Yesterday afternoon seemed like it was going to be nice, simple and straightforward. I spent the afternoon grading finals, submitting my grades (hello winter break), picking up around the house and making cookies, nothing major. Eric finished off his Christmas shopping while Cordelia snoozed away. He put my Christmas present under a purple sheet in the garage and told me not to look at it. I have, as a result, been avoiding even casting a glance in that direction.
Around 4 pm we decided to head to my parent's house. We planned to head over for a little Christmas decorating (they put it off due to still-a -puppy Bode) and some dinner, mostly just hoping for a much more mellow Sunday than the week before (we ended up in the ER last week). We loaded up into our car; cookies, humans, Bumblebee. I drove the longer route which goes by the river, wearing sunglasses as the last few rays of the setting sun were rather intense. Since I didn't take the customary route to my parent's house Cordelia was very concerned that we might be going the wrong way. She asked me to turn the car around. I explained that we were just going a different way and she kept repeating that for the last mile or so.
When we pulled into the driveway we noticed a red car with Colorado license plates parked in front, at the curb. "Who's car is that?" Eric wondered.
I looked it over and didn't think there was anyone from CO who would be visiting my family and said, "It has to be people visiting the neighbors across the street."
We gathered ourselves together. Eric grabbed Cordelia who was worried that her hands would freeze between the car and the front door as she'd taken her gloves off. I grabbed the cookies and Bumblebee who was whining and shaking with excitement.
We got to the front door and I suggested that I enter first so Eric didn't get caught in between the dogs who enthusiastically greet each other. We opened the door and Bode came bolting down the stairs. Bumblebee went rushing up, pulling me. I was vaguely aware that there was someone on the stairs, but I didn't look up as I was dealing with Bumblebee. Finally, a few steps up I paused just long enough to see who I was dealing with. I think I was planning to advise them to help Eric who was holding Bode at the front door, but when I looked up I was face to face with a big surprise!
Ben! My brother Ben is here in WY!! He and Sara had flown into CO and gotten a rental car to drive up here. I said, "Oh!" I was so completely surprised that I was, in fact, momentarily dumbfounded. I hugged my brother, tight. Then I headed upstairs where his lovely wife Sara was waiting. What a huge surprise! My mother was the only one in the know and that was because Sara had told her the day before.
Our family is all together for the first time since August of 2010. I am so happy that we are all in the same place at the same time! They can't stay for Christmas, but we get them for the whole week!
Here is a picture of Ben and Sara from this summer. I didn't have my camera last night.