Like most holidays this one has been an emotional potpourri. Certainly there has been an abundance of joy. Celebrating family and friends and most assuredly a grand baby on the way, but there has been sadness as well (my father in the nursing home, Sandy Hook, a close friend's loss of a parent, a dear young person's sadness and yesterday Bridget Spence saying goodbye after a 6 year battle with Breast Cancer) . But in this post I want to focus on the joy, share a few pictures, extend my gratitude.
We started our celebrations by visiting Glenn's Dad who was celebrating his 90th birthday. I cooked him a nice meal and we shared Marker's Mark and Cake. He is as sharp as they come. We can certainly be grateful for that. I am sure he appreciated the visit.
I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life. I have some truly amazing friends who have filled our years with memories we share. There has not been one year that I did not have a Christmas Party. Get me straight here, I haven't always felt like having a Christmas party. It's a lot of work. When I was pregnant I had bruised heels from standing in the kitchen! Even before I married Glenn I threw a Christmas Party in my home in Redlands. Some years I invite lots of clients and acquaintances, some years it is the core group. This year, I stuck with the core group. Santa of course would make an appearance since we have 3 wonderful children in our lives now to share him with. Katie was here this year and had a couple of her friends come by to spend some time. I had some dear Sorority sisters there with their hubbys and that is ALWAYS good. The big tree seems to be more of a commitment than it used to be. But it was shining bright and smiles were everywhere.
We visited with Glenn's Dad with Katie so they could catch up. Katie and I went shopping for Blixa, Dominic and the new baby. It was good together time all around. On the morning before she left we opened presents.
But then she was back on a plane to Washington, and her life there. It is the first Christmas I can recall that she would not be home for, but I was glad we could celebrate a little in advance.
Then it was Allison and Chris's turn. It will be the last time I see my daughter and son in law without a child in tow. The next time I see her will be when I go back east to help out after the baby is born. Seeing the two of them so full of excitement was wonderful. (Even with the back story of knowing they most likely will never live nearby - it was fun to play the Grandma for a week.)
I planned a shower and invited people we know well, people who have known Allison since she was little. At the time I started planning the shower I knew only that they planned on decorating the nursery in yellow and greens with a jungle theme (mentioning monkeys). Later we discovered the baby is a little girl.
The gifts were special. The company enjoyed themselves. The food nearly disappeared and everyone left full and sassy. We played three shower games, "Name the Baby" where people matched the baby pictures with current day photos; First Baby Born , where ice cubes with plastic babies float in drinks until the first one escapes; and guess the number of good wishes in the jar ( a jar filled with jelly bellies).
The day before Christmas Eve we headed up to Petaluma to shop for a pattern for the Baby Quilt I will make. Through the rain and wind.... We also decided to add a border and some more colors so once it is done, I will post a picture so you can see the final project.
Christmas Eve we went by Opa's (Glenn's Dad's house) and shared a cup of cheer. Then on to our dear friends the Cihak's house. Their Christmas Eve is as traditional for them as our Christmas party is for us. Their group too seemed smaller than years past. Their daughter is up in Oregon and couldn't join them for Christmas. But it was a good time, with good friends, some of whom I actually saw 3 times in 2 weeks!
Once home we planned to get up and open presents on grownup schedules and that is what we did.
We opened our Christmas presents first then had our Christmas breakfast. Diced New Braunfels Ham and Cinnamon rolls with Mimosas. The idea of Christmas dinner seemed to be crazy but we had ours planned. Friends were going to join us who had to cancel at the last minute so we had food for 7 for 4! Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus - Home made Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot fudge sauce. Ok maybe I actually have gained 20 pounds now that I think of it.
I just dropped Allison and Chris off at the airport and they are flying back to the other side of the country. I suppose in a day or so things will begin to return to semi normal. There most likely is nothing normal about our lives. They are blessed. I am blessed. Each and every day I think about how sweet life is. How little time we are given and how important it is to be present for every minute of it. I think about what a waste it is when people will hold onto the negative and not embrace the joy. I think of how important family is and how time and life is pulling us all in different directions. NEVER should we be disconnected - not matter the miles - no matter the difficulties. We have each other and for that we are very lucky. I for one do not want to diminish that gift.... I love you all.