Okay, so more Christmas weekend stuff to get through. The last post was chock full of pictures. This one will have less of those, and should be shorter overall.
First off, Christmastime means one very special package that comes every year without fail. My aunt Denise knows how much I love the Lebkuchen treats, so I always get a couple bags of that, along with a couple packages of the other ginger treat, Contessa. Very tasty stuff. It comes specifically for me and my mom. It turns out, my family kind of likes it too. I leave the package on the counter with a certain amount in the bag. I come back by it even 5 minutes later, and half of it has disappeared. My family is ninjaing (ninjaing is NOW an official word in my vocabulary. You all might as well capitulate and add it to your linguistic repertoire.) my friggin lebkuchen. I have mixed feelings about this. I should be happy that they like some of these very same treats I grew up enjoying, and cannot be bought out here in Iowa, as far as I am aware. And yet, I'm mildly upset, as my selfish side says the lebkuchen is "MINE! ALL MINE, DAMMIT! KEEP YOUR GRIMY HANDS OFF OF IT!"
I'm sure at some point I'll receive a talking to about how being selfish is bad, and not of good character. I need to set a good example when it comes to sharing, blah blah blah. You can rest assured though, that your superhero will use his magical power of selective hearing and tune it all out. I'm so good at that, that I may have received this talk multiple times and still remain totally unaware. Good for me.
Well, this year's Christmas turned out to be a pretty big hit all around. My Dad got a slingshot screaming monkey. He collects monkey stuff. If mom didn't secretly purge pieces of the collection I'm sure he'd have at least 100 monkeys sitting around his house somewhere or another. I don't think any part of the house is out of eyesight from one monkey or another. A creepy proposition now that I think of it. I may have been enjoying my morning constitutional under the ever watchful eyes of a monkey hidden amongst the plants, for all I know. Mom got her bath products as usual. Christmas is when she stocks up on this stuff for each year. My wife got her juicer, and some spice grinder/shredder thing. (I dunno its name, I was just assured certain death if I use it to shred cheese) My sister, well she got a bookmark. It turns out she needs more, since she mysteriously chews all of hers up without realizing it. I think her and The Colonel need to get together to have a fiber binging vacation or something. Sophie got all kinds of stuff, clothing, a few toys, you know, baby stuff. Vic, got his candy, SourPatch Kids. Apparently candy is rather amusing to him. Another present he seemed to take delight in was whenever I left my new slippers, courtesy of my in-laws, laying around. If I didn't have them on my feet, Vic was wearing them. So now I have to find a similar pair, so he has his own for those cold days. He's from down south, so he has sensitive feet don'tcha know!
The boys received all kinds of toys. But Santa, also brought them two brand new red sleds for Christmas. So the day after Christmas, when the weather cleared up enough to go out safely, Vic and I drove them down the road to the local golf course where I used to sled while growing up. There was a LOT of snow, and only a few people had been sledding prior to our arrival. So slick paths they were not. Most trips ended up with sled and rider being separated by at least a few feet. These sleds, being plastic and small were enough to hold a single kid, and barely a single adult, however a kid and adult rider at the same time caused mass burial of the sled maybe halfway down the hill.
Buggy trudging up a hill. Independent as he is, he has decided that he needs his own hill to sled on, not the one his brother or any of the other kids are using. Eventually other kids followed to use his hill. If Buggy has my ego, he'll only see himself as a trendsetter, and his later years living at home will be a battle of egos between father and son. I only hope I can still win then.
It's hard to see it when its all white and snowy out, but behind us, there is a huge drop off from our hill....most of the ground you're seeing is actually on the other side of the valley.
I made it partway down a small hill before the sled finally bucked me off and tossed me into a drifted side of the hill. I am thoroughly buried, and was comfortable with just dying right there. It turns out trudging up snow covered hillsides in full outdoor gear is well beyond my cardio capacity currently. I believe 8 cardiac arrests were recorded on myself alone.
Here's Josh just prior to going down yet another hill. The boys were thoroughly enjoying themselves this day.
And here is Vic and I getting all bundled up for the sledding excursion. I hadn't been sledding since probably 1990 or 91. This was Vic's first time ever. We were a mix-n-match collection of outdoor gear, almost none of it our own. But we stayed warm the whole time, despite blazing trails through nearly waist deep snow at times. Buggy had to stay in our tracks lest he get lost underneath the white billowy blanket in certain spots.
And of course I'd be remiss, if I didn't post a picture of my dad's dedication to the art of grilling. It's either that or his disdain for making dirty dishes unnecessarily by using pots and pans on a stove. So, here he is (also known as the Evil Duane), grilling outside while the snow falls around him.