Thursday, January 25, 2007

The holidays were wonderful!

I know that I'm one of the few that thinks that the holidays could actually last longer, but I do think I could have enjoyed a couple of more days of November and December!

Thanksgiving was wonderful...we had a great day with our dear friends, the Rodriguez'...a wonderful meal, then fun and games while we drank some amazing Cuban coffee! Then the next day we drove to spend the day with Eric's family in Athens, GA. It was wonderful to see them as well as my sister-in-law's husband's family, whom we've enjoyed getting to know. And Eric's brother had big news...he's getting married! So hopefully, we'll all get together again soon!

Then we quickly began our Christmas to a wonderful start!

So as soon as we could after Thanksgiving, we went with the Dorizas' to the Bosshardt's Christmas Tree farm to pick out our lovely Christmas trees...then we laughed our heads off when Eric couldn't even get the tall tree that Tiffy and I picked really didn't look that tall outside! (Let's just say that we had to trim a little off of the top and the bottom to get it to fit inside our living room...which does have taller than normal ceilings!) And I do have to say that it was the prettiest tree that we've ever had! Eric and I are completely sold on Leland Cypress' from now on! It was a shame to take it down...for it still was gorgeous AND barely shed!!!

Macy and I enjoyed going to our friend's annual Mother-Daughter Luncheon and Cookie Party! Tiffy and I did quite a bit of Christmas baking in the first two weekends, which is a tradition which I hope to's so much more fun to bake and talk to a great girlfriend at the same time! I had my annual two-day Christmas Open House for Timeless Treasures (totally shameless plug... the beautiful engraved/monogrammed, silver jewelry and embroidery that I sell!) We enjoyed our new church's Christmas Banquet, which was a dinner and then Tressie's Sunday School class "banged" in the Christmas season...all of those 3 and 4 year olds banging and tooting their instruments was too cute!

Then we did make it to our good friends, the Bonds' Christmas party, then our holiday celebrating came to a screechin' halt when we began to fall like flies around here with the flu!Poor Tressie had it the worst, perhaps because she's so small, but we did thoroughly enjoy that sweet, quiet time as our little family...all snuggled up together safe and warm in our home with so many wonderful blessings, taking that opportunity to share with the girls that there are others that haven't been blessed so. After spending a couple of days visiting the ER and doctor's appts., I think that the girls truly understood how blessed they were to be at home, and it was sweet to hear them pray for the children specifically at our local children's hospital and the families at the Ronald McDonald House.

And a side note....In addition to our celebrating Christmas, planning a couple of birthday parties, taking care of sick children, and praying that we were able to recover in time for family to visit, I had to have a couple of tests done on my thyroid (multiple blood tests, an ultrasound, and a thyroid uptake), which did explain a lot, but while awaiting more conclusive tests, my endocrinologist took me off of my thyroid if I needed something else!

So on the day of Tressie's birthday, we all felt better and ventured back out into the holiday madness around town and celebrated Tressie's 4th birthday...woohoo! (Although I can't believe that she's FOUR!) Then the next day, my parents were able to come for a visit! It was so good to see them! Although it was obvious at times that I wasn't up to my usual-self with high energy for entertaining, we had a wonderful time just being with them! The guys went out and did their thing (walking on my parent's property on the back of the mountain, visiting book stores, telling us that they would gladly run an errand for us...and run to "try out" a new pub...yeah, we're onto you two!) The girls did our thing by catching up with one another, doing some last-minute shopping, and preparing for holiday celebrations.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve...I just LOVED Christmas Eve's falling on the Lord's Day! It just seemed to make it all the more special! So after morning worship, we came home and had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner with the Rodriguez' (convinced them to bring the Cuban coffee again!), and then went back to church later that night for a Christmas Eve service. Of course, I'm afraid that my only memory of that was the painfully-hot dripping candle wax from the candle-lit part of the service! The girls just couldn't hold onto theirs anymore, so they kept handing them to Eric and I...we had the hardest time stifling our laughter...poor Eric had it dripping all over his pants to keep it from dripping onto the floor, and I finally had to bow to the pressure of making the room darker by blowing out several of our candles, but I just had to! And of course, I'm an adult now, and though the room was dark, I could still see my father's eyes looking at me warning me to try to contain my laughter!

