It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s difficult writing about our Christmas trip back to Michigan – there was so much fun, love and activities squeezed into the week that I can’t adequately capture it. We started our journey home the Thursday night before Christmas, taking the redeye through Vegas (our second visit that week) and arriving in Detroit at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning – kicking off some major family and friend quality time over the next seven days before heading to Chicago to ring in the new year. (More on that later!)

As the first rays of sun peeked on Christmas Eve, the Krass family trucked down to Detroit for their annual visit to the Eastern Market – my fourth visit and the family’s 20th, at least. After breakfast and bloody marys at Vivio’s (another tradition) in our crew of 14, we toured the market picking up cheeses, hot apple ciders (well, that was just me), meat and more. We took the party to Bert’s for some fantastic karaoke – yet another tradition! Later that day, we partied with the rest of Jeff’s family at their Christmas Eve party before speeding two hours north to meet my family for church and Christmas at Grandma’s.

My two little nieces, all dolled up for Christmas

My two little nieces, all dolled up for Christmas

My family’s always done Christmas Eve at my Grandma Ratajczak’s house, followed by an early-morning wakeup at my parents’ on Christmas day. We crazy people used to get up around 5 a.m. on Christmas, but lately we’ve adapted to accommodate my little nieces’ sleep schedule. After opening our roomful of gifts, we headed back to Grandma’s for dinner with the fam and a couple Redick-side relatives, Uncle Bob and Grandma Redick, and later toured my Grandma Redick’s new assisted living digs since my Grandpa passed away.

Then it was up to Traverse City for a couple days – the Lake Michigan-flanked site of my wedding and one of my fave little cities. After numerous trips to the two local casinos, three winery visits (Leelanau Wine Cellars, Black Star Farms Winery and Cherry Republic), a children’s museum, two breweries and some snowfall, the Redick clan packed up and headed home for our one last night in Michigan. Friend time! My best buds Ashley, Ashley, Jenny and Lesley met me (and later, my siblings joined us) at Auburn Hotel for some much-needed gossip over beers.

The following morning, we were off to our old stomping ground Chicago for a long New Year’s weekend. More to come on that later…

Little piece of heaven: Coney Joe's in Brighton

One of my favorite parts about Jeff’s hometown Brighton: Coney Joe’s (during our first of two visits)

Classing it up at the Cozy Inn in Brighton

Rob and Amy classing it up at the Cozy Inn in Brighton

The Krass family up early Christmas Eve for the traditional Eastern Market visit

The Krass family up early Christmas Eve for the traditional Eastern Market visit

Tipping the saxophone man in Detroit's Eastern Market

Tipping the saxophone man in Detroit’s Eastern Market

Chris belting out "I Will Survive" at Bert's in downtown Detroit

Chris belting out “I Will Survive” at Bert’s in downtown Detroit

Rob keeping singing karaoke (Addicted to Love) at Bert's

Rob singing karaoke (Addicted to Love) at Bert’s

Aunt Roxanne and cute little Gizzy at the Krass Christmas Eve party

Aunt Roxanne and cute little Gizzie at the Krass Christmas Eve party

Ava reading to her 3-foot-tall "sharptooth" - our Christmas gift to her

Ava reading to her 3-foot-tall “sharptooth” – our Christmas gift to her

The family at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve

The family at Grandma’s house on Christmas Eve

Cory taste-testing some of Uncle Ron's tasty home brew

Cory taste-testing some of Uncle Ron’s tasty home brew

Grandma, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter

Grandma, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter

My two grandmas together on Christmas day

My two grandmas together on Christmas day

Our light beer taste-off during our euchre game intermission

Our light beer taste-off during our euchre game intermission

Scoping out the view of Lake Michigan from our rooms at Grand Beach Hotel in Traverse City

Scoping out the view of Lake Michigan from our rooms at Grand Beach Hotel in Traverse City

Dinner and microbrews at Right Brain Brewery

Dinner and microbrews at Right Brain Brewery

Uncle Dave mixing babysitting with wine-tasting

Uncle Dave mixing babysitting with wine-tasting

Wine tasting at Black Star Farms Winery

Wine tasting at Black Star Farms Winery

The whole Redick clan at Leelanau Cellars on Lake Michigan

The whole Redick clan at Leelanau Cellars on Lake Michigan

Jeff browsing the wines at Leelanau Wine Cellars

Jeff browsing the wines at Leelanau Wine Cellars

Relaxing at the Grand Beach Hotel in Traverse City

The guys relaxing at the Grand Beach Hotel in Traverse City

Playing (pre)school in the bathroom at the hotel

Playing (pre)school in the bathroom at the hotel

Macy sleeping with her oyster crackers from the winery

Macy sleeping with her oyster crackers from the winery

Ava playing in the Great Lakes Children's Museum

Ava playing in the Great Lakes Children’s Museum

One last night at the Auburn Hotel (forgot to get pics of my friends!)

One last night back home at the Auburn Hotel (forgot to get pics of my friends!)

4 comments

    • We’re a little exhausted, too! 🙂 Looks like you had some great family time over the holidays as well – love following both your girls’ blogs. Hope you have a very happy 2012!

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