2009 Year in Review

When trying to figure out how to summarize everything James and I have done during 2009, the best way seemed to be pictures! Yes, I know, surprise surprise!  James and I take so many amazing pictures, so this seemed like the perfect way to illustrate how we’ve spent our year!  Hope you enjoy, I know we have!

New Years Eve

For New Years Eve, James and I decided to stay home and welcome in 2010 cuddling on the couch watching Season 6 of NCIS.  We started with a late lunch/early dinner of Steak and Shrimp, which was amazing!  James really does a good job grilling and these steaks were no exception!

Because of our huge mid-day meal, we decided to have popcorn for dinner.  More specifically, we decided to try out the Whirley Pop popcorn maker we got as a wedding gift from Liz & Steve.  We hadn’t used it before, so we (James) carefully read the directions and decided to give it a try!  The first time the popcorn was good, but James thought it needed more oil when popping, so the second time (yes, it was that good, we had to make two batches), James added more oil and really watched the time as he was stirring it!

The popcorn was very tasty and went quite well with our NCIS marathon!  We actually made it to midnight and with a Happy New Year kiss headed straight to bed! 2009 was an amazing year and we look forward to an even better 2010!  Happy New Year Everyone!

Plowing out the drive for the first time

We got home early afternoon Monday and almost didn’t make it up our lane!  There wasn’t that much snow on the ground, but the drifts were awful and the wind was still blowing pretty hard.  James wanted to go right out and start plowing, yet after looking at the weather reports for Tuesday (much warmer and little wind), he decided to go ahead and wait.

Late Tuesday morning, James got all bundled up in his new cold weather gear and headed outside to tackle the lane.  So, being the good wife that I am, I decided to get bundled up as well to go out and get some action shots of James using the tractor for the first time to plow out the lane!

After getting my pictures, I decided to do a little walking around outside.  The weather was actually pretty nice and with all my cold weather stuff on, I was actually hot and had to unzip my coat a little bit!

I know we “should” have a lot of wild animals around our house, but a lot of the time I don’t see them, so I really start to wonder just how much wildlife we really have.  This question was completely displaced when I opened the front door and saw all the action that has been taking place right under our noses!  We don’t use the font door, so all of the tracks were from animals!  It really blew me away!

Ty’s Home for Christmas!

After dealing with high winds that closed the roads in Wyoming and blizzard conditions that forced them to spend the night in Nebraska, Ty, Austin, & Carol (Austin’s mom) finally got to Kewanee around 4pm Sunday afternoon.  They seemed as happy to be there as we were to see them!

Mom had been cooking all day, so after getting a few things out of the car and relaxing a little, we sat down to an amazing meal! We hadn’t see Ty or Austin since they got engaged in August, so there was a lot of catching up to do.  Ty just got out of the military this month, and he and Austin are moving to Vero Beach, Florida.  Carol had come with them to help get everything taken care of with the wedding planning (church, reception, photographer, florist, DJ, cake, tuxes, etc…) since none of them will be back in Kewanee until the week of the wedding!

While we finished catching up, we sat down to exchange gifts (i.e., Christmas #5 for the year!).  This turned into an extremely funny time and everyone had a lot of fun.

While opening gifts, there were two envelopes to Ty & Austin, so Ty let Austin pick the one she was going to open.  I was watching Austin, as she was really excited to get two gift certificates (one for each of them) for massages in her envelope, but as the pictures show below, there was a lot more happening on Ty’s side of things!

Sunday Morning after Christmas

Unable to help ourselves, James and I stayed up pretty late Saturday night working on the puzzle until it was *almost* complete.  So, Sunday morning it took James no time before he had it down to three pieces left!

He then took a break to get some breakfast and shovel some more snow (yes, it was STILL snowing!) before letting Grandma put in the last three pieces!  The puzzle was a lot of fun to do with the weirdly shaped pieces and all the faces and colors that made up the puzzle.

A couple of hours later, the snow finally stopped and the sun came out!  The backyard was absolutely beautiful and we decided to go out and get some pictures.  In order to maintain the “pristine” conditions of the snow in front of my parents evergreen for our pictures, James had to set the timer on the camera for 10 seconds and then race out and around before cutting back in to where I was standing.  Very funny to watch! Especially with James wearing shorts in all this snow!

Day after Christmas

The morning after Christmas dawned with more snow! By the looks of it, the snow had started sometime early in the morning and didn’t look like it was stopping anytime soon. Unfortunately, this was also the case in Wyoming and Nebraska, so Ty & crew were stuck in WY until the road conditions got better.

Dad and James headed outside to clean off the drive-way.  Dad used the snow blower and James used the shovel, and as you can see below, they were both bundled up pretty well!

We bummed around the rest of the morning, just relaxing and doing some picking up from yesterday.  Ty called around 11AM because the roads had finally cleared up and they were on their way! This made all of us pretty happy and made the mood at lunch lighthearted as we discussed how soon they might make it.  After lunch, mom kicked us out of the house.  Well, not really, but she needed to vacuum and get potatoes for tomorrow, so James and I headed out to Wal-Mart for the potatoes and another puzzle to keep us busy while we waited.

