We ushered in 2012 with a lot of booms and bangs... or rather the neighbors did their part to wake the dead with a fabulously long and LOUD fireworks display at midnight. We were reluctant partiers since we had been asleep since 7:30 that evening.
Our very long day(s) began at 6 am Friday, Dec. 30th, when we gathered up all six suitcases full of our family belongings (two more than we brought to Texas, so it's a good thing Wal-Mart keeps the big old cheap suitcases in stock) and shuffled off to the San Antonio airport to begin our journey back to England.
The flight to Houston got off on time and we had a nice long layover that allowed us to have a big seafood lunch at Pappadeaux's in the airport. This has become a bit of a tradition, to enjoy one final fried food meal as well as free iced tea refills before boarding the big bird for the long trip.
After teasing us with a late departure, the airline then recanted and got us off just a bit later than scheduled, making up that time en route so that we actually arrived at Heathrow on time. The oldest daughter slept on and off for the second half of the flight. However, the youngest daughter didn't doze off until we were about 90 minutes from landing. We were pleased to discover that the plane wasn't anywhere near full and so my husband coaxed the youngest daughter to join him in his row since the two seats next to him were empty. It was heaven for everyone to be able to spread out a bit and be more comfortable for the 9+ hours we were in the air.
After clearing customs, we connected with the car service and were home in record time new years eve morning around 7:45. We wrestled our suitcases into the house and promptly hopped into the car to collect Ollie at the carer's home... back over near Heathrow.
I swear the little twit has doubled in size since we left him two weeks ago. I could tell the lady took really good care of him and even went so far as to buy him a new doggie toy for Christmas. We definitely intend to try and place him with her again when we travel to Rome for winter break in February.
Once we got Ollie home, I made a trip to the local grocery store to stock up on basics as well as the makings for cheese and chocolate fondue - YUM! We gobbled up our fondue as a late lunch/early dinner and then tried to keep our eyes open through a movie. By 7:30 pm, we were staggeringly tired and headed for bed. We begrudgingly enjoyed the fireworks at midnight which roused us enough to stay awake for several hours before heading back for some much-needed sleep. I woke up again at 7, 9 and 11 am to let Ollie out for a potty break, whereupon he promptly found all the fireworks debris. It's a good thing we have a very private backyard since I padded around in my slippers and old yellow chenille robe my mother gave me eons ago to pick up the bits and pieces leftover from the big celebration.
We were able to roll the girls out of bed with the lure of pancakes around noon. It has just started raining, so I think that's my cue to begin packing away the Christmas decor instead of taking Ollie for a walk. It will be interesting to see what 2012 has in store for us after such an interesting 2011. I sincerely hope we will all be blessed with a happy and healthy new year.