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    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    What can I say? Christmas is over and we are all a little disappointed and relieved. Were were able to sneak in a couple of days at home in between our travels, but from December 23-January 4 we were go-go-going!

    Mike had some extra vacation days to use up before the end of the year, so he was able to take a few days before Christmas off along with me, which was great. We worked really hard to not make present shopping stressful this year and I think it turned out to be really enjoyable actually. Christmas Eve was a great day. I made pierogis for our Christmas dinner at Mom and Dad's and Mike prepared for our special Christmas Eve dinner. Before we went to church that evening, we drove around Rochester looking at the Holiday lighting contest entries and winners. Benjamin oooh'ed and ahhhh'ed at every house. We went to the mass with the children's choir which Benjamin always enjoys. Father even brings up all of the little kids (there are hundreds!) to the altar to talk to them about Christmas, it is so cute. After church we went home and Mike finished up dinner. The meal was AMAZING. He made fresh mussels in a garlic-ey, onion-ey sauce with veggies and a great salad. It was one of those meals that you always remember, definitely in the top 5 greatest meals we've ever had. Benjamin had one of his favorites - grilled cheese and tater tots. Funny enough, we had planned on getting him McDonald's (a big step for Mike), but every single McDonald's was closed!!

    Benjamin was eager to get to bed - or rather to wake up on Christmas morning - so we put out the cookies, milk and carrots for the big man and his crew and Benjamin made record time getting into bed and falling asleep with no complaints. Mike and I refilled our wine glasses and got to work at putting all of the presents under the tree. We actually were off to bed early with excitement as well! Morning came quickly, but thankfully Benjamin didn't wake up too early (7:30).

    First he opened his stocking and then we all headed downstairs to the tree. I think Benjamin's first gift open was his guitar, which he was very excited about. He also got his "Mickey Mouse thing," Batman shoes and mask/cape, some workbooks, games and even underwear. Santa was very good to all of us! I got a new messenger bag for riding my bike to work and am registered for a class on how to use my camera.

    Mike got lots of spices, some Yak Tracks (for running in the snow), some cool clothes and his favorite movie - Spirit of the Marathon, which is about the 2005 Chicago Marathon. After all of the presents were open, we ate breakfast and packed up the car to head up to Grandma Chris and Grandpa Ed's house in Mound.

    We enjoyed a very relaxing Christmas day at Mom and Dad's. We started off by opening our stockings. Poor Benjamin, his was so small! Then we ate an awesome meal, which included the pierogis that I made. I think they would have made my Grandma Andrzejewski proud! After letting the food digest, we started in on the mound of presents under the tree. Once again, Santa was very good to us all!

    Mom and Dad were the lucky recipients of adirondack chairs for their backyard fire pit along with many accessories for nights out by the fire.

    Mom and Dad were our kind hosts for a few more days of hanging out and then we drove back to Rochester on Sunday to spend three days at home playing with all of our goodies. On Wednesday we dropped Benjamin off with Grandma Chris while we spent New Years Eve celebrating at Dan and Katie's house. For being relatively new at hosting events at their own house, Dan and Katie sure do know how to throw a party! We had a great time. The next morning Mike and I dragged ourselves out of bed and drove into downtown Minneapolis for the Team Ortho Polar Dash 5k race.

    It was cold, but not horrible and though the course was unexpectedly tough, we both had a great run. Mike even came in 17th place out of almost 400 runners, just seconds away from 2nd place in his age group. The course was really scenic, along the river just behind the Mill City Museum and new Guthrie theatre. We ran under the new 35W bridge and along an area which is still covered with debris from the tragedy. It was a very solemn experience. After the race we met up with Mom, Dad and Benjamin and then made our way over to the Schmitt house for Christmas #2.

    To be continued...