We are back from holidays. Here’s what kept us so busy (and silent on this blog):

Tuesday after Christmas: We left home at 5:00am to catch a flight to America. Our taxi driver was half an hour late picking us up, and there were no others out on our street at that hour, which caused us quite a bit of fuming and fretting, but it all worked out. We flew from Dublin to Frankfurt, and then took an 8+ hour flight to Washington, and then another hop to the tiny airport near my parents’ home. So good to see Mom and Dad again and sleep in my old yellow bedroom.

Wednesday: Jet-lagged to the utmost, we drove 11 hours to Pennsylvania where my two sisters and their families were going to be together for a day and half. The trip went surprisingly well, and it was fantastic to be together with my sisters again.

Friday: Still jet-lagged, we drove down to Virginia where Gabriel’s family was visiting relatives for New Year’s weekend. We SHOCKED their SOCKS off by walking in on them that evening. We snuck in the back door and sent Bronwyn into the dining room with one of her older cousins. Funnily enough, neither Gabriel’s dad nor his little sister recognized her. I guess she was too out of context—how could she be there when she was supposed to be an ocean away? It was all great fun, especially when we walked around the corner and they realized it actually was Bronwyn they were seeing.

Monday: We drove down to my parents’ place in South Carolina to stay for a week and a half. Gabriel helped them get set up with a computer at their store and both of us helped out there as we could. I partied a lot with my friends and didn’t feel guilty about leaving Bronwyn three evenings while we were there. Gabriel and I celebrated our third anniversary (that was in December) by going out for dinner one evening BY OURSELVES, since my mom was so willing to babysit and all. Another night I went for Mexican food with a bunch of girlfriends. We stayed at the restaurant until it was ready to close and then some of us went to the local coffee shop until it closed. I think we must have all been glad to get out for an evening! Mom and I also did some shopping one day. (Two things I miss the most about America are the easily accessible, cheap stores, and the ability to wash, dry, fold and put away a week’s worth of laundry in one day. Did I ever have fun doing laundry there!)

While we were in SC, we got six inches of snow dumped on us. That hardly ever happens there; in fact, in the thirty years my family has lived there, only one other winter saw a worse storm than this one. The schools were closed for a few days, so we got to hang out with my brothers’ families and play in the snow. It was fun to have a husband who’s used to snowy roads because we went to Walmart the day after the storm and almost had the store to ourselves.

We got home early on a Saturday morning, two days before Gabriel went back to school. It felt the most like coming “home” that coming to Ireland ever has. A friend picked us up at the airport so we didn’t have to take public transport, and the best part was that we didn’t have to house hunt but could come straight home to our cozy apartment. I think we’re over the post-holiday blues and the jet lag and the head colds now, and it’s good to be back to normal life again.

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