Sunday, December 8, 2019

Yearly Sugaring of the Gramerlings

The Gingerbread Party, has for years, fallen very early in December, since I have it the first Saturday.    It always made sense to me to stick to the same day- easier for folks to remember, for me to remember and it is technically there till I say, "No more, " I guess.  
Yesterday was the latest it has been since the first was on a Sunday.  
Aunt Tish retired, so I had help making the houses.  She even brought supper, which was a blessing. I find that after a week in Second Grade, I have, oh, zero energy or enthusiasm for anything really. The Handy Man moved and mopped and wiped and Missy Bugg came early to help me prepare.  
At 9:30 on the dot, the biscuits came out of the oven, the gravy was done, the sausage brown, the cocoa warm and chocolatey,  and hash browns hot and ready. 
Let the candy fly!

 It comes in a stage of little boy development, the desire for a much bigger house.  This was Giddy-up's year to make the request.  I've only missed having the party once in these thirty plus years.  I woke up with extreme vertigo, about, oh maybe 15 years or so ago.  Once you've made these houses, they are like concrete, and since they were made, I just saved them for Granny Wandy's Christmas Eve. In addition, we made a huge house, so everyone could participate in the decorating.  I ended up doing that several times and Mom loved having a house everyone had helped with.

While I have Playdate Sundays, there are always many missing due to having multiple kids having multiple commitments.  So, when they all do get to come to something it is like a little reunion.  
They might not all be together again till summer.

 And this guy, oh my.  I told him once he'd never get a "Free from Gingerbread Party" pass and he has taken that seriously, which I very much appreciate.
There he is, about three in his red shirt.

You'll notice perhaps that the two oldest Gramerlings are absent.  Always sad to me, even though I surely know that growing up drill by now.  
I have routinely had 15 to 24 children all these many years.  I think today, while I'm waiting at the hospital for Noella's baby to arrive, that I will attempt to count how many kids I remember, how many houses.  I'm thankful I've been able to continue this tradition.  I am more cognizant of sharing stories from Christmases past, as so many who remember Christmases past are gone.  
This year we talked about Brach's Arabian Night candy. Those tiny multi-colored gems you used to find on an end counter in every store you went in and were a gingerbread house making staple. Now, all the grown-ups search and this year Tish found a bag, though not Brach's.  We talked about angel hair and lights and how there were limited choices, something  that has never existed in the lives of these children. 
It was a fun time.
It turned out that the best day for our annual trek to the movie was also on party day, so we headed to see Frozen 11. It was cute enough, but I don't think there is a song that will attach itself to the world the way "Let it Go" did.   
So today is brunch with the siblings, then the hospital with Noella, and then home to try to work up my nerve to make more icing and more houses for my second graders.  They will love it.  Me, ummm, well I will love that they will love it!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Celebrations Galore

I failed to take my camera to Rae's on Thanksgiving, but there was loads of folks and food and a good time had by all.  Hat's off to them for hosting!
After many weeks, we finally received the one picture that was actually taken at Tasha's place.  They asked in the e-mail that included this picture for a review of the trip. I said all the many favorable things, but added that I would have loved to have had a few additional pictures.  She said, wouldn't you know, that they were considering changing the "no photo' policy.

 Then there was another Sunday lunch when I let the kids pick through Mom's junk jewelry.  I love how anything metallic is beautiful to a four year old.

 Time to put up the tree, and my little elf decorators came to do the deed and a fine job they did.
Missy Bugg was snapping pictures of what interested her most.

 Mom bought me this ornament for our first Christmas, forty years ago.
 A long time gone, I discovered that I could order those glasses that create a Christmas image when you look through them at lights.  It is a great little gift for my students that doesn't break the bank.  Bugg was trying to take pictures through the glasses to see if she could capture the image.

