A Merry Christmas!

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Our family had a lovely Christmas weekend. Amanda and Jon arrived Thursday afternoon. Here they are Friday morning after walking Teddy (their dog) and Toby (Lucy’s dog) around the lake.

That afternoon we decorated the tree. Jon, at 6’4″, is always conscripted to hang the star at the top.

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I miss having all my CDs of Christmas carols (packed in storage with all the rest of our belongings) but Lucy found Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole on Spotify.

Gradually the tree came together. Jon likes to put an ornament he made in nursery school front and center. It is a very sad-looking orange dough pumpkin, mysteriously splashed with green paint, hanging on frayed yarn. “So artistic!” He also turned the ornament made by a student at Christmas 1986, which says “Jon” on one side, and “Lucy” on the other (our two choices for baby names when I was pregnant the first time), so that “Jon” was facing out.

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“I’ll put ‘Lucy’ facing out next year,” I said.

“She’ll forget!” Jon teased his sister.

Amanda’s favorite ornament is a tiny framed picture of Jon holding Lucy in the hospital on the day Lucy was born.

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The tree was smaller this year but still pretty.

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img_0989On Saturday, I had planned to drive us all down to the valley for the Christmas Eve candlelight service, but it was snowing, my organizational energy was flagging, and instead I baked homemade pizzas and we stayed in.

Our family has always had early Christmas mornings. DH and I will never forget the year Jon was six and too excited to sleep — we had finished opening presents long before dawn.  Now, though we remain early risers, we shoot for starting no earlier than 6 AM. This bright-eyed morning tradition is a big concession for Amanda, whose family exchanged presents closer to noon.

Lucy’s present to Amanda was a hand-knitted Christmas stocking, to match her own (made in the ’90s) and mine (made in the ’50s). Lucy taught herself how to turn the heel from Youtube videos. I, who have zero crafty skills, was very impressed.

We all put on our new pajamas from Santa: Amanda, Jon, me, and Lucy. Since DH doesn’t wear pajamas, Santa sensibly skipped him.

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Most of our gifts ran to used books. We are suckers for books costing a penny plus $3.99 shipping.

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Jon also gave Amanda a log carrier for their fireplace.

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After presents, while I roasted the turkey, mixed dough for whole wheat buttermilk rolls, and set the table, the kids played their annual Trivial Pursuit board game. This year the theme was Star Wars.

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While I feel pretty good knowing the names of the robots R2-D2 and C-3PO, the kids are all Star Wars devotees. DH, walking through the room, threw in an answer or two…

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… but Jon appeared to me to be the Jedi Master of intergalactic trivia.

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That evening we had a wonderful holiday dinner with our friends Mike, Tom and Alison, and two of their three children, Emily and Stephen. Tom carved the turkey as usual. There were candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, peas, brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes with gravy, and whole wheat buttermilk rolls. DH helped me serve the pecan pie and ice cream.

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Though I was missing most of my cooking and serving supplies in storage (I don’t advise roasting a 23-pound turkey on a cookie sheet) it was nevertheless a happy feast.

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Before leaving on Monday, Amanda, Jon, and Lucy went for a ski around the lake. DH arranged them in a “podium shot” before they set out. (I believe Jon is indicating that he is number one, not his sister who skis for her college racing team.)

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On the far side of the lake I caught them again beneath Balanced Rocks, the shoulder of Pitchoff Mountain, which my children have hiked since they were small. It’s a classic short hike. Maybe Jon will take Amanda up next summer.

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This will be our second and last Christmas in this house. Though I cannot wait for a home of my own, watching the kids laughing and joking on the lake filled me with nostalgia already.

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Family times are good times.

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