Happy New Year!

  Dave and Carlota made it for Christmas.  They arrived Christmas Eve around 9:30 pm.  We were glad to see them because the weather was a little dicey.  They had tried to venture out the day before but ran into an awful snowstorm and ice.  They drove about 60 miles in 3 hours before they decided to turn around and go back home.  By the next day, things were much better.  The snow had stopped and the roads were clearing. They ran into some patchy snow covered roads in west Illinois and eastern Iowa, but it was pretty clear otherwise.  We were concerned because they were traveling after dark and when we checked the road conditions, it looked like Des Moines might be a problem.  They said it wasn’t too bad, though.

We went to Midnight Mass after they got settled in.  I was surprised they made it through Mass after all that driving, but they were still pretty alert and ended up staying up awhile to visit with Joe and Mike. 

After Midnight Mass Merry Christmas

The kids all slept in Christmas morning.  They got up around 10:30-11:00 am and we opened gifts.  Quite different from when the boys were little and they got up at 4:00 or 5:00 am!

  Carlot & Dave 08 Joe 08

  We got (and gave) a lot of DVDs and CD this Christmas.  Our movie collection has expanded!  Mike gave me “To Kill a Mockingbird” with Gregory Peck and he gave Dennis “Twelve Angry Men” so we got “classics” from him. I gave Dennis the series called “John Adams.”  About the only thing I knew about John Adams before seeing this DVD was he was the second President and father to John Quincy Adams.  So it is very interesting to learn about him now. I heard the book is good, but it was a pretty big hardback book, so I decided to get the DVD first. 

 

The boys got each other Cubs stuff.  We gave Mike the most unique gift, I think.  Since he is going off to college next fall, we got a set of six glasses with sayings on them,  One glass reads “An optimist says the glass is half full.”  Another–“The pessimist says the glass is half empty.” Then there’s “The engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be” and the Accountant says “Does the glass really need all that water?”The quantum physicist says,
“The glass has a 50% probability of holding water.”  The philosopher says, “If no one sees the glass, is there water in it?”  Mike got a kick out of that!

 

Dave and Carlota gave us a really neat picture frame and put pictures of them and the ultrasound picture in it.  There is room for a baby picture when she is born.

 

Dennis gave me a two-part DVD—two movies—“City of Angels” and “Michael.”  I must be getting old because I also got things to keep me warm!  Dennis gave me a heated throw blanket and Joe gave me these slipper-like things that are foot-warmers.  They also vibrate for tired feet.  Dennis also gave me some “sockies” to keep my feet warm.  The boys got some video games, which they played the rest of the day.  Carlota and I were kind of tired of sitting there watching them play Madden Football, so we went out in the kitchen and visited.  For awhile, we watched them play video football (they turned off the sound to the football video) while we listened to a smooth jazz CD (Chris Gotti, a jazz trumpeter) that Mike gave me!  It was pretty surreal. 

 

We had prime rib and ham for dinner.  Everything turned out well. I was a little concerned because between working Monday and Tuesday and not feeling well on Wednesday, I didn’t get much “prep” work done.  About all I had ready ahead of time was Jello!  On Christmas morning, after we unwrapped gifts, I got the meat going, made and baked the pies (with Dennis’ help—he mixed up the filling for the Tollhouse pie while I made the pie crusts), boiled the potatoes, stir fried the vegetables, and popped the rolls in the oven.  Timing was perfect and everything was done at once!  We had pumpkin, pecan and Tollhouse pies for dessert.  (I cheated on the pumpkin pie this time and baked a frozen Mrs. Smith’s.  Joe said it was OK, but he likes mine better.  Joe is my pumpkin pie expert!)

  Dessert time

On Christmas night, Maggie and Anne visited us.  Maggie is Dave’s godmother.  She brought us cookies, so we had a kitchen full of goodies!  After she left, we watched the movie “Les Miserables” based on the book by Victor Hugo.  Carlota wasn’t familiar with the movie or the book, so we enjoyed sharing the story with her.  We hadn’t seen it in a few years, so it was kind of like new to us, too.

 

Friday, I made Mike go get a haircut because I wanted to get family portraits done.  We haven’t had a studio picture done in awhile and with Mike going to college next year, who knows when all three boys will be together at home again?

