After 19 hours of driving, we arrived home to the glorious Midwest yesterday afternoon. Mr. H-B and I discovered that we quite like driving to the Land of Enchantment during the night because there's generally less road construction and traffic. We made excellent time both on the trip out West and the trip home.
We spent two weeks visiting my family. We played games (Settlers of Catan), did puzzles (1 Eric Dowdle and 8 Disney puzzles), watched movies (Inception, The Dark Knight, and Joyeux Noel), drank lots of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi (my dad's new favorite), and ate lots of delicious New Mexican food (homemade tamales for Christmas dinner, anyone?).
We had fun playing with Princess O, Baby (who has the same first name as Mr. H-B, so there was a lot of 'Baby X' and 'Big X' going on), and the dogs: Maya, Sophie, and Cleo. Princess O and I are friends now and we practiced making phone calls, so maybe (just maybe?) she'll talk to me when I call. Baby X is a sweet, funny, smiley boy, even though he was so sick while we were there! Maya and Sophie like to snuggle and beg for treats. Cleo is obsessed with chasing her toy up and down the long hall at my parents' house. She'll stand next to you, toy in mouth, giving you the saddest look, until you give in. I gave in a lot.
Mr. H-B and I spent a week house-sitting for my parents' neighbors, who also have three dogs (Taz, Red, and Caillou) and Rikki the Rat. You can't even begin to imagine how much sniffing happened every time we left one house and went to another. It was nice to sleep on a real bed for a week since we sleep on the TV room floor at the Hass Ranch.
We received some really lovely gifts from our families, both things we needed and things we wanted. I finally got the digital scale and slow cooker that I've been dreaming of (nerd alert!). Mr. H-B got the plain, black tie he's wanted for awhile, as well as extended size socks, also something we've been trying to find for awhile. His best present, though, was a new video card for his computer. We're both nerds, I guess. We received a beautiful framed canvas print of Minerva Teichert's Christ in a Red Robe. I've wanted a picture of Christ to hang in our home for a long time, but I'm kind of picky about what hangs on my walls. Minerva Teichert is one of my favorite artists and I love her depiction of the Second Coming:
My sister-in-law also created the most hilarious needlepoint for Mr. H-B and me (yes, I'm aware it has my first name in it, just don't write it anywhere in the comments since picture text isn't googleable):
We laughed a LOT when we opened the gift! It's now hanging in our entry way because it's just too true not to hang up.
There was shopping, talking, laughing and, for Mr. H-B, coyote hunting and shooting at the range.
All in all, it was a much-needed, much-enjoyed break.