A family Christmas

1As I write this, I’m still reveling in the joys of a family Christmas.  Last year we weren’t home at Christmastime… we were in southern California, mentally preparing for the big cross-country motor home trip that would commence on December 31st.  I’ll admit, I really missed everyone during the seven months we were gone, but I felt it most keenly at Christmas.  I was determined that “next year” would be different….. and it was – much different in the best sort of way. We had an entire week of “Christmasing” with all of our kids and grandkids.  Who could ask for anything more? 🙂   I’m so happy and feel truly blessed that we were able to spend time with nearly everyone.

For the fun of it, I decided to try to use my “movie maker” software, already loaded onto my laptop, and put some video as well as still photos together into a “movie” of sorts.  It was an experiment, but I had fun figuring out a few of the ins and outs of compiling photos and video. No, it’s not a masterpiece by any means, but will be a nice keepsake of our awesome time spent with family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UpNurLRbw0

Here’s hoping everyone had a peaceful, blessed, merry, and bright holiday…. and now we begin to look forward to the New Year -2015!

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December is flying by!

I can hardly believe it is December 12 already.  This month is flying past and I am getting next to nothing done!   Last week (I think it was….) both hubby and I had nasty head colds and spent most of the time in the angle of repose on the sofa and loveseat respectively.  Thankfully it was only a cold, and NOT the Flu of any sort, seasonal or otherwise!  While we were “at rest” in front of the TV, we managed to watch two entire seasons of THE TUDORS, which we LOVED!  I could barely tear myself away from one episode after another… and will fully admit I was pretty sad to see the final episode of Season Two.  Ahhh well, Season Three will be out on DVD next week and our dear neighbors who so kindly loaned us One and Two, have said they’ll loan us Three as well!  Yay!

Next weekend we will have a houseful of guests!  David and Damian are coming from London on Friday.  The rest of John’s crew will be here Saturday night for our family Christmas celebration.  It really throws a kink into family get togethers when I have to work on Christmas Day, but we do what we have to do.  It looks as though we won’t be able to have Christmas with anyone from my side of the family this year, so our Christmas will be on Christmas Eve this year, and will probably be just the two of us.  That’s okay.

This year I have utilized the great services of Amazon.com for much (but not all) of my Christmas shopping.  Yes, I do like to shop, but certainly not several times a week, and certainly not in huge crowds… so I absolutely LOVE the convenience of shopping online.  I also love that I can pick something out and have the fine folks at Amazon do the packing and mailing!

Yesterday I finally started in on the Christmas cards — which I absolutely love to receive and normally enjoy writing as well.  I have done ZERO Christmas  baking but that will all change next week when I prepare for the visitors.

I’m also happy to announce that so far – we have had NO snow!  Last year was such a nightmare (living up here in this hilly community where they are absolutely TERRIBLE at plowing) and I hope all the snow will fall safely in the mountains and not on us this year!  Not holding my breath on that one…. in fact snow is predicted (in small quantities) for this weekend.

Does anybody love Susan Branch like I do?  I was reading through her tiny book “Christmas Joy” today and at the very end I read once again what is one of my very favorite sayings of all time.  Written inside a little heart is: “The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay;  Love isn’t love till it’s given away“.   Let’s all share some Christmas Love with someone today! 🙂

Family visit

Wow, my life has sure been busy lately.  Seems like forever since I added a post to my blog.  Hopefully that trend is changing!  As I sit here at my desk, merrily typing away, I can see… yes once again… snowflakes fly past my window.  I hate to admit it, but it’s depressing.  Welcoming snow in March is oh-so-very-hard-to-do.  Especially when a person must  drive in it…. All I can say is I hope it ends soon, and I hope the prediction of up to 5 inches is incorrect.  What the heck – in a week and a bit, dear hubby and I will be trekking to the land of warmth and sunshine ~ Florida.  I simply cannot wait to feel the sun on my face.  But enough about that for now.  

Last week I made it over the mountains (between storms, thankfully) to visit my Dad, Brother, dear Son #2 and dear daughter-in-law (aka: DIL!).  It’s a four hour drive, but so totally worth it.  My brother helped me figure out some important stuff about our taxes; I got to hang out with Dad and cook him a few tasty dinners; I got to meet my new grand-puppy, LUCY; I got to spend the evenings with DS and DDIL; I got to spend most of one day doing some “retail therapy” with DDIL — OH what fun that was!  Only moms who never had daughters (and women who didn’t have a sister – like me) can understand what a special treat it is to have a very special female family member to go shopping with.  We sort of celebrated a late Christmas as well, since nobody was going anywhere last December (due to very nasty weather).  Now for some photos!!

little Lucy.  Who can resist a beagle puppy? SO CUTE!

little Lucy. Who can resist a beagle puppy? SO CUTE!

