Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

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2013 is a year for Christmas in Iowa, but before we left, the season got off to a great start with our open house, Owen's Holiday concert, and Christmas caroling with our old neighbors.  After caroling on Friday night, we went home to pack the car, and got ready to hit the road ridiculously early.  For several reasons we decided to attempt the drive to Iowa in one day: Katherine & Lee are no longer in Cleveland, Grandpa Fawcett was going to ride out with us to Iowa (providing an extra driver), and perhaps most importantly a blizzard was bearing down on Iowa, so if we were going to make it for Christmas, we had to make it quick.  In fact Uncle Ken called on Friday night to inquire when we were planning on leaving, and when Dad said 6 am, Ken simply said, "you better get off earlier."  So in the morning we carried the sleeping kids out to the already packed car, and were on the road by 5:30 am.  It started raining a little after Breezewood, didn't stop until just before we reached the Mississippi, and the snow started falling as we dropped off Dad at Ken & Helen's.  The kids did great on the 14 hour drive, and when we woke up to 6 inches of snow in the morning, we knew we made the right call.

We were the first to arrive at Grandma & Grandpa Z's, so the first few days in Iowa were relatively quiet.  We stayed in on Sunday to recuperate from the drive just making it outside to build a snowman, but on Monday we braved the bitter cold (it got down to -15 below that night!) to go over to Ken & Helen's for dinner (at noon, so it wasn't supper).  Thomas & Jen were battling various illnesses in the family, so we didn't get to see the boys, but Nora had a great time playing with Grace, and Owen got to break out the flexible flyer for some fun but cold sledding down the drive with Daddy and Grandpa.

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Dave & Kara got in on Christmas Eve with a much needed burst of extra energy to keep up with the kids.  We convinced Mommy to let Owen and Nora open one present each, wrote notes to Santa, ate lots of Christmas cookies and candy, and made it to midnight Mass (well, 9 pm Mass, but it felt late enough with the kids).

Christmas morning brought all sorts of treasures under the tree from Santa, but I think the big hit were Nora's roller skates and Owen's rollerblades.  You might think that these were Summer toys that would have to languish in a closet for months before being played with, but no, the kids insisted on bundling up and skating in the snow.  And truth be told, they were right.  The kids had a great time on their skates, even in the cold and snow.

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On Thursday we squeezed in a quick serendipitous visit with the Mettenburgs (who were in Iowa for Joe's nephew's wedding) in the morning, and Steve, Becky and all the cousins arrived around lunch. Owen was over the moon to have his cousin Sam around to play with, and Nora got a chance to be the big kid showing cousin Erin the ropes.  We opened more presents, played lots of hide and seek, and had a grand time with the whole Zimmerman family in the house.  That night Owen had a sleepover down in the basement with Sam, and Nora had a sleepover with Erin upstairs.  The boys were out almost instantly, but the girls could not seem to settle down and fall asleep.  After a few too many times getting out of bed, we decided that it might not have been all Nora's fault as she told us that Erin was getting up, going to the bathroom, getting a handful of liquid soap, and smearing it on Nora's cheeks.  We think she was just trying to share the secret of her wonderful smelling skin ;-)

All trips must eventually come to an end, so we hit the road for home on Friday (after not nearly enough time with the cousins according to Owen).  We stopped just outside Toledo on the way back to break up the drive into two days, and were home by Saturday night.  Christmas wasn't quite over yet though.  Sunday morning we had a faux Christmas brunch at Mom Mom & Grandpa Don's with Katherine & Lee, and Nancy, Danny and Christopher.  Mom Mom made delicious waffles, we opened more presents, and long last Christmas was over.

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(click here for all the pictures)

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