 Next it was time to stir up some cracker mix.
 Then hot chocolate and a movie.
 Little brother with his love, chips.
 Today we celebrated and celebrated and celebrated some more.  Aunt Tish retired, she did.  I wanted something to mark the occasion, but didn't really want something else to sit around and collect dust.  I found this blown glass elf with packages and had it put in a sleigh that said, "Oh what fun!"  Her Christmases for so very many years have been most stressful, getting everyone's packages where they need to be.

 Jamming in the living room.
 Looks like we were having a serious conversation about something here.
 More song and dance.

 Andrea got to come and we celebrated her big 50!!!

All of your people are wishing you many happy retirement years!!

 It seems my blogging gets more and more infrequent and I always wonder when it just won't occur to me to get things set down here.  I have books made from this space and today this little one found them and was completely enthralled to find herself in the pages of so many books and it makes me glad I've done it.

 Last, but not least, time to light the first Advent Candle.  
I will get to do that everyday with my kiddos- such a blessing.

I was able to take some hot cinnamon rolls to the hospital in the same spot Handy Man and I occupied for ten days last summer.  Oh my.  Whenever anyone experiences a health crisis you want so much to do something, anything.  Even just cinnamon rolls.  Glad my friend is on the mend.

I told Handy Man that I was not cooking again for several days.  
Between the holidays and celebrating, and house keeping and classroom keeping and washing and cooking, I'm exhausted and it is time to go back to work!
I'm thankful to have the food to cook and the loved ones to feed, and a helpmate to help get it done.
God Bless us everyone.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Weighty Matters

I've been feeling the weight of this day for a long time. Dreading it. Hoping maybe it could slip by unnoticed while I'm working myself to a frazzle in Room 15. No such luck.

 For weeks, anticipating, I've worn your death like a heavy yoke around my neck.

You know what I wish?  I wish you could have just one post visit after moving on from this earthly space.  Just one hug that says, "Hey, it is all good!"  Well, actually, I'd like to hear, "You just can't believe this, it is so wonderful, just can't even tell you why I ever put off leaving that old, sad sack, infection prone vessel that had me all bound up in pain and sorrow."
I guess I know the answer.   We wouldn't let you leave  without us.
We have too many in this brood having trouble hanging on as it is.
Life is so weird Mom, but you knew that.  On one hand, you are so very gone, but on the other hand you are never far.  I don't think I'll live long enough for 59 years of you to fade away.

You are impressed on every fiber of my being, so somehow I feel lost and undone without you, even though I was more than ready to not have to watch your continued decline.

You loved to cook and feed people and you loved to eat.

You never leave me because that same compulsion drives me and every thing reminds me of you.
Onions- I love raw onions, cooked onions, every kind of onion because you did. So tonight, even tired and not really caring what I ate, when I warmed up a cup of bean soup, I had to have an onion.

Anything warm and cheesy makes the thought, "Mom would love this," float unbidden through my mind.

Dark chocolate, coffee, bread and butter have your name written on them.

Seafood, especially lobster, screams, "Mom" at me.


 And Thanksgiving and Christmas and family. Christmas was your most favorite. You planned for it all year long.

 And prayer.  I'm a bold prayer because I learned it well from you.  When things go wrong all around like our spring and summer medical crisis and things that are other people's story to tell, but cause my fears to rise up and choke me, I choose to remember and believe your prayers for us went before us to our Father, into eternity,  and will not fade or disappear.
Your love of song.  When I think of pedicures or showers, I remember all the baths I sang us through, when I was terrified of dropping you and you were cold and miserable. Those old sweet hymns warmed us and got us through.  Even new songs, like Chainbreaker that you loved me to sing to you.

And there's this head of gray, crazy witchy-poo hair that is ten inches longer than it probably should be, but you had some strange love of my hair and I'll likely never cut it short. Your vision had gotten poor enough, perhaps my hair was all you saw clearly, but those last months, every time I came you told me how beautiful my hair was that day.  You were not happy when I dried it straight and would let me know about that too.

So, clearly you are so with me and clearly you are so very far away.

I will try to allow all my creative mind to imagine you in the splendor of heaven and shake off this sorrow.

 Tis hard.