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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks


Updated: Dec 26, 2022

It's Christmas Eve, and we will for sure have snow, whether we like it or not...

Last Saturday Kira offered to take the kids sledding in the afternoon. I didn't think there would be enough snow to make it worth it, so I stayed home to bake cookies like a good housewife. It was half so that I could have the oven on to warm up the house, and half so that I could eat all the cookies.

The kids all went and they took Apollo. They met our old neighbors there, and it sounds like they had a good time, even if the snow was a little thin:

Carver, however, got bored after a while, so he writhed in agony as the others enjoyed themselves.

Once they were home, Avey made some hot cocoa for her brothers, I started dinner, and then bathed Merritt and practiced the cello/guitar duet with Carver. He wasn't sure he wanted to go through with it the next day, so we encouraged him to do it, and also came up with a backup plan to have Kira sing while I accompanied on the guitar.

By Sunday morning, Carver had decided to do it. We got everyone ready and to church. Hannah came by in the morning just as we were leaving because she thought her car was making some weird noises even after having it repaired. She just rode with me to church and left her car at our place. I wish that we had arrived early enough to run through our song one more time, but we had just enough time to decide where we would sit, so that was it. Still, we did alright. I lost my place in the song, but people said they didn't notice. We got lots of kind words about it, anyway. We couldn't record the actual performance, but we did record one of our rehearsals here.

Merritt was a little stuffed up Sunday morning, so he agreed to go to church and wear a mask, but he just played with the mask all through church, not keeping his germs from getting on anyone. I left after Sacrament Meeting and changed. We opted to do our fancy meal for dinner, so I just fed the kids lunch when they were home. It was really cold outside, and so the kids were bored and trapped indoors. They did get a good game of Trouble going, and had too much fun with that.

Jesse really wanted to stay up late with us older kids - we usually read this blog together on Sunday nights, and so he did that with us and watched us play a couple of rounds of dominoes. He also showed us a few little videos that he has made in his aspirations to become a YouTuber.

This week was no school, so we got to sleep in each morning! Kira still had work on Monday, so she got ready for that while I fed children. It was again very cold outside, and so we spent the day bored inside. I tried to get the younger two interested in our marble tower, but they resisted me pretty hard until I built a tower myself and then they tried it out. Fortunately, Jesse decided to have some buddy time with Merritt, and they had a lot of fun together for a couple of hours. Mostly they "spy" on me while I do work. I pretend to be completely oblivious to them as they peek at me from around corners, and dash to new locations from which to surveil me. Sometimes I "think I hear something," but of course they are much too sneaky to actually get detected.

Kira was home near bedtime, and then Hannah came over to borrow the garage to check out a leak on her car. We watched a little TV before bed.

We slept in on Tuesday and then it was a normal morning. It was finally tolerable outside, and so the kids did play out there a little. Avey had a chiropractor appointment, and so Kira took her there while I took the boys to do their Christmas shopping for each other and the rest of the family. That was pretty tough as I was trying to keep them from seeing what each other was getting and also trying to give ideas and sometimes shoot down ideas. Merritt, for example, saw a random pomegranate shampoo that he thought would be just what Carver wanted. I don't know why that struck his fancy so much, so then I had to subtly check with Carver to see if that would be good gift after all. Carver could not imagine a situation in which he would desire shampoo of any kind, and so then I had to find a way to get Merritt to think of another idea. It took a while and two stores, but then we were done with some pretty good gifts picked out.

Merritt Discovers Distortion

Once we were home, Kira and Avey worked on their shopping plans, and then left to go to stores for the night right after getting dinner going. I took care of the boys while they were gone, and then Hannah came over to watch with me. She also reupholstered Merritt's dining room chair - he sits on this padded stool that we've had for years. It's nice because it's a little taller than most chairs so that little kids can reach the table better, but Merritt's getting a little big for it and is not a big fan of change. Anyway, after so many years of love that the chair gets, I've had to reupholster it a few times, and I tried something different every time. Hannah gave it a go and used some very nice and tough fabric. It looks great, so we'll see if it can make it until Merritt is ready to move on. The girls were home late, so we just went to bed.

We slept in on Wednesday. Kira got word that her sister's water broke at 34 weeks, and so she kept an eye out for updates on what was going on over there. Long story short, we have a new niece as of this morning - a Christmas Eve baby! She (no name yet) and Codee are doing well, and we are all so relieved.

I had just a few last things to do for work for the semester, so I got that all wrapped up and then we bathed the boys, did lunch, and Kira dragged us all out to go carol to the neighbors. That of course sparked all sorts of whining, but we went out in the cold and did it. The forecast foretold of a blizzard coming the next day, so we wanted to be sure to get the caroling out of the way while the getting was good.

After the singing, I got the kids some hot cocoa and dinner while Kira drove to a few other houses to drop off some small gifts and do some visiting. Hannah came over to borrow the garage again, still messing with that leak, although this time she didn't find a leak, so who knows what's going on? Because she was leaving the next day, we opened all of our presents from her, and gave her all of her presents. That was a lot of fun, and really whetted the kids' appetite for presents. We watched a little before going to bed.

