Happy Everything: Home for the Holidays and Welcoming 2015

The holidays have come and gone, and along with them nearly eight months of island life. We made our first stateside trip since shifting our latitude to St. Thomas last year. Fully prepared for frigid temperatures and too much food, we (and the dog) boarded a plane in the sunny USVI and landed eight hours later in Omaha.

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We giggled a little on the plane, as it had a little issue that we like to call “USVI nice” here.

It was so awesome to go home with my parents and enjoy a couple of days eating holiday favorites, opening gifts and stockings, and playing lots of cards. I introduced my parents to the ‘Heads Up’ app, hilarity ensued. Two days felt too short, but it was off to Omaha to run some errands. By errands I mean go to Whole Foods. Walking into that place was practically a religious experience. So. Much. Fresh. Food. I hoarded some dried mangoes and favorite Yogi teas into my basket and we bought some wine and cheese for our trip to Sioux City.

Our first stop was in the Dakota Dunes, where Dan’s dad and stepmom live. It was a really fun time with a house full of people!

christmas instagram trio

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Uncle Daniel enjoying some playtime with Ryan and Hayden.

We made the annual trek to Miles Inn on Christmas Eve for Charlie Boys (kind of like a sloppy joe, but better) and schooners of beer. Then it was on to Christmas Eve mass, and dinner at home. Pierogis, sausage, veggies and more, the food was delicious and seeing 18 faces around the table made it really special. Then it was gift time!! We all had a blast watching the kiddos enjoy Christmas and the adults enjoyed each other’s company.

kiddo christmas

The adults stayed up too late (played some Cards Against Humanity), and had to get up WAY early to open stockings on Christmas morning. Again, two days was too short, but it was on to the next holiday adventure! We headed over to Dan’s mom and stepdad’s for some Christmas morning fun. Opening gifts was so much fun, and it felt so nice to just relax after all our running around. Christmas dinner at Nanny and Papa’s was absolutely delicious, and the boys (big AND small) had some fun playing with remote control cars after the fantastic meal.

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Nanny and Ryan enjoying some quality holiday time together.

After another two days, we headed back to spend our last night with my parents before flying back to our island. The holidays just aren’t the same if you don’t get to spend time with the people you love, and we were lucky enough to see so many of those people!

In true island fashion, none of the cab drivers wanted to give us a ride to the north side when we returned Sunday night. After some cajoling, an elderly man reluctantly put us in his taxi van and we headed over the mountain. Just before the turn to get on our road, we realized he had no idea where Hull Bay was. We gave him directions. He had probably been cabbing longer than either of us has been alive, and had no clue where he was going.

New Year’s Eve in the islands is quite delightful, especially when you get to spend it with friends! We rang in 2015 in beautiful weather, and feel so grateful for all of the opportunities we’ve been given to enjoy this place in our lives.

Happy near to all; make 2015 your best year yet!

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