Monday, December 26, 2011

The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

Here it is the day after Christmas and I am so full of happy memories.  This was a tough year for me with being the first Christmas that my sweetheart and I have not been together in over 47 years, but with the help of friends and family the happy far outweighed the sad.  However, I think I definitely need to invest in some water-proof mascara because tears did fall on more than one occassion.  I do not want to dwell on the unhappy, only the happy and there were many, many happy moments with more to come.

Christmas traditions were changed this year, some out of need, some out of want, but like life itself, things change.  Christmas Eve was always spent at my daughter's home with a beautiful dinner followed by the unwrapping of family presents (Santa still came over-night, eventho the "kids" are 18 - 21 - 25).  This year I had the Christmas Eve Dinner with Lisa and Sam and Bailey & Brie.  Brandon and Hilary drove to Michigan to be with her parents for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  Since I don't do much cooking any more, I had to put on the cooking hat (not really, just a metaphor) and prepare a meal worthy of Christmas Eve.  And I must say, it was rather delicious.  Pork Tenderloin in the crock pot that came out fall-apart delicious, wild-rice, Trader Joe's really, thin french green beans, and winter salad with dried cranberries, pears, apples, cashews, and a home-made poppy seed dressing.  It was a palatal paradise if I do say so.  For dessert, Peppermint Ice Cream with hot chocolate sauce and Peppermint sugar cookies....swoon per spoonful.

The Christmas table...donned in red's, greens, checks, polka dots, and floating cranberries....a few of my favorite things. 

After eating and playing a new game...."Apples to Apples" but a newer version than the original, they left, with plans to re-group at Lisa's on Christmas Day. 

Christmas Day brought with it sunshine and warmer temps than we have had here in years.  No snow, which seems so different than our usual weather for Christmas, but there is always a good news and bad news to this....bad news - no white Christmas, good news - no white Christmas which means no worries with driving in the slippery stuff.  So off to Lisa's I drove with a car full of presents but no 8 tiny reindeer, just a 185 horsepower engine in my CRV that I have so mistreated this past year....but NO more. 

As I arrived, the house was bustling with laughter and merriment....Brandon, Hilary and their dog Charlie were already there and everyone was waiting patiently for me to arrive to get started on the official "gift unwrapping".  Another tradition that has been changed.  Since Hilary & Brandon are with her folks on Christmas Eve and Christmas morn, they requested us all to wait until they arrived to open our gifts.  What's another few hours of waiting??  And then the gifting began......

Now, does this look like a 25 year old???  For the first couple of years, Brandon and Hilary received practical gifts; housewares, cooking gear, tools.....but this year, Brandon has reverted back to being a kid, just like his Dad.  They love their toys.  The excitement is all about StarWar's LEGO's...look at that joy!

And our son-in-law Sam, the #1 biggest kid....he will always, always be a kid at heart, that's what makes life in their household so much fun.  Notice how quickly he drops the box after he pulls the gift out of it....

 Thank goodness Brie got an I Phone because that was at the top of her list.....

A neat shower wrap that we all decided would be fun to have, but Hilary is the only one that received one and modeling it quite nicely too.

Bailey has now moved into her own apartment, so she receives practical gifts like the teapot....don't think she drinks tea, just likes to look at it sitting on the stove. 

 This is how different my two grandgirls got Nike's the other got sparkly UGGS....

Lisa and Sam Mr & Mrs. Claus looking on as the kids un-wrap and un-wrap and un-wrap....

Look at that pile of un-wrappings...Charlie wants to know if there is any for him????

Then it was my turn for gift-giving......

 Some of you may say that money doesn't buy happiness, and I totally agree, but it sure brought a lot of smiles to the faces of my grand-kids and kids.  It is sooo difficult to buy for them when they get this age, so I figured money was a good choice.  I went to the bank and got a collection of different bills, mixed them all up and wrapped each of them in the paper-mache boxes with red ribbons.  And none of these pictures were posed, real reactions!!  This is what makes photography so much fun, I can come back to these pictures again and again and look at those smiles and remember the joy. 

Family Pictures.....

Me and all my Grands.....!!!!

Ornaments on the tree....check the Iowa State Snowman....too cute!!

A sweet collection of snowmen....

Lisa's home is filled with delightful holiday decorations....she likes red as much as I Mother, like Daughter.

After all the gift giving and unwrapping and unwrapping and unwrapping (and picture taking), hunger had definitely set in. Dinner was served (another jubilation of flavors) which consisted of Giada's stuffed shells, salad, and hot bread smothered with a delightful concoction of herbs. Oh YUM!!!  We all definitely became "clean-plate club" members.  Table cleared, games galore, lost them all.

My Christmas day was filled with love and blessings, laughter and joy eventho it was spent without my sweetheart.  Sometimes God takes away, but He always gives so much more.

I hope your cup overflows with answered prayers, wishes granted, a circle of wonderful friends, good health, and priceless joy......

Until next time.......


  1. Oh Deanna...I can see the love all around, and it is beautiful :)


  2. A wonderful post Deanna, thank you for sharing it all, I hope your new year will prove positive and wonderful for you and your family :)

  3. What a beautiful family you have Deanna!

  4. lovely. great family photos. (:

  5. What a wonderful Christmas and thank you for sharing with us! And yes, money is always a wonderful thing at that age, I know my kids love it when they get it from their grandparents!!

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  7. appears you had fun... holidays are always so hard! it's been two years since my dad passed from Alzheimer's --- we really miss him.

  8. What a memorable day you had. And your wonderful photos will preserve those memories for all of you forever!

  9. Deanna -- may I say your holiday photos are some of the best I've seen this season.

    And, I know how difficult it is to have an empty seat at the head of the Christmas table. Not forgotten, and dearly missed. Big hugs to you, my friend. :)

  10. What a great day! And you captured it beautifully! Wonderful :)

    Happy New Year!!

  11. What a beautiful celebration! You have a wonderful loving family and it shows. Merry Christmas to you, Deanna!

  12. Deanna, You captured Christmas beautifully and I so enjoyed every photo. I'm sorry you had some sad moments but I'm thankful for the beautiful family you had around you.

  13. Beautifully captures Christmas day...Such wonderful, happy faces.

  14. Well my friend even though your Christmas routine has changed it looks like you had a blast.. Love the photos..

    Hugs, Linda

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