New England Christmas. Our family traditions begin with a classic New England Christmas spent on the Connecticut Shore with Russ’s Mom. New England is a winter wonderland with a blanket of snow, wood fires burning, and warm holiday spirit. Over Christmas we prepare a holiday meal fit for a Queen – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and all the fixin’s. We always have a fire in the fireplace and after opening presents by the tree, we go for a family walk on the beach and share stories about our youth and how the family came to own such a beautiful home on the Long Island Sound (Atlantic Ocean). Russ’ family home on the beach also serves as our Summer retreat each year when we visit his Mom, and it’s where we enjoy swimming, tennis, BBQs, and long walks on the beach. When Russ turned seventeen, Russ’ father gave him a small sailboat which we are saving for when we have a child.
Spring and Fall Hiking in the Mountains. At least once during the Spring and once during the Fall, Russ and I head to the Shenandoah Mountains for camping, hiking, and leisurely picnics overlooking the valley. Each year we see different wildlife, including deer and bear. So far, the bears have been more afraid of us than we have of them – but we are careful and hike with friends who we know are slower than we are.
Family Travel. Migle’s family has a long tradition of picking mushroom in the forests of Lithuania. While we don’t go back to Lithuania every year, we do fly Migle’s parents somewhere different every year so the entire family can vacation together. Last year we went hot air ballooning in Turkey, and the year before that we all went snorkeling and kayaking in Thailand. Migle’s sister and our brother-in-law bring their son (our nephew) and daughter (our niece). Of course, we can’t wait for the day when we are planning our annual family trip around our son or daughter.
Flying South for Winter. After the Christmas Holiday spirit begins to fade and the cold winter weather sets over Washington, DC, we fly south for a 2-3 week vacation - typically in the Caribbean or Latin America - often somewhere new and interesting, but always sun-drenched and warm watered. This is a family tradition ever since we first met and we love our warm winter getaways. Last year we went sailing in the Caribbean off the coast of Panama. We hope next year's travels will include our child.