Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas time again with the Riggott family but this time my mom was invited along for the shinanigans and good times! Emily and I flew out of PDX through Chicago to Boston narrowly missing several major storms across the country but as usual our luggage was left behind at Chicago, AKA Shit-ago, the worst airport in existance. When we got to Boston Emily’s friend Amy picked us up with her fiance. Instead of driving all the way back to their place in
Brighton we instead drove down the road to a nearby Hyatt hotel for some brunch. Emily had gotten a few hours of sleep on our uncomfortable red-eye flight but I only had about an hour so was looking for some food and more importantly coffee! When we sat down we discovered scrambled eggs were about $15 on the menu so we got a couple cups of coffee which they gave us nicely on the house and then took off. I think our server understood we had made a mistake coming to that dining room! So... instead we went to a different fancy restaurant for breakfast - IHOP! After a delicious breakfast we headed back to Brighton to chill at their apartment for a few hours until Emily’s brother Chris from Portland, ME could pick us up and bring us up there for a visit. We felt bad that Amy’s fiance had dropped his blackberry case at the airport picking us up.. :( After a couple hours of watching “Cribs” and “Jersey Shore” (worst people on the planet on that show) they took off to look at some wedding locations nearby and Chris picked us up and brought us up to
Portland, picking up our found luggage at Logan Airport on the way.
I hadn’t been to Portland, ME for almost 5 years and it certainly brought back a lot of memories of visiting there during my days at Bowdoin College just an hour to the north in Brunswick, ME. We hung out for a little bit then decided to walk downtown and get some spicy lobster pizza at the famous Flatbread Company right on the waterfront. The pizza was fantastic and Emily really liked her blueberry microbrew beer. It was pretty cold out and Emily
had forgotten to take her down jacket home so we called a cab for the quick ride back to Julia’s place (which, funny to us, was just a block from Chris’ place and they had been dating for years). When we got back we were full with food coma so we popped in a cheesy chick flick called Julie & Julia about Julia child which quickly put us all to sleep. In the morning we got up and got bowls of lobster stew at Linda Beans on Exchange street. We then picked up some $6/lb lobsters at a seafood shop on the waterfront to bring back as a surprise for Emily’s parents before heading out of town with Chris on the 3hr drive through a light snow storm to meet up with Emily’s parents outside of Boston. On the ride down we heard from Chris that he was going to propose to Julia on Tuesday! We could tell he was nervous but we both were super excited for him. We met her parents and all got some chinese food for dinner at the exit we got off at. When we got back to her parents we just sat around and chatted for a while before hitting the sac.

It is always so nice to be able to sleep in at her parents house. We slept nearly till noon before meeting up with her mom who had already been to work all morning to go last-minute Christmas shopping. We were out all afternoon shopping and I found my mom a great book about how to write her memoirs and Ellie a photo frame to hold a bunch of photos of her I together. Emily’s dad was having issues installing a big boiler at a residence so we weren’t able to actually eat the lobsters until about 9pm but when we did I was freaking out. I never get to eat lobster in the Northwest it seemed so I literally devoured them. I ate all 4 lobster bodies and scooped out the inards and ate them too and even had part of her dad’s tail he didn’t want and a claw from her mom she didn’t want. It was a super rare occasion where I can actually say I was full from lobster! It was another relaxing evening watching TV before bed. The next morning my mom picked me up and we spent the next few days with Ellie (next blog post).

My mom and I raced back on Christmas Eve to make it to Jen and Nick’s house for Emily’s mom’s famous homemade lasagna. The usual were there - Tyler, Jim, Sally, Babs, Jen, Nick, Pattie, Keith, Emily and I and this year my mom! We had a terrific dinner and a relaxing night of snacks and cookies for desert. We busted out the Wii and showed my mom how to bowl in the video game which she really enjoyed. Completely stuffed Emily, her parents and my mom and I retired back to their place and had a relaxing evening chatting and watching tv.

Christmas morning I woke up to the smell of bacon and was happy to see Keith’s traditional chocolate chip pancakes being made when I arrived down stairs. Jay and Stacey were already there drinking mimosas with my mom and Emily’s parents. Soon the girls arrived
(Jason’s daughters) Jessica and Julia along with Jason and his new girlfriend Sue whom seemed very nice. We all had a great breakfast and a bunch more mimosas before the girls distributed our Christmas gifts from under the tree Emily had put together while I was visiting Ellie. We all got wonderful gifts and as usual Emily’s mom had picked out some really nice clothes for me and I got gift certificates from my mom which I really appreciate because I’m picky with everything I buy. Jen and Nick also got us a gift certificate to Fireworks, a restaurant in Corvallis! They had really done their research! We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in a general malaise of food coma and alcohol. We even got my mom to take a few shots of Wild Turkey: American Honey (which is now the only bourbon which I really like). Dinner was gigantic as we had so many people. (Tyler and his girlfriend, Sally, Jim, Jessica, Julia,
Jason, Sue, Stacey, Jay, Keith, Pattie, my mom, Emily and I, Chris & Julia and Nick & Jen). The main man of Christmas
as usual, Sampson the pug was also there but unlike Christmas Eve at Nick & Jen’s couldn’t find a spot at the table which extended into the hallway this year. Sampson by the way loves the uTube video of the dog mental breakdown! Emily’s mom had cooked up an amazing loin roast for dinner which was soooo good (we ate it cold for days after). There were plenty of deserts but the only one I could put down after the large dinner were my mom’s famous lemon squares she had brought that I hadn’t had for years (I ate most of them I think.. hehe). We played a bit more Wii throughout the evening (check the video of Emily’s dad and her brother Nick fighting each other with swoards) before turning on tv and eventually crashing for the night in universal food-coma bliss.

The following morning my mom got up and left for upstate NY after saying her goodbyes and thanking them for a wonderful Christmas. I really am glad she had a good time and it’s the first Christmas I can remember not seeing her stressed out and not fighting and angry with me for some reason. I think it was the best Christmas she’d had in a very long time and I’m super happy for her, especially after the rough lonely year she’d had after my father’s passing.

Julia and Chris stayed over again and agreed to bring Emily and I to the airport on Sunday afternoon. Em and I were super happy about this as we both really enjoy hanging out with them. Chris and I are a lot alike in many ways I think. The previous night he had told the whole family about his successful engagement to Julia and everyone was happy for them. Now starts the planning for them! We stayed around the house the entire afternoon. We were planning on going to see a movie but Bill and Joanie from down the street came buy and we ended up eating dinner with them (left over lasagna thank God :) yum) and then playing Wii and then a board game called Smart Ass which Bill crushed us all at. After Bill and Joanie left we put
on Star Trek the recent movie to watch and then went to bed.
Sunday morning we crammed everything into Julia’s new Subaru (I had Chris’ coffee maker on my lap for the ride), said our goodbyes and thanks to Emily’s parents and headed to Boston. It was an uneventful but
more relaxing flight back. I didn’t sleep but Emily got a few hours as she needed to be up at the usual 6:30am the next morning. We ended up getting into PDX just 20 minutes after Kevin and Alexa so we raced them home only to be beaten by a few minutes... We had a very relaxing vacation but it was great to be back and to finally get to sleep on our brand new mattress which our gift to ourselves this Christmas (although Emily got me a helmet too) :) I really have a great time with Emily’s family and look forward to it each year!

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