Christmas 2016 Is In The Books…

The Christmas of 2016 was Christmas # sixty-two for me.   It was also Christmas # forty-four with Ed and I as a married couple, Christmas # thirty-eight as a married couple with children, and Christmas # ten as a married couple with grandchildren.  That’s a lot of Christmas celebrations!  Bare with me as I attempt to document the most recent of those celebrations, via this blog…

I began Christmas Eve in a nostalgic mood.  It all started on Saturday morning, when one of those “memories” popped up in my Facebook feed, and I watched a video I’d made a few years ago. Watching the slide show, of so many past Christmases, triggered some tears, and they continued to fall, off and on, throughout the day. (It’s also possible I was having a hormonal moment) So many of the people in that video are no longer with us–all of our parents, a favorite uncle, a favorite cousin…  I cooked and  cried, as I thought about the years past.

Because I was feeling nostalgic, I decided to go over to my late mother-in-law’s house to borrow her Christmas china to use for our Christmas dinner, the following day. (We often use paper plates)  Her china was still sitting in the china cabinet, even though she’s been deceased for over three years.  As usual, “Trouble”, the cat who still lives alone at the house, met me at the driveway, so I gave her a bowl of milk.  I returned home, and began washing dinner plates as memories of Christmases past still flooded my mind.

I went ahead and set the table with the china, as I washed and dried the plates.  I also used my mother-in-law’s stainless steel flatware on the holiday table.  Believe it or not, after I’d finished setting the table, our daughter and her family showed up bearing a gift–a set of Christmas china–for me!  There’s an interesting story behind this gift, which was actually from Ed, but I won’t take time to tell it today.   Let’s just say I sure was surprised, and it made me cry some more!  Ed pitched in and helped wash the new plates, while I reset the table with my new china… (if you look at the table, below, you’ll see I left my mother-in-law’s platter on the table, along with her salt and pepper shakers)

The highlight of my Christmas Eve turned out to be the candlelight service we attended that night.  Believe it or not, it was my first time attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service.  Our oldest son had been asked to deliver the evening message, and it was one of his best, yet.  His message was followed by the candle lighting part of the service.  This is where things got a little bit precarious in the church.  Our daughter-in-law was at the service with our two oldest grandsons, and she had two of her young nephews with her, as well.  Picture, if you will, four little boys, all with lit candles, inside of a church!  At one point, the candle table became a little shaky while one of the nephews was trying to light his candle.  Thanks to Christina’s sharp reflexes, she was able to avert a possible crisis by quickly steadying the wobbly table!  We all breathed a sigh of relief.

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Our Christmas Day began bright and early, at six o’clock.  Thankfully, I woke up in a better mood, and we quickly set about the business of getting the turkey in the oven.  I sent the Christmas ham across the yard to our daughter’s house to bake in her oven, since my oven would be tied up with the turkey.  Ed and I were invited to eat Christmas breakfast with them, and we did.

I planned a late lunch because some were attending Sunday services at ten.  We sat down to eat around one-thirty, and finished in the kitchen just before three.  We were just getting around to dessert when our oldest son joined us, late.  He’d gone to visit the residents of the assisted living facility where he holds Sunday services, each week.

Because we almost forgot to take ‘the crazy hat family photo’ the past couple of years, I told everyone let’s do that first, this year.  This has become a family tradition with our family for the past several years, and it’s always fun to pick out a different hat to wear each year.  I usually add one new hat to the collection, each Christmas.  Of course, there’s always one grandchild who refuses to wear a hat, and this year it was Chase’s turn.  I’ve also noticed our oldest son wears those same reindeer antlers every year…

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I also did something new this year, that I’d like to see turn into another family tradition.  I baked a small cake which I designated as Jesus’ birthday cake.  It was a lemon cake, decorated with colored sprinkles and candles.  Our youngest grandson, Evan, loves singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles, so he was excited about this.  All of the older grandchildren happily joined in, too.

