ready . . . break!

Miles and Otis moments before we left for Kansas …
Cute, but they're going on diets in 2013!
Our work schedules panned out this year, and we were blessed to take nine days to travel back to Kansas to visit our families. We flew from Nashville to KC and rented a car, and then we drove to Wichita. (Thanks to our Southwest Visa points, the roundtrip + 9 day rental car cost us $10!) Our awesome friend Kierston (who I grew up with and who recently moved here) checked in on Miles and Otis for us. I missed them! They were happy to snuggle with us when we got home.

Me and Nate outside the historical museum in downtown Wichita

Nate's immediate family is in Wichita … familiar stomping grounds to me because my grandparents used to live there, and my parents grew up there. We had a lot of fun hanging out and seeing movies and eating delicious food and napping and doing puzzles and playing dominoes. Fortunately we flew in Tuesday night, missing the Wednesday night snow that stranded my brother in the northeast for three extra days.

One afternoon we went downtown to the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum where someone was playing Christmas songs on the tower bells. Some other people were there to listen too, and Nate's dad struck up a conversation with strangers. We love that about him.

Nate, Tofer, and Michael
One day, Nate's friend Michael drove down from Manhattan for the day. We watched the KU basketball game and took Tofer on a walk. Tofer is part Irish wolfhound, they think. Nate's sister, Hannah, adopted him, and he really is a great dog. He just doesn't know how to drop the ball after he fetches it!

Then we met up with my extended family at my grandparents' house just east of Wichita before looping around to Burlington for a few days. Both of my siblings were home and we did the traditional Christmas Eve meal, Christmas Eve church service, presents at Mom's, Christmas morning brunch at Dad's, presents, and relaxing. Nate watched football while I worked on some family tree leads from my dad.

Our flight on Thursday morning was at 6:05, so we drove up to KC Wednesday evening and stayed with two of our favorite friends, Sam and Anne (originally Kansans, but they lived in Nashville for a year and we love them). Anne made dinner, and then we went to The Roasterie for coffee (hot chocolate for me) and a few rounds of Mexican train dominoes. We had to get up at 3:30am, so we were in bed early.

KCI—even at 4:30am—was nuts. The line to check bags was loooong, and of course we were checking bags. In Nashville, if you've already printed your boarding pass (we had), there was an express line where you could just scan your pass to check your bags. But we got to KCI plenty early and made our flight with no problem. Two of our friends from our church here were on the flight. They come from the KC area.

When we got home, the house was 42 degrees. We made it a month without a heater, but we called someone the day we got back and had him give us an estimate. He installed a new furnace the next day. It is sooo good to have heat! You don't appreciate it enough until it's gone. So we got the new furnace Friday, and on Saturday it snowed. Didn't really stick until the sun went down, but it was beautiful: fat flakes dropping very slowly.

We had Thursday off to get settled back in, and I worked Friday. Me and two other coworkers (everyone else took vacation) so it was so quiet. I loved it. I worked today, too, and there were just a handful of us. I really do think we should institute no-talking days two or three times a month because productivity would sky-rocket.

Tonight—New Year's Eve—will be fun; I have tomorrow off as a holiday, so I can stay up. Nate and I are going out for thai and then going to see Les Miserables. It'll be fun. I had all these ambitions of entering 2013 with a completely organized house and meals all planned out and a budget I can keep track of … we are headed in the right direction on those things but I think my unpreparedness reflects the pace of our lives in 2012. Maybe one of my resolutions will be to do a better job blogging regularly! :) Happy new year!

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