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weekend at two family outposts
Saturday we were at my mom's home in Modesto, visiting her and my brother. It was pretty mayhem-y, but a good time was had, hopefully by all. I certainly can't complain, seeing as how it's my fault the whole thing came about. I had been getting all nostalgic in the last month, remembering the holidays from my childhood. One of our old family traditions was an annual trek to Modesto to visit all the relatives - 2 sets of grandparents, and a multitude of aunts, uncles and cousins. At that time, my mom had been the only one to move far from her old hometown, and we only got to visit everyone a few times a year. Christmas was one of those times for big get-togethers, and, at first, we tried to keep that up when I became an adult. But in the last 15-20 years, it really lapsed. All the grandparents passed away, and an uncle as well. The cousins grew up and had families of their own. People scattered across the country. Even when my mom moved back, the visits occurred less often. Plus, we were shocked to find out that most of the family there were never all that keen on the big family Christmas celebrations anyways - they apparently had only gone along with it to humor my mom! wha? ppflllft Mess with my poignant memories will ya?! Man, was I disappointed to find that out.

Anyways, after I moaned to my mom about how much I missed that stuff, we decided to start our own family tradition, a little late but better than never, to get together at her house for a nice, albeit smaller, pre-holiday dinner. Maybe one of these days we can cajole some of the other family members into joining us, but for this year it was just us and my brother. It's really just as well this time, since we were winging it and made a few mistakes - from which, hopefully, we can learn. For instance, we had way way way too much food. Also, my poor mom was so flustered because she had to work the day before and didn't have time to get a lot of things done in advance, so was last-minuting a bunch of things. Everything was great mind you, but she wasn't able to relax and enjoy it as much as I wish she had.

We still had a really nice time though - everyone was in a good mood, and that's the important thing. I spent some time getting my mom set up with a blog, too. I'm kind of pushing her into it, because I think she'd really enjoy it, and I'm always finding other people's blogs that I think she'd love to follow. She has a great style and loves her home, but these days, she seems, unfortunately, to be bogged down with the business of life and not getting to focus on the things that have always made her happy. Blogging just seems like it was tailor-made for her. I don't know if she'll get into it, though, we'll see.

Sunday we went to my sister-in-law's home in Oakley for a brunch potluck, which is becoming something of a tradition, too. We brought bread - fresh muffins and pumpkin bread. There was also this delicious strata my mother-in-law makes, which I need to get the recipe for, and hashbrowns and lots of fresh fruit, and mimosas to drink. Lovely time! Brunches are neat too, because you socialize and party and everything, but then you still have the rest of the day to recover and you don't wake up the next morning with a hangover =).