Sometime after three, we began the gift opening portion of Christmas Day by letting the children open their gifts first, one at a time.  About the time the adults were finally getting ready to play the “Dirty Santa” game, daughter-in-law, Jennifer, got a phone call.  She was needed for a medical emergency at the home of her grandparents.  (Her grandfather had just been released from the hospital, on Christmas Eve, after spending the past month battling pneumonia.)  We put the gift opening on hold while Jennifer went to give her grandfather his breathing treatment.

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The weather here was a sunny and a warm 75 degrees on Christmas Day, so everyone retreated outdoors while Jennifer was gone.  (We all wore shorts and  had two a/c units running all day long)  The older children enjoyed playing with granddaughter, Madison’s, new basketball goal, while Evan, the youngest, enjoyed driving his new Jeep around the yard–right up until the power switch broke 😦  (His ‘crafty’ dad has since been able to replace the broken switch, thank goodness)

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It was almost suppertime by the time Jennifer returned, so we decided to eat (again) before the adults opened their gifts.  By that time, it was after seven o’clock.  Talk about dragging out Christmas all day!  Of course, by then, the children were wishing they had more gifts to open, too.

The adults played our usual two rounds of “Dirty Santa”, but not much stealing went on this year.  I’m not sure if everyone really loved the gifts they received or they were just too tired to steal from anyone, by the time we finally got to open our gifts.  I was so tired, I forgot to take any pictures, except for this one, when we first started the game.

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It was well after ten, Christmas night, when Ed and I finally finished in the kitchen and fell into bed, shortly before eleven.  To say we were exhausted would be an understatement, but it was a most enjoyable and fulfilling day! Nothing compares to being surrounded by your entire family, especially at Christmas.  Ed and I have been very blessed, to have our entire family with us every Christmas, for the past forty-four Christmases, with the exception of the one year Jennifer had to work.  That’s almost unheard of!

Just think, only 362 more days, and Christmas will be here again…  As quickly as time is passing, perhaps I should just leave all of these decorations in place 🙂  It’s a nice thought, anyway.

 

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Published in: on December 28, 2016 at 9:08 am  Comments (4)  
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The First Day Of Winter Hodgepodge…

T’was the first day of winter, and all through the house…the gifts were all wrapped…Christmas candy was finished… and the last thing on the list was more cooking and cleaning!  But that will have to wait until another day, because today is Wednesday, and that means it’s time to join in The Hodgepodge!  Thank you to our hostess, Joyce, for providing another great set of questions that didn’t require a lot of deep thinking 🙂  My brain is weary this time of the year.

Here are today’s questions:

1. What’s left to be done on your Christmas to-do list?

We just need to hold our decorations together until Christmas, and begin preparations for the Christmas meal.  By “holding the decorations together”, I’m referring to keeping the outdoor decorations in place and working.  We’ve already had to replace one outdoor timer, plus we’ve been having to help our inflatables up each night, due to the rain we’ve been getting, lately.  Excessive rain and outdoor Christmas decorations usually make a poor combination.

2. The Hodgepodge lands on the first day of winter this year. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

I was tempted to say “Not having to deal with gnats or mosquitoes”, but my real favorite thing about winter is Christmas.  I love all things Christmas!

3. In what area of your life are you immature? Feel free to elaborate or not.

I’m immature in the spiritual area of my life, but I’m working on that.  To borrow a quote from Joyce Meyer, “I’m not where I want to be, but, praise the Lord, I’m not where I used to be!”

4. What was the most (or one of the most) important lessons you learned in 2016?

Sometimes, the search for a new church home can be long and hard, but there can be joy in the journey.

5. It’s Fried Shrimp Day…are you a fan? What’s your favorite way to eat shrimp? Will there be shrimp somewhere in your holiday feastings?

Yes, I love fried shrimp…that’s my favorite way to eat them.  There won’t be any shrimp in our holiday feasts, but I sure would like to have some.

6. What sound lulls you to sleep?

The sound of the television turned down very low, so I just can hear the voices, but can’t really understand what’s being said.  I set the timer on the television for about 90 minutes, most nights.  Gaither gospel music videos and Hallmark movies are among my favorite shows to fall asleep to.  Going to sleep [or staying asleep] is a problem for me.

