So I mentioned that December was a bit of a blur, and I'd share a little bit of what that was about. I'll start with Friday December 16th. Allan ended up coming home from school earlier than planned in order to both catch a ride and beat some promised bad weather. That Friday was also our school's Winterfest event - an event with concerts, basket raffles, a cake walk, Santa and more - so we all headed up the hill to catch that action.
Except for Wendy. She was working.
Winterfest was over at 8, but I didn't leave until about 10:30 as the other coach and I had a lot left to do to get ready for the robotic competition the next morning. He and Greg had to be there at 7:15am. I was watching the weather and trying to figure out what I was going to do. It wasn't a pleasant forecast. At all. Brian's Saturday swim thing had already been rescheduled.
For the boys to get there at 7:15, an hour away, was just so early. I ended up seeing them off and then crawling back into bed for another hour. Awake, I began my routine of road checking again. I decided to try and beat the freezing rain - and headed out, getting there just in time for the first robot match. The expressway was clear and easy. The back roads were a slippery white knuckle mess.
The day was long, and out of 53 teams only one team heads to Nationals. We are not that team.
The other coach and I hung out for a bit to get the rubrics and hash over the judge's comments, making notes of what we'll work on harder next year.
And then, because time was running out and I'm a glutton for punishment - I headed over to Twelve Oaks for a few hours. It actually wasn't too bad - I got a parking spot right away and there were no lines in the stores I found things at. It was just that I was sooooo tired. Wendy wanted a Fossil watch for Christmas though, and that seemed to be the smartest approach, rather than trying to get back there in the few remaining, but still busy, days before the holiday.
And then - Sunday.
I had thought that I was going to sleep in in the morning, but Greg had to go to work since he'd taken Saturday off for the FLL competition. I ran the boys to Sunday school for their program practice, and then we relaxed for a few hours before the evening program. Greg made it home from work in time to attend. We drove separate since I worked in the kitchen.
We still had three more days of school, work, swimming, karate, PT, doctors, etc after that.
On Monday night Wendy and I enjoyed a ladies family Christmas party. She missed a few events for work this year, so we were both glad she could make that one. I stink at Christmas trivia.
On Friday was my family's party at my brother's house. We again drove separate as Wendy wasn't comfortable driving to work based on the forecast for the evening. She was bummed to have to miss this one. The dollar gift game went at a rapid pace this year, with Brian walking out without any gifts and Mark ending up with a girl's headband and women's deodorant. He managed to make a trade for some manly deodorant at the end. Wendy and I talked him out of the headband.
The bigs enjoyed a few rounds of pool while the littles were making ornaments. I had to go looking for Allan when it was time to head out and get Wendy. The rain had started and the stops were slick.
Instead of waiting in the van for her, we went in to see if we could knock anything else off our shopping lists. Allan chose this time to see if he could still touch his nose to his knees. Wendy is in the background loving that we came in.
Note: She also found out just after Christmas that they'll keep her on permanent. Until then, we weren't sure if she'd be just Christmas help. So, yay!
With Christmas nearly upon us, papa elf got busy finishing up this year's decorations. He makes a Santa for me each year, and five of the same ornaments each year - one for each of the kids, and one for us. He had Friday, Saturday and Sunday off work before heading to Chicago on Monday.
The kids, amidst all the hacking and coughing we had going on, all woke up at a record breaking 6am. Our normal has found dad and I downstairs on our second cup of coffee before we see any kids, so this was unique. This year brought remotes, a watch, a new vegetable steaming pot, Legos, an office chair for Allan, some new pants for work for dad, and a shared chromebook for homework usage. No returns or exchanges needed.
I spent most of the day sleeping with a fever, bellyache and more - pretty much the same bug that kept one of my brothers from attending the family party Friday night. Blech. It lasted pretty much exactly 24 hours.
The day after Christmas, Greg headed out to Chicago and the next few days were spent with some puttering about, shuttling Brian to swim, catching up on some paperwork, bagging stuff for a well-timed Purple Heart call, three dentist appointments, a trip to the bank, reading, and finding some counters in the kitchen area. Greg surprised us by calling and saying he'd be able to come home Thursday night for two days before heading back. He had some bad roads on the way home, but made it safely. That drive from Chicago is no joke in the winter time.
When compulsively checking weather and schedules, Saturday was hands-down the best day for bringing Allan back to Big Rapids to begin his Junior year of college. Wendy didn't have to work, so she tagged along to keep me company. I wanted a family photo before we headed out at 10:30, so we all went up to the boy's room with dad's selfie stick (he uses it for work. he says) as Brian was still sleeping, and I really didn't care if he was awake or asleep in the photo - I just wanted all six of us in it. He woke up as a result of the room invasion. We didn't feel bad, motley crew that we are.
In packing for our road trip to the other side of the state - we packed hats, mittens, our warmest jackets, a zoom lens, travel snacks, coffee......
I was tickled when reading the forecast that the roads would be clear, but we would enjoy 20mph winds on the lake. I could have sat here all day long. For me, it was a perfect way to wrap up 2016.
Others were wrapping up their years with a little more adventure, and I'm totally okay with that.
We wandered up and down the beach for about an hour or so, and went out onto the pier as far as we were able. I used my monopod as a cane several times as the surface was very icy and unstable. Nobody fell on this day.
We did manage to find a few antique stores open an enjoyed a wander. A few things tempted me, but I only walked out with a couple small treasures, this being one.....
May all thy days with peaceful bliss o'erflow!
An appropriate sentiment for the beginning of a new year.
We were home by 7 and managed to stay up until midnight.
The first of the year had us at church for morning service and enjoying pasties for lunch. Uncle George came over until the evening service, Greg headed back to Chicago and made it safely (he's working a 24 hour shift today), and George, Mark and I enjoyed a walk and the sunshine with an outing at our local lake.
Today will be about putting away the Christmas stuff, and waiting for the UPS man to bring my 2017 planner.