Well, it's been a long time since I've last blogged. That doesn't mean there hasn't been a ton of stuff going on, just that I've been too lazy to update everyone. :)
December went pretty fast, between contracting work and the Holidays the month really flew by. I picked up a little extra contracting work, doing some work for friends. I think my portion of the stuff turned out decent, so hopefully there's some more opportunity there in the future.
I also bought a new vehicle in December—I bought a black 2003 Toyota 4Runner. My Camry was running fine, but it was getting up there in miles and I'd already been driving it for 7 years. I know it's an odd time to buy a new vehicle, but it just seemed like the right time. Plus it was nice to have a new SUV for all the Holiday driving. :)
This was the first Christmas that I didn't spend with my parents. I think one of the most difficult problems couples face is where to spend the Holidays. There are definitely times when I wished our parents lived in the same city—that way we could hit both of our parents house instead of one us not getting to see our family. Anyway we ended going to Todd & Monica's in the morning of Christmas Eve to exchange presents and then spent the rest of the day with my family—which was nice cause we got to see JP & Betsy and their new baby Paisley. Make sure to check out my Christmas Eve photos.
We spent Christmas morning here at the house. Jenn was too good to me—she ended up buying me an XBox and a number of games. I've been wanting one for a while. We stayed around the house lounging around until about 2pm, at which time I took the dog to the sitters and we got ready to head up to Niles, OH to visit her family. This was the first time I was really glad to have an SUV. The snow was really bad on the way up, lots of snow drifts in the roads and roads weren't being plowed at all.
We spent the weekend up in Niles. It was pretty uneventful since everyone ended up being sick. I ended up coming down with a cold the Saturday after Christmas—which lingered on for a week and half. Jenn got sick about 24 hours after I did, but she got to the doctors quick enough that it didn't seem to hit her as hard as it did me.
On January 9th, Jenn & I left for Tampa, FL. My parents had managed to get us a really good deal on a 7 day cruise package through the Western Caribbean. This was going to be the first cruise for each of us (and hopefully not our last.) Jenn wanted to drive to Tampa as she hasn't had much of a chance to see the southern part of the country. I don't mind driving and I wanted to try to make the trip special for her, so I did all the driving.
We took our time getting Tampa. We left early Friday afternoon and stayed overnight in Atlanta. That put us only 6 hours or so from Tampa. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't nearly as warm as I was hoping it would be when we got to Florida. It was in the high 40s, which put a damper on what we could do there. I was really hoping we'd be able to go swimming or spend some time on the beach, but it was just too cold. Our cruise didn't leave until Sunday, so we just spent Saturday doing some shopping and going out to dinner.
The cruise was awesome. We took a ton of pictures—many of which can be viewed online. I'll probably post a more detailed description of our trip later on—it was really amazing. We were on the ship "Inspiration"—which is Carnival Cruise lines ship. Our trip was through the Western Caribbean and took us from Tampa to Grand Cayman to Costa Maya to Cozumel to Belize City and then back to Tampa. It was a blast. The best ports by far are Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Those are two stops where you can pretty much do whatever you want (although we took tours recommend by Carnival.) I'd definitely recommend taking Carnival recommend tours at Costa Maya and Belize City. At Costa Maya there is a beach, but there's nothing really for 40-50 minutes outside of the port itself. It's mainly swamp land. Belize on the other hand is just very run down and very poor. The port itself is nice, but it seemed like it might be risky to go venturing off in the city by yourselves. If you've never been on a cruise, I recommend it. It was indeed a blast. Between swimming in the wild with Stingrays, snorkeling and spending days on the beach, it was amazing.
When we got back to Tampa the following Sunday, we headed over to Port Richey, FL. Jenn's Uncle Don & Aunt Janet stay there during the winter months, so we drove the 30 minutes to go spend a couple hours with them and to have lunch. I really like her Uncle Don & Aunt Janet. We ended up leaving Port Richey around 3:30-4:00pm. Jenn wanted to head up the east coast on the way back (we had taken I75S all the way down.) We decided we just drive and then decided when and where we'd stop for the night. I ended up just driving all the way back to Columbus. I started getting really tired around Charleston, WV—but by that time I figured we were to close to home to bother to stop (being only a couple hours outside of Columbus.) I made Jenn wake up once we had crossed over into Ohio to help keep me up. Anyway, we made it back all safe and sound.
Well, that's basically what's been going on with me in a nutshell. I'm just trying to get back into the hang being back in winterly Ohio—I sure do miss the sunshine and warm of the Caribbean. :) Oh yeah, one last exciting tidbit, Jenn put down a deposit for a black Lab puppy. The puppies were born Jan 15th and we can pick our puppy up anytime after the 6th week. We're going to try and wait until 7-8 weeks as I think it's best for the puppies—it gives them more time to socialize with their sibblings. We both think Maddie will really enjoy being a big sister.