Monday, December 26, 2022

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day....

Christmas Eve was as wonderful as it could possibly be! 

I was surrounded by all my children and all my grandchildren

Christmas Eve was such a happy night.
All smiles and laughter and the hum of voices!

This year everyone brought something to the table - from appetizers to cranberry sauce to dinner rolls and candy and wassail.

Summer brought the rum to spike Sabrina's homemade wassail!

Everything was delicious!

These are the caramels the Bell Grand Girls helped me make!

We gathered early on Christmas Eve to watch the Dallas Cowboys football game - and it was such a GOOD one!!! Close but we WON!

Some stayed in the den to watch the entire game while others drifted in and out.

I spied the girls hanging out in the living room together.

I know it's blurry - I am not the best photographer - but it's the only one I got of Pam and Amber together.

My first born son Jesse and Logan and Faith and Levi.
My first born grandchild Sam, now a grown up man, was sick and couldn't be here.
He was missed and he and I have already made plans for a second celebration on the 8th of January!
I'm keeping all my decorations up and it will be like Christmas Day one more time!

I had not baked a turkey in several years but I used the recipe from my friend, Deanna,  at Creekside Cottage and it turned out perfectly!

Amber and Benjamin helped get it out of the oven and pour off the drippings so I could use that in my dressing.

When it was all ready, Mike carved up the bird - although the meat was falling right off the bones!

It was a sit down dinner but after one went through the buffet line!

The dining room table was full! No more 'Children's Table' now.
Everyone sits where they can!

This is the table in the den where I sat with the girls.

The gifts followed!!!
It was a lot of fun and all the gifts were all so special and genuine.

My very favorite is the sound of my loved ones voices.......
my special treasure of this Christmas Eve.

NUTS games followed with Levi wining FOUR games and Logan ONE!
Alas, I did not win ANY and I used to be the Queen of NUTS!

Still, it was SO much fun!!!

Rolling sugarplums was next on the agenda - but it was late and I sent the dough and sprinkles home with Amber to roll later this week.

It was a perfectly lovely Christmas Eve and the entire evening was such a comfort to my soul.

Everyone was gone by 10:00 and Louis Dean and I picked up the house a bit before going to bed.

But before I did - Benjamin sent me this photo of him enjoying his Christmas socks!
He lives out of town so I was happy to see he got home safely!

I went to bed on Christmas Eve with a grateful heart....
for my children and grandchildren, for my husband and our health....
for blessings too many to count.

Even so, I cried as I went to sleep.
This is the first Christmas Morning without Nita.
No excited anticipation of meeting up with my siblings and and loved ones and eating a breakfast brunch together. No seeing her pretty face and hearing her voice welcoming us all.
No Chinese Christmas tree and all the fun we've had with that over the years.
Above all - I was missing Nita.

I stayed in bed until early afternoon before getting up and moving around a little bit.
It didn't take long to set the house to rights and then I went back to bed and took a little nap.

We arrived at the Bells around 6:00 to join them for dinner along with the Senior Bells.

The appetizer table was LOADED!!!

The fireplace was glowing and everything looked so festive!

Amber and Mike made a great dinner of ham, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, rolls, salad and so much more!

It is a tradition to watch a Christmas movie after dinner on Christmas night......
this year it was Spirited and it was amazing!
So much fun!

It was a very merry Christmas this year.

I admit to being blue at times and crying in secret more  than once or twice.
I totally expected this as it is the first Christmas without our sister.
I can't explain exactly how I have felt this month.
Can one feel sorrow and joy at the very same time?
I think that's what I have felt.
Along with an emptiness and dullness right there with a heart overflowing with love and gratefulness.

I've kept Nita in my heart this month as my Facebook memories came up and I relived December from last year. That's her red top I'm wearing in the photo.

As much as I have looked forward to this Christmas season - and I have treasured every single day of it - I am just as grateful to be turning the corner towards the new year.

This day last year I never once dreamed that Nita would not be here today.
We do not know the number of our days so it's important to love and embrace one another and live in the present moment as much as we possibly can.


Arlene G said...

So glad you had all your children and grandchildren with you. It is such a blessing. I know it was a bittersweet time for you. I remember a line from a CS Lewis movie, Life is a series of partings. I can appreciate that more as I am older. I have enjoyed having my Santa on the fridge during this Christmas season. Thank you for doing a painting for all of us each year. Happy and Blessed 2023.

Chatty Crone said...

