Charming Cherubs, Ghastly Greenery, and Other Holiday Highlights…

Christmas, 2010, is history in Hammond River…here are some highlights (and lowlights!)…you might want to pour yourself a cup of tea and grab a cookie or two…this is a long one:

1. Christmas Cabaret.  On Wednesday, Anna went to her high school’s Christmas Cabaret at the Lily Lake Pavilion at Rockwood Park.  She insists that she didn’t dance with any boys while she was there, but claims she had fun!

Anna before little girl is growing up!

2. A Visit from “New Orleans Nick.”  Thursday evening, I came home from the bookstore with a killer migraine…I went upstairs to bed.  While I was up there, Jim’s cousin, Nick, stopped in enroute to Nick’s mom’s house in Fredericton.  Jim had bought a router for him to give to his mother as a Christmas gift along with a new computer Nick got for her.  Nick’s plane from Louisiana had landed in Bangor earlier that day, and he was driving from there to his mom’s.  I’m sorry I missed Nick…he has a pretty tight schedule when he comes home to visit! 

3. Ghastly Greenery.  I managed to kill my 2-year-old poinsettia by overwatering it, just in time for Christmas…this is how it looked before it went to the big compost bin in the back yard (note to self – look in the pot before watering…don’t just pour water on it blindly!).  The Christmas cactus (you can see the buds in the lower left corner of the photo) is doing fabulously, though:

Dead poinsettia in the kitchen window...

4. A “Touch”-ing Evening.  We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at Jim’s parents’ house, followed by opening presents with Devin and Brianna before they left for their mom’s house.  I let Anna and Hope unwrap one of their presents too…all the girls got iPod Touch’s (I wonder if the bank will give us a mortgage on a house we don’t own?).  Jim told Hope to turn hers over after she opened it…we had them engraved with the girls’ names.  “What does it say?” Jim asked.

“iPod!” Hope answered.

Hope with her new toy and her fleece sweater from Grammy and Grampy...the brown sweater behind her is one she gave Jim...

Devin’s big present was driving lessons, but we also got him a new chair for his computer desk.  I got him a new sandwich maker that doesn’t require a twist tie to hold the two sides together…nothing but the best for our boy!

5. The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas,

And all over the floor,

A creature was puking

And leaving piles galore…

Jake had been the recipient of the ham bone from our dinner at Grammy’s house…he wasted no time in attacking it, much to his later regret (and ours).  Jake threw up all night and half of Christmas Day…during a somewhat hysterical holiday phone call, our local vet managed to talk me down out of my (Christmas) tree, assuring me that Jake was “a victim of his own excess” and that he would probably be fine.  The doctor didn’t see our water-hating dog climb into the bathtub (twice), or fall asleep standing up while desperately trying to find a comfortable position!  The vet ended up being right, though…thanks, Dr. B.!  Thanks also to my dad, who did most of the cleanup duty! 

6.  Operation Stocking Complete.  I managed to finish Elise’s handmade crocheted Christmas stocking at Jim’s parents’ on Christmas Eve while the kids were opening presents…considering I completely made up the pattern (except for the snowflakes), I think it came out pretty well!

Elise's one-of-a-kind crocheted stocking...snowflakes on other side too...


7. Our Green Christmas Came Early.  About 7 a.m., Hope opened our bedroom door and called up to Jim and I that it was time to open presents…I was grateful that she’d gone to bed late (otherwise, she might have had us up at five!).  We stumbled downstairs in our jammies, and sat on the couch while the kids piled presents in our laps as fast as we could open them (they did open some themselves, in between).  I got lots of chocolate (just what I need…not!), gift cards (yay!), and a promise of a trip (without kids) to Prince Edward Island with Jim sometime in the early season (can’t wait!).  Jim and Devin also did an upgrade and installed a new flat-screen monitor on my home computer (the old one was on its last legs!).  Thanks, Honey!  I think Jim liked the dress wool jacket I got for him (sometimes procrastination pays off – 40% off two days before Christmas…score!), and the tickets to The Who tribute concert in January at the Imperial Theatre.  He’s also planning to buy a snazzy new lens for his camera later on…I’ll kick in some funds for that too!

I had just nicely finished my breakfast about 10 a.m., when I realized how many presents were still under the tree awaiting Kaylee and Scott’s arrival…I thought it would be a good idea to suggest they allow extra time to stop at home and drop off presents before proceeding to their next destination after our house…Scott’s car is rather small!  I was talking to Kaylee on the phone when it suddenly went dead…they walked in the door two seconds later, a full two hours before we were expecting them!  They’d been on the go since 5:30 that morning, but hadn’t had breakfast…I switched into “Mommy mode” and started a bagel/toast production line for everybody who was hungry…

Elise had already had some practice opening presents at Uncle Sean’s that morning, and Grampy Paul’s the night before…she was starting to get the hang of it.  Jim took this photo of Elise opening her Etch-A-Sketch/Magna Doodle combo:

Elise opening her presents Christmas Day...

