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14 to 29 December

14 December

This morning we were up and out early to take an Uber to CDG (because of all the bags mostly filled with presents of course ha).

Since this was our one home fight a year through the firm, we tried to pick to cheapest flights. Never again. We had a connection in Amsterdam from Paris, then from Amsterdam we were on to Newark. Well, since we were flying in the Schlegen, the airlines are VERY strict on weight of bags for carry-ons (as discussed in Jer’s ordeal going to Morocco). And we were way over. So we had to go back and check an extra bag. Needless to say, we were not happy.
After this, our flight was delayed and we were worried about making our connection in Amsterdam.
I will say after the luggage debacle, the layover in Amsterdam was great. They have an express line and are super helpful in their customs area. Also, since the firm booked our seats, they were booked as separate reservations and opposite ends of the plane. Jer had spent hours on the phone to fix this, which we thought he did. Well when we saw our tickets, it was the original seats. Again, the customer services folks in Amsterdam were awesome and we got our seats together that Jer had taken care of on the phone.
We boarded the plane and got comfortable for the 8 hour flight to Newark.
I must say though, there is something that gets your core when you come into Newark with the NYC skyline on your left hand side
Lower Manhattan from the sky.

Jer’s dad, so kindly (again), picked us up from the airport and drove us to back to the Valley. This time the drive was MUCH easier, only an hour and half with less traffic for sure.

This time, instead of Wawa, we headed to Wegmans. You cannot go wrong with some pre-made meals and local brews. After we got our food for the evening for the whole family Kath dropped us off at LVI to pick up our car we needed for me to get back and forth to work for a few days.
We had a relaxing evening at my parents (which we will be staying mostly for the next few weeks). We have to be up very early for me to go into Philly tomorrow.

15 December

Today we were up VERY early. Jer drove me to the train in Lansdale at 5:15. I had meetings starting at 8am in the PwC office in Philly.
My meetings were back-to-back which got a little bit crazy for my jet-lagged self.

After the work day, I got a ride with my colleagues to the partner’s house for the annual team dinner, which Jer joined us for. It was great to catch up with everyone. However, around 9pm I started to fade and Jer and I left to make sure we were awake enough to make the drive back to Bethlehem.

16 December

Today, we were up early again (6am this time) for another drive but all the way into Philly this time. I had more meetings this morning in Philly. And at lunch Jer and I headed out to Crown so I could show face with the client.
While Kasey was having her morning meetings I had looked into renewing my drivers license to make sure it didn’t expire while we were living in Paris. As many of us can attest to the usual time spent at the DMV is more than ridiculous so I went prepared to spend most if not all of my morning there. Since we were in the city so early I knew the DMV wasn’t open so while I was waiting I had some Starbucks across from the PwC office and also stopped to cash my fantasy baseball winnings check in from the previous season.
Since we are used to not having a car and walking all over Paris for different things I figure the walk to the DMV wouldn’t be too bad. Well the ridiculous cold snap that had come through Philly made that decision terrible. After shivering through the 20-30 minute walk I arrived at the DMV to renew my license. My renewal wasn’t up until April so I didn’t have a photo card or anything else usually needed to renew, but I had researched and printed the proper paperwork to do it all. Still to this day I am amazed to tell you that in less than 20 minutes I had a brand new license and was out the door!! Since I expected to be there for WAY longer I ended up hitting up all the other Starbucks in the city on the walk back to meet up with Kasey ha. Once she was done I met her downstairs and we grabbed a quick lunch before heading out of the city.
We left the city around lunch time to head out to Crown where I had a bunch of meetings with management and to catch up.
While I was working, Jer did some additional shopping and had even more coffee!
After work, Jer came and got me a Crown. We then went over to Kate and Matt’s to meet Molly and see Claire and hang out for the evening. It was great being able to catch up and meet the babies that have been born since we left. We, again, started to fade early in the night and needed to make the drive back to Bethlehem. 

17 December

No matter how hard we try, we are up bright and early. And today we had a wonderful winter wonderland of SNOW! But Jack Frost also left a nice layer of ice.
We all piled into my mom’s car to make the dangerously icy drive (she did a great job getting us there) to ESU to watch Kelsey’s graduation! I am SO glad we were able to be home to watch her get her degree!
After graduation, we had a nice family lunch at Trackside Station Grill & Bar before heading back to Bethlehem.
With the rest of the afternoon, we hit up the mega stores we so miss in Paris, Target and WalMart, to stock up on certain items (like deodorant).
Today was also the PwC Holiday party and I was coming down with an awful cold. Also, the roads start to freeze again. We decided it would be best to stay in and rest tonight because we had so many more plans over the next 2 weeks.

So we were off to Giant for the fixings for a healthy dinner.

18 December

Today was the day the Brigantine Lund’s came up to Bethlehem to see the family. It was great for us to see them and catch up with the little ones while watching them run around on sugar highs (totally our doing).

Today was also our first family Christmas party. We were at Jer’s mom house for most of the day. She totally out did herself with the food. There were 11 people and she cooked for 30. The food, as always was amazing and so was the company. We really appreciated everyone’s willingness to get together early so we could fit everyone in.

19 December

Today was our first ‘down day’ since we arrived. We were up early but both able to get some work done remotely. And relax and catch up on Hallmark movies later in the day.

20 December

After working remotely in the AM, Jer and I had dinner and stayed over at his mom’s house. Again, after being away from family for so long, these relaxing meals are cherished.

21 December

Again, I had to work remotely today but it all makes sense because most people we want to see are also working as well.
However, we had to play musical cars and dropped off the first rental this afternoon and thanks to Kelsey we were able to do this with little worry.

