Shenandoah & the 4th of July

Last week, ahead of July 4th, we escaped hot & humid DC for the beautiful cabin of friends on the Shenandoah River. The next 24 hours were filled with swimming, canoeing, hiking, drinking our fill of beer and wine, and very little technology. It was such a nice break! Virginia is winning me over, big time.

On the way back home on the 4th, we stopped at The Strasburg Emporium to look at antiques (it seemed like the rooms there stretched for miles!), and at Barrel Oak Winery for some vino to take home. It wasn't very patriotic of us, but we were so tired from all the time outdoors that we noshed on leftover enchiladas for dinner and were sound asleep well before the sun set or fire works went off. Woops! Better luck with that next year, but I loved having a long, low-key weekend with not much to do and 4 whole days to do it :)

Oh hey there

What in the world do you say to your blog when you haven't seen each other since before Christmas? Do you even try to catch up? Let's hit the highlights, shall we?

(P.S. how the heck is it June already?)

Over the last 6 months, we...

...celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday in Las Vegas, rode dune buggies through the Nevada desert and skied in Utah over Christmas. 

...went to Michael's on New Years Day to get some framing done on our wedding "guest book tree" and a really cool old map that Joel received during his first deployment. We came home with a kitten. The way I remember it, I think we decided to stop next door at Petsmart to buy some food for Chloe. They just happened to be having an adoption drive, and we just happened to fall in love with a tiny, timid little cuddle bug. A young girl nearby thought he looked like an Alex, so Alexander the Great he became. He's anything but timid, loves Chloe to pieces (to her utter dismay), tries valiantly to get sips of Joel's beer, and plays fetch as well as any dog I've ever met. In other words, he fits in just fine around here! Oh, and the framing turned out really well, too. 

...became a one car family. Winter here in DC was a really, really snowy one, and we realized our little Accord and Civic just weren't any match for the icy conditions of the roads. We had been discussing the idea of getting a bigger car with all-wheel drive for a long time, so one Saturday in February we finally pulled the trigger! Since I take the Metro most days to my client in downtown DC, and rarely drive to my actual office in McLean, we sold both cars. Why pay for a car you never drive? The new Toyota 4Runner has been perfect! She made Joel's commute on icy roads a little less hairy, and she made my chronic anxiety about driving by myself in DC's crazy traffic simmer down a few notches. We might need a second car eventually, but for now this set-up is working out really well. It doesn't hurt that the bigger trunk accommodates my Target and Trader Joe's runs oh so nicely, either. (Those cute tables have since been returned)

...escaped to Ocean City over St. Patrick's Day weekend. January through March is Busy Season in the land of public accounting, and this one was the busiest I've ever experienced! I was beyond exhausted and hadn't seen Joel much at all with our different schedules, so he planned a fantastic getaway. I was (and still am!) so grateful, and can't wait for our next trip to the beach together this summer. 

...enjoyed the heck out of Spring! My cousin, Amy, visited from California. She used to live here, and we had a lot of fun braving the crowds to see the cherry blossoms. We also celebrated our second wedding anniversary with dinner at Mrs. K's Toll House! Joel was deployed during our anniversary last year, so it was great to be together this year. During a trip to Dallas for a wedding, my mom and I sneaked in an extra day for some "Mommy and Me" time. It was so much fun to shop with her in Southlake Town Square, and to explore historic McKinney together. The wedding was an absolute blast, too, and Joel rocked his Best Man speech. Finally, last weekend we went on a date to the National Zoo and one of our favorite restaurants, Medaterra. Yes, the baby panda is exactly as cute as you would think. The stars of the show, though, in my humble opinion, are the elephants. 

And there we have it! The last six months have gone by in a flash, but they were filled with some really fun times. Life is good, and I am so happy that summer is here. 

Merry Christmas!

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We used Minted again for our Christmas cards this year. Love them! I kind of want to throw a party or ten just to have a reason to browse something other than the Christmas cards on their website. Here is our 2012 card :)

 We're on our way to celebrate my incredible Oma's 80th birthday in Las Vegas, and then we'll have a white Christmas on a ski trip in Utah with my parents and brother. Can't wait! After a year full of deployments, lots of travel, moving to a new city, starting a new job, and all of the general crazy blah blah blah that goes along with all of that, I am so excited to unplug, unwind, and enjoy having my favorite people in the world all in one place at one time. Sweet silver bells, indeed. Wishing you a very merry Christmas!