Well, can't believe today is almost over. Some much anticipation, hard work, baking, shopping, silly secrets, drawing names, wish lists and on and on.
The funniest part of the past week or so was the kids wrapping items from their room or toy boxes for us using actual giftwrap and tags. I thought they were real gifts till Grace told me they were using things they were done with or tired of like old books or toys....omgosh-that cracked me up! Certainly helped fill out the base of the tree with these recycled gifts! John was actually quite serious about his gift giving and told me he DID NOT want his gifts back when I tried to return a toy plane that was sticking out of the top of my stocking (a week ago!!).
Another funny was last night before bed, Grace was helping me write hint tags for gifts which is a tradition from the Bohall-side of the family. So for a set of tennis balls for Dad, Grace thought up "you'll be making a racket with these!" and for a beautiful mug from a local potter Grace came up with "teaheehee-see you in the morning". Yep, she's a Bohall all right!
We have established a few traditions which work well, so far! Christmas morning Grace and John are allowed to open their stockings and any gifts on the fireplace ledge before Mom and Dad are up. Brian buys and wraps the biggest box of their fav cereal he can find (which of course way over-exceeds the family sugar limit) and adds these monster cereal boxes to the Open Now collection. John was up as his usual crack of dawn and Grace managed to struggle out of her room by 730. By 8am I had a fragrant cup of coffee in our bedroom and a little girl whispering Merry Christmas in my ear.....and away we went! Instead of the mass hysterical shredding of giftwrap we used to do when they were itty-bitty, now at age 8 and 3/4 we TRY to observe and enjoy each gift as it's opened. So we kind of do a round robin and everyone gets a turn. Extra-special gifts are wrapped in one certain patterened paper that we can easily identify. This year it was purple penguins in snow suits (thanks, Target) so the morning rule was you couldn't open 2 purple penguin gifts in a row (this was to stretch out the BIG gifts!)and it worked well. The kids didn't complain and we were really happy this worked! John's big gifts included an electric aquarium w/images of water and fish-about 2 ft long-really cool-looking and a Razor Scooter which shoots real sparks when you ride the brake. Grace got a camera-which we know she'll share with John-and of course tons of books. I love my watch from Brian and the huge stash of dark chocolate which is mine...All Mine! thanks, honey! I also got a beach chair I had been coveting for a few years-too bad it was delivered with a full description and actual picture of the chair on the outside of the box! heehee! I hate surprises so this was fine by me!
The afternoon was spent at my mom's farm in WV with all of my siblings and spouses and children 9 adults and 6 kids!! Celebrated Christmas and mom's 75th birthday-love you, mom! Lots of fun-our first soup and sandwich holiday meal and quite a success so I hope this becomes a tradition-so much less work and still so yummy! Another first was the adult gift exchange. Happy to say I got mom's name so I ordered her a beautiful hand made hoodie from a Close To My Heart consultant (thanks Nona!-ordered one for my m-i-l and me too!!). My brother Richard got my name and gifted me a very generous gift card to Costco-yay! May save this for Spring and see what comes up in their garden area. :) We all did stocking stuffers for each other, sister Susanna made cd's of family pics-many of which we had never seen from my parents stash of negs-lots of work to this gift-thanks Sissy! Finally home to a huge mess which everyone pitched in to hellp straighten out-some dinner and playtime with gifts and finally---bedtime for Brian and the kids.
Tomorrow evening Brian's brother Rob and wife and 4 kids arrive from Ohio to spend the night then we will all drive down to Fairfax Sunday morning after breakfast. Brian's parents are hosting a meal and get-together and his other brother Ken and wife and 2 girls are already there, so that will be one full house! 8 kids and 8 adults-woohoo! It is really special to have the gang from Ohio come back to VA for Christmas. We only see them in Aug at the beach, so it will be great for the cousins to hang out while the rest of us catch up!
THe house is quite again and I have a chance to breathe and realize how blessed I really am. Today is the anniversary of Jesus's birth and my mom's birth. My family is warm and safe in our home near the Blue Ridge Mtns. The only thing I am missing is my Dad - Roy Alexander Fry. He would have been the life of the party at the farm-great sense of humor and a wonderful family first kind of man. I know he was there in Spirit.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a good read. I feel like I can pick this book up 6 mo from now and reread each story again with the same interest and joy as my first read. Why has it taken so long for me to find Amy Bloom? It was certainly worth the wait.
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