holidays

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”                                    -Mother Teresa

The holiday season was upon us and of course with so much going on Ezra and I decided – why not move again. We claim to want a simple life, and have even made some great strides at this. But at times it seems like we just make things complicated. We had a return ticket to Jordan and originally thought we’d go volunteer a bit and get out of the cold winter months. But why not move to Europe instead. Ezra can travel to London every few weeks for work and we’ll live some place else. More on this later.

So here we go again, packing up our apartment. But first we had a fun sleepover with our nephews and spoiled them with ice cream and video games.

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We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of potato soup followed up with mass and opening a few gifts. Why not throw in some face painting as well. You mean this is not part of everyone’s holiday festivities?

cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vW7Zxw-1 cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vW7Zxw-2 A helpful gift-giving tip: When the Lego kit you want to give is sold-out all over the country. Just get a gigantic box of styrofoam peanuts instead. I promise this will be a hit.

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Christmas is extra fun with kids around. We got to see our niece and nephews at least for a bit and watch them tear thru the presents in no time flat.

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The last week of December my mom took all of us girls and Beckett to see the play The Grinch. We celebrated Dad’s birthday with a movie and his favorite Mongolian BBQ (I can now vouch that there does not appear to be such a thing in Mongolia). Then we saw more family and celebrated the holidays again – just for good measure.

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Finally it was the New Year. In the midst of looking for a temporary home for our cat Diesel, he got diagnosed with diabetes. This means insulin shots and a lot of extra vet appointments. A few very lovely people offered to care for him. In the end my in-laws said they would take him again. Seriously, they are angels. We were packed, said our goodbyes and away we go again.

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Arrivederci, ciao, adios!cwvDm9asA3Lw9btnAfl5esWDJoI-7

fall turns to winter

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We had tickets for London and Paris right after the wedding for our “honeymoon,” if you want to call it that. But due to complications with Ez’s work visa we switched gears and instead I got to have him home for a bit. After spending 16 months together, being completely apart was a bit lonely. Our relationship has often been in extremes when it comes to distance, but we weather our time apart as best we can.

My sisters (all three of them, although we missed Jill) organized a surprise shower for me the day before the wedding. There were fun games, delicious food and pedicures. Pin the mustache on Ezra was definitely a crowd favorite.

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Then the day after the wedding we had the most beautiful brunch, a little hair of the dog, and signed the paperwork to make it official.

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We decided to take a different kind of (pre)honeymoon up to Big Bog State Park. Yes, it was just as romantic as it sounds. Peeing outside (I never mind this actually), wearing a million layers and stopping at places called “Gampers” to get a beverage to warm up. I was also reading a Stephen King novel, which is not a great idea in the middle of the woods – thanks Aunt Colleen.

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The rest of the fall passed in typical fashion. We watched the foliage and the slant of sun change. The air became crisp. It did not take long for me to start cursing the cold. But it was nice having Ez around and I was enjoying my work. It was great seeing friends and to hang out with my little sister so much. We would have wine dates, and I would find any excuse to go watch movies and bad shows at her place, because we didn’t have a tv. We also enjoyed Halloween with a bonfire at Ezra’s brother’s house. My sister Jill goes all out – she does us all proud.

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I went to Illinois for one more trip and had fun snuggling with Zoe and Beckett. We went to a fancy cupcake shop and a reindeer farm. I learned they lose and regrow their antlers every season. This just blew my mind. Ezra told me this was common knowledge – well I didn’t know.

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I had what we call “special time” with the kids. Beckett wanted to play with Legos and he critiqued my bridge as he out-engineered me. Here’s a picture of him with Abe – this is Illinois afterall.

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Z said she wanted to ride the merry-go-round and shoe shop. I could not believe my ears, but it was pretty funny. She tried on every pair of shoe and progressively got sillier and sillier. Here is the proof.

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Why are these kids always playing checkers?

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Autumn is a melancholy time for me, it always has been. This year brought sad news as Ezra’s step-grandfather died. We were able to go to Iowa a couple weekends to say goodbye and got to spend some time with Ez’s family. We ended up staying down for Thanksgiving and it was nice we could all be together. Laurie and I got a fun day just the two of us, cooking and doing yoga. It was such a treat, although we tend to make mistakes when we cook together.

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Then a couple weeks later, my sweet grandma passed. It should not have come as a shock. She was not well or happy for a long time, but it was still difficult and I felt this loss greatly. It’s hard not to look back and wish I had seen her more the last couple years and gave her more love and affection. The last time I saw her she remembered me. I treasure this last memory. We had a few giggles and I rubbed her back and shoulders. Going forward this will remind me to be grateful for the precious time we had with our loved ones.

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