I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…

In the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, Ann & I were only hoping for two things – that we could spend the holiday with our family and that we have snow on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Neither was a given, all the way up to the day before. We had a couple COVID scares and the high on the day before Christmas Eve was about 60! But then things turned for the better very quickly. All tests were negative, the temps dropped and it snowed for a couple days and everything in the world was right – even for just a couple days. We enjoyed having all the kids stay with us this Christmas. We realize these times are sweet and that nothing is ever guaranteed. Who knows what next year will bring…so we made the most out of this holiday. The kids all enjoyed the first week of Christmas Break. Matt enjoyed the week off from work – something he sure earned in 2020. It was great seeing him and Taylor…even if only for a day or so. We’re hoping to see more of him next week as well. Abby enjoyed the week off, splitting time between home and New Castle. We enjoyed her mixology skills this week and look forward to more of it in the coming week. Luke had wrestling practice but we learned that the annual two-day tourney in Connersville has been cancelled. In its place, Coach Nieman was able to put together a four-way dual meet at the last minute to get us some more mat time. Luke should have three matches next week and Lord knows he needs as much experience as he can get this year! He also worked a few times this week to give him a little pocket change. Ann & I worked a couple days then took the rest of the year off. I may need to work one day next week, but I’m not sure yet. It was a great week – most likely the best week of the year because we got to spend it with our family. It was possibly the busiest week of the year but we’re looking forward to next week being the easiest week of the year! Hello again and welcome to Christmas Edition of the Scheu Family Blog.

Ann & I headed back into work on Monday in Black Betty while the children enjoyed sleeping in. I was still not released to go back to work as an over-abundance of caution. So, after I dropped Ann off at work I ran past my facility and touched base with Justin and Vic and picked up my mail. When I got back to town, I ran through Dunkin to get breakfast for the kids and I came back to wake and surprise them. They weren’t happy about being awakened at first, but once they saw what I brought them, they were happy as clams. I settled in and worked from home all day. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you don’t have constant interruptions! The kids even went out and got McDonald’s for lunch…and they have McRib’s right now!! It was the Winter Solstice and rained on and off throughout the day. After picking up Ann and coming back to town, we ran a couple errands and then she made a few dishes of dips – two to take into work for a pitch-in and one for us to nosh on for dinner. Luke was enjoying the first week of Christmas vacation and only had to go to wrestling practice that afternoon. When he got home, the Hot Rod Lincoln was taken to Jerry’s garage to see what’s up with that darn coolant leak that only seems to be worsening. We took it easy that evening as Abs joined us in the living room to watch the seasonal classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on the big screen. We were hoping to see the supposed “Christmas Star” – or Star of Bethlehem from the Christmas story we all know…at least that is what some folks were calling it… Turns out it was just that a couple planets aligned in a certain way that hadn’t happened in a really long time. Abs and I were kind of excited to see it…but as the sun went down, storm clouds rolled through town and there was waaay too much cloud cover to see any stars that night unfortunately. Instead, we fell asleep in the living room after the movie and went on to bed. Here are pictures from Luke’s wrestling meet at East Central last week.

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While getting ready for work on Tuesday, we got Abby up to take us into work. Luke wound up taking us instead. I drove Barney over to Columbus and Luke drove it back for us as we had another ride home that night. We had a fast morning. Ann and the girls had their annual Christmas party and pitch-in while Justin, Vic and I went to lunch at Snappy Tomato. That afternoon, we left work a couple hours early with Justin, who drove us up to Greenwood to pickup a special Christmas present for Mom O that all her kids pitched in to buy for her. We drove to Mom & Sandy’s house and unloaded a new heated lift chair for her! Justin & I put together the chair and she loved it. At first, she wasn’t sure what was happening. She was so surprised and thought that we were bringing over an early present for Christmas Eve (for someone else). Once she started figuring out what her kids had done, she was a little mad but then warmed up to it. Ann called Dee, who quickly came over with Jamie & Grace. Ann then Facetimed Keith & Rosie for the event and we enjoyed a special moment with her. It was fun surprising her and I hope that it lasts a long time for her. We stopped at Dairy Point afterward for a quick dinner of ice cream on the day before they closed for the year. Afterward, we filled up Justin’s gas tank and then came home for a couple cocktails. Abby whipped up a couple of mixed drinks for us. First, we had a Jack & Ginger with some Tennessee Rye and a ginger ale. It was just OK. Afterward we had an Irish Mist Sour that was much better. We sat and talked and laughed for a while with the kids before we said goodbye to Justin. The kids took turns hiding the Elf on the Shelf for about an hour that night and Ann & I fell asleep watching Oak Island.

