It's Christmas Night -actually, if you want to be technical -it's the wee hours of the morning on the day after Christmas! And, all through this house, the only creature stirring is Sammy as he had to move from where he had been reposing to be near me, after I moved over to the computer desk now to start to write this post. (He has to be at my feet -no matter where I go -or so it does seem. The cat is all curled up on the new Penn State Lap Robe older daughter and grandson, Alex, gave me for Christmas so I imagine when I move back over to my recliner, FluffNuts won't be ultra happy with me cause I'll be tossing him off his cherished spot.
The big part of the Christmas celebration is now history for this year -at least in this household it is.
We had our big family meal on Christmas Eve -baked ham, scalloped potatoes, candied carrots, acorn squash, coleslaw and fresh home-baked Swedish Limpa Rye bread too! For dessert -if anyone had room right after the meal -there was an assortment of cookies -Peppermint chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodles and tartlets filled with an assortment of fillings from pumpkin to lemon-coconut, to cranberry-nut, brownie and of course, pecan plus a milk chocolate cake frosted with chocolate-kahlua icing. After church at 9 p.m., which was a beautiful service, full of singing many, many of the old favorite Christmas carols, plus hearing the choir do a really fantasic rendition of a combination of Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Angels We Have Heard on High under the superb direction of our choir Director, Linda Nelson, we returned home, refreshed and fulfilled from hearing once again the beautiful Christmas story too. A very good reminder that although we all do get really wrapped up in all the hoopla leading up to Christmas -decorations, food preparations galore, gifts, wrapping and then, opening packages especially -that all too often the true reason why we celebrate this occasion gets stuffed in the background, lost in the mix.
And for a while on Christmas Eve, one could say our house did a good bit of that -getting all hepped up over the meal, the packages, and yes, the mess that comes with all of that work too!
(It took me the better part of Christmas Day till I finally got all the dishes washed up and put away from our dinner last night as well as from our "after church" snacks too -the cheeses, crackers and dips plus a bit of the Boone's Farm Wines I got for Christmas as well. (I['m enjoying a small glass right now of some Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill wine -an old, old favorite beverage of mine from way back in the dark ages. When I was still married, it was a bit of a tradition that my ex-husband would buy a case of Boone's Farm wines -a mixture of bottles -so I could take my pick -Apple Wine, Strawberry Hill or Mountain Grape. I used to joke that this was some "Fine Cheap Wine" but truth be told, I do like the flavors of this stuff and since I hadn't had any Boone's Farm stuff in many a year, it was a bit of a treat for me to partake last night of a bit of the wine! I even got a little surprise in that my son gave me a bottle of a different flavor that I'd never heard of -different flavor -Cold Creek Berry -which I really liked a lot too!)
Anyway, I thought since I haven't done any posts with pics of the kids and family for quite some time, that I'd give you a little glimpse of them -as well as the house and such -over the holidays.
Wednesday, the 22nd, was the final day of school here before the Christmas break and here's Maya, all decked out in the special dress she had for just that occasion. She was quite the excited little girl that day to be able to go to school and looking so pretty!
And here she is again, smiling so broadly, with her little brother looking a tad confused but happy that she allowed him to share her Rudolph hat that she made in school and proudly wore it home on the bus and then, turned it over to him. Days when she willingly shares things with her brother are a bit of a rarity here so maybe that's why he looks a bit confused!
Christmas Eve, I got my present from me to me -which consisted of the new glasses I had ordered on Tuesday at the Eye Doctor's and which I was really surprised when they phoned me on Thursday to tell me my new glasses -two pair (for the price of one, they say) were in already! Unfortunately, on Thursday, I had no transportation available as my son was using my jeep but Friday, you better believe I made arrangements with him so I could run into town and pick up my new specs! So nice to be able to read again!
The kids pestered Mandy most of the afternoon to please be permitted to open just one present and finally, she gave in and let them choose a package. They opted (maybe with a bit of persuasion from their mother though) to open the packages marked from Poppy to each of them. (Poppy being Grandpa who once upon a time, many, many moons ago, was married to Gram and who now lives in Nevada so the kids rarely see him.)
