Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas with the Kids

Our tradition has become to have a Christmas brunch with my kids and grandkids.   As usual, we had a lovely time.

Of course there was a ton of food, including a nice French Toast casserole made by my daughter-in-law Kara.

Kara and my Dad are ready to eat!!

And the present-opening has begun!
Doug, Jamie, Emily, Kara and me.

Nick got to help Audrey open all her gifts.

Auntie Jamie gets to coo and sing to Elise.  I'm excited that Jamie made Tag and I a "Pallet" hanging swing to put up in our tree.  She gave us the cushions that will go on it and will bring the swing over another time.

Kelly shows off two outfits I got for with a penguin and one for Valentine's Day.

Kara gets her turn snuggling Elise as well.  Kara always manages to find us the best gifts.  She gave us snacks for our trip to Vermont, along with a gift certificate to Tuscan Market, which we can use after we get back from taking our Italian cooking class.  Hopefully by then, we'll be able to recreate the great meal we're going to learn to make!

Emily opening the quilt I made for her from scraps of clothes I made for her before.

Great-Grampy holds his great-granddaughter for the first time.

He might have even made her smile!

So glad we have a big living room!

I got all the grandkids books written especially with their own names in them.  Emily read hers AND Audrey's!

Kelly holding her sweet little daughter.

Emily enjoys her new cousin.

Memere is in her glory!

Loving it!

Three of my lovely granddaughters -  Elise, Audrey and Emily!

What a lovely way to end the Crazy Christmas Party weekend.   I love all my kids and grandkids - it's such a pleasure to spend time with them!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas with the Whole Fam-damily!

Since my Dad is not living in his own house this year - he moved in with my sister - I volunteered to have the family over for Christmas this year.

I immediately started worrying about whether or not I could fit 25 people into my house.  I've had large parties before but always outside.  Not to worry.....the weather was so warm half the party hung around outside!

I was so very happy to get a visit from Branden and his girlfriend Kayla.  I haven't seen them since last Christmas!

Typical guys... Doug, Marc and Chris hang out in the kitchen.

The tree all ready with gifts for giving!

The kids had a blast using all the fun toys in Uncle Tag's music room.  Hailey sings us a tune!

Marc and his girlfriend Courtney

My favorite family -  Ruth, Laura and John

Branden brought his ukulele and cracks Laura up!

The meal was pot-luck - and we had a plethora of crockpots!  A record six!  Everything was delicious, of course!

Lucky for us, the kids got ahold of the camera and took some very good pictures!  Ciera was so happy to eat Great-Grandpa's mac and cheese.

My brother John - love him!

Uncle Tag just happened to find a seat at the dessert table.

Sammi is surprised by the paparazzi when 
she walks through the door.

They even got a photo of me!

Damien is absolutely the cutest little munchkin you ever saw!  The best story of the day - my daughter Jamie was holding a cookie, and just for fun, Laura went over and took a huge bite out of it.  A few minutes later, I went into the kitchen and Damien was digging through the cookie plate.  He was trying to find a reindeer cookie that still had both its antlers and its red nose, so he could, "Give it to that girl who was holding her cookie and then that other girl ate it."   Isn't that cute?

Beautiful family - my son Doug, his wife Kara and my granddaughter Emily.

My brother Steve, his wife Angie and Damien.

Uncle Tag wearing glasses made by one of the kids.  I put out all kinds of art supplies on the table in my room so the kids could play in there.

Laura got to be "Santa" this year and hand out the gifts.

My sister Chris and her husband Lloyd cracking up over something while opening their gift.

Courtney, Marc, Chris and Sammi doing the same!

I think it's Ciera taking a selfie!

Jamie loves her new Minions fluffy blanket.

My Dad sporting his Peanuts hat....push the button and it plays the song from the Peanuts show!

A great photo of Lloyd.

One of the kids got a photo of the penguins my sister and her husband gave me.

Steve fading fast at the end of the day.

The day was a huge success!  Once again, I am so grateful for our big house where I can welcome family to come and celebrate the holiday.   Thank you so much to my whole family for coming out and joining us!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Auntie Izy

I absolutely adore my Auntie Izy.  She is most definitely the definition of the "elderly aunt".  She just turned 91 years old.

