I always look forward to the holidays, but this year was especially anticipated because it was my first Christmas to come ‘home’ to after moving down to Pittsburgh.
Keeping up with our annual family traditions, our family had our usual Christmas Eve pilgrimage to the Strip District to buy steaks and crab legs for our traditional Christmas Eve surf’n’turf. This year Bober and DPM tagged along and we had a fun morning exploring some of the shops in the Strip. We had a spur-of-the-moment lunch at Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille and savored some awesome lobster bisque.
Another delicious year in the Smarto Household for Thanksgiving! This was my first significant block of time at home since I moved to my new apartment in East Liberty, so I was looking forward to spending some quality time with my family (and enjoying a home-cooked meal like only Mom can make).
Christmas is one of our biggest holidays in our house. Trying to organize Christmas between two sides of a family is challenging enough, but throw in a few golden retrievers and a photographer and the hectic nature of our holiday preparations becomes quite an undertaking. With my grandmother finally moved in to her new community, we were very thankful for the flexibility of shuttling her to and from North Versailles compared to the familiar rigor of transit between Cumberland and home. As usual, we decorated our tree in conjunction with some Captain and Cokes and cookie baking:
You wouldn’t believe how fast two 60-pound pooches can destroy a room. Our living room had always been a bit dated (wallpaper is just disgusting…. really), so combined with the collective dirt, dander, and fur that our old carpet was subjected to, my mom decided that it was time to drop a little cash and renovate our living room.
Of all of the holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that has changed the least for me as I grew up. Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day all seem very different when I was young compared to what they are for me now. But Thanksgiving is as it always was; an opportunity to enjoy food, beer, football with my family. I spent the whole day inside with Mom, Doug, and my grandmother (and some canine companions) shooting photos, making food, drinking wine, and enjoying the freedom from the cubicle. Here are some photos from the day:
Going to our family’s traditional vacation destination, Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, MD was a great way to wrap up the summer.
Mom, Doug and I traveled down, rented a boat, and visited our all time favorite watering hole, the Honi Honi Bar.
Our annual journey to the Sirna family reunion was a little longer than usual. Typically, we have the reunion at Rocky Gap State Park in Maryland, but this year’s coordinator lives in the beautiful, quiet (and remote) town of Rock Hall, MD.
Mom, Doug, my grandmother and I made the journey to Rock Hall in my little Toyota, and got in town just in time for an all-you-can-eat crab feast.