7. What one word best describes your 2016?

“Better”.  Although 2016 presented its fair share of problems for Ed and me, I’ll have to say it was A LOT BETTER than 2015 was.

Random:  

Some special wishes from me to you…

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Dear blog friends,

Over the years, I’ve come to know each you through your blogs, and every one of you has a special place in my heart.  When you’re happy, I rejoice for you.  When you’re going through life’s trials, I pray for you.  I care about you.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” for taking the time to visit my blog, leave comments, and thank you, especially, for sending up prayers on my behalf, during hard times.  It means more than you’ll ever know.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to  wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year!  Take care, and enjoy your holidays.

Love,

Published in: on December 21, 2016 at 8:56 am  Comments (13)  
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Have Yourself A Merry Little Hodgepodge…

I can’t believe it’s only a week and a half until Christmas!  I still haven’t finished wrapping gifts, nor have I done the first bit of holiday baking, but all of that can wait, ’cause it’s time for The Hodgepodge!  As always, thanks to our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, for everything she does.

1. Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate.

I’m not sure, but I think I’m more ‘people oriented’.  If I’m not, I’d like to be.  A Google search resulted in the following explanation of ‘people oriented’.
What is the definition of people oriented?
The phrase “people-oriented” is generally used to convey something vaguely like a company where everyone is friends. They all get along, are pleasant and happy and smile at each other when they pass in the halls.

2. December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls Day…do you own/wear pearls? If you’re a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a ‘pearl of wisdom’ with us here today.

I don’t own a strand of pearls, but I do have a pearl [single black pearl on a chain] necklace that Ed sent me from Okinawa while he was stationed there, forty-something years ago.  Since I rarely wear jewelry, it’s been tucked away in my jewelry box for a long, long time.  While Ed was in Okinawa, he also sent his mama a strand of white pearls, but we don’t know what ever happened to them.  After she passed away, we searched the house high and low, but failed to find her precious pearls. (She wanted our daughter to have them after she died.) My ‘pearl of wisdom’, for today, is this:  If you want to give someone a prized possession, perhaps it’s best to do it while you’re still living.

3. Speaking of pearls…oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

I’m not a fan of oysters, no way, no how.  Just the sight of an oyster makes me want to gag, I can’t imagine eating one!

4. Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let’s take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?

I don’t know which famous person would make the best candidate for Man or Woman of the year, but, as far as I’m concerned, my husband, Ed, is “Man of the Year”.  After all, he puts up with me 365 days of the year!

5. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it’s a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.

Green is one of my least favorite colors, so this color definitely won’t make it into my home, and probably not in my wardrobe either.  All of that being said, this IS one of the prettier shades of green that I’ve seen.

6. Today I’ve had too much ‘bad food’.  Today, I ate a cinnamon raisin bagel for breakfast, followed by a hamburger and french fries for lunch.  I did try to redeem myself by eating a salad for supper, though. (I’m answering these questions on Tuesday night)

7. Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol.

I love Let It Be Christmas.  Nobody can write a song quite like Alan Jackson.

 

Let It Be Christmas
Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the hearts of all people both near and a far
Christmas everywhere
Feel the love of the season wherever you are
On the small country roads lined with green mistletoe
Big city streets where a thousand lights glow
Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
Let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere
Let it be Christmas everywhere
With the gold and silver, the green and the red
Christmas everywhere
In the smiles of all children asleep in their beds
In the
Random:
This week, I brought out my two most annoying Christmas decorations.  First there’s the crazy snowman Christmas clock who requires a little help (a push-pin works) to hang straight on the wall.  He plays a few Christmas songs, but only when the notion strikes him!  This isn’t a bad thing since he plays that dreadful electronic music of yesteryear.  Mr. Snowman Clock must be a night owl, because he seems to play more often in the wee hours…  His other quirk is that he plays his music at five minutes after the hour!  Gotta’ love him.
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My other annoying decoration is my bathroom snowman, Jolly Johnny, who holds a plunger and sits on a shelf behind the toilet.
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 He’s there to startle and greet everyone with his little song:  Ho, Ho, Ho.  Who’s Gotta’ Go?  Ho, Ho, Ho.  Who’s Gotta’ Go?   I’m in the bathroom, don’t mind me.  I’m here to keep you company!   Johnny does his job of keeping us company very well!  In fact he does it so well,  he gets banished to the laundry room at night 🙂
Published in: on December 14, 2016 at 8:33 am  Comments (13)  

