We had a great Christmas with my family in Columbus, Ohio! We got there around 9 pm on Friday evening (Dec. 23). Saturday, I helped my dad setup his wireless network so we could use our laptop around the house. My main contribution was encouraging him to try a new Ethernet cable despite his assertion that the possibility of it being bad was “one in a billion”. Despite these overwhelming odds, the cable was in fact bad. We also went to a Christmas Eve service at my parent’s church.
Sunday, we decided not to go to church on Christmas day since we went the night before and we wanted to spend as much time as possible with my extended family since I only get to see some of them once every couple of years (one of the downsides of being married and having to alternate holidays). My brother spent Christmas day with his fiancee, Lisa, so we decided to open most of our presents later when they could be with us. However, we did open our gift to ourselves, the iPod. I have to admit, despite all the hype, these things are unbelievably cool and make travel much more of a pleasure. The video feature rocks too. The first one we tried out was the Chronic of Narnia skit from SNL that is now available for free on iTunes. As long as you don’t mind looking at the small screen, which I don’t, the video playback is great.
One of entertaining aspects of the new iPod is what quite possible may take the cake as the least effective tool against piracy ever. I’d also like to put in a plug for the portable speakers that we got to go with the iPod: Logic 3’s i-Station. It may not satisfy the most demanding audiophiles, but it’s extremely well-designed and very nice in terms of portability.
Another aspect of the trip that needs mentioned is my dad’s George W. Bush cardboard cutout. Some friends gave it to him on his birthday and it’s surprisingly entertaining to have around. What you do is just place it in random place around the house and it scares the crap out of people (even if they know the cutout is somewhere around the house). My personal favorite was placing it at the top of our basement stairs, where I made mom scream when she opened the door. Standing him on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom was pretty good too. Anyway, it’s fun for the whole family.
Back to the trip. On Sunday, we went to my grandparents’ cabin nearby Parkersburg, West Virginia (this is my mom’s side of the family). We got there in the afternoon and it was nice to visit with my cousins and aunts and uncles from West Virginia and North Carolina. Plus, I got some pics of their outhouse (yes, the cabin has running water and no one uses the outhouse much). Here’s a pic of Grandma and Grandpa Hughes as well. In addition to exchanging gifts at the cabin, we also played a bit of Apples to Apples and Scrabble (in which I pulled out a stunning last round win over my cousin Jon and successfully challenged my cousin Jacob’s words four times). We were also introduced to Sudoku, the crossword-like numbers game, by my uncle.
One of the funny things about travelling on Christmas day is that pretty much no restaurants are open and we planned to eat lunch on the road. We stopped at a Chinese buffet in Athens, Ohio, which was the only restaurant we saw open on the entire trip.
We came back to Ohio late Monday after visiting with my family some more. On Tuesday, we watched Clemson beat Colorado in the Champs Sports Bowl. Also, we opened gifts with Eric and Lisa that evening. We got mom a gift certificate to a spa, dad a nice bread-cutting knife, Lisa some earrings and a “hers” hammer, and Eric some tools (Eric was also enthused to get a bobblehead of his high school football coach from Mom). We got nice gifts from all of them as well.
Wednesday I think we did some shopping and watched Coach Carter on DVD. Thursday, we went to see Johnny Cash’s biopic, Walk the Line. I feel comfortable to say that Johnny Cash is my favorite artist of all time and I thought the movie was great story of his life. His music tells wonderful stories and I also respect his Christian faith which was shaped by his own unique story of redemption and really encouraged him to reach out to those that may typically be ignored by many Christians. We enjoyed some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery (which is coming to Champaign soon!) after the movie.
On Friday, we went to see my brother’s research project at Ohio State (looks great, bro, keep up the good work!). We also got to walk around the Buckeye’s stadium, which was cool. Saturday, we packed our stuff and made a brief appearance at the New Year’s party of some of my parents friends. Then, we drove back on Sunday morning (traffic is wonderful on New Year’s morning! :))
We were actually pretty busy on Sunday getting our ducks in a row. Since our family will want to see these picks, we got a shelf for our bedroom to hold our iPod speakers and Leigh Ann got some stocking holders at Target for 75% off. A lot of our pictures are available in our photo gallery (there’s a separate album for the Ohio State visit). I also added some pics of our fish, Bubbles, yesterday.