Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas was very good here. I thought for a little bit it wasn’t but then I grew up and got over it! (long story).

We spent the night at my Aunt and Uncle’s house on Christmas Eve since my Grandparents and my nephew were already there. Robert and I opened most of our presents to each other on the 23rd. We didn’t want to take everything over to the relatives as they were having a rather lean Christmas AND it would’ve been a pain to haul it all there and haul it all back. We already had to take some presents for them, clothes for us and the dog and her stuff, so the car was full.

I got Robert a lot of tools that he was wanting… jack stands, a creeper, a droplight for the garage, and a benchtop grinding wheel. He  also requested socks and underwear and boy did I cover that one! I also got him some sweatpants he was wanting and some long sleeved tshirts. He was happy with all of it.

He got me some really nice skillets, a mixing bowl, tongs, silicon spatulas, the sneakers I wanted, two pair of jeans, something nice from Victoria’s Secret and some perfum (which he just remembered he had yesterday and got it out for me).

We took lots of stuff over to the relatives. We bought groceries for Christmas Eve dinner, and Christmas day breakfast and dinner. We also bought their dogs a 40lb. bag of dog food, a huge box of Milkbones (from Sam’s) and some other treats. We had several presents for my nephew and two presents each for everyone else. And we had stocking stuffers for 8 people. It was kind of crazy. We could afford to be Santa in moderation this year though and no one else really could so I did my best to spend our budget wisely and get everyone nice gifts they could really use (but that weren’t totally boring). I totally scored on a few things – I found the nightgowns my Aunt likes on clearance and was able to get her three for the price of one. I found Tony Stewart flannel so I could make Tony Stewart pillow cases to go with the Tony Stewart sleeping bag we got my nephew.

I loaded  Robert’s stocking with matchbox fire trucks… he uses them in his training work at the fire station and has been wanting to add to his collection. Anyway, Christmas Eve was fun… we just hung out and ate and enjoyed being together. Christmas morning  was fun… my nephew  was all excited and enjoyed his gifts very much. After the presents were opened we started working on cooking dinner and then my Aunt, Grandma and Robert and I played the new game I got from my sister-in-law, Ticket to Ride. It was really enjoyable. Robert and I have played it a few more times since then too.

Daisy enjoyed spending time with her four-footed cousins and playing and hanging out. She behaved really well and just in general has been turning out to be a really great dog.

By the time we came home on Christmas Day we were glad to be home. Robert was off to the fire station for the night. The last few days we’ve been cleaning and working and spending time together and cooking and just enjoying ourselves.

Today we took Daisy to the dog park… she was scared but she did ok. She was jumping on the people a lot, which is bad but I think it was because she was nervous. I made more of the brown butter, brown sugar shorties today. Yum! Best cookies ever.

In the morning I have to take Daisy to the vet again. She has worms again or still has them or something, not really sure. I am going to a different vet than I did the first time. The first guy was just junk, so not going back there.

Need to get to bed. Oh, I’ve recently been trying out Paperback Swap (.com)… it’s great! I love it!

Best part of Christmas 2008 – Seeing how much my nephew really believes in Santa this year. He was using the NORAD Santa tracker all day to see where Santa was, talking to his “elf on the shelf” Phillip Johnny Bob, decorating a cookie for Santa… he just really believed and it was so precious to see his innocence for once. He usually a bit of a cynic and a know it all, as most 6 year olds are I guess. But on Christmas Eve he was filled with wonder and joy. It was awesome.

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Oh what a weekend…

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Thursday evening Robert got sick. It seemed a lot like what I had except he was throwing up – though not for long. Anyway, he was signed up for a vacation day on Friday so my uncle could come over and they could put the new chimney in for the wood stove. He unfortunately ended up using Friday to recover. No work got done.

Saturday we were ready though. My Uncle Dave came over bright and early and the guys got to work. It took all day but they managed to get it all done. We started a fire by 7pm. It was  rough for the guys since there was not much space at all in the attic.

It’s been warm and toasty in the house ever since and we are sure enjoying it. It’s been like 80 degrees in the kitchen which has been pretty nice.

Today, I did some cleaning and a lot of cookie baking. I made some filled cookies using cherry pecan conserve that we made in the fall. I also made some brownie roll out cookies. Basically a chocolate sugar cookie. Quite tasty! I have some of those left to roll out and I need to make them a bit thicker so they aren’t so crisp. Finally I made some brown butter brown sugar shortbread cookies. Oh my. I am SO not sharing with anyone! Except perhaps my honey… the cookies are simply amazing though. It’s  going to be very difficult to not eat all of them tonight.

As for Christmas, everything is wrapped, half the presents are sent to my Aunt and Uncle’s house, shopping is done… just the waiting left. I am looking forward to having our first Christmas together as a married couple. That will be kind of neat I think. Last year we were in Mexico, which was pretty nice as well. But it will be nice to spend time with family this year. It feels a little… challenging though. I want to do more for my family and I just can’t. It is a difficult time for them right now… it has been for awhile. And I just want to do SO much more. I want to do more for my husband too, but I think I’ve already got that one covered! I want to make him more, not buy him more. Ah well… back to the cookie baking I guess. 🙂

Closed

mckinney-is-closed-today We got some ice last night. Many schools in my neck of the woods are closed today (my relatives, to the southeast, still have school). But look… my city, and my county, are closed today. know they mean city offices and such but I just think it’s funny that the list says the city of McKinney is closed. Ok, nevmind.

