In this lull of real life between the first caucus and the first primary...
Christmas vacation was a tremendous blessing. My kind employer and supervisor offered and encouraged me to take off the three days after Christmas. So I did, which made for over a week at home with my beloved family. That's the most I've seen them since last Christmas! (since the June Hoyt reunion was barely a week)
As mentioned before -- The drive home turned out to be an exciting race against oncoming freezing rain, which I won by 10:30 a.m. (Iowa time) and a good 4-hour margin. Then there was a nice short weekend with Ardith.
Driving from Cedar Rapids to the homestead was very interesting, with that good old Iowa wind blowing lots of snow -- one second whiting everything out, the next second clearing a panoramic landscape.
We had so much fun!
Christmas Eve was hunting up presents.
Christmas was, of course, kids counting down the minutes till presents... and testing out all three games Ardith gave the family, all day long... and watching a new Veggie Tales and then, of course, our new Christmas tradition of Narnia... oh, and there was a delicious dinner in there somewhere.
Wednesday was a shopping run for Mommy and Carolyn, which was fortunately extended with a $100 Goodwill gift certificate! Those that stayed home played more games. It was such a treat to make bread again (and pies, twice, though the crusts turned out abominably), and worked in the garage -- that is, Daddy did.
Thursday was Applesauce Day #2. Making applesauce is actually pretty involved:
1 - picking apples out of the boxes in the addition
2 - washing all the apples (with the smallest trickle of water possible that still has both hot and cold in it)
3 - halving apples
4 - coring apples
5 - slicing apples
6 - filling saucepans with apples
7 - cooking apples
8 - mashing apples in - that thing
9 - sugaring applesauce
10 - cooling applesauce
11 - filling containers with applesauce
12 - storing containers in freezer
Most of this is done on foot, so yep, it wears the old leg and foot muscles out, mostly from sheer inactivity. Ardith pitched in till she left for her home in the afternoon.
Friday - what did we do on Friday? I think the kids persuaded me to make that the Age of Empires MultiPlayer game day. Derek, Melinda, Carolyn, Ethan and myself, and it was a lot of fun, although I forgot to get out of the Stone Age (or some age) till the others realized I was getting wiped out in every skirmish. I think we finished on Saturday... that is, Carolyn, Ethan and I defeated Derek and Melinda.
Saturday was Mommy's and Kendra's night out, so I got to cook supper - spaghetti. All you need for good spaghetti sauce is tomato sauce (and meat) and some good spices to experiment with.
Sunday most of us made it to church.
Sunday afternoon we went sledding down the neighboring icy driveway! First we were just skidding down on boots... then we found out the sleds worked... then we hooked the two sleds together and went down five at once... then we tried four on one sled and made it down about 3 times, once with no wipeouts or injuries!
Monday night most of us kids made it back to church for the New Year's Eve party.
And New Year's Day was the day to drive to Indiana!
(...continued in a following post...)