HAPPY NEW YEAR m’peeps! I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s 2014  now. Actually it’s been 2014 for oh a day week or two (or three-ish) and yay, verily,  truly it pains me that we’ve been apart for so long, but it’s not my faaaaaullllllt…no really, life has been particularly blogging averse of late.
For one thing I have been positively spoiled with family visiting over the holidays for about a month, first came my sister and brother in law, then my mom arrived, followed by my brother and two little nephews!  So wonderful! I am not ashamed to say I wanted to make the most of it, which left no time for blogging.  But!  There will be photos.  So many photos. I’m even including some sneak peeks right now.  That’s how much I love you.
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Also, alas! As is it’s wont, my computer died around Christmas time. (This keeps happening! Why? Why does this keep happening?!) Which means I must rely on Aaron’s computer after work hours.  Which means after kids go to bed hours. (And they like..never go to bed especially since they hardly ever go to school these days.) Also, Benj has been using that very same much in demand computer for a huge project. And for some reason, blogging is considered a lower priority than school. (What the? So unreasonable!)
And THEN of course, so very much that bears blogging about has occurred since I was last blogging and darlings, you all know how I get…with the there’s so much to talk about, I don’t know where  to start and so I just don’t syndrome. And then you know how I get a wave of optimism and motivation and I buck up and grandly make sweeping promises that I will catch up on everything (and I almost never do) and then I feel useless and ridiculous (as if anyone actually noticed or really cared) and I hide my head in shame and get even more behind..so it goes…these are the days of my blogging life.
Lengthy rambling disclaimers and excuses aside! Here’s some of what has been going on…which I may or may not elaborate on (with more, so many more photos) in the very near future (or not at all. )
Christmas! It was lovely! New year! It was great! Family time, it was fantastic! There will be photos!
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My mom got to meet Ella for the first time!  My kids got to meet their cousins for the first time!
 
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While the kids and the men went to enjoy the wonders of Kalahari (an indoor water resort about an hour away from where we live). My sister whisked us away from the tundra and introduced me and my mom to her favorite spot in the US..charming Charleston, SC at the beginning of the year and it was delightful. We had a lovely time. Except now I am dissatisfied to be living anywhere but Charleston, SC. There will be more photos. (Hopefully)
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We also took an overnight trip to my beloved German Village and the German Village Guesthouse so that my sister and I could get some Temple work done for our grandparents and great-grandparents at the Columbus LDS Temple. It was such a wonderful experience.
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Also noteworthy is that we survived 3 days trapped inside during the Polar Vortex aka Snopocalypse 2014. My South Africa/Australian relatives loved it. (But not really. They thought it sucked). It hit mere hours before my poor brother was due to fly back to meet his wife in Phoenix with his two sick kids and so he was stranded here to brave it as a single dad. 
We were sensitive and kind though and made sure to make things easier on him, by locking him outside when he acted all macho about the –4o degree temps.. that’ll learn him.  Since we were forbidden to take to the roads or risk incarceration, my mom and sister and brother in law were stranded in the Richardson’s house less than a mile away which was a total bummer but we all did what we could to get through. They watched Downton Abbey in front of the fire and ate home-baked bread and cinnamon rolls and we made snow ice-cream and held screaming babies down for medication, breathing treatments and snot extraction. It was  fun (for some). No really, copious snot and coughing all-nighters aside it was actually really wonderful that the cousins got to spend so much extra time together and I loved bonding with my brother as a fellow parent.
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But what of school you might ask? What of school? Well, awkwardly enough, school does not let up for the holidays, it just barrels right on through as if nothing is amiss.  Consequently I had assignments due on Christmas Day and on New Year’s day (and all the days leading up to them and thereafter), which I will have you know I diligently completed but eventually, what with all the partying and reuniting and recuperating that was going on over the course of the last month, I found it simply impossible to keep up. And I really hated that it was encroaching on the very rare and precious time I get to spend with my family.
I also very badly needed to get a handle on my mental and physical health, adjusting to my new meds and working through my truly dangerous insomnia and so after the new year,  I decided to withdraw from this quarter. It was a tough call since I was half way through already but I plan to be back at it at the end of February. 
