Monday, December 28, 2020

Christmas Day Blessings!

 We were to gather at Nita and Mike's home in Fort Worth on Christmas morning at 10:15.
We were only 15 minutes late!

I was running on 3 hours of sleep having been so excited about Christmas Eve that it was 4:30 in the morning before I went to bed. Well, I went to bed earlier and decided to just get up and do some things since I was wide awake. Dead tired - TOO tired to sleep!

We siblings have been celebrating Christmas morning breakfast for so many years now!
I remember when Deanie hosted long long years ago and it was at 8:00 in the morning!
I think I made it once. Then after all our children were grown and gone, we changed it to 10:00 and had it at Mother's house on Waits, but Deanie still hosted. I don't know exactly how many years Nita and Mike have hosted in their home but I know it's been at least 10 - 12 years.
We started including friends and cousins and our children and their families and more.
Some years we had dozens of people and some years only a couple dozen and then a few years only a dozen or so. This year we were 8 in number and grateful to be with each other.

Nita and Mike always have so much food!
Mike made the breakfast pizza and it was delicious.
The bacon was amazing! One Christmas they cooked 12 POUNDS of bacon!
We had gravy and scrambled eggs, a fruit tray, biscuits and plenty of liquid refreshments!

I brought things for Caramel Apple cocktails and Leah and Patrick brought homemade mead and Irish cream.....and homemade eggnog....and the best apple muffins ever!

It was a perfect Christmas morning to eat and visit and relax.

The best thing about it?
Lonnie was there!!!

We were so happy to see him!!

Mike recently finished a 1960's puzzle and we were all admiring it....

We looked to see how many of these famous people we could identify.

It was even a good day to take a little nap.....and I did.

Benjamin delighted all of us by bringing Klaus to the party!
Complete with portable litter box!

And in due time - we were ready to have our Chinese Christmas Tree gift exchange.

There were 8 people and 5 gifts. 
A couple can bring one or two. 
Nita and I each just brought one.
We really weren't sure how many would be there and if there would even BE enough to do a tree.

You would think with so few - it would be a little dull.
We all had a blast and laughed and laughed!

Everyone got a kick out of Ben getting the white pig Nita brought.
She figured she'd get something SHE would want in case we didn't play the game.

Ben liked him and named him Stu!

I got one of  Leah's gifts!
Homemade marshmallows, fudge, snickerdoodle bread and Irish Coffee - and a bottle of mead which I will take to the ranch with us to share with Dean.

It was a wonderful Christmas morning and we all hugged a little tighter and took a few extra pictures.
I admit I patted Lonnie and kissed his cheek and then hugged him again.

I dearly loved spending time with Nita and Leah!
Seeing my brother topped this Christmas off perfectly!

We packed up a bag of goodies to take over to Deanie and Charlie before we headed back to Irving Christmas afternoon. I sent a text message and told Deanie I would put the bag on the front porch and when I got back to the car, maybe they could come out and wave at us.

Well, they did that and more!!
We kept our masks on and plenty of space between us - but we got to see each other 'with our eyeballs' as we like to say!!!
It was wonderful!!!!

Charlie stood by the car with Louis Dean inside and they visited there.

Deanie and I went up on her front deck to sit in the shade.
The sun was blinding us!!
This was SUCH a good visit!!
My heart filled up so full of pure joy at being with my sister.
It's been many long months since I have seen her in person.
We sat and talked and talked.
Deanie looks GREAT!!
And she FEELS great!
Once she had her gallbladder surgery - it's been getting better all the time.
For the first time in years, she can mop the floor.
Bending her stomach had caused her such terrible pain for at least the last 8 years.
All because of her gallbladder!!
Why, oh, WHY did the doctors not check that??
Praise God for Trish getting on the speaker phone during one of her mother's doctor appointments and telling him all about her mother's symptoms and the great pain she's been in.

I guess Deanie and I visited for an hour or so.
I didn't even want to leave but I have to be home before dark!
We came home and I took a quick one hour nap, freshened up and headed to the Bells house in Dallas.
Exactly 22 minutes from my door to Amber's. 
I can drive there and back in the dark because I know the route so well and it is literally 17 miles on the Bush toll road with only 8 turns from my house to hers.

*Amber's Photo*

We arrived right after 7:00!
Both sets of grandparents were there and we all gave the kids some quality attention.
With four 8-year-olds, you really need all four grandparents!
Uncle Mark had gifted the kids with a Twister game and I was the spinner while they played.

