Sorry for the blog silence over the past week, but we've been making merry! This is because we had both -- not one, but both -- daughters home with us for Christmas.
We had resolved ourselves not to have Younger Daughter with us this year. Due to a frustrating SNAFU (in the literal sense of that acronym), we thought she would have to depart for her first overseas duty station right before Christmas (despite having three weeks' leave saved up). But at the last minute, things got resolved and she was able to fly home on December 19. Older Daughter followed on December 22.
Suddenly we had a full house again, and what a joy it is! So I'll back up and show our Christmas celebrations over the last week.
We started out having a brown Christmas, but right after Older Daughter flew in, a couple inches of soft fluffy snow fell, to the consternation of the chickens who view snow with great suspicion.
The cows didn't seem to mind.
And it was lovely to watch.
Older Daughter says no one does winter better than Idaho, thanks to all the conifers which catch the flakes and look unspeakably decorative.
Even the car looked dressy.
Mr. Darcy, as you can imagine, was thrilled to have two built-in playmates.
The girls took him walking in the snow.
Don and I had thrown up the Christmas tree the day before Younger Daughter flew in, but the girls deemed the tree insufficiently decorated and joined forces to improve things.
We no longer have a television set (haven't had TV reception since 1993), but we set up a computer monitor and hooked it up to watch our favorite holiday movie, "A Christmas Carol" with the incomparable George C. Scott.
Don's and my comments throughout the movie are so predictable year after year that Older Daughter drew up a sort of "Christmas Carol Bingo." She scored high.
On Christmas Eve, we set up our annual Junk Food Feast (you can read about the origins of this bizarre and fun tradition here).
In our house, we open gifts on Christmas Eve. As the day went by, we all put our wrapped presents under the tree.
We always feed the livestock extra well on Christmas Eve. Legend has it animals are granted the gift of speech on Christmas Eve, and we can't have our beasties complaining to the neighbors about how they're treated!
We were expecting some neighbors, D and S, who have joined us each Christmas Eve since we arrived in Idaho in 2003. Poor Mr. Darcy was banished to the front room (where his kennel is), though he had a consolation prize.
We never open presents without first hearing Don read Luke 2 from his father's Bible.
After opening gifts, D and S took the girls on a short excursion to a nearby town to view the Christmas lights. I snapped this pic just before they departed.
Christmas Day was quieter. After church, we visited our beloved retired pastor who was in a nursing home, recuperating from open-heart quadruple bypass surgery. Thankfully he seemed to be mending. Then it was home for a quiet and restful day. It was nice to hear the piano being played again.
Yesterday the girls and I went into Coeur d'Alene for a very special reason.
We visited our favorite used bookstore, Browsers, which sadly is closing in a few months after 33 years. The owner, we learned, is undergoing dialysis three days a week and simply needs to cut back.
We've been going to this store since the kids were very young, and we are deeply sorry to see it closing.
We spent two hours searching every shelf and came away with a mountain of books. At 50 percent off, it not only benefited us, it benefited the store owner, since he's trying to reduce his inventory. Shucky-darn.
Younger Daughter only purchased one book (on art) she thinks she can take with her overseas, so I confess most of the purchases were made by Older Daughter and myself. We'll ship some of Older Daughter's books to her in New Jersey, others she'll keep here for the time being.
So that was our Christmas. Tonight we're hosting the neighborhood potluck, then Saturday Older Daughter flies back to New Jersey.
Younger Daughter will be with us until the first week in January, when she takes a military flight to her new duty station and adjusts to life in a foreign country and then on board a ship. Though of course we'll have her home for visits, we don't know how often we'll have her home for Christmas in the next few years, so we've wrung everything we could out of this holiday.
From the Lewis family, we hope you all had a blessed and wonderful Christmas.