Wednesday, December 27, 2017

So Long Traditional Christmas Eve

For all of my life, Christmas Eve has been spent at Mom's.  When she moved to an apartment, we did the party in the social room just across the hall.  This year, Mom thought she would prefer people to come in smaller groups. Umm, well, I don't exactly have a small group, but I signed up for the noon spot and brought along White Castles and fudge.  Ol' Mother Hubbard and her crew came at that time and Tim and Ashely.  Sometimes life happens in ways you don't understand.  It is strange to have so few pictures here of Christmas Eve.  Ah, life.

Our littlest Pixie wasn't feeling well, so we're missing a couple in this picture.

Mom nearly has more drink choices then the Sav A Step- our attempts to get her to drink.  She only wants to drink hot chocolate.

 I keep a few things at Mom's for them to play with when they visit.
 They color Mom pictures and she likes to put them up in the apartment.
 I try to find a little something that she can give them as gift.  They spent quite a bit of time trying to catch the ball in the cup.
 I returned on Christmas Day to bring her beloved fried turkey.  Laurie Lou and Tony and Becky stopped by, but alas, I had not brought my camera.

The Friday night before Christmas the head cook at the soup kitchen was sick. That was my night to do our traditional Blackbean Omelet Suppper with Ol' Mother Hubbard.  I asked if she and kids would like to help before we headed to her house.  We had fun and they were a big help.

For real, this would be the last year to celebrate in the house they have now.  I had decided to gift them with a winter dinner date, but wanted a little something for them to unwrap.  Then I decided it would be nice commemorate our years of blackbean omelet Christmas suppers.  Now bacon ornaments you can find, but not so much omelets, ha.  I happened on a little Annalee ornament of a gingerbread man with an apron to his ankles and  a big chef's hat.  Ahhhhh, perfect. Only one on the stand, so I nervously turned the stand, and there were three more!  Perfect.

And..... this was the big highlight of our Christmas morning.  I should have had ten kids.

Hope your Christmas was merry and bright.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Way Early Christmas

When Rae married, we moved our family Christmas to the Sunday before Christmas.  This year the Sunday before Christmas is Christmas Eve, our usual day with Mom.  That meant my little nest's celebration was moved back to last Sunday.  We weren't out of school yet, so it was quite a feat to get it all pulled together, but it happened. Lots of good food and fun and gifts galore.
The New Toy

Bean is nearly as tall as my tree.   I never get over my love of  Gramerlings in Christmas jammies.

When Bean was very small, Gardner E gave him a huge Ferdinand the Bull book.   Who knows why kids fall so completely in love with a book.  Turdeman, as he called it, was a favorite and we read it over and over and made up many stories.  In addition, she gifted him with a little cast iron bull that filled out the play.  Now, all the kids say, "Turdeman" and when you get to the part where he would just sit quietly and..... they say, "Mell the Towers," just like Bean did.  It is so hard to work around all of their schedules, but we finally hit upon a time for us to see the movie.  It was adorable. 
My little sassy pants was here too. Sadly, my sweet Giddy-up, who loves nothing better than an evening out with cousins, had a massive, scary ear infection blow-up out of nowhere and was too sick to attend.  Thank the Lord, he is on the mend.
This coming just after Phil's forty year old supervisor passing away from a tooth infection that went to his brain.  Terrifying.  Bless that poor family.
Wednesday evening some friend girls joined me for our church's Blue Christmas service.  It was so very sweet and sacred.
Today is Christmas with Ol' Mother Hubbard's kids, who are first helping me cook at the soup kitchen. I've managed to snag a nasty cold, but thankful it didn't take hold until school was out. So I will Christmas on.  All good wishes to you as you do the same.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmassy Goodness

Ahh, yesterday was Christmassy sweet.  I started the day with a walk around downtown with my Holy Hike's group.  It was so very cold, but there was a bit of snow blowing and lots of pretty windows as we walked and prayed. 

 Everyone shared stories of a different downtown and what we remember of Christmas shopping when we were small.  Lots of laughter and prayers.
Next was a winter's nap.
Let's back up.  It had been a hectic week.  Wednesday night was the Christmas program.  Monday and Tuesday had been fraught with sound trouble. We always have sound trouble, but this was particularly awful.  My poor kids. Every practice they had to try a different configuration of mics till by Wednesday morning we were down to trying to unobtrusively pass around only two handheld mics, when miracles of miracles the seventh grade teacher got it all going. Thank you Jesus.  Just a little stress.
Then Thursday, I go straight from school to Mom.  She was better than two weeks ago, but not as good as last week.  Any change in her behavior has us on high alert.
Friday is usually Playdate, but I had been trying to get together with friends for supper and that was the only night between us we could manage.  I flew out of  school,  and Handy Man got off early too. I gave directions and he stepped in time and we had it done at 6:28.  It was so yummy.  I made a Chicken/cheese dish, a new roasted vegie recipe from Jacob, a potato galette that was beautiful, salad and bread, oh and bread pudding for dessert.  The company was delightful.
Needless to say, the preceding three days immediately came to mind when I said, "nap."
After the nap, Rae and the kids came for make-up Playdate.  I had a few little crafts I'd squirreled away.
The boys went from their own play to crafts, to outside snowflake observing to more play. 

