Ho Ho Home!

 Albanese family tree, so pretty! 

Albanese family tree, so pretty! 

After a hellacious 48-hour travel odyssey home from Buenos Aires to New York -- involving bad storms, a redirected landing, a subsequent missed connection, two lost backpacks, and one unwelcome extra day delay in Brazil -- we finally made it back to New York City on the morning of Christmas Eve. Coming home was even sweeter than we imagined it would be. A quick recharge week with family and friends was exactly what we needed. And it came with none of the sadness of "trip ending syndrome", like it will the next time we look forward to coming home... 

We spend our time at home in Long Island with the Albaneses, Westchester with Browns, and NYC with friends. It really is true that there is NO place like home for the holidays. We were immediately filled with more holiday spirit than we'd felt for the entire month of December, and spending Christmas Eve and Day with both of our families was the best gift Santa could ever bring us. We are so grateful to all four of our parents... thank you guys! You made our homecoming so special and warm and full of love (and food)! 

We also got a special dose of sibling and nephew time, which was awesome. Chris got some bro time, and I got some sister bonding. And we both got lots of play time with the world's cutest children, our two nephews. There were whole new levels of adoration reached for their beloved "Uncle Chrissy", and I was perfectly OK being second-choice/dog meat in his presence. 

 Christmas with our little elves

Christmas with our little elves

 The boys helping Uncle Chris shave the beard! 

The boys helping Uncle Chris shave the beard! 

And given that Chris and I have been almost entirely reliant on each other for social interaction for the past two months, we were very excited to see our FRIENDS! We had friends come up to stay with us from North Carolina and Philadelphia, and got to see many of our NYC-area friends for lunches, dinners and drinks, too. It was so much fun to socialize with people who we actually know! Catching up with a friend is a simple pleasure that we miss very much while on the road. Huge THANK YOUs to everyone who came to see us during this busy Christmas week. We know schedules are especially tough to coordinate during the holidays, so thank you for making it work! Seeing friends was a major highlight of our time at home. 

Despite both of us catching colds from germy kids, NYC was pretty good to us! She eased us in with several days of sunshine and 50-degree weather before blasting us with her arctic touch over the New Year's holiday. And today we're getting some beautiful snow flurries up here in Westchester. Not a bad little taste of winter (and--don't hate us--but likely our only snowfall of the entire season this year.)

And now we're left with just hours before we shove off to New Zealand for an east-west journey around the world. We're departing with full hearts, rested bodies, trimmed hair, and clean laundry! 

We will miss everyone so much. Especially our families. Getting a little misty-eyed just typing this blog post.... 

Happy 2015, everyone!