*Amber's photo*

Everything looked so pretty!
They set up another smaller table at the end of the big dining room table and we all ate Christmas dinner together.

Such a delicious meal!

Then, as is the tradition, we all settled down to watch Home Alone 2....
with dessert at Intermission!

Christmas Day could not have ended more perfectly!

So many Christmas Blessings!
I spent time with all four of my children - including Summer by way of FaceTime, phone calls and Marco Polo videos. And I was with all 8 of my grandchildren - with getting to see Rayne on FaceTime.
And I was with my siblings IN PERSON!
Lanita, Deanie, and Lonnie!
I could not have asked for a better Christmas!

I will close with my best Christmas gift this year.....

It is from Logan.
Christmas night, she slipped a small gift bag to me and said, Merry Christmas.
There was a lot of hustle and bustle going on at the time so I put it in my purse and opened it when I got home. Tear sprang to my eyes and slid down my cheeks.
I always carry mints with me and she gifted me a package of candy cane tic tacs, a small candy cane and a Christmas card. And a sign with a G on it for grandparent.
I love how she wrote her name in cursive!
She bought the gift with her own money.
Sweetest gift I received!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A Very Merry Christmas Eve!

 Our Christmas Eve morning started off with Tabitha coming in to pay some attention to Louis Dean!

It's one of her morning rituals!
While the day started off in a leisurely manner - the pace stepped up sharply once we were good and awake! I had already done quite a bit of food prep but there was still a lot to do before the family arrived.
The sweet potato casserole was ready to pop into the oven close to time for dinner but Louis Dean still needed to get the roasts in the oven. He bought two because he couldn't find one that was big enough and he wanted to have plenty of meat. I made mulled spiced wine and got out every crock pot I have - and I have many -  and filled with side dish ingredients and lined them all up on the table on our new deck.
Honey butter carrots, cheese potatoes, cream cheese corn.....then we had garlic green beans.

I had lots of appetizers set up on the small kitchen table - and totally forgot to take a picture!
Cheese and crackers, cocktail sausages in grape jelly and BBQ sauce - in a small crock pot!
Olives - lots and lots of olives! - veggie bars, fresh veggies and RAnch dressing and more.

We had a lot of food!

This is Jesse, my first born son, and his beautiful wife, Leigh Ann.
Then Faith, Sam - who is my first grandchild, and Levi.
Sam is 18, Faith is 16 and Levi is 14.
They are all but grown now!
This photo was taken at their home in Arlington.

I love this lady!

They attended a candle light Christmas Eve service before coming over in the afternoon. They also came to  my rescue by stopping to buy cream cheese for the corn! I underestimated how much cream cheese I would use.

They were the first to arrive and we were thrilled to meet Sam's girlfriend, Jaelyn!
This was the first time I have seen Leigh Ann, Sam, Faith and Levi this year!
Last time we were all together was Christmas Eve 2019.

We took lots of pictures!

Pam stopped by and I had a chance to sit and visit for a few minutes.

Faith jumped right in to help me with all the last minute things that needed doing.....
she cut a big bouquet of herbs for me and sliced up the pies.

Pecans from our own trees!
And I must say - this pie was delicious!
Pam - I saved a piece for you!!

I had a tin nearly full of caramels and was surprised so few were eated!
I'm going to have to give some away so I won't eat them all!!

The citrus biscuit ring turned out so pretty and tasted good - I'll share the full recipe soon.

Louis Dean sliced up his roast and made gravy.

Then we all relaxed and enjoyed being together.
Faith is one talented young lady and played the piano....

while her mom and dad looked through my blog books.
So far I have had my first three years of blogging printed up.
2010 - 2011 - 2012
We all got a kick of looking back to the Mimi Camp days!

Sam and Jaelyn make a sweet couple!
Jesse is photobombing 'em!

The table was set and all the big people would sit in here.
Only the quads were at the children's table in the den....along with me and Granddad.
Levi was excited to be included at the big table now!!

Trystan played the piano after Faith......the girls were in awe of their older cousin!

Then Faith played Granddad's guitar and sang a song.
The girls were hanging on every note, as you can see!
I believe this is a song Faith wrote, if I'm not mistaken.
Like I said, she is very creative - a real artist!

See what I mean?

