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Wednesday Update: 12/31/08

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…a little late, and a little early!

We had a wonderful Christmas week! Naturally it flew by and the reality of WINTER is starting to sink in…but as usual, I will do my best to see the bright side! It sure was pretty to have lots of new snow for Christmas, and since my parents and Matt’s family from Michigan had already safely made it to Iowa, I welcomed the fresh blanket. Of course, it has since mostly been covered in ice and partially melted, so things are a real mess now…but it sure was pretty on Christmas!

Mom and Dad arrived in town on the 23rd and we had some time in the afternoon at our place. It was so great to have them over and just spend time visiting and puttering around the house together. Dad helped me hang up some things, while Matt and Mom supervised, of course. We ordered pizza and relaxed. They were tired after the long trip though, and headed back to their hotel to crash, while we watched some football (what else is there this time of year!?!) and I geared up for the holiday bashes we were hosting over the next few days.

Christmas Eve day was spent hanging out with Mom and Dad, Chad and the kids. Unfortunately, Hope had to work and wasn’t able to join in the festivities until later in the day. But we had fun playing with the kids, watching some Christmas movies and just being together as a family. Once Hope arrived we loaded up and headed to church for the Christmas Eve service…ahh, I just love our church. Small, cozy, warm, and friendly…the service did not disappoint. My favorite part was easily when we turned off the lights, lit the candles, and Pastor Ken read that familiar passage in Luke. We headed home for dinner and gifts, filled with true Christmas spirit. We enjoyed our traditional lasagna supper and then Meghan and I passed out the presents. She was so sure it would take all night because there were ‘hundreds of presents’ under the tree! Luckily, it didn’t take quite that long, since we were getting tired…but fun was had by all as we opened presents and delighted in each one. (Except of course Meghan who was all business and ready to keep things moving! I’m SURE she’s been enjoying them ever since though!)

Christmas morning I was up early to prepare the turkey and get things ready for the next wave, Matt’s family. Matt got up a little later to the lovely smell of turkey wafting through the house. If you’ve never done a turkey in your own house before, I highly recommend it…for the smell alone. It truly just makes the whole house smell like…well, MMM! George, Sandi, and Lissa all arrived a little later in the morning and we ate a yummy breakfast together before exchanging our gifts. Another round of heaps of paper and boxes later and we all surveyed the goods and smiled with gratitude. We cleaned up and moved out those gifts to make room for Matt’s Aunt Linda cousin Heather who arrived around noon for the big turkey dinner. This year, Matt’s grandparents were a little under the weather and didn’t make it down – and their presence was truly missed. They always bring smiles and a certain something special. We enjoyed the rest of the day though with a delicious lunch and a small gift exchange, and then just spending time together. We always look forward to visits with Linda and Heather!

The day after Christmas Heather and Lissa came over to hang out…just us kids. It was a good time to relax, play games, and talk amongst ourselves! The weather turned iffy though, as major fog rolled in. After dinner and S-E-V-E-R-A-L phone calls from worried parents, we decided that Heather should probably stay overnight and not try to venture back to Boone in the dense fog. We all curled up on the couch and watched a movie together, and by then the fog had somewhat lifted and Lissa was able to make it back to her place in Des Moines. Matt, Heather and I settled in for the night, but woke up to freezing rain and an ice warning. After a quick breakfast, and more phone calls to the parents in Boone, Heather decided to try and head back up there before the weather worsened. Luckily, she didn’t have any trouble and was able to get back safely! Matt and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and (of course) watching more football! (It’s Capital One Bowl week, you know!)

All in all, we had a really good time last week, celebrating Christmas with both our families, and each other. We have so much to be thankful for and so many good things to look forward to in the New Year. While things are tough all around us, and the future is unknown, I guess for me it just makes it all that more important to recognize the good things and be grateful for them. This week is the last week for many people I know who recently lost their jobs. This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve really been impacted by things in the business/economic world. It’s tough…and scary. I feel thankful that I still have my job, which has been so good to me over the years…but I feel sad for those who have to start over. At the end of the day, I guess I try to accept that these are things I cannot control…I cannot do anything about them. All I can do is look around me and be grateful and hopeful that the future will be good. And I do know that whatever bumps may come up in our road, Matt and I will ride them out together…

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