 

After pictures, Dave and Carlota went to Lincoln to visit friends.  This couple is also expecting their first child (in June) so the four of them got together for dinner.  I’m sure they “compared notes” and talked a lot about babies.  Dave took the ultrasound pictures with them to show.  Dave and Carlota met this couple when Carlota was at UNL.  That evening their bestman, Jeff, came over and visited until 2 am!  Carlota and us old folks turned in early. 

 

Saturday I had to work in the morning.  The kids got up late, so it really didn’t matter that I was gone.  Dave and Carlota went out to late lunch with friends.  We went to Mass, then out to eat at Piccolo’s, an old Italian restaurant near downtown.  We dropped Mike off at Anna’s and they went ice-skating.  Back at home, more of Dave’s friends came over (Gene and Whitney).  Joe came home from work, then his friends showed up.  The cookies were pretty much gone by the end of the evening (which is good!) I had also made some poppyseed rolls and cinnamon rolls and they were taken care of, too.  

 

Daisy liked her Christmas present, too, but like a kid, the box and wrapping paper were even better!  She was pretty entertaining.

Daisy in box Daisy in a box

I hope you all had a nice Christmas.  I sent cards with questionnaires in them to some people I haven’t heard from yet.  Please get those back to me ASAP!  

 

Have a very Happy New Year!  Wishing you all a healthy, prosperous 2009!     

Holiday Greetings!

 I am sending out a mailing to most of you as I need to get the questionnaires back for the reunion booklet.  2009 promises to be a very busy year for me, what with Mike’s high school graduation, the birth of our first grandchild, the end of my term on the parish council, the class reunion and numerous other activities.  Somewhere I need to squeeze in work and writing!  Anyway, I need to get the questionnaires back as soon as possible, so please fill them out and drop them in the mail to me ASAP!  Also, we still need pictures for the DVD!  Here is a sampling of what we’re looking for.  (I haven’t been posting the pictures I’ve received for the DVD because we want it to be a surprise at the reunion.)

Schweitzer family Christy,hub Dan, gradndaughter Mattilyn Kay, Ron& Linda Nick & girls Disney Andersonn, CJ's family

Farritor, Harris'79Jessy&Heather Most people are sending 3-6 pictures.  If you haven’t sent any, please do so soon.  I printed up and sent out 60 cards, letters and questionnaires today.  That’s a lot of postage, time and paper, so I hope it was worth it and that I get most of them back!  If you want, you can email me the information and pictures or send them through snail mail.

News from Jerry C. in New Mexico–Good morning to all, Thought I would share an interesting week.  Last Saturday I went to the ER with chest pain.  A minor heart attack and now I have a stint on one artery in my heart.  Still ticking! God Bless and have a very Merry Christmas, Jerry

We’re glad it turned out OK for you, Jerry, and that you are doing well.  We don’t need any scares like that!

After telling about our frigid temperatures here and the snow we got, Linda C (formerly Kling.) emailed: This is why I love living in So. Calif.  I really like looking at the snow on the mountains, knowing I can go up for a day, if I want to (but I never want to.)  Thanks, Linda!  Brrr!

Deb Mc said the move to the newly restored Chief office was a success and everyone is glad to be back in the same building again. Thanks Susan – the day went great – we had an open house and ribbon cutting last Friday with lots of folks present – it was awesome – Deb

It remains very cold here, so we have been home-bound as much as possible.  It is suppose to go up to 20 degrees Tuesday, so a heatwave is moving in.  More snow, though.  Looks like we will have a white Christmas. I have been doing a lot of holiday baking which keeps me warm!  Plus, the house smells so good! 

Have a wonderful holiday!  God’s peace to you all.  Merry Christmas!  

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Baby, It’s COLD Outside!

 Brrr.  I woke up this morning, not wanting to leave the comfort of my warm, comfy bed.  I checked the indoor/outdoor thermometer.  MINUS six degrees outside.  Yikes!  By the time I got Mike to school (yes, he still hasn’t gotten his driver’s license!) it was -4.  The sun is out now at 10:00 am and it is still MINUS 2 degrees.  Welcome to the Midwest!  Saturday it was 50 degrees outside!  Mother Nature likes to toy with us here in the Heartland.

