Monday, December 26, 2011

So, this is Christmas. . .

Our Christmas always starts on Christmas Eve at my MIL's house. There are over 30 of us there, so you can imagine the chaos. I am the "official" family photographer and so it is my duty to document everything. This means that in 27 years there are about 3 pictures of me on Christmas Eve since I am always behind the camera. I was late this year so my SIL stepped in and did all of the family portraits. And as everyone started opening gifts I saw my SIL standing close by and I handed her my camera and asked her to shoot a few pictures for me.

 So here I am with my 2 BIG girls
 and here I am with one of my BIG girls and my 2 little girls. I love these pictures!!! Thanks Jeanne!!!

This year we decided to change up all of our traditions for Christmas Day - which typically means opening gifts 1st thing in the morning. No breakfast just trays of Christmas cookies and banana bread, coffee and hot tea, all served on my beautiful china. Then after the gifts we eat an early lunch of ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and other goodies. Again all served on my china in the formal dining room. After lunch it is 2 hours of dishes and clean up for me while everyone plays and naps.

This year Gary and I both cooked breakfast together - served on chinette paper plates with snowman paper napkins.
 After our BIG breakfast we opened our gifts. Bug was interested in her stocking and that was about it. She wondered about the house as her sister and the rest of opened gifts.
 After gifts we ate a ham I had baked - no fix'ins this year just 4 different kinds of chips and some buns to make sandwiches, all served on chinette paper plates with snowman paper napkins again. Bug took a nap, Gary played with his new "toys", my Mom rested by the tree and the rest of them played Candyland (Monkey won!)
 This is my Son-in-law &I goofing off a bit after Candyland
 B&D took Bug & Monkey home for a bit and then we joined them at there house with Lizzy's boyfriend Richard for some pictionary & charades.
 It was such a nice relaxing Christmas this year. No dishes to do, no trying to make everything come out of the oven on time. Just fun and family. We all decided this was a great new tradition and we will being this again next year.

Now I have to tell you about my MOST FAVORITE present this year. . .
Some of you that really know me, know about my "Doodle sweater". For those of you that don't know, the Doodle sweater is my magical sweater, it holds all of my "super powers". It belonged to my Doodle (dad) and when he died I asked my Mom if I could have it. My Doodle always wore a cardigan sweater and I just loved this particular one. It was a grape colored wool and he had it for about 10 years so it was nice and broken in but not at all "worn". I just kept it in my closet so I could see it but I never wore it. Then one day I was trying to work on a project and I was just stuck. I just couldn't get it going. I had a little chill and went to my closet and all of my regular sweaters were dirty and so I grabbed Doodle's sweater. Moments after putting on that sweater everything just clicked! I finished my project and was thrilled with the finished product. A couple of weeks later the same situation arose and I once again reached for Doodle's sweater. Viola! It was like magic, everytime I wore the sweater it seemed I just got more creative, more focused, more comfortable. So it didn't matter if it was winter or summer, you could find me wearing that grape, wool sweater in my studio. After a few years of wearing it when I was working in my studio, I started wearing it to cook, to clean, to watch tv in. I just loved the feel of it, I just felt comfortable and peaceful when I wore it. But sadly I have been wearing Doodle's sweater for about 15 years now, and he wore it for about 10 years and it is finally worn out. It has been mended several times but now it just has too many holes to mend. It no longer has any shape. It has paint and ink on it and it is just not comfortable anymore. And even though I still put it on, I am frustrated by it. I have been looking for about a year for the perfect replacement for my beloved Doodle sweater, but I have had no luck. Last week as I was Christmas shopping in Macy's I saw it - the perfect replacement in the men's department! It was marked down from $75 to $19! We have a rule in our family that you cannot buy yourself anything the month of December so I took a picture of it with my phone and sent it to my family letting them know that I REALLY wanted this sweater! I was pretty confident that it would be under the tree today. But I was not prepared for my reaction when I actually opened it. I opened the box, pulled back the tissue and there it was! I was happy but then I pulled it out of the box and something was different about it. There was this orange lettering on it and I looked closer and it said "Punky". Punky is what my Doodle always called me and my dear husband had bought the sweater for me and then had it embroidered for me. I don't know what came over me but I started to weep. Not just a tear streaming, but ugly face weeping. I made my way across the wrapping paper and toy cluttered floor to Gary and just melted in his arms. The whole room went quiet and as I laid there in Gary's arms crying and saying thank you he even shed a tear. It was a $20 gift, and it was my MOST FAVORITE gift I received!
 I put it on right away and I am still wearing now at 1am. It feels just like Doodles sweater used to feel like.
I am trying to decide what to do with the Doodle Sweater - I am thinking I might have it framed? Do any of you have any creative ideas of what I can do with it? I would love to hear your ideas. Until I decide, it is hanging safely in my closet, waiting. . .

I hope all of you had a Christmas like mine,
full of
and Wonderful New MEMORIES!

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