Happy (belated) New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope 2022 finds you well. We’ve had a slow start to the year, and a much needed break from the whirlwind of the past few months. Between November and through Christmas we had back-to-back visitors. Andy’s cousin’s were in town for their grandson’s birthday in mid-November. So, they came by to see our new place. Then, Andy’s sister flew in for a weekend just prior to Thanksgiving. We took her to downtown Greenville, SC. My brother came for a second visit, this time bringing his whole family. We had a fun weekend hanging out with them. Then, my parents came to stay with us on Christmas Eve for about 5 days. We enjoyed showing them around the area and playing games at night.

I really enjoyed decorating for Christmas this year. I put our tree right in front of our big front windows, so that we could see it from everywhere in the house. I put up fun garland in the kitchen and living room, and I put a tiny tree in our bedroom, and an even tinier tree in the guest room. I even put out a basket of treats for all of our mail carriers, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. We now live in a town, where it’s not unusual for your UPS driver or USPS carrier to recognize your vehicle, honk, smile, and wave. I joke that my mail carrier is my best friend here because we often text back and forth, checking on each other. She is also largely responsible for getting our address entered into USPS’ system. So, naturally, she’s one of my favorite people ever because I love snail mail.

I guess that’s decent segue into what we’ve been up to since the new year. I started looking into finding pen-pals for letter writing and stationary swaps. Did I mention I love mail? 🙂 I found a few international pen-pals last week in an Instagram group I belong to (@penpaling_paula), where we bonded over shared interests. Most of my pen-pals (New Zealand, UK, Scotland, and Switzerland) opted to send their letters first, so I only had one letter to write last week. I’m really excited to learn about and bond with these ladies through old-fashioned letter writing. One of them creates beautiful line art drawings, and she gave me a little online tutorial in how to try my hand at creating line art myself. I’m already learning fun new things!

Anyway, to back track a bit. I’m going to have to get used to warmer weather during the winter months. It is hard for me to wrap my head around 65-70 degree days in November, December, January, and now February. We have had our share of cold days. There was a week that didn’t get above freezing, and we had a rare winter weather event that left us with 6 inches of snow; areas to the west and north of us had anywhere from 9 to 14 inches.

We found that perhaps we should have moved at least one snow shovel. They don’t stock snow stuff like shovels or snow/ice melt here, so we were left with what looked like an oversized Playskool shovel that had me rolling with laughter. It didn’t really matter though, as it’s difficult to shovel gravel, and our steep driveway was impossible to traverse in those conditions–not that we needed to go anywhere. They also don’t do much in the way of snow removal, though they do treat highways in advance. And here I thought Maryland was terrible at dealing with winter weather. It always most definitely can be worse. We just hunkered down, hoped our power wouldn’t go out (it didn’t), had cozy fires in the fireplace, and waited a couple days for the snow to melt.

As it starts to feel like spring here, we’re currently gearing up for our annual ski trip to Colorado. I’m looking forward to getting back out on the slopes! Last year I graduated to blues, even though I still prefer greens. Andy went out in January on a guy’s trip, where he skied Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and a little mom-and-pop resort called Cooper. He had a blast. Meanwhile, I held the fort down here. I took Stevie to the park daily, did some volunteer work at the humane society, read, got my hair chopped off, ate noodles almost daily (experimenting with different ramen recipes), and explored some shops a bit further away that I’d been meaning to go to. My two favorite stops were the super cute stationary store in Hampton Station called Dear Greenville, and a restaurant and Asian grocery store called Asia Pacific.

I nearly forgot that we also completed our mud-room re-do. Andy did all of the prep, painting, and light installations. I helped a bit with the wallpaper, and of course I did the decorating. I had a bout of tendinitis in my wrist after the holidays that quite force-ably brought most of my normal activity to a halt for about 3-weeks, which was a real bummer and not how I envisioned the start to the year.

Next up will be the laundry room. After that, all we only have two more major indoor projects left. One is to scrape the decades of wax off of the tile floor in the kitchen and by the wet bar, den, and bedrooms. Andy started to tackle that task yesterday. The kitchen is the other major project, but I’m not ready to even consider remodeling it because I know it will be a huge disruption, and I’m not even sure what I want in there yet. For now it’s functional, and the vintage look of it has actually grown on me.

I hope you’re having a wonderful year so far, and that you’re healthy and happy. Next time I write, I hope to have more information about our upcoming travel this year. We did book a couple of camping trips, and have a few visits from friends scheduled on the calendar already. Also, stay tuned for a ski trip recap.

6 thoughts on “Happy (belated) New Year!

  1. Jess, this is great! You write beautifully and easily. I love reading your post. Let’s get more adventures for you to write about!!


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