Is it over yet?

Is it over yet?

I think J.P. and I feel like Maggie did yesterday—we’re beat. Two thousand miles, unpacking and packing the entire car five times as we made the whirlwind tour, late nights, sick kids, and now I’m coming down with a cold.

But we had a great time. Yesterday at my aunt and uncle’s, we bundled up for the 35-degree weather and went for our traditional Christmas Day sleigh ride. Only it was more of a wagon ride because of the melting snow. That’s okay—I’ll take a wagon if the temperature is up to 35 (it was -4 when we arrived last week). We sang Christmas carols, the alphabet song, and the Itsy-Bitsy Spider. Those last two aren’t typically part of the repertoire, but since they’re two-year-old Lauren’s favorites we made an exception.

My uncle looks a little lonely (and blurry) here, but trust me—this wagon was full and we needed a second one with two more horses for the overflow. By this time, everyone had abandoned him for their brandy hot chocolate.

A Christmas tradition

My dad and step-mom gave me an SB-600 speedlight for the camera, and it’s AWESOME. So far, I’ve only used the automatic setting, but it gives the pictures an incredible depth that I can’t get with just the camera’s flash. I played around with it a bit in the hotel room tonight, just to see the difference.

Here’s the dusty fake plant with the on-board flash:

Speed Light - Before

Not bad. But here’s the same shot with the speedlight:

Speed Light - After

Voila—totally life-like! Well no, but I could only do so much given the subject.

Maggie—or Maggot, as my sister affectionately calls her—was a real trooper. She did great in the car, and was universally loved by everyone she met. (Well, except for Casey, my dad and step-mom’s golden retriever, and Jackie, my mom and step-dad’s bird. She mostly just co-existed with them. But all the humans loved her!) Last night we said goodbye to my 10-year-old nephew, and then left my mom’s house where he was staying. A few minutes later when my sister tucked him in (shhhh . . . don’t tell anyone he got tucked in—he’d be embarrassed) he said, “I miss Maggie already.”

Tonight we’re in Toledo, and we’ll be home tomorrow. I can’t wait!

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