Thursday was the day of the blizzard, but it was also the day Hannah was flying out of Chicago to go to Colorado. She was wise and moved her flight from the evening to the afternoon just a little before the storm was to strike. I drove her to the airport in her car and she made it safely to Colorado. It started snowing on my way back to Indiana, but I made a side trip to get some Krispy Kreme donuts for Avey (and myself) before making it home. I then went right back out to grab some last-minute grocery essentials before the blizzard, but everyone else in the area had the same idea, so it was pretty busy.

Kira had just gotten all the trashes emptied and out on the side of the road when we got a phone call from our trash service to say that they would not be doing trash that week due to the blizzard. Great.

Jesse had been feeling under the weather since he got up, and he was getting just a little worse as the day wore on. He had a bad headache by about dinner time, so we got him on some medicine to help relieve the pain.

Jesse Finished a Puzzle He Got From School

The kids all finished up a movie together before dinner. I got the snowblower positioned to be ready to go. Once the movie was finished, the kids opened up the curtains to see that there was snow sticking to the ground and lots of it. There were maybe 4 inches then, so three of them went out into the blustery world and played in it.

Jesse, normally the first one to roll around in the outdoors, just wasn't feeling up to it, so he stayed on the couch instead.

Merritt Tries Sledding Down the Driveway

I took a peek in the front yard at some point and saw my mailbox lying on the ground. Obviously some car had struck it. It was devastatingly cold outside, so I didn't go out to check it just then. Avey reminded me that I had installed a camera doorbell, so I looked at what information it had. It keeps still images, and so I pieced together from those that it was at exactly 5:49 p.m. that the mailbox was struck, and the image sure makes it look like a snow plow had done it.

I called to make a police report, and an officer came out about 10 minutes later.

He filed the report and then told me to call the street services guy and leave a voicemail. I did call, but of course that guy's been really busy the last couple of days, so I doubt I will hear back soon. That's the second time someone had hit my mailbox, and this will be the third time I've replaced the mailbox post, so I'm starting to think it might be time to dig a moat around it, place a large boulder in front of it, or something along those lines.

Fortunately, the mailbox itself is just fine - it was the plastic post that shattered, so that's a less-expensive fix, and also not difficult to do. I just wish it weren't winter when I have to do it.

As the officer left, I decided to test out the new snowblower before getting too much more accumulation. It worked like a charm, and saved me maybe 40 minutes of work. I was done with my whole stupid driveway in about 10 - 15 minutes. What on earth have I been doing for the last 4 winters? I thought I might need to go back and do it again right before bed, but the accumulation had slowed down by then and the wind was blowing everything so hard that there was no point.

We played some family games before bed, and then Kira was on the phone that night. With Hannah safely in Colorado and Avey busy doing Christmas preparations, I had the TV to myself.

We were awoken on Friday morning by our neighbor out running his gas-powered snowblower at 6:00. I just got out of bed and did some work on the next semester, fed boys, and started working with Merritt on his reading stuff that needs to be done before school starts back up.

Jesse felt much better, so that was a relief. He occupied himself for a couple of hours making "snow" for his little electric train setup:

He is very proud of it.

After I showered, I then went outside into the horrifying cold to try to temporarily repair the mailbox.

It was so terribly cold! My plan was to use duct tape and two boards as braces, but it was so cold that the tape wouldn't even stick, so then I had to drill in screws. My fingers were numb by the time I came inside, but I think it will hold for a little while:

It was otherwise another boring day stuck inside. It was far too cold to play out in the snow, and the roads were bad enough that we avoided going anywhere. Avey wanted to meet her friends at a group activity thing that they usually do on Fridays, but she got there and then found out that no one else was coming. I had planned to stop by a store, but it was closed early, so the whole thing was silly. I guess it was nice to get out of the house anyway.

We played some family games before bed, and then called it an earlier night.

Today is Christmas Eve! Kira was up a bit during the night, anxious about her sister and the new baby. I got up and went out for donuts, our Christmas Eve tradition for the last 3 years or so. Even though we had those Krispy Kreme donuts two days before, the younger boys did not like them for some reason, so Avey and I ate them all. Anyway, it's not as cold as yesterday, but still not inviting so we may be hanging out indoors again all day.

We always open the kids' ornaments on Christmas Eve, so we'll do that before bed tonight. Tomorrow is church, and so we've wrestled with what to do. We usually open presents and then do a pancake breakfast, but we can't squeeze all of that in while also getting out the door for church by 9:30. So the plan so far is to open a few presents and then do a pancake breakfast, go to church, and then finish the presents afterwards. Of course, the roads are still pretty bad, so some of us have high hopes that they will just cancel church for tomorrow anyway...

In any case, we hope you are staying warm, and we are excited for the White Christmas that we didn't get last year! Merry Christmas tomorrow!

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