eve tradition in my family.)
Pioneer Square, Seattle

Pioneer Square, Seattle
Family Togetherness - Robb, Me, Mom, Dad
Because there were two extra people here this year, Christmas morning seemed a little more impressive because there were more gifts under the tree. As always, we got great gifts and had a nice morning. We convinced my Mom to make sausage bread for breakfast, a delicious, but time-consuming to make breakfast (bread baked with sausage, onions, peppers, and cheese tucked inside.) She kept vowing that she would never make this breakfast again because it's so annoying to make, but I think we can convince her again in another couple of years. We just lazed around the house that day, calling relatives, watching movies, and taking naps on the couch. That afternoon we had cheese, bread, and butter for a snack. And that night we were able to share our Christmas meal tradition with my parents - an aged New York strip roast with a garlic-herb crust. So delicious, especially paired with the mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, fried corn with bacon, spinach salad, fresh-baked apple pie (my great-grandma's recipe), and wine.

Christmas Morning
On Sunday we decided to venture to Port Townsend. It's a bit of drive to get there, but we thought it would be nice to check out Fort Worden, some wineries, and the cute town. Robb and I had been to Port Townsend once before when I ran the Rhody Run and had been wanting to return to explore it more. It rained the entire drive there, but it cleared up as soon as we got there, which really lucky for us (it started raining as soon as we started heading home that afternoon.) At Fort Worden we went first to see the lighthouse. The wind on the beach was most impressive and almost blew us away! We then checked out the little artillery museum (my Dad was an artillery man after all!) After the museum we walked up to see the ruined gun emplacements. It was nice to spend so much time outdoors and see such a cool, classic army fort, with so many buildings still intact. We went to downtown Port Townsend for lunch and stopped into Waterfront Pizza. It looked like a hole-in-the-wall place and the menu wasn't super-exciting. But man, we were impressed with the flavors! It was really good pizza and we had a great view of the main street. Because it was Christmas weekend, a couple of the wineries and hard apple cideries we wanted to visit were closed, but we did make it to the Fair Winds winery tasting room. The wine was decent and we even tried mead, which was a first for all of us. It was a long drive for a relatively short trip, but Fort Worden was really cool and I think a success.
Can you see the rainbow in the middle of the picture?
On Monday we headed to Seattle again. We stopped at REI and spent way too long in there - my Dad finally bought slippers and Robb got some pants. My Mom and I tried many clothes on, but unfortunately didn't find anything to purchase this trip. Next we headed to West Seattle and took a little hike around Lincoln Park. I like this park because it takes you through some woods and also allows you to hike down to a typical Seattle beach (lots of rocks and logs), which is really different than a Florida beach! For a late lunch we went to Cactus on Alki Beach, a restaurant that Robb and I had been wanting to try for a long time. It was risky taking my parents to a restaurant, especially a Tex-Mex style restaurant, we hadn't been to before (we're pretty snobby about our Tex-Mex food because we lived in Texas for several years.) But it ended up being pretty good, especially for Pacific Northwest Tex-Mex. We'll definitely go back at some point. That night my parents left to go home. I was so glad they were able to visit - it made the holidays extra nice this year.
Lincoln Park

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