We've been spending the week between Christmas and New Years at the cabin since our family purchased it seven years ago. It needed a lot of cosmetic work at first, but thankfully we were the first people in the months it had been on the market to see through all that and to realize its potential.
Carpet and paint were the first to-do items, hauling abandoned equipment, dismantling the...eh hem, "hidden garden" and rebuilding a failing deck all took priority. Each family contributed furniture from their homes, and Nana and Papa purchased some much needed big items like a sectional couch and new dining chairs. The house is fully furnished, totally comfortable and in need of nothing.
Which means it's time for me to find projects where there aren't any.
It's who am and this is just what I do.
This trip I began to decorate a second refrigerator in the kitchen area that has been driving me CRAZY for years. Its bright white exterior is my idea of an eyesore against the wood paneled cabin walls. I finally decided, and was granted *permission*, to make it an objet d'art. I discovered Cafe Press and was able to find thousands of bumper stickers that spoke to our family's time here together. It's not done, I want it to be completely covered with bumper stickers. But I think it's off to a good start!
Christmas was good to all of us this year. It started with the kids sleeping in until 7:30 and then waiting patiently for us to brew coffee before starting in on their stockings. The kids were all spoiled again. Despite swearing up and down the street each year that we won't do it, it seems we always do a bit too much. Home runs were made with the delivery of a trampoline and the adoption of a hamster. Both are proving well worth the consideration and investment.
My favorite moments were spent watching my mother help the nearly six-year-old stitch a bed for our new rodent family member, Wellington. My mother began teaching me to sew at about the same age and so it was endearing for me to watch. I have high hopes for me, my girl and that little purple machine.
The day carried on into the night at my sister's house where we once again all gathered to feast on my brother-in-law's gumbo and a chocolate mousse torte that Mr. Noodle helped me prepare after gift opening.
My family has long been celebrating Christmas Eve with a crab feast hosted by my mom. It has evolved over the years from an intimate gathering of mostly adults at her house, to what is now a party of nearly twenty, half being grandkids, and hosted at our house where we have more room to move about. Several years ago we decided to celebrate the 24th a day or two early in hopes of lightening the already heavy load of Christmas Eve. This year, we came together on the 23rd.
When all the grandparents, sisters and cousins began filing in around 5 o'clock, this little guy got very shy. I spotted him looking forlorn and walking down the hallway towards his room, saying "I'm just shy, Mommy. I'm shy of the cousins." I followed him, telling him I could help, but he just continued in, sat on the edge of his bed, put his head down on his nightstand and said, "It's OK, Mommy. I'm shy, but I still love you." Sigh.
The Nanas. These ladies are so fun to watch in action. To the left is B., paternal grandma. To the right is my mom, and in the center is Granny A., also known *affectionately* as my father's second ex-wife.
metal rooster was a hostess gift from my sister. How awesome his he? He
was the perfect addition to the colorful kiddo table.
All the cousins ate a spaghetti dinner before us adults sat down for crab. I had to document the difference between the three-year-old's plate next to that of is seventeen-year-old cousin's. Big difference in the way those boys eat! My mom also prepared little Christmas themed Jell-O molds for the kids, which I thought was so clever.
After dinner we all played a white elephant game with ages ranging from three to eighty-one. My favorite moment was when Mr. Noodle, decked out in the swim gear he insisted on wearing so he could comfortably go outside in the rain and jump on the trampoline, opened the biggest box to discover a cow piñata. He clearly thought he had died and gone to heaven, and so Daddy yelled out "Rule number three, nobody takes the piñata from the kid!"
I absolutely LOVE this fair and all that it offers. The food, the games, theatrical performances and music all come together in the most enchanting event. You can read more details in my post last year.
Daddy and Tiny Tim!
Because we entered the fair shortly after opening, we were able to get a family portrait without waiting - something I've always wanted to do. Here we are with my father:
The low lighting makes it difficult to get good photographs, but I was
able to grab this one of a great game we played - Boot the Cat. For a
couple bucks you can lie on the bed and throw boots at the wooden cats
meowing in the window. Knock down all three and win a prize!
Read about our first family trip to the fair in 2011 here.
This will be our first Christmas in the new house and so everything about this holiday season feels a bit brighter...more exciting. At least to me.
I had originally planned to spend yesterday alone with the kids decorating gingerbread men, women, soldiers, dogs, angles and polar bears. Everything was going along as planned until Friday night when I learned my friend M. was flying solo with his girls too.
Of course that meant I had to call C. to see if she and A. wanted in. Everyone was free and so Little Miss helped me bake a double batch. I had plenty of powdered sugar and just enough powdered merengue. We squeezed colorful icing from clear plastic bottles and loaded on candy confections until they overflowed onto the floor beneath our bare feet. M. decorated gingerbread women to resemble C. and me, all while entertaining us with stories of being a solo parent to two kids, and taking morning showers with conference calls on speaker phone (and mute), until he hears his name, has to turn off the water, jump out to the phone and answer a question like he's paying any attention.