Dear Blog…

Dear Blog,

Lately I’ve been unfaithful to you.  I’ve neglected you while I’ve been busy doing other things–or busy just doing nothing.  Today I am feeling a bit guilty, so I’ve come to spend some time with you.  By the way, I’m sitting here in my pajamas, at 11 o’clock in the morning, doing absolutely nothing–and it feels wonderful!  The past few days have been sort of busy for us, so it feels good to just relax.

Then, of course, there’s the little problem of my failing eyesight.  The cataract in my left eye has gotten so bothersome, most days I see two of everything.  It’s hard to do a lot of blogging when you’re seeing double and everything seems to be out of focus.  January can’t get here fast enough, so I can meet with the Ophthalmologist about surgery.

Last week, Ed and I spent a couple of evenings with some of our grandchildren.  ‘Tis the season for Christmas parties, and we were the designated babysitters.  While we enjoyed being with our grandchildren, it made us realize why people have their children when they’re young.  We were tired by the end of the evening!  Of course, these days, Ed and I wake up tired…a lot.

On Friday night, Ed and I joined the ranks of the ‘party goers’ and attended a party, ourselves.  I can’t remember how long it had been since we’d attended a party, other than a family one, but we had a great time!  The home of the host and hostess was the best decorated I’ve ever seen.  I consider myself  near a ’10’ when it comes to Christmas  decorating, but this home was over the top!  There were Christmas comforters on all of the beds, trees in every room,  and beautiful village and nativity scenes displayed in multiple places.  I was in heaven!  Not only were the decorations fantastic, so was the food.  We ended up having a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange which turned out to be the highlight of the evening.  I don’t remember when I’ve laughed so much!

Friday night also turned out to be the coldest night we’ve had, so far.  Our temperatures dipped down into the 20’s which meant Ed and I spent a large portion of Friday afternoon relocating and protecting outside plants.  On Saturday morning, we woke up to find our bird bath was frozen over!  The cold snap was short-lived, and it’s already back into the high 60’s today.

Ed and I have attended three Christmas parades during the past two weekends,  with two of them being on the same day.  I love a good Christmas parade, especially the ones held at night!  Fortunately, the weather was fairly mild for the night parade, but it was rather chilly for the last day parade we attended.  I used to take my camera along and take pictures, but I’ve learned it’s better to just relax and enjoy the parade.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that Ed’s been dealing with a toothache, off and on, for the past two weeks.  He’s been to the dentist twice, so far.  He has another appointment with a different dentist, this week, for a second opinion.  The first dentist can’t really determine, for sure, what’s causing the problem, so he’s referred Ed for another opinion and possible root canal.  Sounds like fun, huh?  Merry Christmas to Ed.

Ed recently purchased himself a used electronic keyboard/stand.  For the first time, in many, many years, the sound of piano music is filling the air of our home, again, and you know what?  It’s kind of nice!  Ed has some more practicing to do, but every day he gets better and better.  His previous piano was a monster of an antique, which took up a ton of space and never really sounded that great. (It’s currently sitting in his parents’ house.)  I love, love, love this keyboard.  It’s portable, sounds great, and has a volume control.  What more could you ask for?

Our daughter and her family are still without floor covering in three rooms of their home, and are still without a kitchen sink or base cabinet. (their home was flooded by an over-flowing toilet)  They’ve been ‘making do’ for almost two months.  I hope the New Year will find their house back in order, once again.  Two months are a L-O-N-G time to ‘make do’, but it can be done.

Today is our oldest grandson, Caden’s, birthday. He is now eight.  I still remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday!  I was in the middle of hosting a Christmas luncheon for Ed’s employees when the call came saying the doctor was going to do an unscheduled c-section!  Man, talk about bad timing!  But I was able to make it to the hospital in plenty of time.  The rest is history.  Ah, they grow up too fast, don’t they?!