Here they are as they started ripping into those oh, so mysterious packages! Maya got a puppy on a leash that came with its own carrier too and Kurtis was thrilled beyond belief when he saw that his box contained a remote controlled car that is a "Bug-a-Bug" -which translated means it is a Volkswagon Bug vehicle! Uncle Clate took charge of the car and the battery charging which meant the car was on the charger all night then and on Christmas Day, it ended up being Uncle Clate who got to actually "play" with the car first as the kids were with their Dad and two of their siblings then too all day. Poor Sammy got chased all over the downstairs of the house by Uncle Clate with that car!
This shot is just for posterity's sake -to prove that once in a blue moon the living room actually gets cleaned up and in order -looking a bit nice and organized.
But then, in record time -or so it seemed -the living room then looks like this! Actually, the mess and mayhem was kept pretty well under control since I had Clate bring me a couple of garbage bags and as the kids opened their presents, I had them then put the ripped up wrapping paper in the garbage bags then and there! Kurtis, who usually is pretty good about helping to pick up around the place was Johnny on the spot to bring the papers over and put them in the trash bag and even Maya actually was a willing participator in this process too. I was in a bit of a state of shock to see her helping a bit to keep the mess under control as she generally never wants to help out in that respect, at all! Maybe she was remembering the "Elf on the Shelf" was watching and this gift exchange did not include any presents from Santa so she was just making sure, I guess, that he didn't overlook her because she'd been inconsiderate about helping to clean up!
Santa did come by this morning and both kids were really excited over what he left behind -more toys and even a brand new two-wheeler bike for Miss Maya! Heck of a time for a kid to get a new bike when there is snow on the ground and even the risk of a few icy patches on the road too so getting to actually try it out and ride it -well, that's gonna not happen for a while, I'm afraid! But she got plenty of other toys to occupy her time well until spring when the weather is much more conducive to bike riding then!
I got a surprise today too -an extra two gifts along with the items I received last night (a new sweater, a Penn State lap robe and coffee mug, plus a new faucet for my kitchen sink and a cute wall plaque that reads "My greatest blessings call me Grandma" and you know I loved that, don't you. But on Christmas Day, when I awoke from a long late morning-afternoon nap, there were two more gifts laying on the coffee table for me. Both were from Mandy's estranged husband a were quite a surprise to me as I sure wasn't expecting anything from him. But the neatest thing about his gifts to me was one was a Snuggie -one of those wrap-around you fleece things and the other is a little battery-operated apparatus that you can put in your ear and then be able to turn up the volume on the tv or whatever as high as you want and not annoy anyone else around by having the sound turned way up. Now, my kids got a big charge out of both of these gifts to me from him at first but in the end, they both agreed that both gifts were very well-intended and things I definitely would use and that I needed! The wrap-around thing is light-weight but just heavy enough to provide a lot of warmth to my arms, shoulders and back and that, plus the lap robe -well, they'll both get a work out here for sure because I am constantly freezing! (A bit of aftermath I guess from the chemo!) And the kids will be the first to admit that I can use something, for sure, to keep the volume on the tv under control so I can hear it without the sound deafening the rest of the household. I have not tried the device as yet but will let you know if it works as advertised! I sure do hope so and so does the rest of the family! So thank you Bill for two gifts that really are very much appreciated although I do wish he hadn't done that as I know his finances sure aren't in the best place where he can actually afford to be buying all kinds of presents for everyone and their brother, ya know.
And finally, a little bit of humor as we began moving closer on Christmas Eve to the big gift unveiling and such. Kurtis was playing in the late afternoon Christmas Eve on the living room floor and Mandy happened to see and hear this. He reached over for Maya's toy princess telephone and receiver in hand, he put it to his face and she heard him say, "Santa! I need help!"
We have no clue as to what his reason was to "call" Santa and make that statement unless of course, Maya may have been doing her normal thing and being the big bully sister that she often can be to him.
But needless to say, Mandy and I both loved the comment at any rate!
Here's hoping the beauty of this season and the reason behind it too are all part of your life -today and always. And may the New Year be one of great blessings to you and yours too.
And so, in the words my Swedish ancesters would have said, I say it now to you - God Jul!
Peace, love and happiness! May it all be yours!