The holidays are extra-exciting for us this year because my little brother got married on Monday! The wedding was in Rochester, MN, where MJ's family was gathering for Christmas (the oldest of her four sisters lives there). It was a small but classy affair, though even with family only, there were 25 people, what with all the siblings and their husbands/partners and nieces and nephews. With all the new people, Anya was completely overwhelmed, and she did what she often does in these types of situations: clung terrified to me like a little koala until she fell asleep on my shoulder. In fact, she missed the whole ceremony (which was all of ten minutes, just a couple of readings, the vows and smoochies at the end) and I had to prod her awake for pictures afterwards, for which she refused to smile, but at least she wasn't crying. Daniel was much more engaged. Mostly, he was interested in the long, long lens attached to the photographer's camera, but during the vows he leaned over to me and whispered "Doesn't Aunt Maria look beautiful?" and a minute later, "Uncle Joe looks very pretty, too."
Rochester, Minnesota, is a fascinating place. It's home of the Mayo Clinic, of course, which is unique in itself. But what's so interesting is how the clinic is integrated with the rest of the downtown area. There is a whole network of underground walkways that connect the clinic with hotels and restaurants and upscale shops, including several for things like wigs and hats and scarves. Walking through the halls of the Kahler Grand, for example, you'll encounter several doctors' offices and a Starbucks along with all the rooms for guests.
Then yesterday was my birthday. I'm 32 now, which feels thoroughly unremarkable. But I had a good day, surrounded by family (Joe and Maria stopped in for a couple nights on their way back to Virginia), sledding with the kids, and eating good food. We made a big dinner of falafel and hummus and roasted red pepper-walnut spread with pita and fatouche salad, and cake, of course. I got some lovely presents and a bit of cash that is kind of burning a hole in my pocket, but oddly enough, I'm not sure how I want to spend it. A yarn spree would be fun, since I'm such an avid knitter, but I have so much already that doesn't quite feel right. I even went to a couple yarn shops with my mom and new (!) sister-in-law, but didn't buy anything.
After all the excitement, I'm looking forward to a quiet New Year's Eve! We'll drink wine and play Scrabble, and I'll probably go to bed early. I'm over 30, so that's okay.