I have been off of work for the past two weeks, and had every intention of catching up on the blog. Obviously, that didn't happen. The first week was spent with family for Christmas, and this past week I've stayed busy with random things. So now I need to find a way to recap the holidays without creating the longest post ever. I promise I'll do my best.
First up- I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how much I loved my trip to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. While the timing made for a really hectic Christmas, it was such an amazing experience. I stayed at The Inn at Saratoga, and highly recommend this for a little weekend getaway. The town of Saratoga is adorable- there are so many shops and restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, not to mention some great hiking nearby. I hope that Hank and I have the chance to go back sometime. The work portion of the trip was highly productive. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't allow many pictures taken on campus, so this is all I've got.
I flew back home on my birthday, but didn't actually get home until 1:15am the next day. I did my best to sleep in, but it just wasn't happening. I got dressed in time to meet Hank and friends for our typical Saturday morning breakfast at Taco Deli. The rest of the day was a crazy blur. We went to our friend Bonnie's mid day Christmas party (she had a really sweet cake for me), I did my best to make 4 dozen cookies, and then got dressed to celebrate my birthday with Hank at a new restaurant- Jacoby's.
I had been looking forward to this meal for weeks, and it did not disappoint. There is a Jacoby family ranch in the Texas Hill Country, and one of their sons wanted to open an Austin restaurant. The concept is ranch to table- so all of of their meat comes from the family ranch. The service was spectacular, as was the food. We sat out on their patio and enjoyed deviled eggs, chicken fried steak, mac and cheese and green beans. It was all so delicious! On our way out through their mercantile shop, I happened to see Wendy Davis, former gubernatorial candidate. I am a huge fan, and asked if she would mind taking a picture with me. She was so friendly and warm, and it just made my night even better. (Side note- I knew when we headed out for dinner that I should have fixed myself up a little more. I was so tired though, and opted not to. Seeing this picture ensures that I'll never make that mistake again.)
On Sunday, we got together with my family for our annual Christmas cookie decorating, and a birthday celebration for me and my brother Blake. The cookie decorating was a practice run of sorts for a class that I want to teach next month. So I *might* have gone a little OCD in setting everything up. But our cookies turned out great, and I think everyone had a lot of fun. My family went out for Chinese food, and went back to my parents house for cake and presents. It was a super fun way to celebrate my last year in my 30s (gasp)!
I had two days of work, and then we celebrated Christmas with my family on Tuesday night before driving to Oklahoma on Christmas Eve. I'm not going to lie- there were many tears shed over being away from my family on Christmas for the very first time in my entire life. While I know that Hank and I made the right decision to spend time with his family, I still missed mine like crazy. It just wasn't the same, but we still made the best of it.
We had the car completely packed and ready to roll by 8am. This was the first time that Brees had been in the car for more than 20 minutes. We really weren't sure how she would do, but we made the trip without any problems. It was so much fun to participate in the traditional Holland Christmas festivities- including their annual Christmas Eve party. The dogs loved getting extra attention, we had plenty of quality time with Hank's family, and we even got to see snow on our last full day. We also took Brees for a playdate with her dog cousin Diesel (a Great Dane that is her same age). In all, it was a really great visit.
Since we've been home, we've enjoyed some quiet time, working on a few house projects, and buying a new sofa! I'm in full on living room redecorating mode and can't wait to share pictures. It's going to take several months to find and buy the things I want, but I'm really looking forward to turning our drab living area into a really pretty and comfortable space.
So...that brings us to 2015. We celebrated in our usual low-key style, with a really yummy homemade dinner, and sparklers/champagne with neighbors. We also hosted my parents for dinner on New Year's Day, and I made good use of my new cookbook Jack Allen's Kitchen. We had meatloaf, cheesy grits, black eyed peas, and a chocolate torte for dessert. It was the perfect way to ring in the New Year.
We're really looking forward to a fun start to 2015. Hank's 40th birthday is just a few weeks away, and we'll be celebrating in New Orleans! We have so much to be thankful for, and so much to look forward to. I can't wait to see what all the new year has in store.