Tuesday, December 17, 2019

And it was very merry

Thank you all for your patience during the blog silence of the past couple of weeks. We had a wonderful family reunion and it's hard to see people go.

Younger Daughter flew in from her overseas duty station on Dec. 3. Wow, the joys of having a full house once again. Mr. Darcy thought so too, as we all piled in and took him on endless walks.

My parents flew in on December 4, so we officially held our "Christmas" on December 8. Don and I shooed the girls into their bedrooms so we could wrap presents.

We had an audience.

The girls decorated the tree.

These lighting units used to belong to my paternal grandparents.

On the morning of Dec. 8, we spread out our annual junk food feast, a silly but fun tradition. Long story short: After Thanksgiving many years ago, Don commented about what a pity it is I work so hard and make such a nice meal for Thanksgiving, only to repeat the same work load over Christmas. Somehow one thing led to another (aided and abetted by two eager children, no doubt) and before we knew it, we had started a tradition of having nothing but junk food for three days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day) in which no one has to ask permission to eat potato chips for breakfast -- and I go on a kitchen strike. By the end of this, everyone's begging for broccoli.

We all gathered together on the evening of December 8. Our dear neighbors D and S joined us, as they have every year since we moved here. (Older Daughter is the only one missing from this photo.)

Here's the gang (in descending order: Neighbors, parents, daughters).

This is Don's father's Bible, his preferred source when reading the Christmas story out loud before opening presents.

Happy chaos.

All too soon, it was time to drop my parents off at their hotel before flying out early the next morning. We had a little time to kill before-hand, so we went to a mall, something I hadn't been in for several years.

After my folks left, we got a bit of snow. I was glad it held off, since snow would have made it more difficult for them to get around.

Younger Daughter re-taught Mr. Darcy several tricks we'll be sure to un-teach him later on. But we agreed he's so cute when he does this.

On December 12, we attended a Christmas choir performance in which Don was singing. It snowed heavily that evening. The church was lit up beautifully from inside.

This being Idaho, I was pleased to see this small sign near the entrance. (You can see the snow coming down in the background.)

Let me tell you, this group sang its heart out.

Back home, Younger Daughter spent a lot of time with her parrot Lihn.

Since we had to get her to the airport early on Friday the 13th (whee), she spent the day before packing and shipping. She schlepped along a load of books since she now has barracks space to store them. "The things I do for a love of books," she remarked as she lugged a heavy suitcase to the car. Here's that same suitcase at the airport (along with her violin).

There she goes. Sigh. It's so hard to see one's children going away.

It makes me so grateful to have Older Daughter still with us for a few more weeks (she'll be taking a new job in the Seattle area after New Year's). Interestingly, Older Daughter said she had "second-hand dread" (as she put it) watching her sister depart at the airport, because she remembers so well how difficult it was to return to New Jersey after spending Christmas with us.

Back home, I had the usual difficulties adjusting to Younger Daughter's departure. Her bedroom was empty.

Her towel still hung in the bathroom.

But she made it back safely to her overseas duty station, and sent this photo with the caption, "This is a beautiful sight."

Speaking of books, Older Daughter is once again participating in this year's Reading Challenge (52 books over the year), with the "listopia" provided here. We've been discussing what books she'll be reading.

I'm proud that both our girls remain such voracious readers.

And that, dear readers, was our Christmas. And it was very merry.


  1. Nice. Thank you for sharing. Having Older Daughter so close again is a huge positive step.
    Montana Guy

  2. I missed you something fierce but loved knowing what you were experiencing.

  3. A house just ain't a home without books, and that includes the Bible.

  4. I think the term sad happiness applies.

    Even though they are wandering on their own path now, I can't imagine a future that doesn't include both settling near the nest with many happy thoughts of a life well lived.

  5. Thanks for sharing this, I'm glad that you were blessed with such a wonderful Christmas with your family.

    Also, your daughter's Quaker parrot looks just like my wife's quaker, Huey.

  6. What a wonderful Christmas celebration! So glad older daughter can spend a few more weeks with you before starting her new job.

  7. Merriest of Christmases to you, Patrice and Don! After an all-too-brief visit from our middle son, and celebrating an early Christmas and Thanksgiving with him last month, we dropped him off at the airport to catch the first of several flights taking him back to his Marine Corps duty post in Okinawa. It's such a tough combination of pride and agony to see them go. You're not alone in feeling those feelings! Well done, you both, for raising kids of character and integrity!

  8. What a wonderful visit! So happy for you. Merry Christmas.

  9. We are fortunate that two of our three kids live nearby. The boys will be with us at Christmas as we head a few hours south to mom's house. My siblings and their kids will fill up moms house Christmas Eve. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it. Our daughter lives in SoCal with her husband and they'll spend Christmas with my wife's family

  10. BTW, Mr Darcy is looking handsome. Glad you are enjoying your Golden as much as we enjoy ours, Kashmir. It is amazing how easy it is to spoil those dogs. And they appreciate it.