Wednesday was Ann’s first day off from work but I got my ass out of bed and went back in for my last day. I spent the day doing my semi-annual Hazard Surveillance Rounds, which were combined with my monthly EOC rounds as well as combined our PM rounds as well. Needless to say, it was a long, busy day! Ann and the kids enjoyed sleeping in. The girls spent the day finishing shopping and cooking Christmas cookies all day! Yum!! Luke had wrestling practice but said it “sucked” driving Barney instead of his Hot Rod Lincoln. It rained on and off again all day. The wind was ferocious and would eventually blow our warmer weather out and usher in a bitter cold front. We were supposed to have some snow, but by the time the temps dropped, all the moisture had moved out of the area that night. It was a very long day for me. I got in a little after 7 and stayed until after 6. Even when I left, I came home and continued to work on all my paperwork until about 8 that night. I was able to wrap up all of my monthly, quarterly, and annual requirements before I left. The only thing I have left to do for 2020 is my reports when I return to work next year. As a thank you for an outstanding year, I took Justin & Vic out for a lunch at Big Woods for one of their wood-fired pizzas – yum! I meant to bring a couple growlers to work with me for tomorrow night, but completely forgot. I finally remembered when I got to work (of course). I called Justin and he saved the day by bringing in a couple with him when he came in to work that day. I got one filled with their Quaff On! Six-Foot Strawberry Blonde and one with Six-Foot Cinnamon Blonde. I think they’ll be a hit at Christmas Eve. 😊 I finally finished with my semi-annual Hazard Surveillance Rounds around six that evening and drove home on a dark, cold, rainy night. I stopped and picked up frozen dinner stuff for our whiney teenager on my way home then retreated to my desk in the family room and worked on my paperwork until it was finished. The girls had finished cookies by about the time I was finishing my work. Ann made Fireworks popcorn for dinner and we had the kids join us to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Here are pictures from Luke’s wrestling tourney at Columbus East last weekend.

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Luke & I got up early on Christmas Eve. No, we didn’t go to the K of C’s to volunteer at the Cheer Fund because they cancelled the way they normally do it and instead did it the COVID way where they don’t include volunteers and they already delivered the goodies to the kiddos and their families. As we do every year, we still went out for breakfast. Unfortunately, we missed spending time with all the wrestlers but hopefully we can return to normal in 2021. We ate a big meal at Frisch’s Big Boy then ran to Walmart to get a couple last minute items for Ann to cook today. When we got home, Abby & Ann began making several batches of Chex Mix. The house smelled sooooo good! I wish they made a candle that smelled like baking Chex Mix!! When they finished, we all had a big bowl of it while watching Die Hard. Once the movie wrapped up, the girls returned to the kitchen to start making food for the pitch-in at Mom & Sandy’s house that night. Matt & Taylor came home that afternoon and it started snowing! 😊 We visited for a bit and then headed over to Mom & Sandy’s house on a frigid evening to enjoy our annual seasonal traditions. We had a big pitch-in for dinner that included Ann’s chili, Dee’s potato soup, Jamie’s buffalo chicken dip, Gigi’s sausage balls (even a special batch for Luke with mac & cheese inside), Mom’s olive dip and pasta salad as well as some shrimp and other sides. There was even peanut butter fudge, peanut butter cookies and buckeyes – yum! There was so much food I didn’t even get one of everything! We watched the Jim Carey Grinch movie while we ate – he is so funny in that movie. Afterward, we had our White Elephant gift exchange. This year’s theme was an item with the same first letter as your name. There were some good prizes and a few were in high demand – the desk lamp, the Tommy Hilfiger blanket and the M&Ms with the $20 bill were all stolen the max three times, which is always fun. Next, we moved into the living room around the tree. Abby was our little elf again this year, passing out all the presents. I got a nice pair of jogging shoes (OK, walking shoes – LOL) and a bunch of new Hot Wheels. We enjoyed a couple of adult beverages – we emptied the two growlers I brought pretty quickly. Jamie had some sort of brown ale that had some interesting ingredients like nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla that was interesting. Gary was there to meet us at the house when we got there. Dee, Jamie & Grace all made it. Luke was supposed to have wrestling practice, but he missed it due to working then, just as he was going in, he was called off of work as well…which was fine by us. The only ones missing were Keith & Rosie (and Meg), who weren’t able to make it home this year due to COVID. We talked and laughed for a bit but then had to call it an early evening so we could come back and get to our family traditions as well. As we drove through the square on our way home, the downtown area looked so pretty with all the lights and the snow and it was completely empty and quiet. We did Christmas with Gary and then said our goodbyes, as he had to get back up to his house for the night. We got our new Christmas t-shirts and then took a nice family picture in front of the Christmas tree with the camera on the tripod before Garrett took off. We opened our glass Santa Cokes and read The Night Before Christmas. The kids put out milk & cookies as well as Coke for Santa, but no cheese this year for some reason. The kids retreated to Luke’s room where they wrapped up all of Ann’s gifts while Annie set up in the kitchen again this year to wrap all the presents. I was the runner bringing items to wrap and then putting the finished products under the tree. We set Matt & Taylor up out in the family room and continued working late into the morning again. One of these years, we have to start wrapping a dozen or so presents a few nights during the weeks leading up to the big day. As it was, I threw on some of our favorite Christmas tunes and played them on the new Samsung sound bar and we did our thing as it continued snowing all night… We finally wound down sometime after 4 am – but not before starting a new tradition. Years back, we started taking pictures of Mom & Dad sleeping as we helped Santa wrap presents for the kids. Obviously, they haven’t been around to do that in almost a decade so this year we took one of Matt & Taylor sacked out while we performed our annual tasks. We took a traditional one but we also couldn’t help but have a fun one with them as well – LOL. 😊 As we went to bed, we looked outside and it was just beautiful. We received the White Christmas we had been hoping for all week… Here are pictures of the latest additions to my Hot Wheels collection.

