Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Close But Not Quite Done...

Christmas Eve is now in the annals for 2012 but Christmas is far from past -at least not here in this house. Not yet!

The tree is surrounded right now with packages galore -all for two small children who reside here. And, strangely enough, although there would appear to be enough gifts there to allow for probably at least 1 present to give to almost every other youngster here in town, Mandy knows there will still be a majorly upset little girl come morning when she realizes there is NO DSS amongst the presents here!

Too bad and sooooo sad is going to be the tag line from the adults -not that it will bring any comfort to her though.

We went to the 4 p.m. service at church today -mainly because the children both had parts with the Children's Choir for a nativity scene and song during today's service. I tried to video their part but it was hard to get a smooth picture going as there were too many people in front of where we were seated to get a nice clean shot. Oh well. It's a memento, such as it is, anyway and was a very cute presentation the kids made too!

I had planned to go to church to the late service tonight as well -at 10 p.m. -but the weather during the early service had begun to turn nasty -and when we left the church to come back home then, the car was coated with snow then and the roads were getting very slick too. Normally, snowfall wouldn't deter me now since I do have 4-wheel drive in the jeep but I just found out yesterday that the jeep also has a bad wheel bearing (left rear) and Mandy really didn't like the idea of my driving out there tonight with the jeep not being quite up to par level.

So, after supper tonight, I sat down in my recliner to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" and did what almost always happens to me after a meal -promptly fell asleep in the chair! Good thing I've already seen that movie umpteen times already so I know how it goes!

But, tonight is also the first time in a long string of Christmas Eve's that I missed attending the late service at church and so, as a result of that, I also missed hearing our choir sing my favorite Christmas song. If you've been reading my blog lately -or for several years -you already know it's a Swedish carol and this is a quiz to see if you remember the name of it!

After supper tonight too -while I napped -Mandy helped Maya write a note to leave on the kitchen counter for Santa, telling him to have some cookies and hot coffee too so he can get warmed up and able to continue on his journey around the world today, leaving gifts for good girls and boys. (How these two ever managed to fool him into believing they were so good and well-behaved as to warrant all the packages left here, I'll never be able to figure out.)

Anyway, here's a copy of the note that they wrote for Santa.along with a picture of the cookies and coffee left for him too!

Santa also printed out a thank you note to Maya for the coffee and cookies and even explained a bit about some of the presents under the tree for her and for Kurtis. As I was sitting here, writing this post, I heard footsteps on the stairs and then, the hall door opened and there's Maya -up at 2 a.m.! She found the note Santa had left for her on the tree, read it and was very happy with that.

Then, she decided to go back to bed but instead of going back upstairs, she decided she's going to sleep the rest of the night now in my room with good old Gram! Last night, she had gone upstairs and went to bed in her room as she wasn't happy with some things her Mother had told her as Mandy had tried to explain that there was probably not going to be a DSS (video game toy) under the tree for her as she wanted. So, as a result Maya had gone upstairs to bed because, as she told Mandy, "I need to think about some things!" Hmmm. My sweet little girl is growing up way too quickly in many ways but still, she bought the note for Santa and even the "Thank you" note he left behind so all is not history -not quite yet anyway. Maybe one more year of the fantasy fun still is waiting?

I'm pretty well "baked out" right about now as I have baked bread and sweet rolls and more bread and more sweet rolls in the past two weeks than I've ever made in such a short period of time before!

The last batch of sweet rolls I made -on Friday -were filled with a raspberry filling and they baked up beautifully and were soft and light in texture. Really MMMMMM-MMMMM good, for sure. Christmas Eve morning, I had baked yet another batch of the Swedish Limpa Rye bread too -took a loaf with me to church to give to a good friend of mine there as I know she very much loves the home-baked bread but is unable anymore to do things like that for herself due to the arthritis that plagues her now.

Tonight, around 11:30, I ventured out to walk Sammy and what a difference a day (or night) makes! Last night, it was all moonlit, stars galore shining and really, really cold -the kind that starts to feel like your nostrils are being pulled shut! Tonight, the sky was filled with clouds, covering the moon and stars and snow was still lightly falling but it was actually quite warm compared to last night's stroll! Peaceful and pretty too, even if the snow is going to make the roads treacherous and also, the weather is supposed to get even worse, come Wednesday into Thursday when the forecasters say we probably will get hit with between 6 and 12 inches of snow -at least!

And tonight, as Sammy and I walked, I was contemplating how different the house was tonight on Christmas Eve compared to other years -quiet! A very unusual thing to have in this old place on Christmas Eve, for sure!

Normally, my kids and I -and since the grandchildren came along over the past 14 years, it's always been pretty hectic and usually very noisy here on Christmas Eve as well as in the morning of Christmas Day too with the family being gathered here but tonight, it was just Mandy and the kids and me enjoying more of the Christmas Ham I cooked for our family gathering we had this past Saturday. A very tasty meal it was tonight, but also very different being just the four of us, for a change.

Thinking back over the years (yes, I've been doing a whole lot of that lately), this old house hasn't been this quite on a Christmas Eve in nigh onto 50 years -since the Christmas of 1963, after my Grandmother passed away earlier that year. Prior to her passing, at least two of my uncles and some of my cousins were always here to liven the place and make the holiday very merry and bright. But Christmas of 1963, it was just me and my Mom here that year and also over the next 2 years too. By 1966, my Mom was living with me in Maryland and the house was closed up most of the year except for a couple weeks in the summer when my Mom and her older sister and brother-in-law would be here for a little vacation time. It wasn't until 1972, when my ex-husband and I moved back to Pennsylvania that the house became a little alive over the holidays and then, from 1973 until this year, it's been the focal point for my kids and me. There was one year in the early 80s when the kids went to Ohio and spent Christmas there with their Dad and I was in Transfer, PA with the guy I was engaged to and his family that year. (One of the most depressing Christmases I have ever spent as it was the only one to date that I wasn't with my kids on Christmas!)

All this brings back lots of other memories of Christmas past -thankfully, no real ghosts though like Scrooge had visit him, but yet, a bit like that classic story as one replays the mental videos again.

So now, tonight -or rather this morning now -I'm going to turn in and maybe dream about those Christmases of long ago for me -spent with my aunts and uncles and cousins and the warmth just thinking of all of them -and me -reunited again -brings to my mind.

Wishing you and yours a very Blessed Christmas and of course, may we all have a very Happy New Year too!

And let there please, be PEACE on Earth and Goodwill to Men!

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