Only 363 Days Until Next Year

Another Christmas has come and gone and I’m once again amazed at how quickly time has flown. Looking back, it was a great celebration made special by time with family.

We left Springfield on Wednesday afternoon with the threat of bad weather hanging over our heads. The weather reports for northern Missouri into Iowa weren’t good and we wanted to get as much driving done in the daylight as possible. I was scheduled to work 12-4 p.m. but my boss, being from Iowa, told me I could come in early and leave early so I could get a head start. She’s so sweet! By the time I got home and we got the car loaded it was almost 3 p.m. and time was a-wasting. Luckily, the temperatures held and we only encountered some thick fog and drizzle the entire way. By the time we arrived the girls were in bed so we unloaded, had a glass of wine and chatted with Ralph and Blair about the next day’s events. It was a relaxing start to the weekend.

Christmas Eve arrived and the girls were wound up! They were so excited to see us but Santa was much more exciting than Aunt Tammy and Uncle Steve. It was so much fun to share the excitement and joy of Christmas through a child’s perspective. Church was at 7 p.m. so we decided to have appetizers at 5:30 and wait to have dinner after the girls were all nestled and snug in their beds. I love attending Ralph and Blair’s church because it’s a traditional service with no powerpoint, no band and no fanfare. The service was the reading of the Christmas story with singing between scriptures. Of course, the service ended with candlelight and singing of “Silent Night.” As I looked out the windows I could see the snow coming down and the moment was magical. I really felt the spirit of Christmas.

We hurried home and got the girls tucked in for the night. Ralph read them “The Night Before Christmas” and they fell asleep quickly. The four of us enjoyed delicious tortilla soup and some red wine before the Santa festivities began. These girls may believe in Santa, but they are smart little cookies. Blair had to make sure all the wrapping paper bits were destroyed along with the left over wrap. Steve wrote the tags so the girls wouldn’t recognize the handwriting. It was so much fun! All the while Blair played Christmas music on LPs and we talked about how much fun it was going to be the next day when the girls saw all their loot.

Christmas morning the girls had been instructed not to get up before 7 a.m. Steve arose around 6:45 and wanted to go downstairs to set up the video camera. Julia saw him and told him that he wasn’t supposed to go downstairs before 7! He told her he needed to go to the bathroom and she informed him there was one down the hall. That little bugger is a bit too smart for her own good! The girls were so good to wait for Everett and Mary Kay (Blair’s parents) to arrive before they dug into their goodies. The big gifts for each of them were their American Girl dolls with accessories. Julia got Molly from 1944 and Lydia got Kit from 1934. They were in heaven. Unfortunately, Molly’s braids didn’t last the day before Julia announced that her hair was much prettier without them. Oh well, when you’re 6 years old I guess that makes sense.

Ralph fixed a delicious beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and salad for dinner. We honored our Grammie with a dessert of Christmas cookies and Spumoni ice cream. By 7 p.m. the girls were beat so they went to bed early and the grownups had some fun. Blair and I challenged Ralph and Steve to a game of 80s Trivial Pursuit. Believe it or not it was close, but Blair and I won (even when I tried to cheat!). It was a blast and a great ending to Christmas Day.

Saturday was a bit stressful as Steve and Blair worked all day on Blair’s office phone system. Steve installed a new one and, of course, there were glitches. Mom and Burl arrived mid-afternoon and we planned a nice evening of dinner and more gifts. Unfortunately, Steve and Blair were late, but we still had another delicious meal (thanks again, Ralph) and some fun with mom and Burl. The girls got some gorgeous handmade American Girl dolls clothes from mom and were thrilled. Once the guys were fed and the girls were in bed, we had another Christmas celebration with mom and Burl. It was nice to have the time to enjoy our gifts and see everyone enjoy theirs. As usual, the stockings were the best part of the exchange. Mom had found some stuff Ralph and I had made when we were younger and put it in our stockings. Ralph got a Santa boot she’d painted in Campfire Girls and I got a needlepoint keychain of a unicorn I’d made in high school. It still makes me giggle to look at it.

This morning I slept late but we hit the road as soon as we could since we were both anxious to get home. Thankfully, we didn’t hit any bad weather and the cats were so glad to see us. Now it’s time to put away all the trees and trimmings until next year. Hope everyone had a magical Christmas.

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