Friday, December 28, 2018

Happy Christmas, happy New Year!

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.


  1. I was hoping that your girls would be able to make it home. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Sorry to hear about your book store closing. It sounds like a good one!

  2. My first Christmas(of many)spent away from home was 1976. We were anchored in Trieste, Italy and I watched the city's fireworks display from the flight deck, thinking of home. It never got easier.

  3. Sooo happy for you and Don! What a treasure for you both !

  4. What a blessing to have your daughters home for Christmas. Makes the holiday so much greater. May the Lord be with them as they leave again.

  5. What a memorial Christmas. God bless, and be safe. 13 degrees and snow in Wisconsin.

  6. I confess that I wept (with joy) upon seeing the pictures of daughters home. Somehow after all these years, everybody there seems like family, too (grin).

  7. What a wonderful Christmas you all had. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  8. I got a big lump in my throat and wet eyes. I have watched your family grow up through this blog and know the mixed blessings of grown children leaving the next and not knowing for sure when you will see them next. Thanks for letting us in and peeking every now and then.

  9. HAPPY CHRISTMAS, Pal. Enjoy every moment.

  10. I was going to leave a longer comment but Momma Richter stated my thoughts sufficiently. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Texas.

    Ouida Gabriel

  11. Ditto same here for comments from Momma Richter. Seeing your family together with y.d. in the Navy and NOT a sure thing she can be with you at Christmas was a Christmas Blessing for you and Don both. Having a Christmas snow was an added + to the season! May both of you have comfort in the New Year as again "empty nesters" Tears of Joy for all!

  12. So glad the family was together! All mine too! Thank you Jesus! One thing, I always heard the animals talked on old Christmas, January 6th, the twelfth day I'd Christmas.

  13. You know, Patrice, you and Don wouldn't have thrown up that Christmas tree if you hadn't eaten it in the first place!:)

  14. What a great surprise. This is the first year our oldest was not home and it was noticeable on my parents and The Ravishing Mrs. TB.

    Any bookstore closing makes me sad. Used books stores more so.

  15. Please let Younger Daughter know that I appreciate her service to our country.

    I love seeing the photos of your home. (I mean this as a compliment.) Your home is remarkably unremarkable. It's not fancy or flashy. It's comfortable and homey, like mine. I have friends with homes that could be on HGTV's Fixer Upper. My home is functional and paid for. The outside looks nothing like theirs. A goat barn, chicken coops, garden, fruit trees, and pole barns are missing from their homes. I know what's in the food I eat. I like that.
    I also liked seeing the photo of your Christmas tree. The gifts under the tree were decorated with care, and there weren't so many that you were opening for days. Again, like mine. I got each of my grandkids two books and one toy. I put a lot of thought into choosing things that I knew they would enjoy, but not break the bank. The fact is that not a one of them needed anything. The adult kids each got a book and will get beef as soon as it's ready for pick up at the locker. We also play Bingo for inexpensive, useful gifts and food. (Most of which is flavored coffees and favorite candies.) We enjoy a feast of our traditional foods.
    I love having the focus of our celebration on the birth of our Savior. Thank you for sharing your life with us. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  16. Our daughter and husband bought us a Roku box one year. It is hooked up to your internet connection wirelessly and you tv. The cost is only for the Roku box.
    No extra cost unless you want Netflix's or Hulu or other paying channels.
    But you can watch things on Youtube and my hubby's fav, Western's. There are many free channels on Roku.
    This is if you want tv back in your life.
    So happy you spent your holiday with your two daughter's.
    How blessed you are.

  17. I clicked over hoping that you would post about your girls' visiting. And they did come home! I'm so happy for your family that you got to spend time together.