We hung around in Utah for a few days after Christmas in that winter wonderland.

We skied. 
See that little cloud up there on that mountain?
We were pretty much inside that thing all day long.
…and it was breathtakingly gorgeous.

 And FREEZING cold.

Dave took the kids one day and then we went with cousins the next.

There was snow falling almost all day and the snowflakes were so perfect.  I tried to get a picture with my hand for the split-second I could spare without wearing my glove but it can’t do those beauties much justice.

Julie, Seth, Dave and I were so tired at the end of the day we snuggled up in our stretchy pants and got caught up.  Love those guys so much.

I was finally in town for our traditional high school girls’ brunch.  Loved catching up with these girls who it never seems like I left when we get talking.

We lugged all our crazy luggage from the airport to my parents to Julie & Seth’s house and back to the airport again in any cars people were willing to take us in.

And then we boarded that plane and took off for HOME.

We took off in a snowstorm:

…up and over the clouds.

…and on to a gorgeous sunset welcoming us back to the desert we had missed for so long.
We were kind of excited.

Especially to be greeted by these beauty people:

…(and some more waiting out in the cars) who helped lug us and all our luggage and cars and a trailer home.

I didn’t record much of what happened when we got here on my camera, but I’ll just say there was a whole bunch of whooping and hollering going on…complete squeals of delight, and we just explored our home we love so much as friends came in and out to welcome us late into the night.

 Elle’s friend stole her away for a little surprise party.  This was before they whisked her away:

Our neighbors made us a great welcome-home banner we didn’t get a good picture of until the next morning:

 Let’s go ahead and get a better look at that:

 Are they sweet or what?

And ever since then we have been loving that we get to be here in the middle of Fall (Fall in the desert is in January…oh boy, we have sure hit some good Falls this year!).

I am in awe at all the food here.  When Dave and I went to load up at Costco we were like kids in a candy shop it was so amazing to see so much familiar STUFF.   And we are still getting used to how clean and “sterile” it all seems to be.  Elle was especially excited about the pesto.

We took Dave’s parents and sister out to dinner and dessert to debrief from our trip and theirs (they were in Africa right before we left).

And we got here in time for our favorite traditional holiday party that happened to be after Christmas this year.  I’m so mad I didn’t get a picture of the whole group (a room jam-packed with so many people we love and look up to so much) but these are the people still hanging around at the very end with us.  My cheeks always hurt after that party because for some reason we are laughing all night with the games and white elephant.

And finally, back to this beautiful place where we started out the new year right.
More about cousins and our New Year’s party with them when I can get to it.  
Someone asked if we are glad to be home or whether we just miss China and wish we could go back.  The answer is we are so glad to be HOME.  We have never appreciated it so much in our whole lives.  But I think there will always be a piece of us that misses China, and I’m sure that will keep growing and growing through the years.  Which I hope will get us back there again some day.

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  1. Shawni – my grandmother just sent me a copy of her book (bought in 1985) "Life Planning," written by your father and Paul H. Dunn. Enclosed was a letter that she tried to send to your father in 2012 but never reached him. If I emailed you the letter would you forward it on to him? It would be very much appreciated! THANK YOU! tiffaner at gmail dot com

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