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Back From NC

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If you haven’t noticed, we’ve been gone for a while. I thought I might, at some point, make time to blog during our little Christmas vacation, but true to self, I totally didn’t. In fact, I didn’t even take that many pictures truth be told. 
Two weeks felt like a month. Which could probably be considered good and bad, but mostly good πŸ™‚
The pictures from the first few days at home seem like they were lightyears ago. It’s amazing what all can be packed into 15 days.
This was the first time flying the dogs. We were super nervous about Jim’s ability, or willingness rather, to ride in a crate (considering we only started crate training him about a month prior) for close to 9 hours. Not to mention that Jeannie had to ride in a small carrier and suffer through being stuffed under the seat on the plane.
She was none too pleased.
We did allow her a few moments to pop her head out for some fresh air.
When we got to Jim at the Asheville airport we were happy to see that although he had an urgent need for a bush to relieve himself on, but other than that, he was just fine. Not frazzled at all.
And with that our Christmas in North Carolina commenced.
Over our break we played with hedgehogs (this one’s name is Daisy) while enjoying a MASSIVE breakfast cooked by one of my cousins.

Opened gift after gift, and ate meal after meal, at our numerous family functions.
Sock monkey hats courtesy of my Granny.

Made homemade eggnog for our Christmas Eve cocktails.

Enjoyed the company of our wonderful families.

I got a fancy new lens that I’m in love with. Check out how wide of a shot I was able to capture!

My Grandparents got a dog πŸ™‚ One that minds really well and never messes in the house. Perfect for them!

And when the Christmas festivities were done, we spent the next week trying to cram in everything we missed while we were away.
This included helping Cliz start to work on their newly purchased yard (and home).

The three amigos were reunited…

We had a Christmas dinner with Cliz, went out on the town, checked out the new Wicked Weed brewery, and essentially forgot all about liver holidays.

Oh, and I, along with most of my family got sick. There’s nothing like spending 3.5 hours at the urgent care the day after Christmas to really help your spirits. My poor sister even got the flu. Needless to say New Year’s ended up being a bit less lively this year.
But before the new year came, we celebrated a few birthdays, including Husband’s.
Dad decided to try out his new gripper to assist in the candle blowing.

Sister didn’t even get to come back for her birthday party, after being quarantined with the flu.

The guys sported their colorful tees the ladies had ordered them for Christmas (that came in a few days too late).
The dogs were pretty exhausted by this point. Going from their adopted lax, and mostly dog-free (obviously excluding themselves) lifestyle in South Dakota, the onslaught of doggie cousins and friends, as well as human attention provided a big change.
Jean could barely stay awake for the party.

On New Year’s Eve we went over to a few friends’ house to celebrate. I remember it being a pretty low-key night, although we still managed to stay up till three in the morning.
Cliz

Champagne was served, and I gave Husband a big ol’ smooch at midnight. Normally I get pretty riled up about New Year’s. As a person who loves change and new beginnings, it’s like a straight shot of adrenaline for me just thinking about creating resolutions and starting fresh with my goals.
This year however I didn’t have a single resolution in mind. Actually, I felt very blah about the new year in general. It’s not that I don’t have passions and hobbies I intend to work on, or that I don’t plan to work on my health and fitness, it’s just that those things are a given now, they are a part of my normal routine and not something I have to really work at making happen. 
Additionally, we still don’t know what is going to happen in regards to Husband’s deployment, which means we don’t know how long we will be in South Dakota, whether we can move forward with finding a house closer to town, where, when, and for how long we can go on vacation this summer, or even how to lay out Husband’s leave for the year. There are a ton of places we would like to visit while we are still out this way, but at this point we don’t know if we need to save Husband’s leave for Christmas next year, or if he will be gone and we should live it up now. 
A lot of uncertainty surrounds 2013 for us, so it feels a but impossible to set and resolutions or goals. All I can hope for for this year is that Husband and I will continue to grow in our relationship, 2012 was a huge milestone for us, that I will reach new levels in my fitness and photography, that we will continue to address each change in our lives with as much grace and positivity as possible, and that we will try to enjoy life as it comes. I suppose it’s ok to have a year where you just take it as it comes instead of fighting to try to make it something you think you want or need.

On New Year’s Day we both ate with our respective families and made sure to get in our greens, black eyed peas, and pork for luck.
And then we said our goodbyes.
The dogs actually did really well on the flight back. Husband and I ended up sleeping for at least half of the trip. And when we got back the wind was whipping, snow covered the ground, and it was cold and dark.
But I was surprisingly happy to be back. 

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