Please be patient - takes a bit to upload due to graphics - video clips.
Since this year, our two older sons and their families were unable to join us for Christmas, for various reasons, we went to see them! We left home on December 21, Monday and were to return home the following Wednesday, the 23rd.
We spent the majority of our time at our oldest son Kevin's house, which is the house we used to live in (in Sunnyland, East Peoria, IL). Kevin has been busy the past few years redoing walls, windows, floors, etc. He has worked hard and has done a wonderful job. His girlfriend Karie recently got custody of her older son Jonah, so now they have both boys living with them. Jonah is 9 and Nolan is 6. Sometimes listening to those two boys talk is very entertaining.
I made home made pizza with a Bisquick crust - basically sloppy joes and spread on the crust shortly after arriving. It was a big success. The boys loved that there was left over sloppy joes so they could continue to have sandwiches of it the next couple of days! Karie really enjoyed not having to make supper for the 8 of us! I am so used to making supper for that many that the only problems I encountered was that my own pots and pans were here that I am used to, and I had to use Karie's smaller pans. But we made it work!
Karie had to work on Tuesday, and Bob and I really enjoyed watching Kevin take care of the boys and do the laundry. He makes a great dad! Teases them now and then as his own dad used to, but lays down the law when they act up. And to see him react with loving discipline was truly great! Guess we raised him pretty good!
Tuesday evening, we went to Peoria to visit with Timm, Emilie and Asher! We were welcomed warmly by Timm and Emilie and a bit bashfully by Asher. However, he did have a grin for Grampa Bob as I think he remembered that was his special buddy! Shortly after arriving, Bob had to use the bathroom, so Danny accompanied him down the hall to move obstacles and lend a hand in case he stumbled or lost his balance. Suddenly we noticed that Asher was following Grampa closely. Then we hear Grampa say, don't push me. Asher stopped for a moment, then did quick tiny steps to "catch up". Timm and I were laughing our heads off. He did this several times, so I grabbed my camera, but didn't click the record button properly so only got a couple of still shots, instead of a video!
Asher following Grampa down the hall.
Still following Grampa.
Are you going to the bathroom, Grampa?
Asher pausing to watch Uncle Danny.
Asher dancing with Alicia.
Dancing with Alicia.
Dancing with Alicia.
Here are a couple of video clips I did get of Asher - the first one, he is opening his first gift from us; the second one he is showing us his monkey from "Make a Bear"; the third one is Asher opening and playing with the little baby piano we gave him. He knew right away which button to push and to "slap" the piano keys to make other noise. I feel that gift was a great gift. By the way, there were 4 things in his first box - a light bulb ornament with Santa painted on it; a bag with silver ware in it that had been mine when I was a toddler and then in grade school - this is the one thing he took out of the box and just dropped on the floor; then two bags with shapes cut out of rubber placemats for him to play in the bathtub with.
Grampa and Asher
Grampa and Asher
We were to head out Wednesday afternoon, but the day didn't quite go as planned. During the afternoon, the two little girls next door brought over a gift for each of the boys. They were allowed to open them and both were very pleased to receive "Lite Brites". I took some pictures of their creations. Before we left, Jonah and Nolan opened their gifts from Danny and Alicia. I asked Karie to open one of our gifts to her.
Jonah with his Lite Brite.
Nolan with his Lite Brite.
Nolan and Jonah opening gift.
Nolan and Jonah still opening gift.
The gift is open.
We started out on Wednesday evening - dark, wind blowing, cold and raining. We traveled the odd 30 miles to the Interstate, but stopped to eat at a restaurant we have frequented before. My hands were cramping from gripping the steering wheel, and I was shaking. Having some warm food helped. We got back into our vehicles, and got onto the Interstate. Even though the speed limit was 65, I was barely able to maintain 55. We had the thermometer on in the car and I watched as the temp dropped from 34 to 32, with all the elements still unchanged. Dan had asked me to pull off the Interstate when I saw a BP oil, as he needed gas. We pulled off at Minonk - about 30 miles from where we got onto the Interstate. While Dan was putting gas in his car, Bob and I talked. I told him I was really getting scared, and since there was a motel right there, why didn't we stay the night there? He agreed. When Dan was finished, we told him. He followed us to the motel so he could help me get Bob and our things in. Once we were settled, he and Alicia went on. We stopped at the motel around 8:30 pm, and when Danny called to let us know that they were safely home, it was almost midnight. It took them almost 3 hours to make what normally would have only been a short 2 hours. He said they didn't really run into any problems and that the last leg home on Route 64 was slushy as the salt trucks had been out. I was so glad we were at the motel!
Bob and I left Thursday morning around 11 and made it home about 2, after stopping in Rochelle to do some last minute shopping. Along the way, while still on the Interstate, I noticed the trees, shrubs and grasses were coated with ice. The following pictures I took while we were driving.
The four of us had a lovely and very enjoyable time while visiting in the Peoria area with our sons and their families. It was relaxing and just plain fun! There was a lot of laughter, and plenty of hugs and kisses. Granted the trip home was not enjoyable in the least, but we all made it safely and we even managed many giggles!
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