Happy New Year! Emma's and my new year got off to a fantastic start with a trip out to Kansas to see my dad, met there by my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. It was so great to see everyone, and wonderful to watch the cousins playing.
I couldn't find reasonably-priced plane tickets for me and Emma, so we drove. It was two 11+ hour days of driving each way, but we had plenty of Harry Potter books on CD and it was actually really enjoyable. We had good weather, which helped immensely, and the traffic wasn't bad except around Denver on the way home.
We stayed overnight in Rawlins, Wyoming on the way out, and man was it cold! Temps when we left the motel on Dec. 27 were -14 degrees Farenheit! I haven't been in weather that cold since I was in college in Maine. The hoarfrost was beautiful, but it was awfully shivery pumping gas!
We were treated to a beautiful sunset on the Great Plains on the evening of the second day, somewhere near Goodland, Kansas, documented by Emma out of the back window of the car. This was the tail end of our outbound journey, only a little over three hours left to my dad's house at this point. We were very glad to get there and not have to drive for five days!
We had a great visit. There were Christmas presents and walking in the brisk Kansas wind and reading old family cookbooks and running Dad's model trains and happy shrieks from the basement as the cousins played. Cooking and going to the movies (Star Wars again!) and sorting through Mom's old kitchen stuff with my sister to divvy up some of the bits and pieces Dad doesn't use anymore.
Emma was delighted that we had snacking-for-dinner on New Year's Eve, which has become a tradition with her and me these past five or six years. Sis knows all the good cheeses, and introduced me to the wonderment that is cracker plus fig jam plus goat cheese. I am going to have to source some figs next year so I can make a batch of fig jam.
We may have gone a little overboard on the snack spread, but it was all really good!
All too soon it was time to head out for the trek back home. We were treated to another beautiful sunset, this time with the Rocky Mountains in silhouette as we headed north from Denver.
All in all it was a very uneventful drive, which is a good thing, and I so, so, so enjoyed the extended time with Emma.
I planned ahead and took the day after we got back off from work as well. This was a good call, because it was wonderful to have a day to decompress after driving all weekend. I did laundry and said hi to all my plants, and just relaxed.
Oh, and I made jelly! Here's my first canning project of 2016, some grape jelly. The batch made seven half pints, but two of the jars went as thank-you gifts to the friends that kept an eye on the cat while we were gone.
As for Coco, I think she was convinced that she had been abandoned forever. I think this is the longest she's ever been left alone since we adopted her, and she apparently did not like it one bit. According to the kitty sitters, she was yowly and clingy when they came to feed her, and this continued after we got home as well. She didn't leave me and Emma alone from the moment we walked in the door, and stuck to me all the next day while I was home and Emma was in school. Tuesday, after I was back at work, she was frantic again when we got home in the afternoon. She seemed very relieved that we hadn't left for a week and a half again.
Even tonight, after almost a week of being home and back to our normal routine, she is still being unusually clingy. Poor kitty.