She lives in her spotlessly clean little apartment in the elderly housing in my town.  She has no help from any agency, she does all her own cooking and cleaning.  She built a big garden out behind her building, and she sits out under the trees in her little folding chair, with a small table beside her to hold her glass of water and her book.

Aunt Izy is delightfully old-fashioned in that she eschews all technology.  She has no idea what the internet is.....she's never used a computer.  She has a landline phone in her living room.  She does have a "jitterbug" cell phone, which she keeps in her car in case she needs it.  She's never, ever used it in the eight years she's owned it.  But she faithfully takes it inside once a month to re-charge it, "just in case."

She did concede to getting a flat screen TV....but it's been the bane of her existence as she can't remember which buttons to push on the remote control.  She finally taped notes onto the buttons so she doesn't have to keep calling us over when the TV goes kerflooey!

Yes, she has a car.  It's a 2003 with about 40,000 miles on it.  I took it to be inspected for her this year, and she was embarrassed at the small amount of mileage she's put on it since last year.  She drives literally less than a mile to the grocery store, and maybe to her doctor in the next town once in a while.

Every time I go to her apartment, her furniture is moved to different locations.  How does she move that heavy stuff all by herself? 

She's getting frail now and has started to worry about asking for help.  She wants to stay independent as long as possible.  She found a young woman who does chores for some of the other elderly in the building and she would rather pay her to come and do chores like taking curtains down for washing, than call me and ask me to do it. She doesn't want to be a bother.  (Even though I've told her a million times that I love taking care of her!)

For Christmas, I was enchanted with the gifts she gave us.  For me, this lovely set of a jar of strawberry jam, along with a ceramic strawberry to serve it in and a little spoon to scoop it with.

For Tag she found a tin that looks like a six-pack of beer, filled with Beer Flavored Brittle.

Before we left after our last visit, she shook her arthritic old finger at me and said, "And don't get me anything for Christmas.  I don't need anything.  I'm trying to get rid of stuff.  But if you have to, you can get me some Fruit Cake."  

I thought that was hilarious.  It's an old-fashioned gift for an old-fashioned lady.   I was surprised to find some at Market Basket.  This little cake weighs a pound and a half!

Despite the fact that she feels like she's lived too long, and she prays every night for God to bring her up to Heaven ("But he never listens to me," she says.)   I selfishly hope she's around for a little bit longer.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Emily's Fundraiser Gala

My granddaughter Emily goes to a charter school- "Birches Academy".   They don't get all the funding that the public schools do, so they have several fundraisers every year to make up the difference.  Their biggest fundraiser is their Gala Event.  Hubby and I got to go and enjoy the festivities!

Since it's a "Gala", Emily got all dressed up for the event.  As usual, she looked beautiful!

The fundraiser included a nice dinner, and many, many opportunities to donate to the school.   One of the first things we did on arrival is check out the Surprise Gift table.  A child or adult could buy a ticket, and then pick a wrapped gift and whatever you get is what you keep.

Emily and I checked out the table.  

And she finally picked this gift!  It turned out to be a telescope!  After all the gifts were bought, they offered to let kids go back to the table and swap with another child if they wished.  Emily did, and traded her telescope to a boy who'd gotten a Polly Pockets playset!

There was also a 50/50 raffle, a wine raffle, a raffle to win a 55" TV, a basket raffle, and a silent auction.   Kara won a painting that Emily's class had made and Doug won a photo of Ted Williams.  Pepere and I won nothing!  LOL

A beautiful family - Kara, Emily and Doug

Pepere and I got to pose with our gorgeous granddaughter too.

Emily and her best friend Maurie.....(I know I spelled that wrong)
Emily was even more than usually super-excited because Maurie was going to be having a sleep over at Emily's house!!!

After the dinner, there was a very entertaining show put on by some enterprising young men who made all their own instruments.  

And finally, a band played so everyone could dance.

Emily and her friends had been dancing all night.  It was fantastic to meet her friends and their families and see her have so much fun.