Tuesday, January 01, 2008

God Bless Us.....Everyone!

What a wonderful holiday season we had this year. Of course the highlight and best gift for all of us this Christmas was having Jeffrey with us for Christmas!! But I'll get to that in a bit. I'll try to keep things all in order so I don't get confused! hahaha

Colin started out by performing in a one act play at his school called "A Hillbilly Christmas Carol". They put the show on a few times at school and at the elementary school and again one evening as part of the Christmas carnival. He got to be a ghost again! (remember he was a pirate ghost in Legend of Sleepy Hollow) The next play will be in the Spring and is the musical "Godspell" and I am pretty sure there are no ghosts in that one so we won't have to worry about him getting typecast.

Bill, Colin and I went downtown to the Heidelberg Christmas market one evening. The Christmas markets are one of my favorite parts of Christmas here in Germany. I love the sights, sounds and smells of the whole thing. All the booths filled with gifts and food and goodies, the people gathered drinking hot mugs of gluhwein, the lights, all the traditional Christmas decorations....I can never get enough of it.

Jeffrey arrived from Omaha on Friday morning. We let Colin take that last day off from school so he could be with us when we picked Jeffrey up from the airport. We waited and waited at the gate....saw the people from his flight come out the doors and the crowd of waiting people getting smaller and smaller and no Jeffrey. Then there was only a handful of us waiting and we all checked with each other to see that we were waiting for people from the same flight. Finally one girl came out...she had been working with the airline people because of lost luggage. We asked if there was a teenage boy back there also waiting and she said "with a skateboard?" and we knew it was Jeffrey! He finally appeared and yes indeed....his duffel bag didn't arrive along with him. We stopped at the PX on our way home and picked up some more Christmas gifts and also some jeans and a Tshirt for Jeffrey. He had some clothes here at the house also that still fit him so he was set for awhile. We started out our Christmas festivities by seeing a play of A Christmas Carol performed in the Knights Hall of Heidelberg Castle. We got there early enough that we were able to get great seats in the second row. The show was excellent and really put us all in the holiday spirit.

Saturday we spent most of the day doing more shopping, going to German stores since they are not open on Sundays. We had dinner at a great Chinese buffet, Mongolian Barbeque restaurant. They have all kinds of meats and veggies and sauces and seafoods that they cook for you...and also the regular buffet AND delicious sushi...all you can eat and we ate all we could! SO delicious. After dinner we had only been in the house a little while when the doorbell rang ..."Airport!"...Jeffrey's bag had arrived. WHEW! He was quite relieved since some of the gifts he wanted to give us were in his bag. Sunday we drove over the Kaiserslautern to shop at the 2 Air Forces bases that are there. Monday we woke up to a winter wonderland. It hadn't snowed...but the frost was SO heavy and thick that everything was covered in sort of like pine needles made of frost. BEAUTIFUL!

Since Monday was Christmas Eve we had our usual Christmas Eve junk food pigout! We had chips, dips, crackers, cheese, meat, BBQ lil smokies, cookies, and I don't remember what all. Delicious! We watched It's A Wonderful Life and also our tape filled with all our Christmas faves like Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. The boys opened their traditional Christmas Eve jammies and read the Christmas story from the Bible before heading up to bed.

Christmas day had everyone filled with excitement and joy. I think I was more excited to see the boys reactions to their Christmas gifts than I was to seeing what I would receive. Colin got the gift he wanted most of all...a game for his Playstation called Guitar Hero III. None of our PX's had had any in stock ever, and he was HOPING to get the game but not hopeful. I got lucky one day and found TWO of the game in the PX one day and snatched one up. It was the only time I ever saw them here. Jeffrey gave Colin the same game in version I and II so Colin should be jammin' for a LONG time. (me too actually....it is a REALLY fun game!) He also got a new student Bible from Grandma and Papa, some cool Tshirts, an autographed copy of the latest book from his favorite author, and another copy to read. His big gift was dad's old Panasonic FZ20 camera that he had been eyeing ever since Bill bought the next one up for himself.
Jeffrey was SO surprised to get the pinstriped suit that he has been wanting for a long time now. He also got some videos, books, movies and skateboard brand clothes. His BIG gift was our laptop computer. The wireless internet connector will stay here, but he can use it to watch movies and play games and do homework with. He was ecstatic! Most of his free time he spent loading it up with pictures of his friends and games and making it his own.
Bill's big gift was of course the new camera, but he also got some books, DVDs, clothes, candy, and even some computer games of his own. He spent most of HIS free time after that completing one of them. (He likes the mystery games that you have to interact with the characters and explore and solve puzzles to win.)

I got lots of nice clothes (which I really need), some great books, a 3D puzzle of the Eiffel Tower (I put it together the other night...very cool!), some awesome soft jammies, and a toasty polar fleece Nebraska pullover! ahhhhhhh. My big gift from Bill is going to be a helicopter flight over Heidelberg. I can't wait! I have never been up in a helicopter and I can't imagine how cool it will be to see Heidelberg from that point of view!

While we waited for our Christmas turkey to cook we all took turns playing Colin's guitar game and trying on clothes and tasting candy and stuff like that. We had been invited to come to dinner with some friends but I don't get very many chances to use my "fine china" so I was looking forward to that. We joined them for dessert and conversation at their house around 7 instead.

Our friends' daughter Rachel has been good friends with Jeffrey since she moved here several years ago and her parents bowl on my team on Tuesday nights. They were planning to go to Phantasialand (a theme park) the next day and invited Jeffrey to join them. How could we say no? He had a great day riding rollar coasters and hanging out with his friend. We hung out here playing with our new toys! :)

We were SO sad when Friday came. It didn't seem possible that our visit with Jeffrey was almost over! We went downtown Heidelberg to see the shops and have some cake and coffee in a cafe and just enjoy being together. For dinner we picked up Rachel and had dinner at this awesome German restaurant that makes some of the BEST schnitzel we have ever had. There was no room for dessert that night! After that we had to head home whether we liked it or not....it was time for Jeffrey to pack his bag and get some rest before heading back to Nebraska Saturday morning.

Saturday we were up way before the sun to get Jeffrey to the airport in time to catch his flight. We had a bit of time to have some coffee and chat a bit before he had to say goodbye and go to his gate. I can't believe how quickly this week flew by! It was so nice to have all 4 of us together again....and everyone getting along and behaving so nicely and just a real joy. One of those things money can't buy. We all can't wait until May when hopefully Jeffrey will be able to join us again for good. If he keeps doing as well as he is doing now we don't see any reason for that not to happen.

Poor Jeff had a rough flight back though. He called us when he got home....his flight from Germany left late and he missed his connecting flight in Detroit. Then he had to go to Minneapolis and then finally to Omaha. I think there was another mixup in there somewhere else too but I forget. AND to make things worse once AGAIN his baggage did not arrive when he did. He said that he wasn't worried or anything...just went to the desk and told them what happened and let them sort it out. I'm not sure I would be that levelheaded at 16 yrs old to deal with those kinds of hassles on my own.