This is going to be an eventful week. Marissa/Hank and boys flew in on Friday, 16 December, but Dawn drove down earlier so she could spend some time with the family. Because her kids are older and as well as Ken, they have jobs, she was able to come alone. PLUS she has a larger car so she drove with Robert to the airport to pick them up.
They walked into this home and it was just like they'd never left. It all seemed so natural and I was so happy. We ate dinner quickly and again, it was all natural and just seemed like it was the standard Sunday dinner...back when they lived in Lakewood. Oh how we miss those Sundays.
The boys made the flight very well and enjoyed the fancy, Christmas decorated basement...and I think Henry won't be so frightened of the basement.
Saturday was just a fun day of play and getting used to being in Ohio.
Sunday, M2T2 attended church in Lakewood Ward and Dawn went to church with us in Lorain. In the afternoon I started the boys making finger puppets of the nativity and it's amazing how well they did at sewing and gluing.
In the evening Dawn got going on Christmas cookies and she makes great cookies. Plus we had mentioned making french fries which we did...eating as much as we could until the kids noticed.
About 10pm Jordan, Hillary and their 4 kids arrived. It was so fun seeing them. Marissa had never met Marius nor, of course, Hazel. I got a great big hug from young Rob and I told him I loved him and had missed him so much. Later Hillary told me that in the car ride down, Rob said that he knew exactly what I would say...that I loved him and missed him so much! Guess I tell him this all the time...who knew?
Monday dawned bright and early...way too early because we had stayed up til midnight the last 2 nights altho the kids stayed up til 2:30am talking. Marissa even got a confession out of Jordan that back in 1989 he did, indeed, start a fire in the city plastic garbage can at Freedom Park as he set fire to his friend Keith Marvin's hat as well as writing his name on the storage shed there. All these years he said he didn't and apparently Marissa had told us but we didn't accept her story. The garbage can caught fire and was actually a melted mess. Marissa apparently saved Sheffield Lake from burning down. All of Sheffield Lake!
Hillary wanted to go to Marc's and we managed to get Marissa, who hates shopping, to come along. After coming home I learned Marissa had texted Hank and commented how this was promised to be fun but so was not. she had bought Little Caesar's pizzas for the ones left home and so I brought the 3 of us Jimmy John's. Dinner was fast and perhaps not as good as it could have been but I was so very tired.
The the New Hatch Batch loaded up the cars and started the trip back home. Their kids need to be in their own home for Christmas and poor little Hazel needed to be in her own peace and quiet. All the cousins running crazy and being loud didn't work with Hazel's new ears. She has years left to play with cousin.
But all day long young Rob vacuumed our carpets. He had cleaned out the vacuums and as well as the washing machine (this with his dad. I think Jordan thinks we are slackers because every time he comes down he cleans out the washing machine. My carpets have not been so clean ever. I gave him 10 dimes and thanked him!
It was such a joy to have all these loved ones here at the same time.
At night we started making finger puppets which continued throughout the week so that the puppets were completed and ready to go home with them. There was the Holy Family and the 2 Wise Men so each boy could make 2.
Jocelyn called and altho she had thought they'd come this Friday, it's obvious they aren't going to be able to. Guy is having a really hard time with this move from Lewisburg to Pittsburgh. The girls are willing to come but not Guy and as I told Jocelyn, this time it has to be all about Guy. Maybe they'll come after Christmas. But being 2 hours away now will make it lots easier to visit.
On Wednesday, Marissa got up (after going to bed early the night before) and made us Dutch Babies for breakfast. So good..and so much fun. I really need to learn how to make these...by actually making them!
Perhaps you will notice Eeyore better in the pink colored photo but look closely at the black and white photo with just Henry and you will see Eeyore peeking out...is he a Fantastic Beast or is it Henry?
Early on the 22nd, Marissa, Hank, Robert and the boys took a wintry walk along Lake Erie at our beach:
Simon and Sloth enjoying the shoreline.
Oskar checks out the area, too.
Despite living in sunny CA, Marissa knew to come prepared for Ohio weather in a lovely warm coat.
Come along, Hank says. No swimming today but the lake awaits visitors in the summer...please come back boys.
And on Thursday, Dec 22, However earlier, Hank took me to the Minneapolis Flour Company for Callebaut Semi Sweet Chocolate Chunks and some Patent flour. But first we stopped at The Cleveland Corned Beef Company...a little hole in the wall place for wonderful corned beef. This was only one half sandwich!
Later with the boys we made sugar cookies and frosted them because tonight Hank and Marissa went to the Green Tavern restaurant to meet up with friends from BHS.
On Friday, Marissa recalled how hard it is to bring up kids in Cleveland in the winter. Not that it's much different that summer in CA but she bundled the kids up and planned a scavenger hunt for the boys in Robert's backyard garden. I remembered I had a few odds and ends of toys and candy upstairs so I raced up, snuck open my bedroom window that looks out onto the garden and tossed out 2 penguin candy bars. That got the boys excited. Then I tossed out 2 balls. Marissa exclaimed something and the boys began to look up. But sadly when I tossed out the 3 toys, Henry was looking directly at my window and claimed he saw me...of course he saw me...but I had to say, it wasn't me.
And certainly it was fun.
Saturday, Christmas Eve was the last full day we'd be with this fun family. Hank introduced Robert to the joy of waxing his mustache.
We played, they packed, we had a special Christmas dinner since they will be leaving in the morning sniff sniff
One final request was granted. Marissa had asked if we could make my mom's almond crescent nut horns...and we did. I just made a half batch (should have made a full one at least but I didn't want a lot of cookies left over cuz I knew I'd eat them...but I had forgotten that normally I triple the recipe...but at least we accomplished the job.
And a little snuggle time with Simon and the phone.
Simon is a huge help in the kitchen. Here we smashed potatoes.
This year Hannukkah began at sundown on Christmas Eve. Henry helped set the table but in red, not blue
Here are a couple of screen grabs from their ward's Christmas party. Henry portrayed Samuel the Lamanite on the wall.
This time it's Oskar popping in and out of the back curtain and smiling broadly altho he was not to be there.
And then there was the final scene..the birth of the Christ Child. At first Oskar and Henry weren't following the star. Henry was the first to spy the star moving and
then he realized what he must do.
Oskar, wearing this huge 'hat' of a wiseman opted to plop down with feet spinning up in the air just as the narrator reads that they fell down to ground and worshipped the Babe Jesus. In the video you can hear Marissa chortling and soon so did the rest of the audience. There's always that perfect comic timing...and Oskar had it this year.
Previous to this week, Dawn alerted me that I needed to act fast in order to use my Best Buy certificates. Hers had expired, and so had mine but only by 2 weeks. Immediately they renewed mine and eventually Dawn had hers renewed as well. As soon as I knew they were renewed we set off to Best buy and used them. LOVE me some FREE money.
I selected a bluetooth speaker and it's large and loud and I love it.
Robert took the rest of the certificate amounts and bought a gift certificate to Cabela's Sporting Store and bought this sleeping bag which will keep him warm to -40 degrees. He's very happy about this!