Christmas with the Messinas

If you think this sounds like a crazy comedy movie….well, it could be! Lily, Rich, and I flew to Washington, D.C. on Christmas day. I felt bad for the people having to work at the airport and I mentioned that to the gentleman at SW that was checking us in. He told me not to be sorry – he was making quadruple overtime! So I just said, “Merry Christmas!” and went on my way to the gate! We were visiting Rich’s brother’s family: Joe & Heather Messina and their kids. Rich’s parents were already there from Destin, Florida, and so was Rich’s sister, Tammie, from Palm Harbor, FL along with her two adult sons. Our son, Tim, was able to join us from West Virginia, just in time for dinner on December 26th, which was the big Christmas dinner. Joe managed to pull off the Italian tradition of serving 7 fishes as well as lasagna and ham. We had 18 family members at dinner that night and it was delicious! (Good thing, because we were eating leftovers for the remainder of our time there – so, so good!) We did a gift exchange and taught those who had never played before how to play “the game” (Settlers of Catan). I love that Heather just learned the game and won twice! Those Messina boys weren’t too happy about that! It was nice to be able to spend time with Rich’s parents, siblings, and our nieces and nephews and their dogs.

We were able to get together with some friends from my very distant past. I am not exaggerating! CPT and Mrs. Weien lived on Ft. Belvoir, VA and they were my family’s next-door neighbors when I was 3 and 4 years old. They have always told their kids that I am the reason they exist, that I was a nice little girl that charmed them when I was little. They had been disenfranchised by some other children they had met and weren’t sure they were going to have kids. Well, they did end up have two fabulous kids and when the Army brought my family and theirs back to the DC area again when I was in high school, Mrs. Weien taught English at my high school and I would occasionally babysit their kids. Kind of like a full circle type of thing. I hadn’t seen the Weiens in a really long time. They brought their daughter, Gwen, with them as well. I got to bring Rich, Lily, and Tim. We had a lovely lunch and the years melted away. I am totally blessed have been surrounded by such wonderful people from the very beginning of my life!

We flew back on December 29th, and Tim flew to Arizona to spend a week with his best friend for his graduation from grad school gift from us. Tim is starting to apply to jobs across the country and has been called back for some interviews…so I am excited to watch him move on to the next chapter of his life. Right now he is having a blast with his friends in Arizona – well deserved after all of the long hours he has put into his internship and grad school.

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