Visiting the fam

So far, I have been home for Christmas every year, even though it's almost 2,000 miles away.  One reason this has been pretty easy is that my school gives me about a month off for Christmas break.  Well, this year I decided to take pretty much my whole time off to go and be with family.  I left the day after my last final and didn't come back until the weekend before school started again.  It was a lot of fun.

My biggest mistake was deciding to drive out.  It really wasn't all that bad.  In fact, on the way out there it was good because I got to visit my brother-in-law and a missionary who had served in my ward a couple years ago.  So, I took my time and enjoyed the trip on the way out there.  Coming home was another story. I had a baptism to attend, so I rushed as fast as I could.  I made the 1,800 mile drive in a total of 31.5 hours, including the time I stopped to sleep.  That was probably the most exhausting thing I've done in quite a while.  But at the same time it was kind of exciting, since I made such good time.  I mean, you have to realize I was the only driver.

Anyway, I had a great time at home.  I love being with family.  Living this far from home is difficult because I feel like I'm missing out on the lives of my growing nieces and nephews (I currently have 40, counting both sides of the family).  So, it feels really good to go visit and catch up on everyone and how they're doing.  I got to see all of my siblings, except my oldest brother who lives in Germany with his family, including all of my wife's family.  In fact, since we had the whole family together for the first time in ages, we took family pictures.  Karen's family is rather large, so we had 47 people all together there to take the picture.  I love big families.  I love being part of a big family.

I did also visit several friends while I was out there--old mission buddies, roommates, and other old friends.  It was a wonderful experience.