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Little Chute Christmas (Or Spending Too Much Time at Your In-Laws)

A few days ago my mom said with holiday travel they recommend getting to your destination by 10am. I said, we won't even by out of our house by 10am. But boy did my family prove me wrong. 

10 am arrival? Who even wakes up willingly before like 9 am when you're not working?

It's Christmas and this year we'd be going to Brooke's family once again. After many years of passing it by we finally stopped at Chili Corners Club along US Highway 10.

We saw pictures of the inside on Google maps and had no idea it was so big. 

Meadow got Chicken Noodle soup since she was feeling a bit under the weather, but it was Theo that would soon be souring the Christmas cheer.

The big hall we ate in wasn't exactly cool. But surprisingly they had a sign that said, "No kids in the bar area." Is this even Wisconsin?

Recently I heard about a creamery, Union Star Cheese, that still produces cheese the traditional way. I knew it was on our way to my parents house so I suggested we stop. They were out of their fresh cheese curds but we picked up a few other things. 

She's skipping the murder mystery part of why we ended up there. But if you ignore that story, it's still an incredible creamery.

Theo forgot his blankie pants in the car and borrowed Scott's boots. 

I had to pick up some kringle from Uncle Mike's new Appleton location. Funcle Daniel and I decided to get some beers while we were there and some quality time away from the Romenesko clan.

Meanwhile, Blake and I were grocery shopping for our Christmas dishes while proving we were also having a good time. 

I preferred the beers.

I was told to make dessert this year and it couldn't be roadkill pie. While deciding what to make I was like, oh I know, we can bring Kringle. 

Later that night we got more beers, this time with Brooke, Blake and someone special.

Cevonne was in town! Cevonne was in town! It's been far too long since we've been together. We checked out my dad's cousins new beer bar Timber Tap.

That could describe half the men in the Fox Valley.

Come back to Minnesota (or Wisconsin) Cevonne. Every time we see her it's like no time has passed.

There's always lots of laughter and good times. 

Of course Blake and Daniel had to explain their long and winding romance to Brooke's bestie.

Then for some reason we decided to make a pyramid with our phones. 

Before we left Theo was really sad that we were leaving. When we came back my mom said they worked on a Gingerbread house but Theo kept leaving and eventually went to bed. When he heard us come home he came upstairs crying. I thought he was just sad that we left him. Scott noticed he felt really warm. I thought it was just because he woke up. 

It's my motherly instincts.

The next morning, Theo was still really warm and sure enough he had a fever. 

Christmas Eve was spent watching the Packers and going to church. When we got back we had snack dinner.

Theo still had a fever and I had a migraine so we napped during all of this. When everyone returned I made my charcute-tree. 

I miss our Romenesko get togethers but you can't go wrong with snack dinner. 

Apparently I had switched Meadow and Theo's PJ pants on Christmas Eve. I hope this didn't confuse Santa. Theo still had a fever but came upstairs for a little bit. 

It was only 50 degrees outside. Strangest Christmas ever. I took Theo out on a walk to hopefully help cool him down. Eventually he shed all the blankets and his coat. 

And then the party began. 

Yay! Blake and Daniel's first open Christmas with the Romenesko's.

Actually Daniel came last year. 

The key is open as in their relationship.

Whoops read that wrong. 

Romenesko Christmas morning (afternoon) is nuts. We end up opening presents for like two hours. I'd suggest we open a few gifts at a time, but we have to take turns.

Part of the length is mom opens all her gifts very carefully and examines it thoroughly. 

Not to mention the presents she buys for herself.

Brooke's been really into ice skating bags. She got Mr. Mike one for Christmas.

Well, when we went skating over Thanksgiving he brought the box with and didn't want to carry it around. 

Excited or disappointed. Never sure with Harvey.

Meadows loves socks and scrunchies. 

My dad is pretty good at gifts. A travel wine cooler and glasses for mom. 

Blake got some fancy binoculars for his Duluth sailing adventures.

A fancy cheese cutter for mom. 

Gail made me take a picture of the whole family. Poor Theo was feeling miserable.

We are rarely all together and I don't think we've ever taken one. I had to pull Theo out of bed for the photo. I didn't know until later that he looked like this in all the photos. 

Since Theo was up he opened his gifts. Brittany made cute presents this year. 

His own doll. 

Finally time to eat. But where were Gail's famous beans? Brooke's sister Brittany says no one likes them. I guess I'll have to make them next time we're here for Christmas.

Then we did the find the pickle game. Since we were not here for Christmas every year Meadow and Theo got to go first. 

Cherry cheese and brandy old fashioned kringle. The brandy old fashioned is fun, but probably won't get it again.

The day after Christmas we needed some fresh air. So we walked along the Fox River (not exactly famous for it's fresh air).

Poor Theo still had a fever. We had just watched a YouTube about a couple that biked this trail in Kaukauna.  I don't think I've ever been over here so wanted to check it out. 

One of the many lock houses along the river.

The abandoned locks and shipping infrastructure along the footpath give you glimpses into the past.

I wish I could have seen this in it's heyday. 

Of course the Fox Rivers famous paper mills are very much still chugging along.

For some reason there's a giant Douglas Fir from Washington state on display across from the paper mill. 

Across from there is the Grignon Mansion. I remember coming here for field trips as a kid. I wish we could have taken a tour but they have limited hours.

The next day Brooke was working from her parents office. So the kids and I tried to keep ourselves occupied.

Theo's fever was finally starting to break. 

The kids are getting big.

Meadow's always making up games. This time we tossed an exercise ball into two hula hoops.

There always seems to be brandy in odd places in Romenesko cupboards. This half empty bottle was in their pantry in the basement. You never know when you will need a brandy old fashioned.

It's for Y2K.

Since Theo was feeling better, we made gingerbread cookies for the cottage.

The kids did a great job cutting the cookies.

Finally we were ready for my favorite weekend of the year: Northwoods NYE.

Theo crashed early after a full day. 


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