Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Half of the celebrations are over

We had a wonderful Christmas day with my side of the family. Between trying to balance all the in-law families and the numerous moves of my little sister, we just haven't been able to gather together for Christmas for 11 years. At our last Christmas together there were only 2 grandchildren and this Christmas there were 10! So it was a much louder and very frenetic gathering, and it seemed that all we did was prepare food, do dishes, clean up and then start again with preparing more food! Mom and Dad, who are almost 70 years old, did a great job with cooking the turkey dinner and tolerating the chaos!
On the left is my brother with his new quilt, and on the right is my sister and I with her new quilt. It was very fun giving these quilts away and knowing they will be well used.
Also this year, I made a photo calendar for each of my nieces and nephews. I went through my collection of photographs and selected 12 photos for each of the calendars. I also made calendars for my 2 step-nephews, one for Mom and Dad, 4 for the nieces and nephews on my husband's side of the family and 3 for friends of mine. Altogether I made 20 calendars, using 240 photos...which gives you a sense of my collection of photographs!

This is the one photo that was in each of the calendars made for my relatives- it is of the grandchildren at our annual family camping trip. When the calendars were opened, the children spent a long time looking through their own, and then looking through the calendars of the other cousins. I was very happy that they enjoyed them so much...lots of happy memories!

Now we are preparing for the celebrations with my husband's side of the family. They have created a tradition where we all gather somewhere near the half way mark of where everyone is living, and this year it is Syracuse, New York. We travel to a carefully selected location, where we have booked four adjoining rooms and spend 3 days, 2 nights visiting together. There was only one year that the weather was terrible/snowy and impossible to drive in, and this year it will be mild and green. One of the many benefits is that no one has to do any cooking... and the grandchildren (many of whom are all grown up now) have a great time in the swimming pool, and enjoying other activities at the inn/hotel. It is our time for relaxing and catching up with each other's lives. The only thing left that I have to finish is to bake a big batch of shortbread cookies, using my grandmother's recipe. My nieces have already called twice to make sure that I am baking...last year I ran out of time and showed up without the cookies, and haven't heard the end of it!! I also have to check on the internet to find out what quilting stores I might be able to visit while I'm in the area!

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