Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Best and the Worst

It's been an incredible week, full of incredibly good times. Today, however, I'm in a poopy sad mood as we prepare for Leo's imminent departure. He leaves on Saturday.

Last Friday, Leo and I drove the 190 miles to Liberty to pick up 3 of the grandkids. We left there and drove 225 miles to Jarrell so the kids could go spend some time with their Aunt Becca and Uncle Shannon. When we discussed it later, Leo and I both agreed that the extra mileage was well worth it...we had an absolute BLAST spending time with the 3 oldest grandchildren!

Once we arrived in Jarrell, the girls were all hyped up about promises to go ice skating. [Mason kept insisting that he was going to stay home and drink hot chocolate with Uncle Shannon!] When we finally got to the right place, got the skates all laced up and the girls ready to get out on the ice (Leo and I decided to sit this little adventure out!) we had so much fun watching them try to get their bearings. Kaya is such a petite little thing, she started off without much trouble at all. Madison had a bit more trouble getting started, but was not intimidated by the ice at all. We were only there a short while before the guys showed up [long story that one] and Uncle Shannon and Mason joined the girls on the ice. By the end of the evening all the kids were whizzing about with confidence. Oh, we had so much fun! I hope this is going to be an annual tradition!

After we got back to Jarrell, Rachael, Lee and Zoe showed up. We had a lot of fun playing around a bit, but the kids were worn out enough to get to bed at a reasonable time. When morning came, after a big breakfast and some more fun and games, the kids were ready to open presents. Mom made them pick out a present and open them one at a time while the others watched. I wasn't so sure this was a good idea until about the 3rd present. Then I noticed that the kids were working together, making nice comments about each others' gifts, and taking the time to participate fully in the festivities. That's when I realized Rachael had picked the perfect method for the morning.

Later in the afternoon we all packed up and drove a few miles down the road to Dean and Andrea's place in Walburg. Andrea did a WONDERFUL job preparing for our annual Christmas gathering. We were missing our oldest, Michelle, as well as my youngest brother and his family, but had a great time anyway. Next year the celebration is going to be at my house, and I am REALLY looking forward to it!

The rest of the week was spent working on the house. I worked [from home] while the other work was going on, but it was really nice to see Leo EVERY DAY for a week. That just NEVER happens any more! The guys finished up a good portion of the ceiling before I had to order extra materials. The ceiling is a wood product from Armstrong. It was a bit of a risk since I have never actually seen the material installed in a home, but we have decided we LOVE it. Now if we can just make it "work" with all the other elements.

The absolute biggest change, however, is the flooring going in. We have it installed in the guest bedroom now and in over half of the library. When the guys come back on January 5th, they will be installing it in the master bedroom, will finish the ceilings and the library. I am hoping that by the time Leo gets home in February, there will be a LOT of good changes to the house.

I am so NOT ready for him to go this time. I thought it would get better, that it would be easier as time went by, but I was wrong. The more fun times we spend together, the harder it is to let him go. I just don't know how long we are going to be able to keep this up. Right now our goal is to have it all come to an end before next Christmas.

I hope everyone had as much Christmas fun as we did today. We just hung out with Jess, Grace, and Jess' sister Barbara. We put puzzles together, ate a lot of really good food, and spent a wonderful day enjoying each others' company. Next year will be my turn to host the festivities and I am sure we are going to have a blast, but we are going to do it in MY kitchen in 2009. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and best wishes to you and yours for a happy and prosperous 2009!

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