Wednesday, January 4, 2006

The Blog Is Back

Happy New Year!

Just a quick little blog to get back into the habit. We had a wonderful 2+ week vacation and have lots to look forward to in the next few months.

Back up north, Gabriel got to spend lots of time with all of his family and loved every second of it, except the seconds spent in the car (and there was lots of time in the car), oh, and the visit to Santa Claus at Oakland Mall. He was totally spoiled with presents, which was not really a surprise, but he really has outgrown his old toys and most of his old clothes, so it was all great. Mommy and Daddy will be playing with a lot of the toys, especially the train from Aunt Laura and the H3 from Uncle Jack and the dinosaur book from Aunt Candy and Uncle Jim, but we will be sure to share.

Chip also got to really play in the snow for the first time (and only, so far, since it all melted right after Christmas). At Aunt Laura's house, we took about half an hour to dress him (for a 10-minute outing) in his snowsuit, boots (that light up!), winter coat, mittens, and hat, and he looked just like Randy from A Christmas Story ("I can't put my arms down!" "You can put your arms down when you get to school."). As Mom said, he looked like a tick about to pop. After a little confusion about the white stuff, he ended up having a great time. We just had to make sure he didn't fall face down because he couldn't use his arms to get back up!

The biggest news of the trip was that Gabriel will have a new Grandpa! Nick will become Grampa Nick at an unspecified date, but we are soooooo excited. He already loves his newest Grampa, and we love him too, even though we had to come up with yet another unique grandparent name to go with Gramps, Grammie, Granddad, Grandma Gail, and Gramma, not to mention that Aunt Sophie and Uncle Phil have adopted him as their grandchild as well and skipped right over the great-great-nephew bit. Gabriel is so lucky, and we are so lucky, to have such a huge extended family of people, every one of whom loves us so much and whom we love so much, and it keeps growing! But we digress... Mom is so happy, and Nick is so happy, and they are such a great couple that everyone around them can't help but have a great time. So we will be celebrating for a long time to come!

The other big news is that Mom and Dad sold their house, so they will become Georgians in the next few weeks. We know they must be nervous, but we've been through the big change (well, not that big change) and know that it will end up to be an exciting adventure for them. They are really going to love it here - the people, the climate, everything there is to do - there's so much we can't wait to show them. We're shopping for houses for them to rent for their first year here, and it's going to be fun picking a place. There seem to be some great choices.

We decided to go to Peru for Erica and Raul's wedding and to sightsee and have our own little adventure. We decided that we need to let go of Gabriel for one week and concentrate on us spouses, and we also decided that one of our top priorities is travel and having new experiences in different cultures. Those two things, combined with the chance to support our friends in a unique way and a pretty great deal from Priceline, made the decision evident for us. Plus, the national dish is ceviche. That was a pretty good advertisement in itself. We highly recommend This is the second time we've used them, and we've gotten great deals and great times both times. We're flying Delta non-stop both ways. Granted, our return flight will be a red-eye, but we don't mind that at all. That will be one less night we have to stay at a hotel, as we'll go to the airport when we'd normally be going to bed. We are planning to stay in Lima for 3 days and Cuzco for 3 days, with a trip there to Machu Picchu. We've already got the guidebook and are studying our Spanish. Raul's friend owns a travel agency and will help us get organized, and maybe he will even find a way for us to camp at a base camp in the Andes or on the Inca trail for a night. That would be a definite highlight. This trip will also be a celebration of our sort-of 10 year anniversary, so that will be a bonus.

Raul left for his final term of study in Peru today, so we wish Erica lots of busy days as she counts the days until their wedding. Gabriel and I couldn't get to the airport to hang out with him during his super-long layover, so we were bummed about that, especially since he decided as an alternative to follow a shady character who was on his flight from Montreal... hope he didn't get into any trouble. Knowing Raul, he probably carried out a covert operation to figure out exactly why the guy was acting strange and took notes. Then he probably had a hot tea and read a book.

We also found out that our friend Judy will be getting married, probably in May, to a magna cum laude doctoral graduate from Duke who is also a minister. Wow. They both sound very happy, and so we are very happy for them! Lots of weddings this year, and what a great start to 2006!