Our winter started off mild, but the past several days have been cold. There is no way to sugar-coat it. COLD. (While there are locations MUCH colder than the STL, temperatures in the teens and single digits qualify as COLD to me!)
We returned yesterday from our last Christmas excursion. But I will start at the beginning:
We spent Christmas in Houston, having a marvelous time and not taking nearly enough photos! We saw my Dad, my stepmom, my Mom and Tim, Chad, Emily and Kate, my mom's parents, my Uncle Tommy, my Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Bob, Sean, Krissy, Jonathan, Candice and Nyjah, my stepdad's mom, my Aunt Mary and Uncle Steve, and wonderful friends to boot! As always, there were more people we would love to have seen, but our vacation schedules and year-end deadlines did not so permit.
We came home for a few days, rescued Zoe from the kennel (which she actually loves) and got a bit of work done before heading west to Kansas City to celebrate New Years and a belated Christmas with Kyle's side of the family. We saw lots of family there too: Kyle's parents, Liz, Matt, Will and Charlie, Kyle's grandparents Swenson and friends: Andy and Krista and James, Kristie, and Taryn. After a wonderful weekend, we headed east and settled back into our little home.
Even with all of the travel, we managed a little bit of holiday baking (pecan pralines and granola bars) and a little bit of hilarity (If I ever ask for philo dough, check to make sure I don't mean puff pastry. I very well might. And, if you don't think hilarity can ensue from such a mishap, well, your life is probably more exciting than mine.). We opened many wonderful gifts, enjoying the spirit in which each was given even more than the (lovely!) items themselves. We enjoyed watching our family and friends open, and enjoy, the gifts we found to express our love and thoughts towards them.
It was wonderful to sleep in our own beds last night, but it was also a little sad to come home from our travels and find the harsh, grey chill of winter without the merriment of a full house. We are already looking forward to the next time we can share such a full home and open our own doors to the laughter of family and friends.