 

Lucy joins big brother Buckley, shown here with dear DIL

Lucy joins big brother Buckley, shown here with dear DIL

me, li'l Lu, and Mr. Bojangles

me, li'l Lu, and Mr. Bojangles

 Believe it or not, they are now a Three-Beagle-Family!  I love beagles (yup, even I owned one once) but for now, it’s great that I can just visit the happy doggie trio!  🙂

Here’s a picture of my Dad.  He is now 94 years old, and we are SO BLESSED to still have him.  He lives at home, although my brother now lives with him.  Dad still has all his wits and brains, and LOVES to talk politics!   I love this guy – and always have.  He is “multi-tasking” in this picture… listening to his favorite TV show (typically something on the Fox News channel) with his headphones, and reading the paper!

gramps-at-94

As mentioned, my dad and brother live together.  My brother is a CAT-lover (so am I!).  Here is a snapshot of one of my brother’s four fantastic cats!   They are all SO MUCH FUN.  Just glad I don’t have all that fur to deal with!  I think one cat will have to do for us for now. 

This is "Red".  What a happy cat!

This is "Red". What a happy cat!

Since we “sort of celebrated” Christmas… I want to share with you my gift.  Something I really wanted but never dreamed I’d get!  A panini grill!!  WOOHOO!  I had to try it out this week, and the next pictures will show my first (but hardly my last) attempt at making yummy sandwiches. 

New panini grill with first sandwich on board.

New panini grill with first sandwich on board.

Ham & Provolone with pineapple.  YUMMY!

Ham & Provolone with pineapple. YUMMY!

Another New Year

Happy New YearSeems like a few short months ago I was writing about the beginnings of another new year – and here we go again!   First off, Christmas.   We had a lovely Christmas this year, and a white one to boot.  That in itself is nearly unheard of here in western Washington.  Son #1 and his girlfriend almost didn’t make it up here due to all the white stuff.  DH had to fire up the 4X4 and go ‘rescue’ them at the bottom of our hill.  Once they got here, we were literally snowbound for the next two days…. which actually was fine, as we really had nowhere we needed to go.  We had a great time playing with the new Wii system brought to our household by Santa, playing board games, and dominoes.  Plenty of good food, a few glasses of “Christmas Cheer” and warm snug beds at the end of the day.  Delightful.

Finally on December 28th I was able to get to work… first time in a couple of weeks.  You know, I just love being home, but… leaving here twice in about 18 days… well that was just a bit much.  I was developing a serious case of cabin fever!  I was actually excited to go to work! 

And here we are… New Years Day, 2009.  Wasn’t it just a couple years back when DH and I welcomed in the new millennium?  When we were all up in arms about how the “Y2K bug” was going to affect anything and everything?  Is it really nine years later?  Well, to answer my own question, YES, it is!  Instead of ‘resolutions’ this year, I do have a few goals.  Just to clarify, I am NOT going to mention the obvious goal… the same one I have every year… the one I’ve miserably failed at over and over.  Nope, that one (while still a goal) will be left undocumented.   Instead, some other goals – in no particular order – of things I really do hope to accomplish in 2009.

  • Continue to DE-clutter my home.  Keep the things I really love and those that are truly useful.
  • Preplan a long weekend at the beach (rent a large home) and arrange for ALL the kids and grand kids to come.
  • Sponsor a child from Mexico through Compassion International.
  • Do some baking with yeast!  Sourdough (DH’s favorite), some rustic breads, and maybe some sweet dough for cinnamon rolls or butterhorns.
  • See more of my 94 year old Dad!
  • Get brave and actually PAINT some of the rooms in this nearly all-cream-colored- home!
  • Rearrange some furniture in my living room to accommodate more seating without looking too crowded (not sure if this is possible).
  • Attend spring barrel tasting again over in the Yakima Valley.

Those are just a few of my plans/goals for the upcoming year.  I think I could probably go on and on… but I will simply say that I’m wishing everyone a very happy, healthy, and memorable New Year 2009!