I think Elise’s favourite presents were the soft baby doll I got her, the Potty Elmo from Auntie Anna, and the Little People Farm from Grandad.  I think Kaylee and Scott were happy to have the portable highchair Grandad got for them…it even goes into the dishwasher!  Kaylee liked the tickets for the Great Big Sea concert Jim and I gave her, and Scott seemed to like the lined hoody I got him (plain black, of course).  He wondered if the shaving cream in his stocking might have been some kind of hint…

Elise was exhausted by the time she was finished…they took her home for a nap about lunchtime.  I started making my rolls for our Boxing Day/Christmas Dinner the next day.

About suppertime, we got ready to go over to Jim’s parents for Christmas Dinner with them and Jim’s sisters…unfortunately, Jim’s sister, Kim, wasn’t feeling well.  Her husband, Chris, came and picked up plates for them to take home.  We had another scrumptious dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, and apple pie for dessert!  Yummy!  Jim’s sister, Tracy, played Santa Claus and passed out presents.  Jim’s parents got me some more gift cards, a beautiful set of three bracelets, and a long-sleeved top.  Jim got a nice sweater, a shirt and a pair of pants.  Jim’s mom and dad liked the printer we got them, the Sears gift card, and the shaped 1000-piece dragon puzzle Anna and Hope gave them.

We went to bed soon after we got home…it was a busy day!

8. No One Was Punched on Boxing Day (they waited until the next day).  In Canada, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday the day after Christmas…pretty much everything is closed.  It was after I made everybody a sausage and scrambled egg breakfast that I discovered I hadn’t left us enough eggs to make my stuffing and Jim’s dressing later in the day.  I started making my stuffing and getting the turkey ready to go into the oven (I used my new food processor to cut the celery and onions), while Jim made an emergency egg run to Shoppers Drug Mart (thank goodness they have eggs!).  Devin and Brianna came back from their mom’s…before she left, they showed us their new chihuahua puppy, Azul, who was a lovely shade of gray-brown, very unusual colour for that breed. 

The snowstorm started soon after that, and continued through Monday until we had about a foot of snow. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon peeling and cutting vegetables for our dinner: carrots and rutabaga from the garden, squash from our garden (from the freezer), potatoes, broccoli, and corn.  Jim made his dressing, and the gravy…we danced around each other in the kitchen…it’s not my favourite thing having people there when I’m cooking!  I tried unsuccessfully to find my Christmas tablecloth and placemats…no luck!  My stuffing got soggy in the top of the potato pot because I had so many potatoes in it…I tried to dry it out in the oven a little bit.  Everything took longer than I thought it would, and I ended up serving it about 30 minutes later than I intended to.  The kids were all sitting around the table waiting by the time I brought the food in (I think Elise was already eating carrots!).  The buns were delicious…

Buns, fresh from the oven...

 And so was our blueberry/blackberry pie I took out of the freezer for dessert…remember this?

Blueberry/Blackberry pie I made this fall...

After a day of doing dishes and finally getting around to making a couple of loaves of lemon bread, I’m back at the bookstore today…glad to get back to my routine!


Filed under cooking, family, food, memories, satire

43 responses to “Charming Cherubs, Ghastly Greenery, and Other Holiday Highlights…

  1. planejaner

    I am exhausted reading about your many days of Christmas Cheer!
    Poor, poor Jake! (still laughing, truth be told…)
    My son got an iPod touch, too–he is attatched to it!
    you granddaughter is just beautiful…
    what a lovely, lovely family you have, and thanks for sharing your lovely holiday!


    • You and me both, Jane…the logistics of getting many families together is exhausting! Thankfully, Jake’s feeling much better now…never thought I’d be happy to have him bugging me to go outside! I’m pretty lucky to have my family! Hugs, Wendy

  2. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful Christmas minus the puking Jake. Happy to hear that he is feeling better.

    I just love the Christmas stocking for Elise…just beautiful!

    Tell Anna she looks absolutely stunning in her dress.

    Your poor poinsettia looks very much like one that was entrusted to my care

    • Thanks, Jeanne…Jake is back to his old, sucky self! I was pretty happy with the Christmas stocking…I can’t believe Anna is as grownup as she looks! Houseplants aren’t my forte…surprised I managed to keep it alive a whole two years…I’m much better with outside plants! Wendy

  3. I’m so happy to hear you and Jim finally have the chance to travel together for a bit. Prince Edward Island sounds lovely–it’s so Anne of Green Gables! I hope you have a marvelous time.

    That Elise–I swear, she just gets cuter.

    Glad to hear you had a happy and festive holiday!

  4. Sounds like a very Merry holiday. Hope and Cole have a lot in common–When I asked him to pull out the ice cream the other day–he answered, “Where is it?”
    The stocking is lovely! And the pies as pretty as ever.
    Glad Jake is back to his old self.

    • Sorry, Katybeth…it happened again! I responded to your comment, and it didn’t show up in the blog!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with a “special” kid…frustrating as it is at times!

      I was happy with the stocking…

      Jake is back to bugging me all the time!


  5. Sounds like a very happy holiday…well, except for Jake’s being sick that is. Oh, and the stocking is fabulous. Hugs, Diane

  6. I made it to the end. Thanks for the length warning. Gee and Curt thought I was relating too much about myself. I’m an amateur compared to you. PS: I personally like the poinsettia picture.

