Friday, January 04, 2013

After Christmas Thoughts

Driving home Christmas Eve afternoon, I thought of what I might write in a blog and picked what I thought was a perfect title:  “Almost Ready—Maybe.”  But when I reached the farm, I wanted to enjoy our son and wife, Gerry and Vickie, and Geri Ann and Bryan and Tara, Aidan, Maddux, and Payton, all of whom were up from Georgia and in and out for a few days.  I also knew I needed to go to bed to be rested for the next day, so I did not blog.

Once again this year our Christmas dinner guests were just the Glasco-Archibald families and Dave and Katherine and Sam from Marion. There were supposed to be 14 at dinner, but granddaughter Erin’s flight was cancelled because of the weather.  That was my one big disappointment although we had had nice visit with her at Thanksgiving.  The Eilers celebrate in Freeport, and this year the Taylors were fulfilling their long dreamed of vacation in Hawaii

Christmas preparations were greatly reduced for me this year, but I put up the tree in the living room and decorated it.  Fortunately, Gerald put up the tree in the downstairs family room, so he wrestled with the light problem.  (A few years back I had replaced our trees with prelit ones, and this was the first time we had ever had a problem, but Gerald solved it.)  I added a few ornaments but left several boxes of them off intending to add them later. That opportunity never came. (The downstairs tree is the one that usually holds all the ornaments from our 56 years of marriage and that includes handmade ornaments by our kids and grandkids—including the ones they became creative with made of toilet paper tubes.)   Regardless, the tree looked pretty and no one missed the extra ornaments but me, and I am glad now I won’t have to spend the time taking them all off.  

I am reluctant to take the trees down although I used to do this New Year’s Day or the day after. (A couple of times I left the tree up until Old Christmas when the kids were snowed in and could not go back to school on schedule.) I note lots of outdoor lights still burning beautifully when I drive to and from town, so I have a feeling many people are wanting to enjoy their decorations longer. 

My holiday baking this year was limited to cupcakes from a mix that I made on Christmas morning.  I had some little sugar Christmas decorations to put on top of the icing (from a can of course).  I thought the little great grandsons might like them.  When I made the Thanksgiving pumpkin and pecan pies, I made enough to freeze for Christmas also and had them during the pre-Christmas visits even though our visiting children and grandchildren had made a point that they would not be around for me to cook for during the day. (They have lots of friends and relatives to also visit while here, and of course they are in and out of Gma Shirley’s house also.  The Archibalds left to make a trip to Chicago area to pick up Bryan and celebrate with all the relatives up there, but they returned on Christmas Eve.) With a cheesecake from the warehouse store, we had more than enough sweets for Christmas Day.

Although all the visits ended too soon, it was wonderful having the ones here who could make it. Gerald was able to give the three little guys lots of tractor rides, and Jake was able to go squirrel hunting with three generations. Sam had his first hunt and brought back a squirrel, which is now in my freezer for me cook one of these days.

The little boys so wanted it to snow while they were here, but they missed out.  Two big snows came after they left. Sam and his friend Josh had great fun playing in it since it had evidently been three years since we had had big snows. Gerald drove me to and from Katherine’s house to help there, and the snow-lined limbs overhead the country roads were beautiful in the truck’s lights. Roads are mostly cleared now, but the ground is still covered and roadside parking places are mounded by city’s snowplows. One of the prettiest sights I have seen was a perfect shaped pine in someone’s yard with brilliant colored lights shining through snow-topped branches.

I think many people were pleased to see the huge star back on the Harold and Novella Rix barn.  A master welder, Harold had made the star years ago, and seeing it was an annual tradition for people driving on the highway in front of their house. Their sons had left it for Mary Ellen and Brian to continue its use, and Brian made sure it was up along with the lighted tree that Mary Ellen had in the front room window.
This year provided one of the longer breaks since most local schools are not going to resume until Monday.  So the children have had lots of time to make snowmen and memories during this holiday season.

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