Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Curtis Christmas Family Adventure

Curtis Family Christmas – 2008
Account given by Robert Curtis

Visiting Grandma Jan and Grandpa Sam

Our family went to visit Grandma Jan and Grandpa Sam in Nampa, Idaho (next to Boise). Santa came early to visit us there. Grandma Jan made a special call to Mrs. Claus asking for an early visit from Mr. Claus. We received a message from Mrs. Claus saying that Santa would make a special arrangement to see us early. He certainly did. Eli woke us up at about 5 am ready to go. Grandpa Sam and Grandma Jan were obligated to wake up, and do so willingly. The kids got some fun stuff (including a Razor scooter for Spencer), but they're favorites were the plastic swords and treasure chests (with a real key to open). Jesse and I got a gift certificate to Home Depot and Outback Steakhouse from Jan and Sam. We used the Home Depot credit to buy a nice drill and coat rack to hang up with the help of the drill. The kids put together a small Christmas tree made of candy and frosting. They helped decorate the real Christmas tree with pictures of Elmo. We all had a great time. Thank you Grandma Jan and Grandpa Sam!

Coming home – a family adventure

The commute home was quite the adventure. We headed home on Monday, December 22, 2008. The weather was bad. We noticed that there was a sign saying that I-84 West was closed. We ended up stopping in Twin Falls and went south to Wells, Nevada and then to Wendover.

The kids thought Wendover was cool from the start with all of the lights glowing (little do they know). We stopped at the Pilot gas station for a break. We came back out and the car would not start. We played around with it for a while. We bought jumper cables to try a jump start. We went back in the gas station to stay warm while we figured out what to do. While making phone calls and trying to decide what to do, a woman asked if the kids would like candy canes. She then asked if we were stuck and called a mechanic to give us an idea of what to do. He said it was probably the starter. This was obviously something that wouldn't be a quick fix so we made the decision to stay overnight. Luckily, the Red Garter Hotel and Casino was across the street and charged only $22 per night. Done deal! We grabbed all the stuff we could out of the car and made the trek across the busy street. The kids went to bed watching Polar Express.

At 8am I went over to the gas station where the car was to meet the town mechanic there. We tried a new battery hoping that the problem was a bad alternator. It wasn't, so the mechanic had it towed to his shop. We waited patiently as a family for a phone call from the mechanic. It was the starter. He didn't have one, but was 90% sure that he could find one around town. Meanwhile our time was running up at the hotel. They let us stay an extra two hours. After our time was up, 1pm, we made the family trek just over 1/2 mile through the cold wind to the Smith's which was next to the mechanic. By the time we got there, the mechanic had put a starter together out of parts from other old starters. We bought some food for the trip and the car was done by the time we were done. We pulled out $432 in cash from the bank to pay for our car, picked it up, and left hoping to never come back again. We are grateful that we received so much help from family and the townspeople of Wendover in getting home safely.

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day at my parents, Grandpa Bob and Grandma Robyn. We had a great dinner. There was plenty of gluten-free food for Jesse and Eli, including a pumpkin pie and decorated sugar cookies. Eli was very excited. We had a lot of people over to join in on the festivities. Both Cody’s and Tucker’s parents were there. George, Wendy, and the rest of the family came as well. We summed up the night playing Scattegories with them. This is a game where each of us writes down unique answers to various categories that must start with a certain letter before the buzzer goes off. We laughed at each other’s desperate attempt to plead their case for each category. The kids left cookies, milk, and carrots for Santa Claus to come…again.

Eli was the first to awaken. He noticed that the cookies, milk, and carrots were eaten. He woke us up immediately, about 6:30 am, and told us that Santa Claus had come. We carefully walked downstairs to wake up Grandma and Grandpa without getting into the presents. Cheri wanted to us to wait for her, so we did. The kids were so excited. We finally all gathered around and took turns opening presents that had been placed under the Christmas tree.

The kids got some great presents from Santa Claus. All siblings and their spouses had presents for each other (we each had a name). I got some nice jeans from Cody. I forget what Jesse got. I gave Tucker a “History Channel” book of various historical facts. Jesse also got Alysha a book, one of the “Shopaholic” series. Jesse also made bean bags for Roman and Capri.
We left home earlier than we had originally planned due to the snowy weather. It had snowed about 12 inches that day. We got the kids settled down for bed. When they woke up, Santa Claus had dropped off a few more presents because the boys had been especially good this year. This was an unexpected surprise to all of us.
To top off the Christmas experience, we went sledding the next two days because of all the great snow. Needless to say, it has been a great Christmas for all of us.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Above are a few pictures Cheri had stored somewhere. They are not in any particular order.