Probably the biggest thing to happen in December was Arctic Blast '08. It began mid December with some snow threats, some flurries, some frostiness, and of course everything being canceled. Not too bad. It was nice to be in and getting things done. For the first year ever I had all the presents made and wrapped on time. However, as the week progressed, the snow got more intense as well as the falling temperature. The timing seemed to be very poor as this was going to be our last week at the Tree of Knowledge, the Christmas Program, staff lunch, school Christmas party, family parties, and on and on. As the days passed, I became more discouraged of how many things were canceled and we would not be able to make them up later as we were leaving on New Year's Day. The only good part was the fact that we got to play in the snow since we were completely encased in snow drifts. We had fun playing in the snow, had two slumber parties with the Klobas's, and just being together in our last few weeks in Oregon.
At the tail end of Arctic Blast '08 was of course, Christmas. One of my favorite times of year. I love the way it smells, tastes, looks, and love seeing the excitement of the kids with all of the fun activities that we do. We went and cut our own tree, as we have done the past five years I believe, and this was definitely the biggest as it sported nine strands of lights. Due to the weather, the Lively Family Christmas party was canceled, which was very sad, but there was no way we could have made the drive as that was the worst day of the storm. John had to drive to Seattle to pick up Jan because all of the flights in and out of Portland were canceled and they told her she would not get in until the 1st of January. It took about ten hours driving with chains parts of the way, but they made it safe and sound. Christmas Eve we went down to Salem for the Runner Family Christmas Party, very slowly I might add. The ice on I5 was slow to melt and the ruts of ice were very treacherous as there had been numerous accidents all day. We made it there and back and had a great time with family, especially the slide show that Aunt Sharron and Uncle Dave made (thanks again!) and we also made a stop to see Grandma and Grandpa Lively. It was a late night, but Santa understood as we rolled in at about 12:30. We set out the cookies and jumped into bed. Christmas morning was very laid back and relaxing. We did a much better job this year about not buying so much and not spending money on things that we were not really sure people would like. I also spent more time making jewelery so that I could make more detailed pieces. We then went to Cousin Michelle's house for a very nice lunch/dinner and had a great time playing games and visiting.
Once the festivities died down, we had to get to the serious business of packing and leaving. It was exciting mixed with great sadness to leave our home and family and friends of the last seven years. We shared many amazing experiences, some happy, some sad, but all memorable. It is quite a task to box up your life and put it on a truck. In some ways I felt guilty that we have so much stuff to fill a 24/26 foot trailer. We had even downsized a ton. We did leave some patio furniture behind that I am sure will be put to good use. We said our good-byes for now and began a new year in a new place with a new beginning. We will miss everyone we left in Oregon. We love you all and will be back soon.
We have been here in Nixa, Missouri now for about four weeks and are feeling pretty good at how much we have gotten accomplished. We moved in to Jan's house, Larania's house actually, and feel very much at home. The dogs will give us looks as if to ask when we will be leaving, but all in all, everyone is getting along splendidly. Eli started swimming lessons through the gym we are members at at the hospital. He loves it and loves that there are family swim times. We went last week and the kids had a blast swimming and jumping in the pool. I think when Evan gets a little older we will try him out in swim lessons. We have been looking at different churches as well and definitely see some possibilities of places that we could fit in and call home. Eli loved going to bible class again and recited word for word the lesson. I am still looking for work. I applied for about 12 jobs between Cox hospital, where Jan works and John goes to school, and St. John's Hospital. Hopefully something will turn out. In the meantime, we go the gym, run a few errands, and try and keep the house tidy as there are six people and two dogs. The weather is definitely much colder than we are used to, but every now and then we get some gorgeous days and play outside with no coats or hats! I am ready for spring though, but I usually am this time of year.
And now we arrive at today, and once again, it is snowing. It is a different snow here. A lot icier. In fact we started out the day with sleet and about 1/4 inch of ice on everything, and now this evening it is being covered up by snow. It will probably be around for awhile and hopefully the power won't go out because of the lines getting too heavy. Hopefully you have made it this far, because now it is picture time! I won't post everything as it will take forever, but hopefully from here on out I will be better about keeping things updated a little more regularly! The pictures are arranged from most recent to oldest, that's just how they were added and it will take forever to cut and paste.
2 inch chunk of ice off of the hot tub cover
Trees full of ice. It amazes me how everything gets coated and sparkles. It was sunny all day and nothing melted
Me and the boys with great-Grandpa and Grandma Runner. Evan was not being very cooperative, but it was late on Christmas Eve and he was ready for bed!
During Arctic Blast '08 we had a two night slumber party at our house, so the kids watched Horton Hears a Who
THE END- you made it!!!!