This year we truly enjoyed the Advent season...especially with the beautiful Advent wreath that Eric made for us, and the girls loved lighting a new candle every week, so that evening when we came home from the Christmas Eve service, we all sat by the fire and Eric read the Bible readings for that night, and Tressie was allowed to light the center candle, which she had waited so patiently all season to light! Then we traditionally had our little party with eggnog and snacks and opened our Christmas stockings....fu---un! Let me just say that my Daddy introduced me to my new favorite four words...A Ma Ru La!

The next morning we awoke to a white Christmas...although it wasn't snow, it was so foggy that it looked like snow! We had such a wonderful, relaxing morning...had a leisurely breakfast and and then opened some wonderful Christmas gifts...I think my personal favorite one was the gift that Macy was given by my parents....evidentally, weeks prior to Christmas my mom starting asking the girls what they would like to have for Christmas, and when she asked Macy what she would like to have, Macy told her, "Well, what I'd like to have is too expensive, so I'm not going to say anything about it." Then she told my mom of a couple of additional, little things, and mom gently convinced her to tell her what it was that she wanted but hadn't told anyone. So it was definitely a surprise to Macy when she opened up her gift and saw what she thought was unobtainable...a beautiful, white American Girl nightgown with a matching gown for her doll Samantha! And what a gift it was to me to know that she had been so sweet to not concern anyone with what she really wanted...and that my mom and dad kept her secret but surprised her with it! How beautiful she and Samantha looked!

Then we sat around talking, checking out our new gifts, and apparently took our time getting ready for the day, then someone looked at the clock and realized that we had company arriving in less than an hour! I've never seen such a panic and I had been so diligent to accomplish all of the cooking (except for the white rice, the asparagus casserole, and our appetizer) prior to that day! Then all of a sudden we had to accomplish more than time would allow! Mom and I literally threw ourselves into high gear...all the while laughing hysterically just to keep from crying! We knew that we couldn't accomplish all that needed to be done in the small amount of time that we had been given! So when Dad came out all fresh and ready and fully-dressed, Mom quickly put him to work too! I'll never forget seeing my dad moving furniture in our foyer as he "did a quick vacuum"! It was hysterical how we went from one extreme of sitting around enjoying talking and looking at our new gifts to shoving those gifts into the arms of the next person heading upstairs! And yes, we probably had flour on our faces when they arrived, something hanging out of a drawer or two that we quickly shoved closed, but somehow we actually pulled it off! And we were able to greet Aunt Jan and Uncle Eddie, and Will and his new girlfriend Aimee (whom we really like!) as if our home had been that peaceful all day long! So it was truly a wonderful Christmas day spent with the Chandlers, Stoers, and Routons!

The next day, we spent another wonderfully-relaxing morning at home and then drove up to Monteagle to celebrate Boxing Day! Not really! But we've traditionally spent the day after Christmas up at Monteagle, and it was a lot of fun! Then we returned home to get ready for the next day....we had multiple birthdays, retirements, anniversaries, etc. to celebrate! Mom and Dad's 38th wedding anniversary, dad's birthday AND retirement, Jonathan and Ivey's birthdays, Jad's birthday, and Macy and Tressie's birthdays! Whew! So we all got together to celebrate by a fun walk through Rock City to see the Christmas lights, cake and such and a bonfire at our house. It was so cold but a lot of fun!

Then the next morning was Mae-Mae's birthday, and what a treat it was to have Mimi and PawPaw here to celebrate it with us. We begged them to stay longer, but they had to get back home to finish up a few things before the new year, but they stayed for breakfast and gift-opening, then Dad offered to take us all out to eat at the restaurant of Macy's choice. So after a wonderful lunch with Mimi and PawPaw, they sadly had to leave!

A couple of days resting and running an errand or two here and there, we celebrated a quiet New Year's Eve, and then had our Christmas with the Chandlers here at our house on New Year's Day. My "Southern By The Grace of God" husband prepared a wonderful ham and asked me to prepare some greens, Macy begged for black-eyed peas, Tressie begged for cornbread (in a perfect world, I think that's all Tressie would ever want!), Annie wanted white rice (such a sweet, simple child!), and I made some cornbread dressin' to go along with it for our last 2006 holiday meal! Here's hoping that meal gives us some of that good'ole luck, I mean, providence for the new year!

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