The trip to Indiana went very well. It was rather fast and furious as I thought it might be but it was a good trip overall. The drive up seemed to take forever. Daisy did wonderfully for the entire trip though which good. This means we can take her again because people liked her and she behaved.

The drive up, like I said, was a little rough. We rolled in to my cousins’ house at about 2am. There was an incident with their cat hiding under our bed which I eventually solved with a stick but otherwise that went really well. It was nice to see them for a little while and Robert was able to head off to his conference in Indianapolis the next morning. Of course, he’d had about 3 or 4 hours of sleep so I didn’t envy him that at all but he was fine with it.

After he got home we hung out some more with the cousins’, had dinner with them and then packed up the truck and headed north to my parents house. We got there in a reasonable amount of time, talked to the parents a little, walked the dog, got settled and crashed. We were both worn out.

Friday morning when we got up we discovered one of the cats had been in the room all night long, hiding in the corner. She never made a sound. She was quite hapy to get out of there! Anyway, we got up, got ready and headed over to my Grandpa’s house. He has recently moved into an assisted living facility and my Dad is cleaning out the house and woodshop/garage. My Grandpa has been a woodworker forever and he also worked with stained glass for many years. I wanted to make sure I had some good wooden toys for our eventual children as well as some stained glass. Dad offered Robert any tools he wanted/needed. So, the guys worked in the woodshop while I was going through some things in the house.

We brought home some really cute toys and puzzles that my Grandpa made as well as some nice stained glass pieces. I also found my great-grandmother’s sewing box with her scissors and some thimbles and such so I definitely brought that home. Robert and my dad filled up the back of the truck with a table saw, drill press, planer and I don’t even know what else. It was nice since they were things on the list to purchase as soon as we could and now we have them, ready to be set up in the garage. I still have t clean up, sort and box the toys up so they can be put into the attic or a closet for later.

After going through things at the house we were off to lunch. Robert thought it was funny that even though we were the guests, my Dad gave us three choices for lunch instead of letting us pick. I was fine with it since if we had tried to pick it would’ve gone on forever. He’s SO picky, my Dad. We had a nice lunch and chatted about various stuff and then headed over to see my Grandpa. He is living in a very nice place and his VA benefits will help pay for the majority of it each month so that is even better. He did say several times that it wasn’t “home” but I think he likes it enough anyway and knows it is a better place to be for him right now.

My Grandpa can be a rather mean and grouchy old man. Last time he saw my Mom he told her she was getting fat (which she didn’t appreciate at all) and last time I saw him (before this) he didn’t answer the door at his house. When I came in he told me he thought if he didn’t answer I might go away. He’s sweet like that…. Anyway, Dad and I really did not know what he was going to do or how he would behave. We had told Robert that Grandpa might say mean stuff. I was concerned that if Grandpa directed something hurtful towards me Robert would be seriously pissed off. Luckily, Grandpa was on his stunningly good behavior. He took Robert into his room and showed him all the wooden things he had made that he brought with him. Then they walked around the apartment a little and he showed Robert anything else he could find. Then… he took him on a tour of the place (telling me to stay behind and help my father). They talked a lot and he seemed to be able to hear Robert ok so that was good as well.

The visit seemed to take an eternity to me but mostly because Grandpa can’t hear anything I say. I can shout or whatever and he still can’t hear me. It’s just my tone of voice I guess. Also, Grandpa doesn’t have a lot of use for women and that has gotten a lot more pronounced as he has gotten older (he’s 87 now). So, all of his conversation was directed towards Robert and my Dad with only one or two comments directly aimed at me. I made him stand up when I left so I could give him a hug, which I think surprised him a little bit. Anyway, it was a good visit. Yesterday I wrote him a letter to let him know we enjoyed ourselves.

We stopped at my favorite apple orchard on the way home because I really needed to buy some cider. We brought three gallons back with us. 🙂 Then we went to my parents house and just relaxed. We were still just feeling wiped out. My Dad made prime rib for dinner which was, obviously yummy. He also showed Robert his shop, his furnace set up and any number of things he had done around the house. After my Mom came home and we had dinner she gave Robert a “tour” of all of her quilts, showing him different ones around the house and in her sewing room. I was proud of my parents and the amazing work that both of them do in their respective hobbies (Mom quilts and Dad machines all the parts and builds miniature engines). They both have a lot of skill.

I think we again went to bed early. Saturday morning we got up and got ready for the influx of relatives. Mom was having brunch so those that didn’t make it to the wedding (and even those that did) could come out and see us and meet Robert. It was nice. Lots of people came. Lots of people were late so “brunch” lasted until about 8pm.

We took a short break in the mid afternoon and took Daisy to the off-leash dog park so she could really play in the snow. She LOVED it. Once she figured out what to do she was tearing around runing between the two of us and diving into the snow. It was a much needed break for all of us even if it was a little chilly.

After everyone finally left we packed things into the truck so we would be ready for an early departure in the morning. We talked to my parents some more… I really wanted to just hunker down and talk to my Mom for house but… we were getting up at 4:30am so we needed to sleep.

We left by 5:30am on Sunday, drove all day and were home by 10pm Sunday night. The next day I needed to take something to my aunt’s house. I stopped and got breakfast along the way. By 8pm that night (Monday) it was obvious something was wrong… I had food poisoning and spent the next two days mostly in bed.

I am starting to catch up overall but wow, my paycheck for December is going to be really really puny if I can’t get a lot of work done in the next two weeks!