Wal-Mart was pretty busy considering the weather, but it wasn’t too surprising since it was the day after Christmas.  We got the potatoes and then after careful consideration choose a new puzzle.  It’s was a “Made in America” 750 piece round puzzle entitled “A Day at the Amusement Park”.

James then picked up some really expensive windshield wipers before we headed over to the Christmas area.  I wanted to pick up some all purpose Christmas cards for next year and do a little browsing through the wrapping paper selection. Well, about 15 minutes and $50 later, we left the Christmas area with 2 boxes of Christmas cards, a tupperware container for ornaments, one box of every color bulb ornament they had (red, blue, green, gold, black, brown, & teal), eight sparkly dragonfly ornaments in various colors, and some miscellaneous ornaments to put on people’s packages for next year!

When we got back, you could hardly tell that the drive-way had even been cleared this morning, so James decided he’d go ahead and do a little more shoveling… in his shorts and with no hat on!! Silly man!  Once he got back in he was pretty cold and ready to relax a little on the couch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon looking at pictures from the last day and starting the puzzle.  Neither of us has ever done a round puzzle before, so it was quite interesting to see how the outer edge fit together!

As we were starting on the puzzle, Ty called to tell us the road was closed from Grand Island to Lincoln and that they were going to get a hotel room and start back out on the road first thing in the morning.  This was disappointing, but we would rather they were safe than driving in such severe conditions.

Windmont

Christmas evening, the snow finally stopped, but the wind was really blowing, making it feel much colder than it was.  Yet, James and I decided to brave the cold and head over to Windmont to see the light display.   It’s by far one of the best in the area and a must see when visiting Kewanee during Christmas time.

The lights were beautiful, but it was WAY to cold to be out for very long.  James got some pretty good pictures and we *briefly* walked around a little, yet then it was time to get back in the car and go home!

Christmas Afternoon with the Davis’

By early afternoon it was still snowing and the ground was completely covered.  It was finally starting to look like Christmas!

Luckily, the weather hasn’t gotten too bad and my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin were able to make it from Fort Wayne, IN (where they were celebrating with my Uncle’s side of the family).  Unfortunately, the Davis’ from Iowa were not able to make it because of the weather.  Regardless, we made the best out of our small intimate gathering and still had a fun time!

Both before and after dinner, James (and others here and there) worked on the puzzle until shortly before we opened presents and James finished the puzzle. Yet, he let a number of us put the “last” piece in!

Opening presents was an interesting time.  Grandma got two pairs of gloves you can heat up in the microwave, James got more gloves (Midwest this time!), Stephen got a “man purse”, and I got a sexy “nightie” from my Grandma!  When I opened it, I was more than a little surprised (normally I get turtleneck sweaters!), so I asked Grandma if she was hinting at something (like maybe some more great-grandchildren).  James said he didn’t get it, so my Aunt Becky said I could probably put it on and he’d figure  it out! 🙂

It was great to be around the Davis side of the family and it was nice to catch up with everyone.

Overall, a great afternoon/evening and a very relaxing Christmas!

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning we slept in a little because we’d been up so late the night before working on the puzzle, but were still up and had breakfast by around 10:30 AM.  As we got ready to open presents, it started to snow, yet the yard was still pretty water logged from the rain the day before and it didn’t really look like Christmas out.

Opening presents was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to have a really good time.  As you can see below everyone was in really good spirits and enjoyed seeing what everyone else got.

As we opened gifts, there seemed to be a little bit of a theme with a number of us getting books. Dad got a couple of hunting books, I got a few books that I’d been wanting (yes, “real” books, not Kindle books!), and James finally got the book he had been wanting!

In addition to the other great gifts, I also got a lot of dragonfly’s to add to my growing collection.

James on the other hand was excited to get a really nice cordless drill, which he was quick to get out and try out!

Overall it was a lot of fun to spend time together and enjoy each others happiness!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve we got up and started getting ready to head for Kewanee for Christmas.  James briefly had to run into Forsyth to pay the painters who had finished up the original job of painting most of the inside of the house, fixing the master bathroom, and putting up the drywall in the garage and painting it, but we still made it out of the house by a little before noon.  It has been raining all morning (and the previous night) and continued to rain the entire trip to Kewanee, making it a soggy trip!

As normal, we didn’t take a straight route there, but meandered a little, enjoying the new Place Names of Illinois book I had got James for Christmas.  As the navigator, I’d read the description/information found in the book for each new town or county.  Yet, we found a couple of inconsistencies in how the counties were created and that it didn’t list Peoria or East Peoria. On our way, we went by The Barn II theater in Goodfield, Eureka College, Illinois Central College, Culvers (which we had to stop at for a turtle sundae of course!), and the non-existent town of Stark.  Well, we didn’t actually go by Stark because we didn’t actually see it, even though we apparently went through it (Dad later informed us Stark only consists of a grain elevator).

Eventually (3 hours and 40 minutes later), we made it to Kewanee… and it was still raining!  We got everything into the house and then relaxed a little before deciding to set up a card table in the living room and work on a puzzle I had picked up earlier in the week. It was a Hometown Collection 1000 piece puzzle of San Francisco.

We had a good time working on the puzzle in the evening, and I took a quick break to do some baking before going back to work on the puzzle until a little after midnight Christmas morning!

As you can see, we actually made a lot of progress before calling it a night and heading to bed!