Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Another Christmas come and gone.  All those presents under the tree have been opened, admired, played with, and put away to be enjoyed again later.  The houseful of friends and family have departed.  The big holiday meal has been digested (urp...well, mostly) and the sweet treats are now leftovers.  I'm always a little sad when it's all over.

Thank goodness I have all these pictures to remember it by!

As the only child still at home, Dylan insisted that Ed and I hang stockings this year, too, so his wouldn't be the lone stocking on the hearth.  Santa filled them with some good stuff!

25 Dec 2011:  Me with my good buddy Gwen!

The best blessing of the holidays is the opportunity to spend time with friends and family.  After attending church in the morning, Ed, Dylan, and I enjoyed exchanging gifts and sharing a big holiday feast (prepared by Ed) with our son-in-law and daughter Chris and Sarah; Ed's mom Caryl; and our close family friend Gwen. 

Ed also enjoyed a long talk with his son Hans, who lives in Illinois with his beautiful wife Pam.  And the highlight of my day was a 2-hour-long phone call with my missionary son Jacob in California!

25 Dec 2011:  Chris and Gwen

In fact, most of these pictures were taken during Jacob's phone call as we took turns talking to him.  Dylan was so excited to talk to his big brother that he had the phone in his lap for 20 minutes, waiting for the phone to ring at the agreed-upon time.  Then he handed the phone to me briefly, and from there it went to Gwen, then Dylan, then Chris, then Sarah, then Ed, then Caryl, and then finally back to me!

I insist upon having the final time with Jacob, and I also take the biggest chunk of time.  I am his MOM, after all!  Everyone else spoke anywhere from 5 minutes (Caryl) to 20 minutes (Sarah), for a total of an hour.  The second hour was all mine, and I cherished every moment.

25 Dec 2011:  Sarah and Gwen

Actually, just before we hung up, Jacob asked for a final quick word with his younger brother.  I heard him admonishing Dylan to work harder and do well in school.  I was certainly happy to allow him to share that particular message with his brother!

25 Dec 2011: Chris and Dylan

After dinner and gifts, we settled in to watch the DVD of Tangled, a Disney movie about the Rapunzel fairy tale which Sarah received from her husband for Christmas.  That's always been my favorite fairy tale: "Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair..."  Very cute movie, too!

25 Dec 2011:  Ed's mom Caryl

After the movie we enjoyed some pie and cake before Chris and Sarah returned home, taking Dylan along to spend a few days with them.  Now Ed and I have the house all to ourselves for a couple of days!

25 Dec 2011:  Diego gets a new Christmas sweater.

25 Dec 2011:  Sarah brought over a Christmas cake;
I had no idea my daughter was so creative!

25 Dec 2011: Speaking of creative, after watching Tangled Dylan decided
he had to braid my hair.  Sarah said I looked like Legolas from the back.  Cool!

I'm sorry that I somehow missed Ed during all the picture-taking (although I'm sure he is quite relieved that he got missed!).  He spent so much of his time in the kitchen whipping up our feast, he just wasn't in camera range (unless you count him in the background of the photo below...). 

And when I gathered up all his gifts today to get a shot of them, I intended to pose Ed with his presents, but he was gone by 8:00 this morning.  As so often happens, he has been gone for hours helping neighbors and friends repair their cars and trucks.  He is very service-oriented that way, and I love him for it.  But still, no picture.

25 Dec 2011: Dylan with his gifts.

And now, here are the traditional gift photos.  Dylan's favorite gift was the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 video game for Xbox 360 from Ed and me, and a 3-month subscription for Xbox online from Chris and Sarah.  He also received an M&Ms candy dispenser; a tool box filled with his own set of tools; a Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD; a Christmas tie and a Santa hat; glow-stick bracelets; a puppies calendar; a box of chocolate-covered cherries; and the ever-popular gift of underwear!

Ed's gifts

Dylan gave Ed a new, larger toolbox, and Chris and Sarah gave him a crystal cube with an elk laser-etched inside it.  Ed's mom gave him a very old mini-lantern that Ed's great grandfather used to use to light his way to bed each night.  From me, Ed received a compost crock (to store scraps for your garden's compost pile, but Ed will use it to store the table scraps he feeds to our chickens every morning); a music CD called "Facing Future" by Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole (featuring "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"); a computer game called "Civilization" (which I suspect Ed will trade in for new boots or some ammunition); a calendar featuring pictures of white-tailed bucks; a box of chocolate-covered blueberries (just had to try those!); and two of his favorite treats: peanut brittle and honey-roasted cashews.

Gifts for our whole family

We also recieved several family gifts.  Jacob sent us a 3-D wooden wall hanging of two bears that I simply fell in love with!  I've always admired those and secretly longed to own one!  Jacob also sent us  some seashells and rocks he collected from Samoa Beach.  I miss my home state of California!  Ed's mom gave us a cookbook with sugar-free recipes and our friend Gwen brought us a can of rolled chocolate luxury wafers.  Chris's mom, Brenda, sent us a beautiful, heavy, Paula Deen pie plate.  Ed is already dreaming up recipes to bake in it!

Mary's gifts

As for me, Dylan gave me an electronic Monopoly game.  I'd never heard of such a thing, but apparently there's no monopoly money; it's all on a debit card you put in the debit card machine!  Sarah gave me a beautiful new Willow Tree figurine called "Forget-me-not," which is the 14th figurine in my Willow Tree collection.  I love them!  Ed gave me a travel bag for makeup that's really cool.  It opens up (see below) so you can hang it on the bathroom door or mirror and have all your makeup and bottles and such right at hand.  He also got me my favorite, sugar-free Ross dark chocolate bars, only available online and not-so-cheap.  Can't wait to use a few to make some of my famous MacTurtles!  

The makeup bag opened up.

Lastly, Ed bought me a Clear-play DVD player and a 3-year subscription for Clear-play services online, which is actually more of a family gift.  We've both wanted one for a long time. 

Ed's favorite movies tend to be R-rated, which we both choose not to watch.  So he misses out on a lot of the crime dramas he loves.  Occasionally, some movies in my favorite genres, science fiction and fantasy, are also R-rated and I have to pass them up.  With Clear-play, you can download filters which can be used to modify the language, violence, and sexual content from any DVD you watch.  And you can adjust how much is removed from the movie. 

For instance, neither of us is too disturbed by violence that is integral to the plot, so we would set it to remove only the most graphic and gratuitous violence and leave the rest.  On the other hand, we would set it to remove all nudity, graphic sexual situations, and offensive language.  Hopefully there will still be something left to watch!  We look forward to trying it out.  

We hope your Christmas was also filled with family warmth and all the good things your heart desired! 

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