The struggle is part of the journey - unfortunately. We never do know what the next minute will bring - do we?
It looked like you had a great dinner and fun with the family. You are blessed.
Happy New Year.

Brenda said...

So many many losses the past couple of years…so painful…prayers

Rita said...

What a wonderful Christmas...even if it was tinged with sadness, too.
Best to you and yours and Happy New Year! :)

Kathy said...

Thanks for taking us along to see your Christmas Eve with your family. You are so fortunate to have your children and grandchildren to be with you. I was thinking of you on Christmas and hoping that things would go well for you in this year of change. It is always hard. But a new year is right around the corner. Thank you for your card. I always look forward to your Santas.

Sandy in Alaska said...

YOU are such a blessing to so many, Linda! It just showed in each picture with your family. Everyone there was no doubt missing Nita and feeling that sadness and great loss, but your home is full of Christ's Christmas joy, so they must have felt that as well. So festive and all the little and big ways you went out of your way to surround everyone with, they will remember it all for no doubt, the rest of their lives. I love traditions too and especially during the holidays. God bless you and your amazing family and may this new year bring good health and peace and comfort to each one of you!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

What a beautiful family and Christmas Eve and day. I loved walking through it all with you, and even hearing the voices. So much joy and love and many treasured moments together. I hear you about missing your dear sister Nita and the secret times of tears, I totally understand after losing our son Matthew now over 8 years ago. My greatest joy this Christmas was having a long conversation with his son, our only grandchild Noah, who is now 23. He talked and talked and told us so many stories, we were on the phone for about an hour. (He lives in Maine). That was a blessed gift to my heart...almost like having a conversation with our son by listening to the exuberance of youth in his son. I am very thankful for that blessing. God gives us little blessings to heal our hearts as the days and years go by, but it never totally takes away the longing to be with that dear one again. So thankful for Jesus, Who has made it possible for us to be together for eternity one day. That is the HOPE that comes from Christmas. Praise God for His indescribable gift! Happy New Year dear Linda. May God fill you with His peace and joy overflowing amidst the tears. (((hugs)))

MadSnapper said...

your Christmas eve with family is like a fairy tale to me.I liked seeing how much all of the grands have grown so much since last year. now everyone is adulting and sitting where they want to,.. Ambers house is gorgeous and love the front door... you are for sure blessed with your family and I agree, the struggle is part of life. Hugs to you while missing your sister. so true, we never know what the next year or the next moment will bring

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Life is full of both the sorrowful and the happy times. I try to remember the happy times and forget the sad times. Your life is filled with so many happy times and some of them were spent with your sister. Keep them close to you heart and be happy and not sad.

Os meus momentos favoritos said...

Happy New Year.

Carol said...

Linda, I knew you would be a bit sad this year without your precious sister. It looks as though you had a very nice holiday though and have plenty to be thankful for. I love the fireplace at Ambers! Merry Christmas!

photowannabe said...

Yes, the struggle is part of the story.
I think you handled your grief and joy so well. There is no instant feeling different...Embrace each moment the Lord has you by His hand and will never let go.
Your Christmas "doings" were delightful and your food looks beyond delicious. What a blessing to have family surrounding you.
Rest, Reflect , Rejoice

Wanda said...

what a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Loved all your photos.
All our familu loved your Santa Painting. How special to add to my Christmas decor. Love and Hugs.

Ginny Hartzler said...

what a wonderful and joyful Christmas you had! Well, as good as it could be with the one empty chair at the table. The Bell's home is stunning!!! Their door, mantle, and that skinny tree, WOW!

Carole said...

Glad you made the best of Christmas. Ours was quiet but good. Cheers

Far Ago Farm said...

Oh Linda, looks like you were surrounded by so much love (and so much yummy food)! Christmas definitely can be a joy with a dash of sadness. I think it's all part of the tapestry of life. My mom passed away at exactly 12:00 a.m. on Christmas morning five years ago. She was 92 and lived a happy and healthy life, but Christmas is forever changed for me and a few good cries throughout the season are the new normal. I still love all the festivities, fun and family of Christmas, but it's still a tough holiday without her. Hugs to you as you miss your sister this year. Jane

Granny Marigold said...

Christmas eve at your house sounds like a wonderful and slightly chaotic party. It's so lovely to see families having fun together. I'm sorry for your sadness as you missed your dear sister. Wishing you God's comfort. And now we move toward the coming year. Who knows what it will bring!