This is a good day to bake cookies, so I will gather my cookie cutters, ingredients and mixing bowls and have at it!  I already baked a few cookies Saturday, but I will finish up today.  I usually pass cookies out to the neighbors and close friends in Omaha.  (No shipping of my cookies.  Sorry!  They’re good, but I doubt they would be worth it!  They’re not THAT good.)

Yesterday was our gift exchange party for work.  We gathered at our manager’s house in FAR west Omaha, had goodies and fought over gifts.  It was one of those gift “exchanges” where you can steal from each other.  We drew numbers, then went in order to select gifts.  (The first person opens a gift, then the second one can steal from her or open a different gift.  It is best to be one of the last numbers because then you can see all the gifts that have been opened already.)  We had 18 people and I was Number 7. Not too bad.  At least, I wasn’t #1, #2, or #3.  Not much action happened at the beginning.  We seemed to have a snowman theme this year (totally unintentional).  Many of the gifts were snowmen–snowman cookie jar, snowman candle holder, large snowman figurine, snowman music box etc.  We also had a Christmas tree made of Christmas bulb ornaments that was very popular and stolen many times.  The snowman votive that I ended up with was very popular as well.  I got to “steal” numerous times, so that was fun.  I kept telling people that my snowman was just a dust collector.  And to those with small children, I told them it would just get broken.  I teased Regina, the minister’s wife, that she shouldn’t steal from me because it would weigh heavily on her conscience.  Some people tried to hide their gifts so they wouldn’t get stolen, but they were found out.  One person brought a beautiful set of towels, bath soaps and “anti-stress” items.  She said it was a “Holiday Stress Kits.”  It was so noisy, it sounded like she said she got them at Holiday Inn, so I teased her about bringing stolen towels from Holiday Inn!  It was all in good fun.  Lots of laughter, lots of food and lots of fun.  As I drove home, it was dark and all the Christmas lights were on in the neighborhoods.  It was a festive day that really put me in the holiday spirit.

The cold wind has blown down some people’s decorations, unfortunately.  People who have opted for the blow-up outdoor decorations are learning a hard lesson.  I think those things should only be sold in temperate climates!  I have seen many deflated snow globes, snowmen, Santas, and Pooh bears.  I don’t know if the air just gets so cold that they deflate or if the wind and freezing temperatures cause them to crack or puncture.  At any rate, people in the Upper Plains states should stick with the more durable outdoor decorations that can stand up to the weather.  I even saw a few reindeer (the kind made of metal frames with lights outlining the shape) down.  At least, those can always be reset (if you can stand to go out in the cold and put them upright! I had one of those down last year and decided that it was sleeping or had been shot.  It stayed down until the spring thaw!)  So, I will stick with the plain, old colored lights on the bushes.  They seem pretty secure.       

I still have a few Christmas presents to get.  As Dennis and I get older, we can’t think of things to get each other anymore.  I guess we have all we need or want, or we prefer to buy our own items such as clothing.  Today I was thinking I should get him a remote starter for the car!  That might be a good idea. 

Christmas presents are more exciting when you’re a kid.  Do you remember some of your favorite Christmas presents and some of your most disappointing?  Every year, Santa would bring me some sort of doll. I really didn’t want a doll.  I wanted a big Tonka truck so I could dig in the dirt.  But, every Christmas morning, a doll was waiting for me under the tree.  By afternoon, the doll was bald from having her hair “styled” too much, and she usually was missing a leg or arm from rough-housing with my brothers. Santa never gave up, though.  He and my parents were determined to make a feminine little girl out me.  I don’t know what they were thinking!  I was surrounded by boys, so who would I play dolls with?  I had four brothers, and the nearest girl in the neighborhood lived over six blocks away.  All the nextdoor neighbors and those across the street were boys.  So, I played marbles, climbed trees, built snow forts, threw snowballs, played “kick the can,” rode bikes and dug in the dirt lot with the guys.  Then, one year I finally got my Tonka truck!  It was big sturdy yellow dump truck that couldn’t be destroyed by little brothers.  It was meant to be outdoors in the dirt.  I couldn’t wait for summer to take it outside and play!    

