It was short, but it was so sweet. Last night, my little family arrived back to South Carolina after a special holiday visit to Spokane. It was the best way possible to conclude 2017.
We departed in the afternoon on Christmas Day. By the time our plane touched down in Spokane, it was the very early morning of December 26. Nonetheless, my parents were at the airport with big smiles (and a happy tear or two) to greet us. A memorable trip was underway!
After my mom had her chance to hold Sloan and give her plenty of kisses, we all went to bed for a few hours. Perhaps not well-rested, but more than awake because we were fueled by happiness and adrenaline, we enjoyed a great first day.
My brother arrived at the house first that Tuesday morning. Shortly thereafter, my sister pulled up in my parents’ driveway with her daughter and baby son in tow. A big draw of the trip was to see Johnny again. We were in Spokane when he was born in July but had not seen him for six months. It was so nice to hold Johnny and to watch him play with Sloan.
That first day we celebrated our family Christmas. We played games, took photos with our custom Snapchat geofilter, admired the snow, and watched over the babies and toddlers. When my brother-in-law showed up we ate our prime rib dinner, opened gifts, and looked for the pickle.
The next day, Wednesday, December 27, I woke up early to work out with my dad at a gym I have grown very fond of over the years. I returned and shoveled the driveway as Spokane had received even more snow over the night. During this all, my mom joyfully took care of Sloan, savoring every moment. After I returned to Myrtle Beach my mom told me, “I sure loved my mornings with Sloan.”
My sister and her kids soon came over. Miranda and Sidney went to Target and Glen and I went to Costco. Later that evening, Glen, Sid, and I went to the historic Davenport Hotel in Downtown Spokane where we had drinks at a place called the Safari Room with my brother’s friend, Courtney. The atmosphere and conversation were both lovely. We came home and ate with my parents (and Sloan) as we heated up the leftovers from our Christmas dinner and made sandwiches. Later that night, Glen, Sid, and I went to a neighborhood bar where we caught up with old friends.
On Thursday, our entire crew, strollers and all, went shopping at the mall. From there we ate lunch at a place called Fatburger, a joint that Sidney had wanted to try since we visited last Christmas season. When we arrived home, Sid and I took Sloan out in the snow for the first time. We took her on a sleigh ride and even though she certainly didn’t love it, we were able to make some cool memories. We came inside and we all played a Jeopardy board game (congrats on winning, Glen). Then, we all invaded the basement to watch the Holiday Bowl between Washington State and Michigan State. The outcome was far from what we wanted but the appetizers we made for the game sure were good. We concluded the evening by watching a movie.
Friday rolled around and my dad and I got in another gym session. When we arrived home, Sid and mom were having a great time playing with Sloan. My mom cooked up a big breakfast for us all which was delicious. Later in the day, my mom gladly watched over the babies as my dad, Miranda, Sid, Glen, and I went to Birdy’s, another neighborhood sports bar near our house. We had the best time. We told stories, we laughed, and we enjoyed each other’s company. It was one of the highlights of the trip. We returned home and then our entire group went out to Tomato Street, a restaurant with some of the best Italian food you will ever enjoy. We had a very nice time. Upon returning home, we watched another movie to finish off the night.
Saturday was our last day in Spokane and we made the most of it. The morning was spent sitting in the living room as Sid, my mom, my dad, and I chatted while watching Sloan play. Sid and I made our traditional visit to a local haunt called Selkirk and we roamed the aisles of Fred Meyer. When we returned home, Miranda and her family had arrived. I was able to play with Mikalya and hold Johnny one final time. We then went off to vigil mass at St. Thomas More, one of the moments I always look forward to when returning to Spokane. After the service ended we drove by a house in the area that is decorated in a holiday Disney theme each year. When we got back to the house, my parents prepared a steak dinner. It was fantastic as it was my favorite meal of the trip. We then watched another movie and savored the remaining time we had together.
We left my parents’ house at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. They took us to the airport and we said our tearful goodbyes.
It was a special time in Spokane. We all stuck very close and enjoyed each other. It was nice to watch Sloan interact with her fellow baby cousin. Just as we were impressed with little Johnny, I know my parents, brother, and sister were impressed with Sloan. We were treated so incredibly well by my parents. We were also touched by how much time and love my brother and sister gave us. It was tough to leave my hometown and the people I love but we brought so many memories home with us. To my family – thank you and we love you. Don’t Blink.