Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas 2018 ~ Part 1

My husband just sent me a text from work letting me know that he has lunch from 1:00 to 2:00 today if I’d like to join him.  I wrote the following back:  “Ok.  Thanks.  I think I will spend the day at home catching up on myself and life in general.  I may blog.  I may write.  I just need some down time to process the past month.  I love you.”  And so, that is what I am doing.  I am blogging, writing, and processing. I am deconstructing Christmas in my mind before I tackle the deconstruction of the trappings of Christmas in the house.

If I don’t take the time to process events and interactions I have had, I begin to lose the importance of the time I took to participate in such encounters.  Capturing snapshots in my mind of times I hope to carry in my mind’s memory bank are best done when I take the time to reflect.

Last night, I attended a party at a neighbor’s home.  Jim was working, so I went alone to the party.  I only knew the hostess and her husband and one other couple, but I had the opportunity to engage in wonderful conversation with new acquaintances.  It is good to meet new people and to have the opportunity to mingle with others and hear their stories about life.

As I left the party and stepped outside the door, I was struck by the beauty of the world around me.  Honestly, I felt as if I were either entering into a fantasy Christmas card photo, or life size snow globe.

Tiny glitter size snow flakes filled the air and covered the ground.  Colored lights wound over the stair railing lit my way as I made my way down the path towards my car.  I took a moment to take in the silent beauty of that corner of my neighborhood: tall ponderosa pines stood sentinel like along the perimeters of our little village where I live, soft flickering light from candles in windows of nearby houses spoke of warmth and comfort that could be found within the walls of those homes,  and icicles made of lights that hung from the eaves of the home across the road  seemed to have been perfectly placed to create a quintessential Christmas village scene.  Such beauty.  Such peace.  I drank it all in as I walked to my car to head home.

Those moments of quiet when one sees perfect Christmas card like scenes are best captured in the mind.  Perhaps, in our setting up of the trappings of Christmas, we hope to create those perfect settings for ourselves and our families and friends, but let’s face it, life, even at Christmas, is not perfect, nor are we, nor are our families, nor are our friends, yet, we do hope for peace and good will at Christmas, and we also hope for a bit jolly good fun too.


Here is a photo recap of some of the family time I enjoyed as we headed into Christmas.

My daughter Keicha and granddaughter Gillian made a special Christmastime visit to Colorado on December 20th.  I met the girls at the Molly Brown House in Denver.  This visit fulfilled a long-held desire we have had to visit this museum.

As a young girl, I lived in Leadville, Colorado, during the time that the movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown hit the box office.  My roots run deep in the same place where Molly and J.J. Brown made their fortune.  While I often have roamed the hills around the Little Johnny Mine in Leadville, and while I have read much about Molly Brown, somehow I had never visited her home in Denver.  This visit was a Christmas gift to my daughter, granddaughter and myself.

From there, the three of us made our way over The Brown Palace for lunch.  We had hoped to have tea there, but reservations for tea this time of year must be made nearly a year in advance.  Maybe next year we will make the tea.  The Brown is one of my favorite places in Colorado, so I was excited to have lunch there with my girls.  Daughter Amy worked across the street from the hotel and ran over for a quick visit while we had lunch.  We made a short self-guided tour of the hotel after lunch.

I’d never seen the chandelier in the lobby done up for Christmas before.  It truly took my breath away when I saw it.  All I could do was stare and say, “Wow.”

Gillian helped me with a few tips on using the iPhone to capture a photo of the chandelier so that I might attempt to give the grandeur of it all a bit of justice.  I love all the details found in the architecture throughout the building of this grand old hotel.

The next day, Keicha, Gillian, and I took a wreath to the cemetery to place on Julie’s grave.  There was a recently placed poinsettia on the gravesite.  It appeared to have been placed around Thanksgiving.  I am always so grateful when I see that others have not forgotten my dear daughter and placed flowers on her grave.  I always wonder who it was that visited.  My father’s resting place in the row above where Julie’s grave is located.

That evening, the family gathered at my son Jonathan’s and his wife Samantha’s home for a Yule log party.  It is the first Christmas in nearly a decade and a half that my son and family have lived in Colorado, so we have spent few Christmas Seasons together.

The host and hostess were most gracious in their hospitality even though we were nearly an hour late to the party as we were out shopping for last minute presents and groceries.

 Leon, my youngest grandchild, helped in the cutting and serving of the Yule log by watching his father make that first cut for the first slice of cake.

I still can barely believe I have this beautiful boy in my life.  What a joy he is.  Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a toddler is such a blessing.

After the Yule party, it was the plan that the family would go to the zoo and see the lights and then visit the Broadmoor Hotel to see the gingerbread house.  Communication wires were scrambled, the crowds were overwhelming, and parking was an issue, so some of us went to the zoo and others went to the Broadmoor.  I ended up at the Broadmoor where I met daughter Amy and her family.

Quite honestly, there were so many people at the hotel that I must admit that I never walked over the gingerbread house.  I had seen it a few weeks before when my friend and I visited the Broadmoor at a time when there were no crowd.

This spectacular gingerbread house is a replica of the Broadmoor Hotel that was created by the pastry staff to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the hotel.  It is a fascinating work of art that is made of gingerbread, candy, pastries, frosting, and other baked goods.

It just so happened that our visit to the hotel was on the night of the Winter Solstice.  I don’t know when I’ve ever been walking around the hotel lake on a more beautiful evening, and over the past seventy years of my life, I have walked around that lake many a time.  I wish I could have captured the beauty of the moonlit sky and the Christmas lights better, but I did manage to get one pretty good shot with my iPhone.


The Family Party at Mom’s

Since the days when my children were quite young, there have few Christmas celebrations where I have had all of my children in one place.  I am grateful for every time we manage to somehow celebrate the occasion as a family.  This year, three of my children and their children were able to gather at my home just before Christmas Day.

An extra table was set up for the kiddos whom have somehow suddenly become adults,

while the “ older adults” sat together at the dining room table.  My cousin and her husband joined us for dinner, but Jim had to work and missed the party.

The grandkids washed up the dishes.

Family shared stories and laughter.

A family photo of the kids was taken by mom (me).

Another photo was taken to include me.

I kept thinking I should have gotten out my real camera that has a tripod and a timer so we could take  a proper family portrait, but I never did.

The paperwhites were a hit - NOT.  While they were beautiful, the smell was overwhelming and the family begged me to get rid of them.  Sam had a cold and insisted she could not smell anything.  Jon brought the flowers up to her and said, “Now can you smell them?”

This one, my precious Leon, played happily on the floor with his toys before presents were opened.

Christmas traditions mean nothing to him yet.  Just give him a few years to get the hang of it all.

 He was assigned the task of passing out a few gifts but was more interested in the bows on the packages and began taking them all off and ended up putting them on his head.

Grandma Sally gave Leon a John Deere set.  He loved it!  And, I loved that he loved it.

As I reflect on this year’s Christmas at our house, I think we had a bit of all that goes into a family Christmas.  Family fellowship, laughter, food, and fun were in abundance while drama was hopefully kept to a minimum.

I know that what I will most remember is the unspoiled joy of a child opening up a gift meant just for him when he really had no idea that Christmas means that gifts are given and received.  He seemed surprised by the idea that such a wondrous thing as a set of new vehicles could be found inside that box covered with paper and bows.

His gift received all of his undivided attention.

He wanted nothing more than to discover the wonder of such a gift.

Oh that we all could see the wonders of Christmas through the eyes of a child.