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As you might imagine, we fell asleep pretty quickly and only after about three hours the kids and dogs had us up again to start unwrapping all the presents. The kids had mugs of Ann’s homemade hot chocolate waiting on us when we got out to the living room. Luke was Santa’s little elf on a frigid, snowy morning, passing out all the presents to everyone. Christmas had exploded in our living room again this year! We went youngest to oldest again and I think everyone was happy. Luke’s favorite gift this year was his new Nike shoes. Abby’s was either her new boots or her matching PJ’s (they match Molly’s!). Matt’s was his Nintendo Switch game called Mario vs. Luigi. Abby got one as well and the kids enjoyed playing with them in the living room after we got all the papers, boxes and trash mess picked up and thrown away. Ann’s favorite was her new bracelet. My favorite (besides the 100 new Hot Wheels) was my new humidor which Ann even had personalized! Now I just need some good stogies to put inside!! We enjoyed a few rounds of mimosas before we had to get cleaned-up, warm up the car and head over to Mom and Sandy’s for our traditional Christmas dinner. It was another grand feast with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, noodles, homemade mac & cheese, two dishes of corn casserole, dressing, sweet potatoes, baked beans, green bean casserole, olive dip and rolls. For dessert, there were four kids of cookies plus an apple pie and Jamie’s pecan pie casserole soup. I’m not sure what sort of consistency he was going for, but it was delicious with a scoop of ice cream! We played a Christmas dice game and a few games of Christmas bingo (well, everyone else played while Mom & I slept in the living room). Taylor and Luke were the big winners. We Zoomed with Keith & Rosie who couldn’t make it in this year. We did have Dee, Jamie & Grace as well as Donna (Grace’s other grandma), who was recently became widowed when David passed away a week or so ago. I thought it was sweet Maryann had invited her but wasn’t sure why she wasn’t with Chad. Despite the crushing loss, she put on a brave face and tried to enjoy herself. Matt & Taylor had to dip early and head up to her parents’ home to do Christmas with them. We came home to watch Christmas movies and take naps. The kids retreated to their rooms and put away all their new treasures. I never did fall asleep but Annie finally got a little shuteye in her chair. I watched A Christmas Story, Bad Santa and then Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas before flipping on the NFL game which had the Saints & Vikings. Drew Brees looked a lot better – like his ribs were starting to heal finally. They got out to a big lead and by the time the kids got back from Mom & Sandy’s house after their food raid, we turned on HBO Max and watched the new Wonder Woman movie called WW84. It was pretty bad ass. Afterward, Abs, Lola and Delilah all turned in for the night. Ann & I watched Frosty the Snowman before calling it a night ourselves. Here are random pictures from our recent adventures.