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Happy 8th birthday, Caden

You know, I haven’t wrapped a single present to go underneath the Christmas tree, so I suppose I really should get off this computer and get busy. I know, for sure, they’re not going to wrap themselves, and it’s only 12 more days until Christmas.  Wow, where is the time going?

Until next time… Happy Monday!


 

 

Published in: on December 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm  Comments (7)  
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It’s Beginning To Look Like A Hodgepodge…

Greetings everybody!  I can’t believe another week has passed since I last blogged.  I’ve been as busy as a bee, getting ready for Christmas, but I’m finished, so today is the perfect time to relax with The Wednesday Hodgepodge.  As always, thanks to our wonderful hostess, Joyce, for providing us with this day of fun and relaxation!

1. Let’s talk holiday decorating. On a scale of 1-10 where do you fall? (1=Scrooge and 10= Clark Griswold). What’s your favorite corner-room-table-space to decorate? Is it done?

Oh, my goodness!  Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m almost a “10” on the scale of holiday decorating!  Every year I go overboard, and it takes well over a week to put it all up, and another week to put it all away.  My favorite room to decorate is the living room, because that’s where the majority of my decorations are displayed, and yes, the living room is finished.  In fact, I ‘officially’ finished decorating, yesterday morning–ending with a total of four Christmas trees inside the house,  two Christmas trees on the front porch…and a reindeer head cover on top of the toilet lid!

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some of the decorations I’ve collected over the years

2. Is there a nativity scene in your decorating somewhere? Post a picture or, if it’s special to you in some way, tell us why. Or do both-it’s Christmas!

Yes, there is a nativity scene among my decorations.  It’s the fourth nativity scene I’ve owned during our forty-four years of marriage.  I found this particular nativity scene in a thrift store, two years ago, and added it to my collection.  Unfortunately, my favorite nativity scene is packed away.  It’s a three-piece, light up, Bethlehem village scene, that I didn’t have a place to display, this year.

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my ‘thrift store’ nativity scene, along with my two angel music boxes

3.  Do you live in a social neighborhood? If so are you glad? If not do you wish you did?

We live in the country, so I’m not sure you could say we have a ‘neighborhood’.  However, our neighbors, on three sides of us are family, so, of course, we’re social.  It’s very comforting to have neighbors you can count on in good times or in bad.

4.  As the saying goes, ‘there’s no time like the present‘. How does that ring true in your life right now?

Time seems to be going by faster and faster, these days, and more and more people we know are dying.  I’m thinking, ‘there’s no time like the present’ for doing whatever it is we want (or need)) t0 to do!

5. Do you dread Mondays? Why or why not?

 No,  I don’t dread Mondays.  Now that Ed and I are both retired, there’s no reason to dread Mondays anymore.

6.  Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis-which on the list is your favorite holiday plant? Are any of these on display in your home right now?

I love Poinsettias, but I’ve never been good at keeping them alive, so I feel guilty about buying them. I do have an artificial Poinsettia on display, but I’ll deliver it to the cemetery in just a few more days.

7. Share a favorite quote from a Christmas movie.

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”  from the movie, A Christmas Story.  I love the line, and the movie.

 

Random:

I mentioned, the other day, how my eyesight has gotten a lot worse, especially in one eye.  Last week, I went for an eye appointment, and my optometrist told me she can no longer improve my vision with glasses.  Apparently, the cataract that’s been growing on my left eye is ready for removal.  My right eye will have to wait a while.  I’ll be meeting with the surgeon in January about having this procedure done.  Ed’s already had both of his eyes done, so at least I already know the scenario.

In other news, here are a few more pics of the  Christmas decorations we’ve been working on…

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the tree in our living room ( with the new throw pillows I crocheted)

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the kitchen tree (excuse Ed’s bucket, please)

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outside decorations (next to the woods)

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more outside decorations (next to the house)

Published in: on December 7, 2016 at 9:03 am  Comments (10)