For the first time 14 years, I went home to Ohio for Thanksgiving. Between 2002 and 2014, I spent Thanksgivings in New York City, Orange County (see here and here), Vail, Mammoth Lakes, Costa Rica, Northern California (see here and here), and Fort Collins. Everywhere but “home.” Since we are trying to fly as much as possible with Vivian before she turns 2, and, of course, we want Vivian (and ourselves!) to spend quality time with our families who do not live close to us, we packed up and flew to Ohio for Thanksgiving week.
We had a bit of a rough time actually getting to Ohio. Although the Midwest is experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures now, it wasn’t on the day we flew east. In fact, a snowstorm pounded Chicago, which, of course, we were flying through. After getting rerouted to St. Louis to wait out the storm, we did finally make it to Chicago, but we missed our connecting flights to Toledo. So, we got a hotel near the airport and put a pin in our map – it was Dan’s and Vivian’s first overnight stays in Chicago! The next morning, we boarded a bitterly cold bus (without our coats!) and went back to the airport where Dan promptly missed his flight to Erie, PA (he was attempting to get as close as possible to our cabin in New York so that he could spend a few days up there deer hunting with my Dad and brother). Luckily, Dan was able to get on Vivian’s and my flight to Ohio and we eventually landed in Toledo, OH, with our family intact. So, even though we were one day delayed in getting to our destination, we did make it, and we were thankful for that!
Dan spent the first night in Ohio with Vivian and me at my Mom’s house, but then he drove up to New York to go deer hunting. He enjoyed being in nature (and snow!) and tracking a bear with my brother, but he never saw a deer, let alone got a shot at one. Maybe next time…
While the boys were hunting in New York, us girls relaxed in Ohio. Vivian and I visited with friends, visited Mom at her work, went to see the “Lights Before Christmas” at the Toledo Zoo, hung out at the Birchard Public Library in Fremont, and helped Nana decorate her Christmas tree.
Dan, Dad, and Matthew returned from New York the day before Thanksgiving. Mom had to work on Thanksgiving, but the rest of us spent the day at Uncle Gerry’s, eating and visiting with my extended Damschroder family.
On Black Friday, we most certainly did not go shopping. Instead, we took Vivian to see her first movie in a theater – The Good Dinosaur. We all had a blast! The movie was so cute and watching Vivian watch it was pure joy. She loved it (and all the popcorn!) and did really well sitting in her seat (and my lap and Dan’s lap…). The only movie that Matthew and I ever saw with my Dad (and probably the last movie that he saw in a theater) was The Land Before Time, another dinosaur movie. We saw that movie with Dad 27 years ago in the same small theater that we took Vivian to to see The Good Dinosaur.
We spent the remainder of our week in Ohio mostly just hanging out with family. Vivian helped out with chicken chores many times and she loved collecting the eggs, which was so cute.
Finally, it was time to say our goodbyes and fly back to California, which was sad, but much less eventful than flying to Ohio.
I’m so glad that we made the effort to spend this Thanksgiving in Ohio. Vivian and I will be back there in February, most likely, for my cousin’s baby’s baptism, and then, of course, next summer, for our annual summer visit. We are so thankful that even though our families don’t live close, we have the means and time to visit them and spend special holidays with them.