Well, this has been a very refreshing break from reality for the past two weeks! Everything was SO different around here. I still haven’t gotten used to Noah not living here anymore. Jerry’s work schedule changed drastically, but he had a week off and then a long holiday weekend. Having him home a lot and Noah being gone a lot has been such a big change.
I wish I could say we did all kinds of fun things while Jerry was home, but really we just enjoyed our free time at home. As I said in my previous post, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve with the boys and their girlfriends.
Noah gave me this welcome mat that has a black cat on it and says “Welcome Farmers”. I thought it was funny when Estelle laid down — her eyes look almost identical to the ones on the mat. And if she could talk, she’d be downright sarcastic like this.
Rose, Noah’s girlfriend, works at Panera (not the one from my sad avocado story, thankfully). When I first met her and asked her about her work, I mentioned that I liked their pretzels. They haven’t had them long, but they were so good! He said they were discontinued a few years ago.
So imagine my surprise when he gave it to me this Christmas!
Six pretzels with salt, made just for me. She knew how much I liked them, and her manager made them to give to me. He also gave me their original salt magnet that they used to display the price. It was a unique and perfect gift. Ava, Eli’s girlfriend, gave me a glass that has “Best Bonus Mom” on it (if Duck wasn’t in my lap right now, I’d get up and take a picture of it). I love Ava like a daughter and her gift made me feel good.
Well, I didn’t take into account that the “dollar store” doesn’t really exist anymore. We have family dollar, which is basically more expensive than Kroger. Then there’s Dollar General and most things there are around $5. Finally, there’s the Dollar Tree–that’s the dollar store I was talking about. It used to be $1 per item, but now it’s $1.25. Not bad for what we did though.
Since I hadn’t specified which store, well, the joke was on me. Jerry went to Dollar General (fortunately, he only bought a few things there; the rest he bought at Dollar Tree). Eli went to Family Dollar because it’s the closest to our house. His total was $110! My jaw dropped when he told me. I almost decided to take everything back before she even wrapped them, but she had put thought into each of the gifts, so I just chalked it up as a lesson learned – be specific when talking about the Dollar General Family Tree. (That’s what Jerry and I came to call the shop trio.)
The General Family Dollar Tree gift exchange was fun! It was interesting to see how well we knew each other (favorite snack, drink, color, etc.).
The day before, we had gone to Brian’s house because Luke and Riley were there. He invited my parents, Nathan, and my family to come over in the morning and watch the kids open Christmas presents. I miss having little kids like that on Christmas morning! It was fun to see them get so excited.
Riley is super into “mini chips”. They’re ridiculous — little miniature toy versions of actual brand name items you’d find in a grocery store — and SO expensive for what you get. When we took her to Barnes & Noble one time, she picked out a mini brands. it contained five pieces and I think it was $10. Each one is about the size of the tip of your thumb and is just a piece of plastic.
Anyway, Brian had found a big container of them on Facebook Marketplace and got her a little toy store for them. She was very excited and wanted to play with it right away. When I helped her open it, there were SO MANY PIECES to put together, including a page of tiny stickers to stick to the plastic pieces. Brian is lucky I love putting things together because I spent (literally) over an hour putting this store together!
After Christmas, Ginny and Sean came up from the upper peninsula for a few days. Jeanie and I walked all the dogs (she has three hounds and I have Joey). Then we ran a few errands — nothing exciting, but it was good to spend time with her one-on-one, since we never really get to do that.
There was a really big Lions (football) game on Saturday and I’m sure if you watch football at all you heard about the crap it turned into at the end haha. The Lions would have won, but the ref made a bad call — EVERYONE agreed he was over the top — and they lost. Lions fans were so angry because it was a very important game.
On New Year’s Eve, Luke and Riley came over for the afternoon/evening. I was hoping my other niece, Shelby, would be able to come too, but she had other plans. Eli went to a party at the golf course where he works (they’re closed for the season now) so it was just me and Jerry with the kids. We told them we would have a “party” to ring in the new year.
My mom was going to take them home (to Minnesota) early the next morning. (He has flight privileges though Brian, so he can fly with them and deliver them to Becky at the airport in Minnesota.) He didn’t want them to stay up late, so Jerry and I took over the Times Square event from 2022 to watch the ball drop–hahaha! At “midnight” we shot confetti cannons in the living room and the kids loved it.
They were SO funny all day because of all the things we could do, they just kept wanting to run down the hall. And at their ages they wanted to compete with their speed. If Luke was doing 5.0 mph, Riley wanted to run 5.5. And then Luke wanted 5.6. And so on. By the time my mom came along, they were running at 7.1 mph, hahaha. I wish I loved the runway as much as they do!
In the afternoon, I got a phone call and was SHOCKED (in a good way) to see that it was Del — my boss from Curves when I worked there from 2003-2005. Even though she is much older than me, we were close friends. I hadn’t spoken to her in probably 10 years, so when I saw her number on my phone, I was excited to hear from her. We talked for a while and it was nice to catch up, but there’s too much to catch up on, so I suggested we get together and talk a bit more. It was great to hear her.
The best part of the break – possibly the highlight of the year – was when Jerry showed Luke and Riley the Ghostbusters movie for the first time. Jerry is obsessed with Ghostbusters and has been waiting until they are old enough to watch the movie without being scared. He even broke his proton pack and glasses haha.
I can’t even describe how giddy he was when the kids were instantly interested in the movie. They started asking him all kinds of questions about ghosts, so he pulled out a big Ghostbusters book he has. It contains all kinds of trivia and behind-the-scenes information. Luke actually told him to wait a minute, then grabbed the remote and paused the movie so he wouldn’t miss anything. It was then that I realized he was truly fascinated.
My heart was completely melting while watching them with Jerry. I haven’t seen Jerry this excited in at least a year! He doesn’t know anyone who’s into Ghostbusters (I’ve watched it with him a few times, and even wore a Ghostbusters costume for Halloween in 2022, but I wouldn’t call myself a “fan”) so he doesn’t get a chance to talk to another big fan. When the kids were asking questions a mile a minute, he was thrilled to be able to tell them all about it.
It sounds silly, but seeing that interaction was the PERFECT way to end 2023, which was probably the hardest year we’ve had in our entire marriage. (I don’t mean our marriage suffered; we just had SO many stressors to deal with throughout the year, as well as the second half of 2022.) It was absolutely heartwarming to watch the kids take such an interest in Ghostbusters and Jerry with ridiculous glee. watching it with them and answering questions.
And finally, we spent the day yesterday planning some goals for 2024. I’ll do a separate post with my goals for the year (I’m *the* one still making resolutions), so I won’t get into that here.
The last two weeks have been busy enough to keep us from getting bored, but we’ve also had plenty of time to relax and watch movies and just enjoy some laziness. Today, it’s back to reality!