  7. Sounds like you folks had a great Christmas! I’m sure the kids loved the iPods. Hopefully, none of their friends got iPads, because, if they did, you’ll never hear the end of it!

  8. Wow, Wendy, from the photos I’ve seen, Anna looks exactly like you! And Elise does get cuter by the minute.
    Thanks for sharing your busy, food-filled, present-heavy and family-blessed days of Christmas – they sound special. I am full and exhausted after reading this, and can understand your relief at being back at the bookstore. 🙂
    Major Christmas hugs to you, Wendy
    Sunshine xx

  9. Holidays are so hectic we barely have time to catch all that happens. Good thing we’ve got those sweet cameras eh? Elise is a cutie. I’m glad no one got punched on Boxing Day :-0

    • Hey, Clay…I’m thinking of you tonight as I start a “new to me” book…have you ever read George MacDonald Fraser? I was introduced to his work in the late 1970’s by one of my first boyfriends. He took the “Flashman” character from “Tom Brown’s School Days” and dropped him into just about every major historical conflict in the last half of the nineteenth century. It’s funny as hell, and pretty historically accurate! The one I’m reading now is “The Reavers” (not a Flashman series book)…it’s set in Elizabethan England, but he’s making fun of modern society all the way through it! Fraser is now in his eighties, but still sharp as a tack! Wendy

  10. izziedarling

    Good grief, Wendy – where do you get your energy? The buns are BEAUTIFUL! Happy New Year, friend – and yes, I do believe the best is yet to come. xo iz

  11. Poor Jake! I’m glad everyone else fared okay with the holidays. Happy Boxing Day! Do they make a card for that?

    • Thankfully, Jake’s feeling much better now…apparently, Kaylee and Elise were the recipients of Hope’s nasty cold, though… Not sure about Boxing Day cards…I know I’ve never bought one, or been tempted to send one…not sure if they exist! Wendy

  12. I’m impressed by all you do…and I like those buns too.

  13. Wow, Wendy–sounds like several days full of advenure. You must be exhausted. Good thing you’re back at work–maybe that will give you a chance to catch your breath!

  14. I wish I had an ounce of your energy, Wendy! What a lovely Christmas, despite the demise of the poinsettia, your migraine, and poor Jake tossing his cookies. I hope you can put your feet up for New Year’s Eve. Best wishes for 2011!

  15. Am back again between weddings to read what I can and I see you’ve been having a Merry if rather eventful Christmas 🙂 Poor Jake, I’m glad he’s all better now! And poor poinsettia…my sympathies. I’m a regular plant-killer myself 😦

    Elise is gorgeous and those buns come a close second 🙂 And I remember that pie well! Wonderful to see you had a great Christmas with your family and everyone got gifts that they liked, which is huge!!

    I’m hoping to get back to writing again as soon as I’m done with the wedding tonight!!

    Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy, Healthy 2011 🙂

    Hugs, H.

  16. MMMMmmmmm buns….

    I like your BB pie – which reminds me my Nana once made a batch of pies. She put ‘S’ on the ones for ‘Sweet’ – and then ‘S’ on the ones for ‘Savoury’ – it was hit and miss as to whether you got apple or chicken.

  17. With the exception of puking Jake, your holiday events sound wonderful. Wow, Anna looks exactly like you! I applaud your lengthy post, what with everything going on. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

  18. Sounds like a wonderful (and very busy) Christmas. I love the part about the engraving on the iPods. Classic moment.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Chase! Every time one of my kids comes up with something like that, we say “That’s going in the book!” If only I’d starting writing the “gems” down more than 20 years ago…


  19. I’m partial to that pie. You can freeze pie whole? Love the signature. Sounds like a zany Christmas. I almost thought you were doing a 13 Thursday!

    • Thanks, Colleen! I froze both the pumpkin ones and the blueberry/blackberry ones I made earlier this fall…they need to be refrigerated once you take them out of the freezer though. The BB was just a designation to distinguish it from just the blueberry ones…


  20. Hippie Cahier

    I know a girl named Jake who is often the victim of her own excesses. I hope your Jake has recovered.

    So, will Hope be officially changing her name to iPod? Too funny. That’s one of those stories that will come up years from now, repeatedly!

    Sometimes I think I need to work out after seeing the pictures of your baking adventures. Those buns smell delicious!

    • Thanks, Hippie…Jake is back to his old pain-in-the-butt self!

      The only name change Hope is contemplating is her last name…to Bieber…right after she marries “the Justin.”

      Do a workout or two for me too, will you?


  21. sounds like a wonderful christmas! 🙂
    (okay, the hambone story made me cringe :S but other than that! 😀 )

    all the food talk towards the end has made me hungry. . . mmmm… pie…..

    • Happy New Year, dottiemaggie! We’re having a reprise of Christmas dinner again tomorrow…Jim’s cooking a turkey for a lot of our extended family…cherry cheesecake for dessert…will be posting photos I’m sure! Thanks for stopping by! Wendy

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