When we were preparing for our travel lifestyle, we knew that we would be away from our Oregon family for the holidays. This is extremely unusual for us since Thanksgiving is either with my immediate family or with our Church family out at Wi-Ne-Ma. Christmas morning is normally with David’s parents while Christmas day is spent with my immediate family. Birthdays are celebrated with my family together about once a month, etc. (My family is very connected, which I have been accustomed to.) We felt from the beginning that it is important to be with family during the holidays… so where would we go for Thanksgiving or Christmas, which is the most family-oriented time of the year?

It turned out to be a no-brainer for us: New York! Specifically, with our brother, sister, and niece in Bay Shore.

Enter: The Trotta Family

Fayth and Anthony have been married for 9 years; Anthony is from NY and Fayth moved there in 2005. Fayth is David’s younger sister, for those of you who aren’t aware. They have the same awesome, bright hair color! Anthony and Fayth’s daughter, Mikayla, is now 7 years old (soon to be 8!) and is a bundle of quirky, excitable, entertaining, sarcastic fluff. The first week of December, Mom and Dad were flying out to the Dominican Republic for a wedding, which left little Mikayla needing babysitters – AKA Uncle David & Aunt Casey. (Fayth and I talked beforehand and jokingly agreed that this week would probably be the most effective birth control out there.)

Playing with my new phone’s camera filters.

We arrived at their Long Island home on a Friday, a few days before they left, to get a good idea of how to keep the home in working order. With the schedules and instructions, the two of them left the two of us to look after their pride and joy – what were they THINKING?!

Just kidding. It was actually a really fun week! I walked Mikayla to the bus stop every morning (it was freezing cold), and I got a free week at Lucille Roberts’ gym down the road. We had dinner planned for the entire week and did necessary shopping. We picked Mikayla up from school or from the bus stop, played outside with her, and helped with homework. I must say, my favorite part was tucking her into bed.

Bedtime Braids

While she did get “used” to us by the end of the week – at which point we could tell she was ready for Mom and Dad to return – she was an extremely well-behaved little girl and it still brings a smile to my face just thinking about that week.

One of the highlights was the movie night we attended on Friday. Every Christmas season, families are invited to watch the movie “The Polar Express” in their PAJAMAS. There was even live singing and dancing! (I later learned that it was a fundraiser for the high school choir.) A month earlier, Fayth had purchased matching pj’s for all 5 of us, which David and I wore with Mikayla to the movie night. There was even a MATCHING PAJAMA DRESS FOR HER DOLL.

The Polar Express Movie Night

We were also really appreciative of Mikayla’s Aunt Theresa, who invited her over for a sleepover on Saturday night. We took Mikayla over, watched several movies, played in the snow, and enjoyed some good Chinese food and homemade pizza.

A few days later, Fayth and Anthony returned! This made Mikayla extremely happy (and David and I relieved, only because we’re not *quite* ready to be parents). I do recall, though, the day after her parents left for their trip, Mikayla said “When Mommy and Daddy kissed me goodnight last night, I felt one tear go down my cheek.” Just one tear, huh? 😉

Selfie Queen

The family was reunited again! We talked about all that had happened while they were away: the snow, how we *almost* forgot to get Mikayla from the bus, that we watched several movies on Netflix, and that we had a pretty amazing week with a pretty amazing little girl.

In case you can’t tell, we like our family a lot. Like… a lot.

Hug your fam. Stop what you’re doing, and go find a family member to hug and tell them you love them.

Love you, Trottas! Our next post will expand on the other 4 weeks we spent with our New York fam. Stay tuned!