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Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Family Christmas 2012

This Christmas calls for something a little different. Last year Mom could not make it to our family celebration. She passed away in March. Luckily, the family did go visit Mom after our usual dinner and Chinese Gift Exchange last year, which resulted in a family photograph. Most of us had not seen this photograph until last night's family get-together. Tina and Renick gave us each a copy of this family photo. It was unexpected and truly the best gift of all. 

After Mom passed away, I decided I wanted to host the family Christmas gathering this year. I have not had a tree in many years, so I wanted to have a real one. Because of a hip replacement the day before Thanksgiving, I had to start prepping for the gathering early.  Cynthia and I  made sure my home was decorated prior to surgery. This task got more complicated when her hand got caught in a conveyer belt right before we were supposed to decorate. She said between the two of us we did not make a whole person, but we gotter done. We laughed and cried going through Mom's boxes to find her favorite decorations: a ceramic tree she had for many years, an angel and a wreath she hung on her door to name a few items.

My sister and her husband had given Mom a flower arrangement in a sled one year. She loved it and kept it on a table long after the roses faded. I took it to a florist  who made an arrangment exactly like the original. I used it as the centerpiece on the dining table.
A couple of weeks before the dinner, Timmy and Sara met Cynthia and I at a tree farm where we picked out my tree. They brought a wheelchair along so I was able to be wheeled into the field to help find the right tree. Now I know why Mom would be frightened at times in her chair. Not being the driver, you feel very vulnerable to a tip over.

Timmy put the tree up. Sara is the light specialist. She and Cynthia put the decorations on the tree. I did the ooowing and ahhhing. Cynthia had an ornament made for each of us to put on our trees in memory of Mom.

We added a few of my own..

Friday night the 3 sisters and a niece had a girl's night. We watched a movie, laughed, cried. Marsha had us in stitches "smoking" a chocolate hazelnut Pirouline.

The next morning the girls had breakfast together before getting busy to ready things for the arrival of the rest of the family. Once everyone had arrived, we gathered in the living room as I had asked everyone to bring a memory of Mom.  Mom had attempted to revive her family tradition of reading the Christmas Story from the 2nd chapter of Luke. I quickly teared up, so Marsha, calmed by Paxill, did the reading from a Bible given to my grandmother Christmas Day, 1960.

I then read a verse from a Christmas card Cynthia gave to Mom in 1993. Mom had written a note on the card:
"Today I want you to read this to all present. It is so nice. '93."  Next I passed out to each sibling a booklet sent by our brother in California.  It is a very thoughtfully put together snapshot history of our mother and father.

I gave Mom  a book in 1997 that gave her the opportunity to record her history. Each page asked a question. She did not complete every page, but she did provide us with some information we did not know about her and some laughter. For example: the wedding dress in the photograph on the front page of my brother's booklet was made by her mother.  She was delivered by a midwife. The house Mom was born in, we learned last night, is probably the house Sara's mother lives in now.

I also gave copies of an oil painting I did of our mother from a black and white photograph that I believe is her college graduation picture.
Others shared their memories of Mom. With 6 kids in our family, there are lots of stories to share. We then sat down for our Christmas dinner. You can tell I was not myself as there are no food photos.
We always finish up with a Chinese Gift Exchange. The surprise gift this year was opened by Tina. She actually loves Baby Babu.

Sometimes you get what you want...
Thanks to my family for a wonderful evening. Thanks, Mom, for so many wonderful memories. Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year 2012

New Year's Eve this year is the best for me in a long time. Twelve good friends got together at the invitation of Mss Gail and Mr. John. I always love being in the land of milk and honey so where but here would I want to spend New Year's Eve? We all shared in the cooking, some of it at the direction of Miss Gail.

Of course, the Master Gravy

Maker needs no direction.

There is always an outdoor fire going and we all end up here off and on during the day/night.

There are musicians in our group that kept us entertained while we waited for the midnight hour.

New Year's Day my family had our family Christmas celebration. Amond other things, we did a tribute to Toby Keith with the red solo cups. Sadly, this was the first year ever that our mother was not able to join us. After dinner, we took the celebration to her. Her smile was the best present ever.

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving, for me, is always a time to relax and get ready for Christmas. Wait, did I say "relax" and "get ready for Christmas" in the same sentence? Okay, it is a busy time. Real busy. But fun. And that can, end the end, make you feel like you relaxed a bit. At least for me. 2011 was a really good Thanksgiving for me.

I relaxed while pretending to play the guitar I had just purchased.

My sister decorated her tree...always beautiful.

Cynthia and I went shopping for ingredients needed for all the cakes we would give away at Christmas. The grocery store is always fun during the holidays. They have more than food to entice you.

Shopping is always hard on me. I don't like it. What I do like is finding an interesting place to take a break. I have a hard time focusing when I shop so I need lots of fun breaks.

Once we had all the supplies we needed,we went home and started baking.

What would the holiday be without some Mom time?

I'm thinking life is pretty good.