Happy New Year {and Groundhog’s Day while I’m at it :)}

Today is February 1, 2014 (in case you couldn’t read the date next to this).  I can’t believe it is already the second month of this new year!  We shall, as always, play catch up…hopefully with some pictures this time!!

Christmas was different this year.  This was my first Christmas spent away from my family and friends in Ohio.  Even when I lived in Atlanta and New Mexico, I was fortunate enough to be able to travel “home” to Ohio for Christmas to be with my family.  (Being a teacher certainly has its perks…and I am talking about the time off, not the *baller* paychecks that afford me to travel, haha)  Anyway, this was, like I said, my first Christmas away from my family in Ohio.  This was also my first Christmas as a married woman, and the first Christmas Day I have spent with Brandon, who is now my official family too.  So lots of change, but not all bad.  My last post was about being thankful, so to add to that, I am thankful for such an amazing, understanding family.  They have not once made me feel guilty about being so far away, and have been nothing but supportive.  We are a super tight-knit family, but we are not phone-talkers or skypers, so we texted our Merry Christmases and such, and sent love in our own way.  B and I received a package from my sister and her husband filled with some awesome goodies they got for us in Hawaii, and just recently, my parents sent a package with some of our wedding gifts and surprise Christmas gifts 🙂  {by the way mom & dad, your package is still sitting in my car ready for the post office….this week, I promise!}  It was perfect.  Brandon and I had some people over Christmas Eve for dinner, drinks and relaxing, then spent Christmas morning opening a few gifts for each other.  We have decided we would rather put our money into traveling here, so we are cutting down on how much we spend on each other (VERY difficult for B, he loves to buy me things!!).  The rest of the day was spent at one of B’s coworkers house, chock full of delicious food.  Like seriously, more food than you could imagine, especially for a bunch of single airmen!!  It was nice to be around lots of people on a day usually filled with family and excitement, so I am glad we’ve made some good friends here.  We made it an early night, because we were heading to London the next morning.





Boxing Day (12.26) was spent in London, exploring the city and Winter Wonderland.  We booked a day trip through ITT (travel group on base), so we got on a bus early that morning and headed down.  Taking a bus from base had its pros and cons, but overall it was fairly convenient.  It dropped us off right at Hyde Park, in the middle of London, where the Winter Wonderland was located.  The Wonderland was basically just a big area in Hyde Park blocked off for food vendors, shops, lots of beer & mulled wine vendors, carnival rides, and various winter activities.  It was super cute, but definitely geared more for kiddos and/or people planning to get proper snockered.  In the morning, we headed away from Hyde Park with the intention of going to the British Museum.  After walking over two miles, we arrived at the museum to find that it is closed on Boxing Day [duh, something we should’ve checked before!]. We decided on a British pub for beers and chips instead.  We were happy to just walk around London and sightsee, as the last time we were there it was pouring!  Seeing London all decorated for Christmas was gorgeous– lights, wreaths, and trees everywhere!  This year, I want to go back and stay the night during the holiday season to see it all lit up at night!  In the early afternoon we headed back to the Winter Wonderland to ice skate.  We found a pretty cool war memorial on our way back, and of course, took some pictures.  Once we were back, B and I both discovered that we are pretty awesome at ice skating, especially compared to some of the klutzes we ran into (quite literally) in the rink.  I’m not sure that the hour of skating we paid for was worth the exorbitant amount of money we shelled out, but hey, we can say we ice skated in Hyde Park in London now 🙂







We wrapped our day in London up with a German beer from one of the vendors, and headed back to the bus for our ride back to base.  Overall, it was a lovely day 🙂

Somewhere in the mix of December, we also went to Windsor Castle.  Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world.  The Queen resides and entertains here during different parts of the year.  There is more info here:


The castle is about 45 minutes outside of London, and about 2 hours from where we live.  It’s crazy because it is basically situated in the middle of a town, and is massive.  We did an audio guide {hence the sweet headphones in the pics below}, and learned a ton about the castle, both historically and how it is used today.  The sheer size and grandiosity of it left me speechless, let alone the incredibly over-the-top decor.  Many of the rooms in the castle are still used today when the Queen is there and is entertaining.  The elaborate, ornate furniture and authentic, famous paintings blew me away!  It boggles my mind that someone actually lives  in such a place!  We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the castle, so these are only from the grounds:




The castle was also all done up for Christmas, with HUGE Christmas trees in many of the rooms!  Gorgeous!

So those were our exciting outings for December.  We had a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve, hanging out with [very drunk] people that B work with.  Since the new year, I have just been working, trying to get back into a gym routine, and trying to do better at meal planning.  This week I will be starting a long-term subbing position at the same school I currently work at, which I am looking forward to.  I will be teaching SureStart, which is a preschool program.  The teacher retired in December, and there was a long term sub in there until this past Friday, but she PCSed (moved), so they needed a certified teacher to sub until the permanent replacement comes.  As of now, I have no idea how long I will be in the classroom, but I am excited to have a little more responsibility and hopefully get some experience and get my foot in the DoDs school system door a little more 🙂

B was also gone for work for about a week and a half in early January, which seemed super long.  At the moment, we are planning a trip to Edinburgh for my spring break, a possible weekend trip down to Bath and Cardiff toward the end of April, and a summer trip to Brugge, Brussels, and Amsterdam.  We are also expecting some visitors in both April and May, which is exciting!  I suppose that is enough of me rambling, hope y’all enjoyed!