The fascination with dirt started at an early age.

scan0002 scan0001 

scan0006 scan0005 scan0004 Dolls that didn’t survive Christmas

Weekend in Illinois

Hi!  I’m late posting this week because I was in Illinois over the weekend.  Maggie F (Bill’s wife) and I left Friday and came back home Monday.  She dropped me off at Rochelle where I met Dave.  Maggie went north to Rockford and I went east with my son to the Chicago suburbs.

It was snowy and cold, so we didn’t go downtown to see the Christmas decorations or to go shopping like I had hoped we would.  But, Dave and Carlota had something even better in store for me.  They rescheduled her ultrasound for Saturday so I could go with them!  It was very exciting to see my little granddaughter up close and in person (granted, in utero).  Yes, our little GIRL is due to arrive in May!  At first, I was slightly disappointed the baby wasn’t a boy. Being the mother of boys and the sister of four male counterparts, my world has been full of the masculine.  I wasn’t sure how I would be with a granddaughter.  But, soon I started thinking of all the things we could do together.  I could finally go to the American Girl store!  I could have tea parties! I could buy her a little red velvet dress with a satin sash! 

My boys did have tea parties when they were little, but somehow I think a little girl’s tea party would be a little different.  More curling of the little finger and less of the banging dishes, making toasts with the cups.  More delicately serving the water in the little tea cups and less dumping water over the cups and drowning Goldfish crackers or graham crackers in the teapot. More quiet conversation and less boisterous excitement.  (A tea party with the boys sounds a little like a beer party!)

We stayed inside most of the time I was at Dave and Carlota’s.  Sunday afternoon we made sugar cookies.  Dave had requested that I bring my sugar cookie recipe along. Carlota had never made sugar cookies, so Dave and I educated her.

DSC01706 DSC01702

Dave said making the sugar cookies reminded him of the “smell of his childhood.”  He was very nostalgic that day.

DSC01707 I call this the “Martha Stewart Picture.”

Sunday evening we celebrated Carlota’s brother’s 23rd birthday.  Maggie came from Rockford and spent the night with us so we could leave Monday morning.  It was a fun time.  I also enjoyed traveling with Maggie.  The drive went by fast as we chatted about all sorts of things.  We made the mandatory stop at the Amanas in Iowa and bought some goodies and gifts.  The roads were clear for the most part and we were glad we hadn’t ventured out Sunday because there were many vehicles (we counted 25) still in the ditch, many of them wrecked or totalled.  Some of the vehicles were semi trucks that had jack knifed.  We weren’t sure what happened but apparently, the roads or driving conditions were pretty bad the day or night before in western Illinois and on into Iowa past Davenport.

Maggie and I plan to return to Illinois in a month or so.  She goes there frequently to visit friends in Rockford.  She and Bill lived in the area for nine years, so it’s still “home.” 

Now I need to start my Christmas cards!  I am getting a late start this year.  Usually, I get our cards out before we start receiving cards, but we have already gotten around 10 cards in the mail, so I must get on it!

I hope you are all enjoying the festivities of the season.  Let me know what’s going on in your lives!   

 

Thanksgiving

Hi, all!  I hope you had a nice Turkey Day!  I heard back from a few people who shared the activities of the day.

Dan Jacquot writes:

My wife Sandy and I  enjoyed another wonderful Thanksgiving. We did things a bit different this year by sharing with some that were far from where they consider home.  Since we are attending bible college (I know that this is hard to believe for many of you but With God anything is possible) here in Colorado Springs we have met several that would be without family this Thanksgiving.   Our guests were mostly students who attend Charis Bible College http://www.charisbiblecollege.org/home and employees at Andrew Wommack Ministries  http://www.awmi.net/ .  Some of our guests  started off the day by sharing their talents by  playing music  and serving  for the Salvation Army meal while we were preparing dinner at our home.  Our guests included from people Vermont Florida Chicago IL, Boston, MA  California, and Nairobi Kenya. Our oldest son Luke was with us as well and oldest daughter Lori, granddaughter Ashley and her friend arrived later for dessert.  Snow began to fall late in the afternoon to give us the perfect setting for the season.  We finished out the day (midnight) playing games and visiting.   I hope all of you enjoyed the day as much as we did.  It is my favorite holiday.
 
Just as many of you I enjoyed seeing the Colorado Buffaloes succumb to the Huskers as well as Mizzou being defeated by the Jay Hawks.
 
