Now dehibernating

Hello friends! I've been looking forward to jumping back in here, compiling mental lists and things to tell you, and yet I'm suddenly feeling inexplicably awkward and nervous as I sit here writing this.  It feels kind of like going back to school after a long break--will my friends still be the same? Are rainbow shirts/leg warmers/Guess jeans still in? Will we all still sit at the same lunch table? 

Anyway, I've started three different posts here but I think what I'll do is catch up a little on a few highlights of our last few weeks before I delve into some of the other thoughts patiently waiting (or more possibly shimmying and doing the limbo) in my head. Posts for another day.

Remember how we went to the US for a month at Christmastime? Because we were going to be there that long, we knew we would want to have a home base rather than be nomadic (or impose on longsuffering relatives) that whole time. We really lucked out with this rental--the top floor of a barn made into a lovely guest house that the owners rent out when their own guests aren't visiting. It was heated by this fabulous Swedish tile stove in the center of the cabin; we definitely earned our firestarting merit badges in that month. The kids each had their own lofts with beds and there was even a swing right there next to the fireplace. We'll definitely be back.

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We wanted to fill up on time with family, since we're so far away from our people all the rest of the year. We managed to squeeze in a couple of local friend visits, too, but this one was mostly about getting our family fix. 

 Visiting my grandparents at their house

Visiting my grandparents at their house

 Sam and my grandma, bookends on four generations

Sam and my grandma, bookends on four generations

All of my siblings were home this Christmas--lots of movies and music and games and laughing.  This photo (of my brother Chris and my dad) pretty much sums it up:

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We got to Skype with Lauren on Christmas. She sounded so good and seems really happy, confident and older. We managed to hold it together until the very end, when we valiantly tried to sing her a Christmas carol but it ended up a sad little mess of a song through our tears. I have never mastered the skill of singing through tears, have you? I need lessons.

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We took the kids skiing for their first time ever. It took a couple of weeks for the snow to arrive but then we hit the local resort where G and I both learned. (I used Sarah's list of gear and it worked like a charm.) Skiing's tough--I remember hating it my first couple of times--but they were troopers, starting from scratch with a new skill/sport in their ripe old teen years. (We did spring for a private instructor because they were not at all interested in the bunny hill school with the little kids.) They really got the hang of it and at least neither of them swore they'd never return to ski again.

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We also tried cross-country skiing. We were total newbies and it showed. As Maddy said, for us this could better be called "synchronized falling." Lots of maniacal falling and uncontrollable laughing. Not a good combination for being able to get back up. Maddy got a shot of this one, featuring G and me. I think we look like we are (or wish we are) at the beach:

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And now, back in summery Australia, I'm surfing the wave of jetlag (early rising, early fading) and feeling recharged and ready for my mundane, stay-put, lovely life again.  I say a big amen to this Ann Patchett line: "I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again." 

So that's where I've been. How about you? 

. . .

p.s. Man, I'm paying the price for my willy-nilly holiday eating. It was the Tour of Food, y'all, and I was the groupie, number one fan, and tour guide all in one!  Time to pay the piper--and apparently the piper likes to be paid in green leafy veggies, moderation, water, restraint, and exercise.