Christmas & New Years | Time with Family in Iowa & Michigan | December 2021
After returning home from Arizona, we had less than two weeks at home before leaving for the rest of the year. We mostly spent that time working, Curtis took his final for his latest course and worked in the shop in Glenwood, and we went for a few walks at parks and went to the zoo. The weekend before we left, our apartment complex gave away a catered to-go dinner — something they do for us every few months. Just one of many reasons why we love our apartment so much! We’re so glad we decided to rent while living in Omaha, especially with how much we’ve been gone this year. (If anyone is ever looking for an apartment recommendation in the Omaha area, feel free to reach out to us!)
The weather is what really kept things interesting during our weeks at home. We had our first snow of the season a few days after getting back from AZ, but that all melted within a day or two and a few days later we had highs in the 50s and one day as high as 73 degrees — the highest temperature ever recorded for Omaha in December! That day brought a lot of excitement though, as I’m sure many of you have heard about or also experienced, since it was a major storm starting in New Mexico and going all across the Midwest bringing extreme winds, tornadoes, thunderstorms, wildfires, and ended with a snow squall in Northern areas. I was nervously refreshing my phone for NWS updates that day waiting for the storm to arrive.
Curtis came home early and we went for a quick walk before it was supposed to arrive. While walking, we picked up some Christmas ornaments blowing away and a gutter that was rolling down the street. We made it home and played games to distract ourselves as the sky grew darker and the storm rolled in. The greater Omaha area & surrounding counties had around 22 tornadoes and some areas reported a max wind speed of 81 MPH — but somehow we ended up in this small pocket of the storm that only had 55 MPH winds. We were very thankful to be safe (and again, thankful to only be renting so we don’t really have to worry about storms that bring damage)! After that storm, the weather turned cold again, but we didn’t see any more snow until after Christmas.
Which brings us to the holidays! Curtis’ last day of work was on the 20th, and we left the next morning to go to my parent’s house in Iowa. We made a stop in Amana to pick up some Ackerman’s wine to share throughout the weeks, then made it home in time for a late lunch.
We spent the next few days in Iowa with my family, mostly hanging out at home but also went for some walks, and met a friend for lunch one day. On Christmas Eve, my dad’s family came over for a few hours and we got caught up with all of them. That evening, we continued our tradition of watching Die Hard and doing a puzzle (thanks to my parents for putting up with this 2 years in a row!)Then for Christmas day, we drove over to my Nanna’s farm for the day and enjoyed two delicious meals, way too many desserts, and lots of time together. We also watched the Packers game — admittedly Curtis and I aren’t very into sports, but we can get behind watching the Packers because an extended family member on my mom’s side plays on the team. He made a touchdown and the Packers won, so it was a great game!
The day after Christmas, we made the drive over to Michigan to spend a few days with Curtis’ family. We lucked out with having decent weather for driving both there and back later that week. There was no snow on the ground when we arrived at his family’s place, but the next morning we woke up to 2″ of snow, and it ended up snowing almost every night after that, so Curtis’ morning routine was to shovel every morning while we were there! He also brought his chainsaw and did some work chopping up fallen trees from the same storm that hit us while we were there.
We spent a few days at home with his family and playing with our nieces and nephew, and also went out for a few walks around different parks. On our last day in Michigan, we drove with Curtis’ sister Claire to visit his paternal grandparents an hour away. We enjoyed catching up with them and Curtis’ cousin who we hadn’t seen in a long time, then ended the day with grabbing pizza and going to Lake Michigan with Claire.
We returned to Iowa in time for New Years Eve, and enjoyed a quiet night in doing puzzles, watching Seinfeld, and of course listening to Taylor Swift’s song “22” at midnight to welcome in 2022. The year started off with a major snow storm, bringing around 8″ of snow to my parent’s place! Thankfully all the roads were clear by the 2nd, when we had to return to Omaha for Curtis’ work to resume on the 3rd.
While this still wasn’t quite a “normal” Christmas and we didn’t get to see everyone we would’ve liked, we were so thankful to have good health and be vaccinated so that we felt safer and more comfortable visiting with grandparents. It’s also really hard to believe that less than 2 years ago (in early 2020) I was so excited about living so close to home for at least the next 2 Christmases, and now in what feels like a blink of an eye both of those Christmases have passed. Who knows where we’ll be and what we’ll be up to over the holidays in 2022, but for now I’m so thankful for all the memories made with family at home!