This Christmas Eve we began the day by welcoming some old friends in for a quick visit. Liz and her family used to live here, but moved back to the States about two and a half years ago right after we discovered what great friends we could've been all that time we lived near one another had one of us not been so blasted introverted like we both are. Anyway, back for a quick holiday trip to see friends, we lucked out and were able to squeeze ourselves into their tight schedule. The luck part has a lot to do with the fact that our house was on their route headed out of town and on to Paris where they'd be spending Christmas Day, but I'd like to think our promises of coffee, hot chocolate, and hugs had a little to do with it, too.
While we talked and played a little face-to-face catch-up, Liz's husband (who clearly doesn't care for dogs) humored Murphy with a little hide-and-seek.
Where'd he go?!
This puppy needs some kids of his own :)
When the French Press was drained and hot chocolate safely in little girls' tummies, it was time to hug see-you-later again, but I was thrilled to have gotten the chance to see an old friend. I'm no stranger to whirlwind trips where it's impossible to see everybody, so I fully appreciated that we snagged a bit of their time.
As soon as they were gone, it was time to head over to another friend's house for a Christmas meal together. Murphy put on his dashing sweater, we packed up the cheesecake and we were off. What's great about going to Melody and Brian's house is that they're the kind of friends weirdos like us can feel comfortable around, and they've got the cutest baby to giggle over AND two little fluffsters for Murphy to play with (or hide from until he warms up again). Add to that an amazing meal and our first introduction to coffee milk, and you've got the makings for the perfect day.
Murphy can't get enough baby sniffs and he'll sneak a kiss if he can swing it. He also has a good friend in Olivia, Mel's sister, who made sure he never felt left out.
Check these boys out in their holiday sweaters. Chillin'.
And what do you get when you've had a day packed full of little girls, new and familiar faces to lick, and puppy dog play time?
The holidays wouldn't be complete without some time spent at Nancy and Jens' place for more Christmas celebration, so we spent our Second Christmas there (it's a real thing in Germany!)
More yummy food, more friends, and Nancy's homemade eggnog made for fuller hearts this time of year when missing family is at its peak. This was my first time seeing a Christmas tree lit by traditional candles and it looked truly magical.
Above left: Proof that Juergen has a big soft heart beneath all that scoffing.
Puppy dogs all around sporting holiday cheer via glowing collars.
These ladies have become like sisters to me in this place and I don't look forward to the day that calls for moving boxes. Together we share ideas, writing, and the moments you carry close to your heart. I've learned a great deal from both of them and regardless of where the future leads, I'm not afraid of losing touch.
We are women,
we are writers,
we are winged.
We're also a little silly.
All I can ever hope for is to have friends I cherish enough to spend the holidays with when family is too far away to hug. Thank goodness for Skype - we may not be able to hug, but we can sit in the same room and share a little bit of holiday cheer amidst the noise of tearing wrapping paper and the chatter of loved ones.
Miss and love you guys.