Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Busy End to the Old Year- and a Busy Start to the New

What happens when I don't blog for a long time, and then I have a lot to write about? Monster Blog!!!


It's been a very busy holiday season at our place. We had a lovely Thanksgiving. Both Offspring were home, and I was off work. We did the whole Turkey thing-- and it was fantastic.
We took advantage of a lot of online shopping deals, and a little in-store shopping which included a family gift for The Husband-- a new TV.
It was quite the production. The Son came up with a plan to return home on Saturday to assist with the purchase and set-up. The Daughter and I went out on Black Friday night in search of a stand which we hid in her car under the doggie hammock. On Saturday, The Husband and The Daughter went to the VT/UVa game. The Son and I met at the "BuyMore" to select the set. We got a pretty good deal, schlepped the set home, and settled in to watch the game. (We won-- Go Hokies!!) As soon as it was over, we began to rather overwhelming task of taking the existing setup down-- and identifying the steps we'd need to take. The first was moving a very heavy dresser from the dining room where it held table linens and candles. The Son decided he could use it at his place, and I bid adieu to one of the first pieces of furniture that I purchased at a flea market nearly 4 decades ago. We removed the very heavy, very large TV set from the corner unit in the family room-- this involved clearing out all the VHS tapes that hadn't been viewed in Lord knows how long. The corner unit went into the dining room, and we began to put together the stand.
(The corner unit is great in the dining room. We have more room, and a great place to put the linens, trays and pewter serving pieces. It makes me happy!)
At this point, The Daughter texted to tell us they're on their way home. I replied "STALL!!!" She convinced her Dad that they needed to stop for dinner, which bought us a bit more time. We got everything constructed, connected and working before they arrived home, and gave him his early Christmas present. He likes it plenty.

Cookie Bake
My Gramma was an amazing cook and baker. She baked cookies all the time, and sent them to us at camp, at school, and she'd bring them to us whenever she came to our house. Many years ago, Sister #1 started to bake with her before Christmas, and eventually it became a family event. Since Gramma passed, we have made this an annual event, usually the weekend before Christmas. The Offspring and I travel to the Chicago to join as many of our family as can attend.
We start in the morning on Saturday at Sister #2's house (she has an amazing kitchen-- designed for cookie baking, if you ask me...), and bake from Gramma's recipes all day, making enough cookies for our 9 families and our Dad. We haven't quite figured out how many we actually make, but Sister #2's very long dining room table is pretty much covered with aluminum pans full of cookies.
This year, the cookie-baking festivities were kicked off on Friday night with a party for a niece and her fiance. Lots of fun to be together, and much pizza was eaten.

The week leading up to Christmas was a lot of fun, because I finally got some decorating done, the monster TV was picked up by a charity, the tree went up, and it really felt like Christmas. I knew that both Offspring (and The Daughter's dog) would be coming home. I finished knitting a Christmas stocking for one of The Daughter's friend's new spouse-- and got the over-stitching patterns done as well. The grocery shopping was finished, and I wrapped all the gifts. I was ready for whatever course the weekend would take.
I was scheduled to work the entire Christmas holiday. I'm not upset about working over holidays-- it's part of being a nurse, since of course, patients don't stop being sick just because it's Christmas. But we're sometimes able to be off on one of the days if we want to, because we "staff up" to make sure we have enough to take care of any big changes in census.
The Daughter and I came up with contingencies-- how we'd handle Christmas depending on if I'd be off on any of the days, or if we'd have dinner and celebrate after I got home.
I was very fortunate to have Christmas Eve off, and it was terrific. We were all together, and enjoyed a very nice Christmas. Spending time together was the best. We had our yummy beef dinner and exchanged gifts. I received a Kindle Touch, which has already proved itself to be a terrific device.
I worked on Christmas- spending time with my co-workers and our patients' families.

New Year's
My family gets together on New Year's eve. It started a long time ago, when my parents realized that my brothers and sisters were spending all day on Christmas, traveling throughout the greater Midwest in order to see both sides of their families. My very wise mother told everyone to spend Christmas wherever they needed to be- with their own new families, or in-laws, and to try to be with them on New Year's Eve. As a result, it turns into another family get-together that we look forward to and cherish.
This year, December 30 also served as a destination, as my niece (one of the 26 collective nieces and nephews) was married. It was a lovely ceremony, a terrific reception, and story fodder for years to come.
Since we were all up quite late on the 30th, we decided to celebrate "East Coast" New Year, allowing us to wrap things up a bit earlier. It was another wonderful get-together, and a great beginning to 2012.

Maybe-- probably the same as before-- only more general. Be healthy, do my best, and knit more. We'll review progress in about 12 months.

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