Wrapping Up A Wonderful Holiday Season…

The winter holidays are always a busy time – finding, buying and wrapping presents; making tried-and-true foods while giving new recipes a whirl; and, for me, end-of-year busies at work, including wireless inventory counts at all of our stores and agents across Southwest Kansas.

I saw lots of windshield time with coworkers the last week doing end-of-year inventory counts for work.  Despite the rather tedious tasks, I was still able to see the varying landscapes in Kansas, particularly the gorgeous hills and bluffs of Southern Kansas near Ashland; the snow dustings made it all the more pleasant.

I saw a lot of windshield time with coworkers over the last week doing end-of-year inventory counts for work. Despite the rather tedious tasks, I was still able to see the varying landscapes in Kansas, particularly the gorgeous hills and bluffs of Southern Kansas near Ashland; the snow dustings made it all the more pleasant.

I recently wrapped up an awesome vacation in Florida in early December to visit my friends, Laura and Charlie.  This was really the start of my holiday season this year, as Disney (we spent two days there at Epcot and Magic Kingdom) was decorated for the Christmas holiday and it just felt like the season was in the air with friendship, festivities and fun.  We happened to be at the park as they were filming the Christmas Day Parade that would later air on ABC (we saw Neil Patrick-Harris – holla!!).  While in Florida, I learned about healthier eating, enjoyed a coastal drive with beach-going and shooting (Nikon, not NRA!), did some shopping, and unfortunately – perhaps as part of the detox process – got sick with a cold (something I’ve been battling to varying degrees since).  But the good memories outweigh Luke’s knack of getting sick before or on vacation!

Disney - in particular, MK and Downtown Disney - was in high form for Christmas.  My friend Laura and I snapped a selfie in this ornament's reflection, she with her Samsung Galaxy Camera and me with my iPhone 5s.

Disney – in particular, MK and Downtown Disney – was in high form for Christmas. My friend Laura and I snapped a selfie in this ornament’s reflection, she with her Samsung Galaxy Camera and me with my iPhone 5s (Hipstamatic, all the way!).

We were blessed with my uncle’s presence for a few days around and including Christmas.  The house was filled with music as he and my brother both sang and played their guitars, good food and wine filled our bellies (my family loves the vegan three-bean chili recipe I picked up and adapted from my friend while in Florida!), and we all appreciated seeing Christmas through my 2 1/2-year-old niece’s eyes as she opened presents – she becomes more aware of the fun as she gets older!!  I can say without a doubt that it was our best Christmas yet – it’s always a pleasure to have good company to spend time with.  Christmases in the recent past had been marred by close deaths of family or pets and other sad things that sometimes happen near the holidays.  But this year was fantastic, and we are grateful for that.

Our family had an amazing Christmas.  We are so blessed to have been able to share the holiday with each other.

Our family had an amazing Christmas. We are so blessed to have been able to share the holiday with each other.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day was quite busy with inventory and work commitments.  Trying to count 14 or 15 locations’ inventories in such a short time is quite a task!!  I, along with several of my coworkers, have put in a lot of extra hours and miles on the road to fit it all in.  We still have quite a bit of work to do, but I hope things slow down a bit so I can get caught up with other aspects of my job.  Overtime is great, but I’ve really felt taxed with the early mornings and long nights!

This pig-mobile (what else can one call it??) was one of the many interesting things I saw while doing inventory for work over the last week.  Only in Southwest Kansas...

This pig-mobile (what else can one call it??) was one of the many interesting things I saw while doing inventory for work over the last week. Only in Southwest Kansas…

Finally, today with the New Year, my brother and his family came to our house for lunch, which turned into an afternoon of video game fun (the Nintendo 64 and classics like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. came out!) and an evening of Cold Stone and driving around looking at the remaining Christmas lights around town.  We drank lots of good sparkling wine to ring in the new year (I didn’t even make it to 10:30 New Year’s Eve – too tired from work!!) and read/answered questions from a new book I purchased – the answers were sometimes surprising and we had a good discussion!

Moscato & Burning Questions...  What fun!!

Moscato & Burning Questions… What fun!!

Lots of memories came back as we played games from our childhood!

Overall, it has been a wonderful – albeit busy! – holiday season this year.  I want to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers and friends a year and life filled with health, joy, relaxation, happiness, opportunity, creativity, and – of course – great food and reads!  Blessings to all!!