Thursday, December 31, 2015

An Unusual Christmas

Things have been busy at this little place here in the past week or so.  With everyone, and I do mean everyone, home for Christmas, the house has been full.  And loud.  Lots of cooking.  Lots of dishes to wash.  A quick trip up north for an extended family Christmas with DH's mom and siblings. . . And of course I still had to work, because horse farms, unlike major US auto manufacturers (ahem, DH and DS2) and colleges (DS1, K2, DD1 and DD2), don't take a break between Christmas and New Year's.  So not much opportunity to talk here about Christmas.

Christmas Day was 'just' the nine of us.  We deviated from our normal get up early and open presents routine on Christmas morning because there was no way DS1 and K2 were going to get K3 and Toad, up, fed, dressed and still have time to open the huge mound of presents in time to make it to church. For some reason my grandkids did not inherit their father's (and especially DD1's) tendency to wake up at four a.m. on Christmas morning, preferring to sleep til more like eight or nine.

Not that any of us went overboard on shopping, it's just that with NINE people all receiving and exchanging gifts in one living room, there were a whole lot of presents. And none of us cared for the mass-chaos-nobody-knows-what-anyone else-got system of present opening that went on at our holiday gathering the Sunday previous with my parents and brother (and family) and that we knew would go on the 26th at the up north family gathering, so we'd all agreed one present would be opened at a time in order for everyone to see what everyone else had gotten (and so the gifter could know the giftee had received the correct gift). Which meant that opening presents was going to require a large block of time--if you figure each person got five or six presents, and each present would take two or three minutes to hand out, receive, open and exclaim over, well that was definitely going to take longer than waking up at eight a.m. and getting to 10:00 a.m. church on time would allow.

 picture  taken before DS1 & K2 wrapped the presents they had bought for K3 & Toad;
the room was even fuller once those were 'under' the tree

So, since we weren't opening presents first thing, and since it was late doe season in this part of Michigan, and because I still was the only person who had procured venison for our freezer, DH decided to go out hunting Christmas morning.  I was just getting out of the shower and dressed for church when he came into the house, joyfully announcing that he had got a deer!

How's that for a great Christmas present!

DH bringing in his deer from the woods
(note legs sticking out of tractor bucket)

As you can see in the picture, we did not get a white Christmas this year.  In fact, it had been in the fifties a few days earlier, rained on Christmas Eve, and rained Christmas night and the next day.

Too warm, too wet, for a Michigan December.  No wonder I found this lurking in my bedroom after church:

Yes, that is a mosquito in the picture above.  December should be one of the few months each year that we don't have to deal with mosquitoes.  Apparently we weren't not so lucky this year.

We all made it to church on time (DH waited until after church to go out and recover his deer from the woods), came back home, changed clothes, had a quick lunch (during which DH drove the tractor out and got his deer), then commenced to opening presents.

Toad and K3 opening presents, 
one at a time

There was a variety of store bought useful stuff, some homemade stuff, and a few great finds (looks like brand new) from Goodwill.  One such great find was a 1977 edition of the Moosewood Cookbook that DD2 gave to me.  

Veggie peelers and paring knives and biscuit cutters for those in their own homes/apartments this year, insulated hunting bibs for DS1 who did not have any, a cookie jar for the daughter who is becoming known among her friends and roommates as a good baker, long underwear for the southern raised K2 who had no such apparel, ratchet straps and 1/2" drive sockets and a tow strap for DS2 who recently purchased a 4WD truck, winter appropriate clothes for both K3 and Toad, meat lugs for DH (who is really getting into sausage making), a Mad Bomber hat for DD2 to keep her warm during the UP winters she'll endure at college, that sort of stuff.

We tend not to give much 'frivolous' stuff, unless you count chocolate covered cherries or micro-brewed seasonal beer as frivolous, LOL. Although the kids did all go in together and gave DH and I a surprise early present at Thanksgiving:  two tickets to the Zac Brown Band concert in Grand Rapids on Dec.11th!  (It was awesome, aside from being the first concert we'd been to since 1997 and only the fourth concert I've ever been to in my life--not counting band or choir concerts performed by my kids, it truly was a spectacular concert and a much enjoyed gift.)  I have to say, having adult children with jobs is pretty nice; concert tickets were way better than pictures cut from old Christmas cards and glued to old dial up internet offer CDs and made into ornaments like we used to get when the kids were little.  Although more than one card picture CD ornament did hang on our tree this year.  ;0)

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