She gets it from her mother!
Leigh Ann had asked me what Louis Dean would like for Christmas and I told her - 
he would absolutely swoon if she would sing with him and spend some time doing music.
That would mean more to him than anything she could buy!
So she gave him the gift of music and her time. 
He's still glowing from that night.

They decided to do something to entertain us!
After we all gathered in the den, she said the song was to honor someone in this room!
The tune was a popular one and Harrison thought he knew who the one honored would be - his dad!

But no!

Everyone laughed and had fun!

Jesse was such a good sport!
He is a serious coffee connosisseur!
Not your average Starbucks kinda guy but locally roasted beans at various coffee houses.
He has flown to Philadelphia - among other cities - just for a cup of coffee!
He does work for American Airlines.

It was so much fun!!!

Jesse brings some coffee and makes some for us every Christmas Eve.
Last year they gifted me a French coffee press and an electric frother.
He never uses a coffee pot like we do but he has several ways to brew up a cup of coffee.
This year he did use Louis Dean's small pot and several of us had a cup of his coffee.
It was GOOD coffee!!

This is the song they sang...
Tom T. Hall
They took a few liberties with it in honor of Jesse!

Now it was time for dinner!!

I loved seeing my children and grands gathered around the table.

My most favorite thing at every family gathering is to listen to them talk among themselves.

It is music to my ears, my soul, and my mother's heart that beats faster knowing her children all love one another.

I bought two boxes of Christmas crackers last summer and everyone had fun with them.
Amber and Mike are sporting the paper crowns that were in theirs.
I'm thinking it would be fun for me to make my own next year and fill them with small gifts for everyone instead of the little trinkets inside the bought ones.

Talking, laughing and loving each other!

Meanwhile at the kid's table.....

they were having fun, too!

Children's humor!!

I went to the kitchen and Mike had an assembly line going!!

They would pass their plates down and Kailey would scrape the scraps into the trash and stack the plate on the counter. That went fast!

Then she did a little entertaining of her own!

Once the dining room table was cleared - we pulled out the playing cards for several rounds of NUTS!

It's a fast paced game and so fun to play!

Where are the diamonds??

I love it that most everyone wants to play!
Louis Dean and Leigh Ann aren't big fans so they continued with their music.

Playing wild!

I forgot who won the first round, I won the second and Faith won the third.

Ben really got excited when he won the next round!!!

I love playing this game and used to play it all the time when I had kids at home.

We were surprised how fast the time flew by, and while we wanted to continue playing, 

it was time to move on to the next activity! 
Rolling sugarplums.

I decided to take you all on a quick tour......
there was activities going on in just about every room in the house!

 It was time to open the gifts!

Trystan liked the purse filled with goodies from us.

So did Kailey and Logan.

Harrison loved his soft comfy robe.
He does love pajamas and a good robe.
And I love Sam's expression back there!

I always give the older grands Texas Trash with some cash on top.

Amber nearly always gives her dad a warm flannel shirt or a jacket.

And they always fit perfectly and instantly become his favorites!

Leigh Ann was excited about some of her gifts!

And Jaelyn got her own tin of Texas Trash and a jar of my honey!

I love watching everyone.

That's from me and I think he likes it!

Leigh Ann gifted me with a jar for Sugarplums!!!
How perfectly PERFECT!!!

After the gifts were opened, Amber said she was going to visit the kittens!
She had waited long enough!

I kept them in the guest room all afternoon and evening since there were so many of us going in and out and I was leaving the kitchen French doors open.

We took a lot of pictures before everyone started to leave.
I want to have these memories to look back on in the coming year and I never take for granted the time we get to be together.

Three of my four children.
Summer was there in spirit and we have done a lot of Marco Polo videos and phone calls.
I will be sharing their Christmas photos soon.

We did the all the boys! 
This is all the girls!

I do believe this was the very best Christmas Eve ever!

The girls adored Jaelyn!
She spent time playing games in the living room with them while we were playing Nuts.
They asked her if she could be their babysitter!

The oldest and the youngest boy cousins.
Harrison loves his Cousin Sam and I think Sam loves his little cousin, too!

Faith and her Aunt Amber have kept in touch with text messages throughout this year.
It was sweet to see them get to be together Christmas Eve.

It was a perfectly wonderful Christmas Eve!!
One I will always treasure in my heart and in my memories.


It was a very Merry Christmas!!!