Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy 2009!

It's so exciting to look out on a brand new year, filled with fresh adventures and goals! We loved every second of our Christmas and New Year's! And after more than two weeks and 2100 miles on the road, we're happy to be home again and settling in.

We had an awesome time in Geneva with Rob's parents, sister and grandma. They had their Christmas tree decorated with ornaments that Rob's grandma gave everyone each year, a tradition that began decades ago and still continues with us -- each one has unique significance and Madeline loved pointing to her favorites (Santa Cwaus! Mowse wif glasses...). The Vlach women prepared amazing homemade meals -- it felt wonderful to wander out in our pjs and relax like you only can when you're on holiday. Madeline was adored every second and showered with gifts on Christmas morning, including a Radioflyer wagon that she loves! Her commentary was hilarious -- if she opened clothes, she would say "Too cute!" as I heard the same words coming out of my own mouth. Her other favorite was "Oh boy!"and "Rip it!" as she helped everyone open every single present.

On Christmas Day, Mollie, Rob, Madeline and I drove up to Minocqua, Wisonsin to spend the next four days with my family. This year there was a full house -- so all the "kids" (which included Rob, me, Mollie, Andi, Kenny and Kyle) were in the big cabin, and my dad and Ning were in the cabin next door. They were fabulous, letting Madeline sleep in their extra bedroom, so we were able to clang pots, laugh extra loudly, and have wild dance parties (more to come on this) in the baby-free cabin. Nancy asked us all to send in three dance songs prior to the trip, which she downloaded onto her ipod. Three nights into the trip, we turned our quiet, peaceful cabin-in-the-woods into a full scale dance club (Kenny was our human disco ball in a plaid sportscoat lit up with colored Christmas lights). Even my dad was getting down. We took turns making meals for each other, went for a gorgeous hike in the new snow, read by the fire, spontaneously danced to the polka at Otto's (a German pub where a guy plays two trumpets at once) and let Miss Madeline entertain us from the time she woke till she crashed at night. Nancy gave us all matching monogrammed pajamas (even Madeline May, or Mimi as she's often called). It was a whole lot of fun. And when we're all together, we always take special time to remember my mom, who was a WHOLE lot of fun too! She just loved the holidays, and I always feel the closest to her when my entire family is together.

Then back to Geneva to spend more time with Rob's family! His mom and sister were so wonderful, getting up with Madeline almost every morning bright and early -- I haven't felt so rested in...well...two years! Nicki started a new exciting job in December, so she was a working girl, but still able to spend lots of time with us. On New Year's Eve, we had a blast with our dear friends, Erica and Craig with a wonderful meal at Isabella's in Geneva and some late night Wii. The next day, we drove to Rockford to visit with Buffy and Dan for their adorable daughter, Ellie's second birthday! At the very end of our trip, we were so unbelievable grateful to Rob's family for watching Madeline while Rob and I took a night away (Rob's Christmas gift to me)! We stayed at the Herrington Inn and Spa, which is only a mile away from Rob's folks house, but absolutley spectacular. Our balcony hung over the Fox River, and we sat in front of the fireplace in our room, talking and talking for hours (only after my prenatal massage, of course!)! Then we walked to a little Mexican place for dinner and talked some more! With a new baby arriving in eight short weeks, the time to reconnect -- talking about hobbies we want to revive, personal and family goals for 2009, baby names, and a fun business idea I'm entertaining -- was really special. On the last day of our trip, I co-hosted a baby shower for my good friend, Johanna, in downtown Chicago. Rob and Madeline picked me up from the shower, and we started our nine-hour trip back to Nashville.

Now we're back to our routine, which feels amazing! The weather here is spring by Chicago standards, so Madeline and I have been playing outside every day. This weekend, we're really excited to stay close to home and assemble Madeline's "Big Girl Room" and the new nursery! The countdown has begun!

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