And to be honest, I have absolutely been LOVING the break, oh, life is wonderful! I have been sleeping almost normally and I don’t feel on the verge of panic/heart attack at any given moment. No doubt this sense of freedom and euphoria also has to do with the fact that my current medications are working really well, but it’s also just so nice to have the stress and preoccupation with school lifted for a bit so that I can get a firmer grasp on life.  I do so love what I am studying and I find it very fulfilling, but..it’s a lot and I’m happy I took the time to sort myself out and go back into it fortified and organized.
Speaking of sorting out…
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Thanks to my stupendous sister and marvelous mom my house IS…and all the laundry was caught up when they left. (Yes, dreams do come true).  They also helped me organize some of my most intimidating scary areas so once they had left, I was freed up to do a bunch of organizing projects which had always been on my “one fantastical day, when I catch up with everything else, ie: we all know this will never happen” list.   But I did them!  And now..my house is becoming quite frighteningly organized.  It’s been so much fun. (A part of me feels sad for myself at how much fun it’s been). And already quite life changing. There will be (braggy) photos. I can’t wait to show.
In current events: Gracie turned 12  on the 22nd of Jan. TWELVE. She had a birthday party (sleepover) on Friday night. Our ears are still ringing, we have many hours of sleep to catch up on,  we are grateful to have washable/bleachable couch slip covers (what’s a little red velvet cake and root-beer) , and we will no doubt be finding popcorn kernels in strange places for weeks to come, but it was fun (and enlightening to listen in on the conversations).  I’m ‘enjoying this phase of my kids’ life. (Mostly). I’ve always enjoyed teenagers. I feel that I relate to them better than I relate to little kids. In fact I have always feared little kids except for my own, but teenagers are cool, I’m comfortable with that age group so it’s fun to have them in my own house.  There will be photos. (Definitely)
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We continue to have the most severe/cold/snowy/something dramatic winter since 1978 or something. In fact right now I am listening to the beginnings of what is forecasted to be a Thundersnow storm. Thundersnow! I’m so thrilled at the prospect! No really, doesn’t that sound cool. I’m kind of loving this extreme winter because it means two things:
1.)  always deal much  better with Winter when there is lots of snow. For one thing it gives Winter something to do. It’s the gray, frigid, bland, hideously ugly nothingness which sucks my soul dry of joy and the will to live. Snow covers all that up and makes it pretty. As my friend Jennifer says, it gives the cold a purpose.  Also it gives us something to play with. Sledding, snowmen, snow angels, taking a pristine patch of snow and putting footprints on it (that’s my personal fav), taking endless photos of the same things covered with snow…oh yes, there will be photos. (Probably, maybe). But I couldn’t resist sharing this little montage from yesterday with you right now. So I was lying in a pristine snowy field. I was bundled up like the michelin man and so I was warm and comfortable, the sky was momentarily clear and blue and the tips of the trees..well you could pretend they were palm trees. I was pretending that the snow was white sand on a beautiful beach and just having a really serene and meditative moment. And then….
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Yes el diablo snuck up on me with an armful of snow and dumped it on my face. Aaron obviously saw the whole thing coming and instead of warning me, he documented it with great glee. Yet somehow I still love them both.
2.) Snow days.  I shamelessly love school delays and snow days. I prefer to have my kids home. I love the relaxed vibe and the coziness. Sadly, after enough of them, you have to pay the piper and we’ve had like..one full day of school this year so summer is in peril. All the same, I love having my chickens in the nest on a freezing day.
And now… PRESENTS. For you! To make up for being such an absent and negligent blog parent, I have really awesome GIVEAWAY lined up for Tuesday, trust me, it’s awesome, so tune in on that. Yes, I’m buying your forgiveness. Or something like that.
I have decided that I’m giving myself ‘til February 14th to catch up on all “event” type posts that I have missed and after that we shall just proceed forward. (I’ve not yet done Thanksgiving, can you believe it?  I hardly know how to live with myself!) I also want to review the goals, hits and misses of 2013. I’m anxious to get back in the saddle again. I’ve missed you all. Madly.
Happy 2014 Luvvies. It’s going to be a good one. It is.
xo

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