Christmas Vacation 2015

Happy Sunday friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. We got our first snow sighting of the year today so it feels like something exciting is brewing…. #comeonsnowdays !!! But even with the promise of some fun for the winter season…. I am still a little sad over ending of the Christmas festivities! We said good bye to Christmas in our house today and I was so bummed that we have a pretty elaborate “Snowy Escape” theme going on around our fireplace! But – good news on the Christmas front? We still got plenty to go around on HALF with my Christmas Break re-cap today and holiday house tour coming up this week!


So how did we spend our Christmas break? BUSY!!

The day after Christmas started very slow for us and it was just lovely. Like two little kiddos, Danny and his brother woke up early (we were back at our house after the Christmas slumber parties) to play with the new Christmas gift – PS4! And instead of wondering if it is healthy that  30 and 40 something men were acting like kids – I embraced it and had coffee, spent some me time with my magazine and the Christmas tree and it was just lovely.


After a quiet morning we hit one of our favorite breakfast spots in Ashburn before showering up and heading back to Dan’s parents house. That night we had Danny’s Alumni Hockey Alumni Game (you can review the details of this even from last year). After a little wine Pat, Peter and I hopped into the car to meet Dan at the game. Sadly this year with Dan’s lung level he wasn’t able to play. And I was feeling pretty bad for him until several of the guys our age showed up with shoulder issues, or colds – basically we are all getting a little older and less suave on the ice…. so it was a less adventurous night, but always a great excuse to catch up with old friends.


December 27 is my Mom’s birthday and as we have all grown, we realized how in the past this day has sorta gotten swept up in the festivities. Now we all make more of an effort to actually celebrate this day and this year my mom was looking for simple – so we met for brunch and then came together for afternoon mass. Mom is certainly the glue that holds us all together and with all our recent growing pains – she is working over time for sure. So I was glad we came together to toast her and remember that the person who gives to all us takers – should have a chance to be given to as well. Happy Birthday Mom!


Happy Birthday Mom! December 2015
After our Heppes day – with a little down time at home – we ended the night having dinner and crashing at the Bessette’s! Danny’s hockey tournament started up the morning of the 28th and we had events planned in DC – so we moved down to Vienna. As for me – I was able to enjoy the calm before the storm with a little work time, nails time, blog time, while catching one of my holiday movies. It was perfect to enjoy the calm while my inlaws slept and the boys hung out in the basement. It has taken me a lot of years to figure this out – but to stay in my normal happy go luck space …… I have to seek out those few alone moments to refresh and recharge!


Calm Before the Storm December 2015
The morning of the 28th was a Monday morning we had off…but with our alarm sounded early you could hardly tell! We were off to the races as if it was just another Manic Monday!! First up Starbucks – but of course – followed by the kick off of the start to the Purple Puck Tournament! Each year O’Connell hockey participates and I absolutely LOVE IT! Most of the games Danny coaches for the regular season are early afternoon and this working gal is still logging the office hours…. but this week that I have off I can go and watch every single game! And just to add a little bit of nostalgia to the mix? This is the rink where Danny grew up playing most of his hockey career. To know this is where he laced up his skates and discovered his passion, and then to be gifted with the opportunity to pass that love of the sport on always warms my heart. Which really helps cause this is THE oldest and therefore the COLDEST rink ever. And sadly I am two for two with tournament participation and catching a cold…but even with the sniffles, I still love this tradition!


Purple Puck Tournament December 2015
After the early morning game Dan and I headed into DC. I had a contract work meeting and Danny deiced to take in a few museums while I worked. All of this DC activity and not having to rely on the very unreliable metro worked out absolutely perfectly – as soon as my meeting wrapped we are on our way back to Vienna just in time to pick everyone up and head to Star Wars – 3D!


As you may have seen on our Christmas recap – my hubby and his brother were pretty darn excited for the Star Wars this year. They grew up watching ALL of the movies over and over again. Me? Well I have fallen asleep to the first one before…. and I say first one cause I have no idea how that darn sic-fi numbering thing works…. all of that to say this was my first Star Wars movie experience and it was pretty darn good. I feared I would be a little lost – but figured with my love of movie snacks I would suffer my way through…. but it ended up being a great story.  After the movie and such a full day, we quickly hit up a family favorite – Lost Dog – for dinner. After that it was home to Ashburn for us and a long winter’s nap!!


Tuesday was our BIG Bessette Family Day! We all headed to Danny’s game in the morning – after some Chikfila biscuit breakfast courtesy of my hubby – YUM! Then Dan, Pete and I headed into DC for some site seeing while Pat and John ran home to check on the pups!


Purple Puck Tournament December 2015
DC Sights December 2015
After some touring around we all headed to a full billiard bar to get nice and relaxed (this girl had a few margaritas…. 🙂 ) before the main event…. Escape the Room!! This fun little murder mystery type game Dan and I had been hearing about for quite sometime, but never had a chance to try it. One of the best parts of the experience is not knowing what to really expect …. so I won’t be revealing much here…. but I will say it we had all ages, all education levels, male, female, – and we ALL had a ball. We laughed, we worked together, and we talked about the event for days after! If you are looking for something fun to do that is new and different  – I highly recommend you see if there is Escape the Room in a city near you!


Gillard Bar December 2015
We ended that fun night with a beautiful dinner and some really good family time. This was one of the best Bessette family nights over the holiday and I am so glad it worked out so well.
Escape the Room December 2015
Escape the Room December 2015
After a Bessette family day on Tuesday we switched things up and were a Heppes Day on Wednesday. My parents and sister Bridget met us at Dan’s hockey game. Sadly it was the worst game of the series, but we were still appreciative they wanted to come and watch. After that game Dan, my dad and brig headed to a University of Maryland basketball game. My dad is a Terp and the current star on their basketball team is an O’Connell Alumni – so these three were excited to cheer on Maryland that afternoon. My mom and I opted to go spend some time with my Ganmommy and my mom’s sisters, Tama and Shelia. It was a less then festive dinner – I think we all were dealing with the fact that vacation week was half over and it had been so full we were exhausted. Time flies when your having fun – but I am grateful for the chance to be so close to my family, even on the nights that we are out of sync. It reminds me to appreciate the fact that we all choose to be together. When life gets full, emotions get raw, or time gets lost in the hustle and bustle of life, it is easy to opt to not make the effort. I could have very easily said forget everyone else that night and gone to get a pedicure. My mom could have relished an afternoon ALONE. I am pretty sure she hasn’t hardly had any of those in 30+ years….but instead we all choose to keep being together – feeling festive or not. That sort of choice will be the one that keep us a close family.


Purple Puck Tournament December 2015
And that is where it ends….before we knew it our vacation week had gone from a few days of vacation to suddenly fast forwarding to to New Year’s Eve (that was recapped here)! When it was November and life felt full – Dan and I were dreaming of this week. The things we would do, the house to dos we would get done, the family memories we would make…. it is crazy how much you think you can cram into a few free days versus what ends up really happening! No matter how it all shook down though, we were able to be lazy and on the go, we were able to spend time alone and make memories with family, we got to be at home with our own Christmas tree (something we have been waiting a few years for) and we got to celebrate the season out and about.  Another Christmas Vacation in the books!


Thank you of reading and remember to make it a great day!


PS – Sorry for such limited pictures. My phone was having some real issues with images! Thankfully we have remedied that situation.

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