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Molly had me up early on Saturday morning. I took advantage of it and finished editing pictures and videos as well as wrote out all of the html code for this week’s blog. When Luke got up, he wanted to go to the store to get spend his Christmas money (it has always burned a hole in his pocket). So, we went out to Walmart, where it was a madhouse – as I had predicted before we left. We stopped at GameStop to do some Hot Wheels hunting. As I got out of the car, I noticed that Luke had parked pretty close to the car next to me but that I could slide out. Unfortunately, I my view of my waist and the physical size of it was different and the door bumped into the car next to me. As I got out, the guy in the car got shitty with me. I apologized and kept walking into the store. I’m not sure what his motive was, but the guy got out of his car and started talking crap. So, I walked back to him and asked him what he needed from me other than an apology. About that time, Luke got out of the car and the guy decided he didn’t want to pursue his current line of behavior any longer. We walked into the store and because of the encounter, we had completely forgotten to grab our masks. When we went in, Luke was the first to notice everyone staring at us. I just figured it was because of the shouting in the parking lot. Then we realized we didn’t have masks on. We apologized and quickly left the store in embarrassment. Walmart was very busy, as the day after Christmas always is. We were able to navigate without too much trouble but then there was the check-out…which took about as long as it did to do our shopping. They were absolutely swamped. We made the most of it and just enjoyed spending time together, rather than bitching about the wait, as many of those around us were doing. We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s before coming home to build Luke’s new gaming table. I let him take the lead and was just his helper. He did fairly good but we did have to take it apart a couple times and start over. Towards the end of the building process, we figured out that we were going to have to take it apart for the third (or fourth?) time and decided to just modify it a bit and so we just drilled a couple new holes. Thankfully, it worked perfectly and completed the project just before he had to leave for work. So, he got dressed and went on into Hibbett’s for the night. He came home only long enough to change his shoes and went back out that night with a buddy and didn’t get home until after I had gone to bed. Abby had left earlier that afternoon to go spend Christmas with Gary and his family, so that left Ann & I to enjoy a quiet night with the dogs. We watched several more Christmas movies that evening, including It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th St., Scrooged, The Wizard of Oz, and Gremlins while munching on leftovers from yesterday. We have lots of social media pictures to share this week.

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It was Lola that got my butt out of bed on Sunday morning. I watched a few things on the DVR and then when Ann got up, we continued watching our Christmas movies, getting in Polar Express and the newer Grinch movie before football came on. That afternoon, we returned to Gma & Gigi’s house. This time, it was to celebrate Dee’s birthday. Luke drove over shortly after we got there and was able to stay for a while before heading on to Hibbett’s to work that evening. Abby drove back from Gary’s house and joined us just before Luke left. We sang an awful version of the Birthday Song to her and she blew out all the candles on her cakes (talk about full of hot air, huh?). The guys watched the Colts game while the girls visited around the dining room table until Ann was ready to go nap. We came home to watch the end of the Colts game. I did our weekly household chores while Abby cleaned her room and Ann tried to nap. The Colts lost a heartbreaker and now are in a position where they could miss the playoffs. We flipped over to RedZone and watched the Cowboys vs. Eagles game, which is essentially a playoff game where the loser was eliminated from post-season play. Ann made dinner of grilled chicken tenders, mac & cheese and roasted carrots. I was going to have leftovers but it smelled so good that I had to put it all away and wait for it to finish cooking instead. It was well worth the wait. Afterward, Abby made a paw print ornament with Molly to commemorate what will likely be her last Christmas with us. I paused the Cowboy’s game to eat and afterwards enjoyed watching them win and the Redskins lose, eliminating Philly from the playoffs. Next week, I’ll be rooting for a Dallas win and a Washington loss. If that occurs, the Cowboys will win the division, host a playoff game and keep their hopes of winning their sixth Super Bowl alive. Luke went out to hang with his buddies that night while Ann read, Abby & Delilah played video games in her room and I watched a snowy football game in Green Bay then flipped over at halftime and watched one more Christmas movie. This time, it was Home Alone. It was the perfect way to wind down the weekend and put an end to an outstanding week.

Next up is our Waybac segment which continues to feature two collections – one from Ann’s Uncle Red and one from Dee’s first digital camera in 2004. We lead off with Red’s collection: a collection of bust photos of Red’s family from the 1920s; baby photos of a child named Malinda in the 1930s; Aunt Lindy at an oil well in 1964; and Uncle Red and fam with their cars in May of ’78. Next, we move on to more 2004 pix: April – Easter at Mom & Sandy’s; June – Luke’s bday; July – 4th of July fun from the parade to swimming to fireworks, the fair parade (with a Duke Tamato concert at the fairgrounds, Grace’s bday, Indy Blues Fest and then Sandy’s bday (what a month!); August – we meet Minnie & Charlie; September – Abby’s birthday; November – Memaw’s bday and Thanksgiving Day with the fam; and December – the Christmas parade, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

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Next up, we have our video segment which features three new home movies this week as well as several from around the internet.

And that does it for this week’s episode of the Scheu Family Blog. Thanks for keeping up with us this time out and we’ll catch up with you again next time. Until then, have a good one and stay safe out there. We miss ya, Mom. Merry Christmas from our family to yours…
Later, Scheu

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