There were also a few absences this year. My sister received the last minute gift of a trip to Alaska to visit her husband's family, so they're spending two weeks in the frozen wonderland of Wasilla, AK (a town made famous earlier this year due to its apparent proximity to Siberia, or some such). I'm very jealous of her right now though, I think of Alaska as a fantasy land of sorts as it's one of the places I would love to move to and live for a while. Snow, huge tracts of open wilderness, glaciers, screwed up days/nights, and icebergs floating in the ocean. It sounds almost perfect.
My oldest nephew, David, was also absent this year. He had to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the hospital on IVs recovering from mono. Poor kid. It was the first time since he was born that he didn't spend the Eve with my brother too, so that bummed them out even more.
Unfortunately that wasn't the only trip to a hospital either. My youngest niece, Victoria, was attacked by a dog and had to get a few stitches in her cheek because of it. She and the dog had been playing with each other most of the day without incident, but the dog apparently didn't like Vic picking up one of its toys and it suddenly latched on to her head. Thankfully she's fine and doesn't seem to be holding a grudge or fear of dogs from the ordeal, but my sister is more than a bit freaked out by it all and probably will be for a few decades to come.
And to top everything off, my car decided to be finicky too. To the tune of an estimated $4,500 in repair costs. Which aren't going to happen since that's more than the actual worth of the car at this point, so my vehicle situation is a bit spotty right now.
So it's been a rather interesting few weeks. Overall everyone's fine, and that's the important thing. But I'm thinking the new year couldn't get here any sooner.