Friday, January 31, 2014

Extended Holidays in Indiana

Kyle and I were so blessed to be able to go back to the States for a visit just a few days after Christmas.  Kyle was able to stay for almost two weeks, and I stayed for about three.  It was wonderful to extend the holiday season and get to have Christmas with our families in person instead of over Skype!  It was also a lot of fun to spend New Year's and my birthday with friends and family as well!

We had a nice, uneventful flight from Stuttgart to Atlanta, and then on to Indianapolis.  For our first full day in Indy, we had Christmas with Kyle's family.  Cory and Lynn live in London, but they were also in Indy at the beginning of our trip!  It was really nice spending a relaxing "holiday" with the whole family!

A quick visit with Isaac before heading to the Guynn's

Cory at the front of the food line...nothing's changed!

Mmm, the Guynn Christmas dinner with everyone's favorite delicious potatoes!

The following day was New Year's Eve.  We did some ice skating that afternoon with Cory and Lynn.  We all hadn't been ice skating in a really long time.  They took off like they do it everyday.  Meanwhile, I had a death grip on Kyle for quite a while before I finally let go.  (I have an irrational fear of falling!)  It was a lot of fun!  That evening, our good friends Jason and Lydia hosted a New Year's party.  We had a wonderful time with great food, and great friends!  (I stole the next two pics from Lynn :-)

Heading to the party!

We hadn't seen the Guynn side of the family in way too long, so my parents and I hosted some of the Guynn's at their house for a New Year's Day get together.  Kyle's dad is one of 15, so we didn't get to see the entire family, but it was so nice to see the Guynn's that came!  I really wish we could see them more often!

We had three January birthdays to celebrate!

Everyone was entertained by Rashida's stories!

That night we had the first round of snow which was about five inches.  Kyle got out and got some nice pictures in the city.

My birthday is on January 3 and Jason's is on January 7th, so we have a long history of celebrating our birthdays together!  This year we celebrated at a wonderful Latin American fusion restaurant called Delicia.  The food was awesome, and being there with friends made it even better!  I think this is the first year we ever had birthday flan!

We also had a Christmas celebration with my family, which was special since it was our nephew, Isaac's first Christmas.  It was really nice that Kyle's parents joined us for a delicious prime rib dinner.  Mmmmm, beef!


I think the most memorable part of our trip was the crazy snow storm and frigid temperatures.  The snow started in the morning, and it pretty much looked like a snow globe outside all day.  The temperatures were not bad at all during the snow, so Kyle, Mom, my sister Kari and I went on a long snowy walk.  It was quite gorgeous with all of the fresh snow!  We got about 11 inches on top of the old snow.  That night the temperature dropped to below zero, and stayed there for several days.  The high the day after the snow was negative 11F.  For the high!  It was insane!  The roads stayed pretty bad for a long time since it was too cold for the salt to work.  We were pretty much stuck inside of the house for three days.  We got a bit of cabin fever!  Kyle and I were at my parent's house for the first two days, where we lost power for just a couple of hours twice.  We were lucky compared to Kyle's parents who lost power for 52 hours!  We drove over to their house on the third day, and the roads were still horrible.  Needless to say, with those frigid temperatures, their house was also frigid!  We went out to lunch to warm up.  The power finally came on that evening at about 6:30.  It took a really long time for the house to warm up after that.  We could actually see our breath in the house!

Bundling up for our walk

This is what happens at the Joest house when we get bored and cabin fever sets in...

This is what happens when you throw boiling water into subzero temps...

A wet sock frozen solid after 20 minutes

Meanwhile at the Guynn house...

Cold? What cold?

Finally getting the power restored

This frost and ice was on the INSIDE window of the guest room...

Here are some more snowy pics that Kyle got when he and his mom went for a drive around town.

Kyle had to leave January 10, which is the day we had "Thanksgiving" with my extended family.  My cousin, Erin (that got engaged in the last post) was still studying in Ireland and wasn't home for Thanksgiving, and neither was I.  She was craving a big turkey dinner, so that's what we did!  It turned out really nice.  We also had some Christmas and birthday gifts thrown in there, so we hit a little bit of everything that night!

I headed back to Germany on January 16.  Little did I know what kind of trip it would be when Dad and I headed for the airport that morning!  I was there plenty early.  I was waiting at the gate when the plane pulled up, unloaded, and there was an announcement that the plane was having pressurization problems. They worked on the plane, and kept telling us that they would know more info in twenty minutes.  The time kept getting pushed back further and further.  I wasn't concerned at first, because I was supposed to have a three hour layover in Atlanta, but then I got a bit more concerned as time went on and we still weren't in the air.  We finally boarded the plane, then had to sit while they de-iced it for 15 minutes, then had to sit while they cleared a slick spot on the runway for 10 minutes.  We finally landed in Atlanta at 5:35, and my flight to Stuttgart was supposed to leave at 6:00.  I tore through the Atlanta airport from the A terminal to the E terminal just in case the plane was miraculously still there.  It wasn't.  I went to the Delta counter feeling defeated to re-book my flight.  They booked me on a flight to London which left in three hours.  I asked for an upgrade since it wasn't my fault that I missed my flight, but of course that didn't happen.  I waited at a bar in a seafood restaurant that had wifi.  I had crab cakes and a couple glasses of wine to console myself.  Finally on board the plane, I was seated next to a person, while 6 rows of people had a row of three seats all to themselves.  How is that fair?  Anyway, once I got to London I had about 5 hours before my flight to Stuttgart.  I waited, moving from seat to seat while reading my book, trying to get comfortable on those hard plastic chairs that ended up leaving a bruise on my spine.  I made it back to Stuttgart, tired and 10 hours later than originally planned.  It was so nice to get home and take a long hot shower!  I was very happy that Kyle had cleaned the house and taken down the Christmas decorations, though!

Gizmo was anxious for me to come home

Despite the brutal trip back to Germany, we had a wonderful time back home in Indiana.  It was a pleasure to have some leisurely time there instead of running around like crazy trying to squeeze everything in!  We got to meet a new family member of some good friends, and I got a lot of time to spend with my nephew!  We ate a lot of really good food, caught up with people we haven't seen in far too long and spent quality time with our friends and family.  We're very anxious to see friends and family out here in Germany this spring and summer!!

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