I love my in-laws.  
We had a couple fun gatherings at our house right when we got home…we had missed them so much (five of Dave’s eight siblings live here close to us in the desert).  
We had them all over for New Year’s Eve (plus our neighbors who we count as family too).
My sister in law brought this fun game called “wagers and _______” (I can’t remember the darn name), and she kept everyone entertained while the kids ran in and out and played to their hearts content.

 We watched the ball drop at midnight and had some sparkling cider.

 …and then had some sparkler fun.

 I love New Year’s Eve and the excitement in the air…rippling from kids who get to stay up so late to parents who are ready for fresh starts.

 I didn’t get a group picture, but here are some of the crew who helped us celebrate.

 (Kara’s husband was sick at home…poor guy…luckily her sister was in town to help us celebrate.)

 (All the teenagers had scattered hours earlier for all kinds of parties going on in the valley, and Lu had asked for her bed at 11:00 so we were down to Claire-bear to celebrate with us at midnight.

And after that we just snuggled in our family room, loving having the fire running for the very first time, and basking once again in how wonderful it feels to be HOME.

 …So warm and cozy.  Claire snuggled up with us and fell sound asleep while we thought through all the things on the horizon for 2015.

I love new beginnings.  

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  1. The house looks gorgeous, and all the holidays so merry and bright! It was my first Christmas away from my family this year, so I think I'm extra sentimental.

  2. Love family time. So nice that you were able to spend time with both sides of your family upon your return to the states. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    Did your house stay vacant when you were away? It looks prisitne!

  3. Looking at those last pictures of your family room I thought "This is so weird, I've seen this room before being built (from your other home blog) from so long ago and look at that! It exists!" Ha, it's just because I haven't seen it in so long!

  4. Hey! I know this is completely random, but I was wondering if you had ever considered a service dog for little Lucy. I love following your family and it breaks my heart to hear of the struggles. I'm currently in the application process for dog placement for my own struggles, but just thought how great it would be if Luce could learn to work with the dog right NOW and then have it grow with her. If it's an allergy thing, labradoodles are trained too. Just a thought 🙂 taradenkers(at)gmail(dot)com if you wanna chat!

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