22 December

This morning we went to LVI, to pick up another car, but this one we were able to get for free, thanks to points. We thought we could make it work without paying for a car the entire two and a half weeks we were home, but that is proving more challenging than we thought.
I then did some work before we went to Copperhead to catch up with a friend and our financial advisor.
After lunch, we had to run some errands to get some Christmas gifts, and also to get the makings for Kiffles.
We went back to my parents to make the Kiffles and then met Meg and her boyfriend at Mint for dinner.

The Christmas tradition continues.
They then followed us to LVI to drop off the rental to then head for Mach’s Gute for some post dinner drinks.
Afterword’s, we had the nicest Uber back to my parents, including free candy canes!

23 December

Today we putzed around this morning, which was much needed.
We then headed to Petco to see Kelsey and get pet Christmas gifts that we still needed.
From there we went over to Jer’s Mom’s to exchange Christmas gifts. After gifts we went out to dinner at a place in Hellertown called Limon. It was some of the best Mediterranean food we have had in the US.

Amazing gyro plate.

We then headed over to Laura & Tommy’s annual Christmas Eve-Eve party to see friends and their babies and baby bumps. It is crazy how much has changed in 8 months.
On our way back, we were able to pick up my sister, Jen, to start to Christmas festivities.

24 December

This morning was low key. However, the Lund’s were coming to my parents house for the annual family get together. So we helped my parents as much as possible to get ready. Our main contribution to Christmas this year (other than the chocolat of course) was centerpieces for the tables. I spent a good part of the morning outside cutting holly and pine then putting it all together.

In the late afternoon we went to 4 o’clock mass at Saint Simon and Jude. It was so beautiful for the holidays. I couldn’t help but take a picture
Then back at my parents’ house we had the annual Lund Christmas, including the junk game.
After the family left, we had the sisters present exchange before heading to bed to see what Santa brings us in the morning.

25 December

This was the first Christmas where we all woke up under the same roof in over 7 years. We all sat around the tree to see what Santa brought us. We then had a nice breakfast before relaxing and getting ready for the Zelko family Christmas party.
Again, the family time is so cherished since we only really get it once a year now. It is crazy how much my little cousins are growing. Soon they will be bigger than me!

Grandchildren and great grandchildren with Grammy Zelko.
Fun with our godson!

26 December

This Morning we went to a showing of the new Star Wars movie at the Promenade. It did not disappoint.
After the movie we bid a bientot, to Jen as she headed back to NYC.
We then went to Wegmans (yet again) and prepped dinner to have over at the Gilbert’s. We were able to spend time with friends watch sports and drinking beers. This was great to do again after just a short period of time after it being 7 months in between the last time we all saw each other. Nick G even made an appearance this time, even it was only for a less than an hour. Again it felt like old times, as if it were just another weekend night that we all said hey lets get together and have a few beers and hang out.

27 December

Today we couldn’t resist another trip to Wawa! We picked up coffee and sandwiches and headed over to Grammy Zelko’s for lunch.
After a long lunch, we stopped at Wegmans to pick up French appetizers for tonight. We also stopped at the state store to pick up some French wine for tonight (so much more expensive boo).
We then went over to Liz and Chris’s to see all the high school girls. There is nothing like standing around the island in the kitchen gabbing all night!

28 December

This morning we drove down to the KOP mall for returns and some last minute shopping. We then met Melis at Bahama Breeze for an early lunch and to catch up with the newly married girl!
On our way back we drove past our old home, not much as change but it is surreal to know that someone else lives there.
We also stopped at Moravian to look around at where we spent so many years together. It was amazing to see the new quad and turf field that had not been finished before we left. Although things like this and many other great projects have changed it still felt like good old Moco.
We then went back to my parent’s house for dinner. After dinner Jer headed out to meet John for some beers while I stayed back with the fam.
Originally John and I were hoping to join my dad and a few of his buddies at the Villanova game this evening. Unfortunately we had some issues with the tickets and it didn’t work out for us to make it, but my dad and friends were able to make the game. Boy did we miss out on a good one too. Lucky enough we were able to head down to Copperhead and watch it together at least. Had a few beers together and caught up again just like old times. These are the kinds of things that we talk about missing when we are over in Paris.
While Jer was gone, we started a game of penny poker that we played for hours. Somehow, Jer was late to the match but I think him and my Dad were the big winners, even though all the change ended up back in the change jar.

Ok maybe there were a few silver coins mixed in too….

29 December

This morning there was some more snow. It is just so pretty.

We ended up dropping my dad off at work since we didn’t have a car and needed one for part of the day, and of course we made another stop at Wawa because why not!

Once we got home and started to do some initial packing we realized that even though we unloaded a bag of presents we didn’t have the right kind of bags to pack everything so before it was time to meet Jer’s mom for brunch we made a quick TJ Maxx stop for another suitcase. TJ Maxx/Marshalls oh how I miss you too….

The original plan was to meet Jer’s mom at Jumbar’s which is one of our favorite places for brunch in the Valley, but unfortunately it was closed for the holiday season so we ended up meeting her at Brew Works instead.
After brunch we need to put the rest of our lives back into suit cases now that we had our new one.
Then in the later afternoon/early evening, Jim picked us up for Walker Christmas party. We had pizza and wine, and oh do I miss the good pizza from the Lehigh Valley.
The Jim dropped us at LVI for another car to get us to Philly early in the morning to head to Atlanta to spend New Year’s with the Testa’s, and finally meet Braxton (well for Jer)!

– Kasey
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