Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome to 2014

I'm back!

Without going into a lengthy this-is-why-I've-been-MIA-for-a-few-weeks, right before Christmas, three-quarters of our household, one-by-one, caught a nasty - though short-lived - stomach bug, then we drove for 2 days to our holiday destination (aka Scottsdale, Arizona, home of my in-laws), life was crazy, then it was time to come back.  I thought I'd just share lots of pictures with you.  Who doesn't love pictures?

This is from Day 1 of our 2-day drive.  The half-way point is Amarillo, Texas, and it is our now-tradition to visit The Big Texan when passing through.  We were disappointed that someone sat down to take on the 72-ounce steak challenge right when we were leaving.  Wish we could have seen all of it.

Me and one of my closest friends.  It's been a long time since I've had a "best friend."  Kaitlin came out to Arizona for part of our trip and to say that I was thankful she was there doesn't even scratch the surface.  Love this girl.


Pumpkin challah bread that I made for Christmas Eve, which is always a big party night.  One of my favorite things to bake!

Getting James ready for bed on Christmas Eve night.  How I love this boy.  Light of my life.

The kids opening gifts on Christmas morning.  Have you heard the saying "as happy as a kid on Christmas morning"?  Of course you have.  The better one is "as happy as a parent seeing their kids' happiness on Christmas morning."  Pretty awesome.

Cinnamon-sugar almonds that Kaitlin and I made a couple of nights after Christmas.  They were a huge hit and incredibly easy!

Chris and I got to go hiking, one of our favorite things to do.  This was at the very top of Camelback Mountain, via Cholla Trail.  It was about 3.2 miles total and very intense.  I loved it!  Super sore the next morning and completely worth it!  And yep, that's a Christmas tree there.  At the top of the mountain.

Makenzie getting her nails done on New Year's Eve.  She was so patient waiting the hour before her turn.

New Year's Eve for Chris and me.  After seeing the worst movie ever (Anchorman 2), and after equally disappointing sushi, we went to Tommy Bahamas for what we knew would be great desserts and drinks.  A mai tai, mojito, butterscotch pudding, and malted chocolate pie later, we were very happy.  Our evening was not exactly exciting after that, but hey, a few hours to ourselves and getting to eat in peace was great.

I'd love to tell you that I'm sad to see 2013 go.  But truly, I am not.  I am more than happy that it is over.  There were definitely some highs in there... I started my career in fitness, we bought a house, we gained a second child..... and then there have been lows.  Without dwelling on the lows, I'll just focus on being thankful that Chris and my dearest of dear friends always have my back.

And even though we are in the middle of a blizzard as I type this, I am so happy to be home.  I despise this cold, but I am looking forward to our beginnings of 2014.  My job front is looking promising, Makenzie should start school soon (almost through all the legal aspects with that), and UrbanChurch is launching.  As of now, 2014 looks very different than what I had planned a few years ago, but I am learning to be okay with that.

How were your holidays?