Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Hmmm, what can be said of Christmas for me?

The best part of Christmas this year is that we all retired to a chalet in Dillard, Georgia, from December 24th to December 27th. We slept, ate, played games, ate, talked with each other,ate, watched T.V. (we don't have cable at home,) and ate. We couldn't get our lazy butts off the couches or chairs. Everyone truly relaxed and did nothing. I am not normally very good at that. However, with my children and husband in such close orbits around me I didn't want to be anywhere else. The people that mean everything to me in this world were all together, all healthy, all happy, and with me.

For the high points - and pictures (which I actually remembered to take this year.)

To our oldest, Joseph, we bequeathed my father's onyx and gold ring. The jeweler, amazingly, restored this ring to "like new" condition after years of abuse. I remember vividly going to Service Merchandise to pick this ring up, with my Mom, who never bought anything of significance for Dad for Christmas. I will never know why that year was different. It seemed a very big deal to her. I can even picture where the counter was in the store. Joseph is pleased. He will be more pleased when it is properly sized. Oh, and he got a book of Revolutionary War stories. His brothers gave him the second season of the Muppets T.V series. Joseph has always wanted to live in a subdivision with the Muppets as neighbors.

Joseph is now sharing his Christmas loot with his new wife, Joni. This was their first Christmas together as a married couple. His list is shorter now.

To Joni we gave a George Foreman grill so that she can grill veggies, paninis (which we think is a fun word to say,) and Joseph can cook his own meat. We also gave her an awesome journal to collect her dinner party memories in. I WANT TO SAY AGAIN HOW MUCH I LOVE MY NEW DAUGHTER-IN-LAW. *Joni, thanks for sharing this Christmas with us. I fully understand how much one longs for their own family at Christmas. It was a sacrifice of love. It felt so natural to have you with us.*

Chloe and Hannah-Jo presented Joni with an adorable French toille apron and matching crocheted beret. Nic and Ethan gave her onion soup bowls. Jonathan VERY proudly presented her with a Le Crueset honey pot...more on that later.

To Ethan (we're going in birth order here) we bequeathed a gold ring (starting to sound more like a funeral than Christmas) which George's parents gave to him on his 20th birthday. George grew into, and then out of, that ring. Sometime in the early 80's we had to go to the Convenient Care Clinic and have it cut off of his finger. Guven's jewelers made it all shiny and new for Ethan. He also received a George Foreman grill (to grill and consume large quantities of chicken,) a wipe-off board (to keep track of important things, though he has Google apps too) and a book on Biblical principals of finance (because he has a lot of money for a single fella.) The ring looks mighty fine on his pinky finger. Nic and Jon did not buy him anything, but he didn't buy anything for them either.

To Nicholas we gave a scientific Christmas. He received an anatomy coloring book, and pencils, which he just loves (it's always the cheap stuff.) We also gave him Ken Burns' documentary on the National Parks. We all love that one. He got warm socks and a brown shirt to go with his birthday vest. From Joseph and Joni, a microscope slide set. In it are slides showing mitosis, frog sperm, you name it. Nic wants to be a veterinarian. We give practical gifts. One never knows, as a vet, when you might need to identify a frog sperm.

To Jonathan we gave bee keeping equipment (that explains the honey pot and Jon's 2010 aspirations to make honey...with the bees.) He also received a fishing rod (gonna be outdoors a lot this year.) He got sneakers. I'm happy about these gifts. I usually bomb on Jon's gifts, he makes me guess. He never knows what to ask for.

To Chloe we gave an ipod Nano. She was thrilled. She even smiled (that's a hard one.) She got Barbies, clothes, pajamas, jewelry, and her favorite - books. In the Christmas gift library was Harry Potter's Half Blood Prince, Little Women, and a Julie (American Girl doll) activity book. We didn't hear much from her all weekend after that.

To Hannah-Jo we gave a Barbie Camper. This is the 2009 version of one that I received at about her age. The boys played with that camper at Nana and Granddad's for years. We love to camp and Hannah-Jo loves, win. She also received clothes, a doodling book, jewelry, pajamas. Hannah-Jo, like Jon, doesn't ever know what to ask for. She is grateful for everything. Incidentally, she performed again this year with the Georgia Children's Chorus. They have an anual appointment at the State Botanical Gardens and the Hugh Hodgsen Hall at UGA. What a joy they are to hear.

Our children gave to George and I generously this year. For myself they bought a cream separator. For those of you who are wondering, "What the heck?!" I will explain. Goat's milk doesn't have large enough fat molecules to cause the cream to rise. you have to spin them out. The result, delicious mouth coating cream, ice cream, coffee cream, etc. This was a very pricey gift and a wonderful addition to our micro-dairy. For George they purchased the complete collection of the Beatles albums, ingeniously stored on a tiny USB card, craftily designed to be the stem of a fake green apple. We haven't heard from George since. I bought him a cozy robe, sweater, and shirt. He is quite dashing in them.

We also had our friends, the Turners with us. We have been each other's "family away from home" for seventeen years. We gave the Turners Snuggies. They looked (all weekend-because they didn't take them off) like large blue monks.

This chalet "thing" started with Joseph and Joni's wedding this past spring. We stayed in one and hosted the rehearsal dinner there as well. That was chalet number 15, this one was number 20. Each have their strong and weak points. The Gooneybush house is tiny, our family is large. I like the chalet plan. They clean up when we leave. Nice. We hope to make it a tradition. I have fond memories of Dillard as a child, so do my kids...I am hoping to personally see four generations enjoy the place, and make memories.

We took four dogs. You say, "Oh my!" That was only half of them. Jon's dog, Nola, is in her puppy/teenager stage. She was not fun to have in an unfamiliar environment. It took all of us to keep her balanced. It was like having a young infant again. Did she pee? Is she hungry? Can we get her to nap? Who has her right now? Had I seen all of that coming she would have stayed at home in the back yard. Another dog, Arlo, stayed home. He didn't stay in the back yard...I had to dispose of a dead chicken thanks to him.

Our four new sheep managed to stay alive and fed while we were away. Anytime we add a new species there is a question of will the thing (the farm) stay in balance. It was risky leaving them that way. Our friends, the Dzimianskis, farmsat for us. I just don't know what we would do without them. Thanks guys.

...we are blessed this Christmas 2009.

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