Mr. Smiley remembered the kitchen appliances and sat at the table for over an hour completely absorbed in the mechanics of it all. 

So we ate leftovers and the bean soup I'd put in the oven before I left. 
This boy's happy place is a bag of chips as big as he is. He also ate two bowls of soup.
Rae helped me make fudge while we listened to Karin and Linford sing about Christmas.  When all the fudge was done we played a game.
After the littles were on their way, we put in movie, The Hobbit- I know, you are surprised. I made a huge bowl of popcorn and Handy Man and I snuck a piece of our favorite fudge- white toffee and black walnut respectively. Just lovely.
I have said before and was reminded again this evening, I am just not a solitary person.  We didn't really do anything particularly amazing. There was no big agenda.  I am a working person, I do not mind working, actually I'm not happy for long if I don't have something meaningful to do.  I don't like working by myself though.  Usually the fudge making means hours in the kitchen with just my own company, so it is a chore.  Yesterday, with the littles making merry around our feet and all of us chatting and singing, it was a joy.  Thank you Lord for the joy.
I've been tutoring every morning ( fourteen kids) with some help, though the planning is all my responsibility.  The reading assessments are coming in and are very encouraging I'm happy to say.   That might make it a bit easier leaving so early on these cold dark mornings.
Today is Mom Sunday. I need to make some bows for church this morning, so I best be getting to it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Gingerbread Party 30 Plus

Statistics for this year's party-
15 Kidlets
14 Adults
1 Gallon of hot chocolate
3/4 gallon sausage gravy
36 sausage links
24 hashbrowns
30 biscuits
27 cinnamon rolls
Lots of candy.
Bean put down the icing and manned the camera.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Where Have All the Pictures Gone?

Where have all the pictures gone?  Long time passing.
When I was three, my house burned down just days after Christmas.  A fireman, to whom my Mom would forever be indebted, managed to grab a box of family pictures.  My Mom loves pictures and gathered tons more as the years went on.  Before life as we knew it fell apart, we siblings, some of us anyway, gathered together and went through the pictures, creating our own books. The idea being that we would one day take said photo album home with us when Mom had no more use of it. In the meanwhile, instead of photos being scattered about, they would be in albums for her to enjoy more easily.

Then Kaye died and Glenda died and it was necessary to close up shop and settle Mom into a smaller and more easily managed space with twenty-four hour help.  The summer of unpacking and sorting, making decisions about stuff and more stuff and more stuff that never seemed to end, ensued.  And since that summer, I look at all of my stuff and sigh and wonder.

I was the village picture taker till Ceece caught the bug.  It is scary how many pictures I have.  In my childhood, pictures became affordable for most everyone.  Who can remember all the crazy cameras we went through that were instant, throwaway, panoramic, and then, wow, regular people like me could afford a 35mm.  Handy Man got me one for Christmas and you can mark the year from all the grainy snaps that became clear and lovely overnight.  That is the only material possession I have ever cried over, when after seventeen years, it gave it up and could not be repaired.

Then we moved to digital, and those sweet little photo brag books we grandma's packed around, and those plastic inserts in grandpa's wallet, became virtually obsolete, as everyone's pictures are now on their phone, and often it seems, nowhere else.

Add that to the fact that I don't have a particularly sentimental family.  What in the world is to be done with these bazillion pictures I have?  Ahem, I know what will be done with them, might as well get this party started.  For months I've been sorting pictures.  It is bittersweet and I can only do it in short bursts.
Once my aunt told me that she knew she had to part with all the cards she'd received through the years. After looking and looking and looking she finally parted with one- one card landed in the waste basket- at least temporarily, before she retrieved even that one.  I feel her pain.

It isn't as much a problem with pictures since the blog. Those are made into books and will one day be passed onto to those grandchildren who are sentimental, but what about pre-digital?

As I sorted, I determined to take on the arduous task of pulling out the fewest pictures to tell the most story of my Gramerling's parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

What do with them?  I took them first to be transformed to the digital world, but then they would be a disc shoved somewhere and never looked at. What would take no more space, no added work for anyone?  I decided to add them to the end pages of  the little's  Advent books.  Once I settled on a set of same pictures for each family, I determined five books that would be same in each box, each year and put in the chosen pictures.  Next, I picked a few that pertained only to my individual child.  For instance, in Drummer Boy's kidlet's box is the book, The Little Drummer Boy and the end pages have pictures of him with his drum.  On some I added commentary. On others, I hope their parents will fill in the details. Who knows, maybe these books, as long as they last, will trickle down through the generations.

 In the end, it looks like a pile of Christmas books. I don't know if the added pictures will add more to the Book a Day in December experience or not.  But, they've all been wrapped and delivered and today they will find something in the last pages that wasn't there before.