We're home now ... it took us about 9 hours of driving, some of it through some very thick fog on Friday, but driving through fog was a lot better than what the 17 (yes we counted) abandoned (and sometimes on their roofs) cars and 2 overturned semis ran into along the road on I-80 and I-35. Given the weather (blowing snow) that we dodged after leaving Peoria early on Monday, and what we dodged on the trip home (freezing rain/ice and snow), we timed our return home just right.
Adding to the discomfort was me coming down with an impending case of norovirus; Lauren had come down with it on Christmas Eve day, and sure enough, I started coming down with it on Friday, enough so that we toyed with stopping off along the route in the Amanas or in Des Moines if I couldn't make it home.
Fortunately, we didn't stop, and we pulled into Maryville roughly around 7:00 Friday evening. It was just in time, too, because I've spent the weekend recovering from the flu, and I'll probably ask to work from home tomorrow because of it. Lauren's on winter break right now, but she's been recovering a little bit as well.
All in all, it's been a great holiday so far (stomach flu and weather notwithstanding), and we each got a bit of what we wanted for gifts: iTunes gift cards (to lay in a stock of new apps to add to the collection I have when I finally get an iPhone), a nice sweater, and a handy travel tea mug with built-in strainer for me to use on my commute; CDs, an iTunes gift card, a nice spa kit, a small brooch, and, in a deferred birthday gift, a deep massage for Lauren at Starved Rock while we were there. For both of us, we also got a nice package of smoked salmon from Linda and Jim, my sis and brother-in-law living out in Oregon. We also got ourselves a "joint" gift earlier in December with the Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus DVD set off of Amazon.
I think, though, the best part about the holiday wasn't the gifts (nice as they were). The best part was reconnecting with friends and family through Christmas cards, phone calls, and visits; we're hoping that this continues on through the year. Oh yeah; if you are reading this and you didn't get a Christmas e-card from us, check your e-mail's inbox (or your junk mail or spam filter, if the note got caught there). We did send you an e-card ... trust us.