See that blue bowl on the table in the photo above? Sissy made that for one of the kids. She's been making bowls for them for the past several years and it's become one of those things they look forward to each Christmas. What kind of bowl is Aunt C. going to make this year? they start asking a few weeks before Christmas. But I don't tell them. Sometimes I know what she's doing and sometimes I don't. This year I wasn't sure until I saw them. Some years they involve dangerous stuff, like melting record albums. And having to heave them on the back porch because they were burning and giving off toxic fumes.
*Note to self - don't make record bowls. Have Sissy do it. She's already been exposed to dangerous fumes.
She stuffs them with all kinds of things and her nieces/nephew love them. Other sissy gives cool presents like make-your-own-ice-cream-in-a-bowl presents. The little nieces REALLY loved those! It's hard to top these two sissies, I tell you.
We spent Christmas Eve with the sissies and their families, along with my dad, visiting from a sunnier climate. We all went to Christmas Eve service at the church Sissy's family and my family attend. Outside of my own family, my church family is who I want to be with on Christmas Eve. I love seeing everyone and wishing them happy Christmas. There's an air of joviality, and solemnity. Of peacefulness and celebration. We sing Christmas carols, and worship songs, and hear the Christmas story, the REAL Christmas story, in a torch lit church on a quiet country road.
K. sang a solo this year, accompanied by J. and a fellow musician on their guitars. She sang beautifully and my heart was bursting just watching her and J. sing and play in front of the congregation. Cool as a cucumber, that one is. She didn't look nervous at all. After church, and much hugging and kissing and bidding each other merry Christmas, we all went to Sissy's house to eat and open presents. It was one of the nicest Christmases we've spent and I want to freeze certain moments in my mind.
Like D. asking repeatedly when she and E. were going to go to bed. They didn't want to miss Santa coming by being up and about. She asked several times and then finally said, "Is anyone going to put us to bed tonight?!"
Like looking around me, and behind me, and in front of me, and seeing my whole family in church, together, for such a perfect night. Surrounded by the people I hold closest to my heart. Worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am a blessed woman.
Like watching K. open a gift from Sissy. A
large, really big, humongous locket with a picture of you-know-who in it. K. started giggling and kept a smile on her face the rest of the night.
Like leaving Sissy's house and seeing a plane with a blinking red light flying across the sky and remembering the year the little girls and I went outside to see if we could spot Santa. We saw a solid red light going across the sky and convinced ourselves that we had seen the jolly old fella.
Like J. and Grampa realizing that they were wearing pretty similar scarfs (for all you English majors out there, read this) and hats and we all giggled at the idea that a nineteen year old and a sixty-nine year old dress alike.
Like sitting by myself on Christmas Eve while everyone slept, with only the tree lights illuminating the room, the dog curled at my feet, a cup of hot tea at my side, watching "White Christmas" before heading off to slumber.
So many good things to remember. I hope I do.
Serve stuffed french toast for breakfast on Christmas morning.
What is, "How to make your family love you even more?" Give the woman 1000 points, Alex Trebek.
And what would Christmas morning be without Lego bricks of some sort at the table? J. has been putting Lego mini-figures in the tree for the past three weeks and I. Never. Knew.
Nope, didn't look at the tree all that closely, I guess. It wasn't until J., and K., and P. were chatting in the living room one evening last week, laughing and smirking at the tree and then at me, and then back at the tree, and then back at me, and then back at the tree...well, you get the point.
I had to get up and investigate. And found 20 something figurines in the tree.
And a spaceship. A six-inch long spaceship. In my tree.
How on earth did I miss that?
Enjoyed a quiet, slow morning, opening presents, eating food, and spreading more cheer amongst each other.
Christmas is one of the few days during the year that they don't argue, or bicker, or spat, or do any of the other typical sibling things. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Dad and other sissy and her family came over for Christmas ham, and all the trimmings, and then Sissy and her family joined us for leftovers and dessert. And some harmonica playing. And chess playing.
The lights went out twice, and the last time, Grampa was upstairs in the dark in the powder room. Thank goodness J. remembered him and shouted for him to STAY STILL. We didn't want him tumbling down the stairs in the dark. J. grabbed a flashlight and set off to rescue Grampa. Then the lights came on.
Shortly after that, everyone headed home before we lost the lights for the night. Geesh, where's their sense of adventure? I was asleep ten minutes after they left.
Snow came the next day. And with it came the wind and falling branches and whistling and thumping and howling.
And then shoveling. Ah, how I do love thee, Mr. Snowblower.