God’s Blessings to All,
Daniel J
 
Deb Govier sent an email about their busy day:
Hi Suz.  We shared our Thanksgiving with nineteen other family members.   This was the Joy/Lewis side of the family.  A second cousin from Wichita, Ks made his first visit to us.  He is 89 years young.  I must say that my dinner turned out to be fantastic.  We had the traditional turkey and dressing, ham and all the other fixings.  The guys played pool, watched TV and Frank took them on a tour of the farm.  The women worked in the kitchen, entertained the two little ones and enjoyed visiting.  I shared my current project with the family.  I am archiving all the old family photos onto the computer and had CD’s to share of what I have accomplished so far.  My uncle said he had not seen some of these old photos my mom had stored away for so many years.  I have pictures that go back to the Civil War.  The tin types I am having a photographer transfer onto CD’s.  These pictures are quite a family treasure.  We had fun trying to find any resemblances in current relatives.
 
What I am thankful for this year is discovering my cancer before it had spread.  Even though it is an agressive cancer the treatment available to me has great success in preventing the cancer from returning.  I feel very fortunate.  I am learning to take one day at a time!
 
We hope everyone had a happy holiday and we wish the best for the New Year.  Deb and Frank
 
Mike Goeden sent his regards:
Happy Turkey Day.  Ran(actually mostly walked) a 5 K (3.1) mile run in downtown Fredericksburg.  Couldn’t walk for the rest of the day, but it was fun.  Clydesdale division is for men 200+ lbs.  My mom and I did this last year and she finished 3rd in the 75-79 year old age group.  I took 6 minutes off of last years score.  Since the winning time was 14:39 by some Moroccan runners, I expect to be competing for the win in 10 years or so, if I continue to improve.
Mike

Results provided by Race Timing Unlimited. Full results at http://www.racetimingunlimited.org.

Congratulations Michael Joe Goeden you finished the Turkey Trot 5 km on Nov 27, 2008 with a time of 00:49:37. You placed 1677 of 1816 runners, 830 of 874 Male runners and 52 of 57 in the Clydesdale division. You scored 2 Grand Prix points in this race. Weather on Race day was 38 degrees, sunny.

 
Kevin said his daughter was coming from Chicago to spendThanksgiving with them, but he expected a quiet day.

Lynne and I emailed quite a bit.  Her family was quickly there and gone.  She was able to help celebrate one of her grandson’s birthdays.  Lynne is writing some inspirationals and I am encouraging her to get them published.  I emailed some suggestions to her and she rewrote her story.  It is excellent and I wish her luck in getting it in print!

Vikki and I went back and forth.  I sent her news of the Bare Butt Bandit in Valentine being caught.  That produced some jokes back and forth, especially since Dennis happened to be in Valentine picking up his mom when they caught the guy!  I am sure the BBB is glad to be caught with winter setting on.  It would be very cold to continue his activity!  Vikki also let me know that the BBHS Kozies I’ve been sending people who have donated to the class fund cost her 20 cents in postage.  I apologize to all of you who had to pay extra postage because I only put one stamp on the envelope!  I will bring a roll of quarters to the reunion to pass out to people.

Jerry L sent an email before he left for the holiday to visit his youngest daughter in Florida. 

Have a good weekend and take care.  Beth and I are flying to our youngest daughters for Thanksgiving on Sunday and will be gone for about a week and a half.  This will be a good time to relax.   Jerry

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As for me, we had a nice turkey dinner, ate too much and enjoyed each other’s company.  Dennis’ mom is here for a couple weeks, so she, Dennis, Mike and Joe were here for Thanksgiving.  That evening, Dennis and I took her downtown to the skating exhibition at the Civic Auditorium.  Several local skating groups perform to Christmas music.  It’s cute to see the little ones, some of whom are pretty wobbly on their skates.  Some of the older kids do real well.  Not quite Olympic caliber (or the Ice Capades) but it’s a fun, free event to start off the Christmas season.  Dennis’ mom enjoys it because she doesn’t have much opportunity to see something like that in Valentine.

I have much to be thankful for, including the friendship of all of you.  As Advent begins, I hope you all have time to enjoy the beauty of the Christmas season.  Happy Holidays!