Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Christmas Day

Not long to go now before we put all our Christmas decorations away for another year, but before I do I thought I would share with you the Christmas Day I spent with my family.

I mentioned before that my collection of bears plays a major part in our holiday decor. I not only have a collection of teddy bears but also a collection of Cherished Teddy figurines. I haven't added to those in several years but a Teddy Bear joins our family every once in a while.

Below is our TV console, in which I have placed several family photos. On the left is one of Brad's Great Grandfather Louis and Grandfather Gully as a toddler riding on a tricycle. Great-grandpa has been described as one of the last cowboys. Next to that photo is Brad when he traveled across country a few years ago, on his way out to the west coast, a move that had been in the planning stage for several years. He is in Monument Valley with one of those famous landmarks in the background.

There is a story behind this trip because not too long before the actual date of the move, he had met our daughter-in-law here in Virginia and had been on a few dates. When he got to Las Vegas he called her and asked if he came back would she consider dating him full time. She said yes and the rest as they say is history. He turned around and she brought our boy home. Before we even met her I can't tell you how much we loved her for that great gift she gave us.

There are a couple of other photographs of son at various ages, and a snap of Lisa and Brad that was taken when we all went out to one of our local restaurants.

There are three other figurines Brad gave me when he went on school trips to England and brought home the dogs in English attire, the foxhound in the bright red riding gear, and two bulldogs dressed in a policeman's uniform and the other in a Union Jack waistcoat.

I bought the Santa and the Cherished Teddy in the Beefeater costumes, and there is a little pill box with a face of a fox on the lid, and a snowman.

I also moved my "peace" angel from the mantle.

There is also our name-card from their wedding along with the little duck that came with it, and an origami bird Lisa made for me out of a mint chocolate wrapper.

Last but not least are the anniversary flowers Gregg gave me.

The Cherished Teddy Nativity.

Here's Gregg showing a bottle of beer he was given by our friend Jackie.

I love my Bad Old Elf, Gregg that is. Yes I know Gregg, not so much of the 'old'.

On Christmas morning we were enjoying chatting with Celia and Gully.

We were expecting Lisa and Brad. He arrived first and Lisa is a cantor at her church and arrived about an hour later.
Here she is with Celia and Gregg.

By this time preparations are under way to get our Christmas meal on the table.

Part of our traditional English place setting includes Christmas Crackers, which we pull before the meal starts.
This is our Yule Log which I used for a centerpiece. In years past but not for a very, very long time, I have made them myself. Not this one, however, it came from one of Lisa and Brad's favorite restaurants, Amphora's.

I have to remember to tell you that Brad took all photos, except for the ones he was in. Thanks Brad!
Below are the main stars of our meal. Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and Oven Roasted Potatoes. This has become our traditional Christmas meal because we always have turkey at Thanksgiving, which was only a few weeks before when Lisa's Mom and Dad invited us to join them for their Thanksgiving celebration.

Party hats from the crackers. Mine kept falling off.

We waited for our meal to be over before we opened up presents. Lisa and Brad are showing the card that Celia and Grandpa gave them.

I do believe this is a self-portrait.
They gave Celia their gift.

and handed Gregg his, a Nook! They gave me a Nook also.

We are now Nook lovers! Thank you Lisa and Brad.
They also gave me my new teddy called Hudson, and a book on birds.
This was a wonderful surprise from Celia and Gully, a magnificent quilt that Gully's sister made us. Everyone calls her "Sister". Thank you Sister! Last Fourth of July when we had visited Celia and Gully for the long weekend, Celia showed me a beautiful quilt on their bed which I greatly admired. They told me Sister had made it and had given it to them. I knew that Sister was very talented in many areas, but had no idea that she made quilts. The next thing I knew Sister called me up and asked me what kind I would like. I was overwhelmed by her generosity and when she told me she probably wouldn't be able to make one until well into 2011 because she was making others for various family members, I remember saying that I would wait for much longer if it meant receiving such a precious family heirloom. It is so very beautiful and I was again overwhelmed, especially when Celia told me that it was all hand-stitched. Thank you Celia and Gully and thank you Sister for making me this precious gift. I will treasure it forever.

Hudson is having a good time with his new bear family.
Another lovely surprise when Celia went shopping the day after Christmas, she brought home Grace for me. She is actually a tree-topper. Isn't she pretty? I named her Grace because embroidered on the hem of her dress are the words, "Faith, Hope and Joy". It reminded me of the Three Graces, so I decided to call her Grace.
We had a fabulous Christmas.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Morning

Happy Monday to you all. I hope you had a wonderful time with your families over Christmas. We loved ours and our son and daughter-in-law joined us for dinner, and my in-laws, Celia and Gully too. They have been with us over the last several days. Couldn't have been more of a perfect celebration.

Celia and Gully will be leaving tomorrow. They have had a lot of snow down south and wanted to give the roads a chance to get cleared before they made the journey. It isn't so bad up here as we hardly had any at all, a few flurries and the ground isn't even totally covered. But from what we have heard from relatives, they had blizzard conditions yesterday.
I thought I would share a few of my decorations and tree ornaments, before putting them all away for another year. I bought a few things, like the snowman in the above photo. There is another on the other side of the mantle.

The angel I treated myself to a few years ago. The photos are permanent fixtures on our mantle. On the left is one taken of the three of us when we lived in Monterey, California back in 1983. On the right is my Mum and the baby she is holding is me at my Christening way back in late 1950 or early 1951. I think I may have shared these photos before.

This is my all-time favorite Santa Claus. It was my Christmas gift from Gregg's sister a few years back. He always makes me want to go find that cabin in the woods of the northwest. I sometimes yearn for the wilderness but Gregg thinks I wouldn't be able to do without my computer. Satellite I answer? Yes I would miss my family and friends but maybe they could row up the river and visit us occasionally, and yes I am jesting, sort of. We do have a trip planned when Gregg retires. He's looking forward to a great adventure with no time tables.

Below is my little angel teddy-bear tree topper, along with a few of the ornaments.

A treat this year from Hallmark. There are quite a few of them. I have collected a lot over the last 30 years. Many of my ornaments have a bird theme but I collect everything that takes my eye, and I also have very special gifts that were given to me, absolutely priceless in sentimental value.

The RCMP came into the tree family when Gregg and I visited Canada a few years ago.

Here are a few of my Santa's.

Whenever we go anywhere I always try to pick up an ornament. Lots of animals but from our last vacation in San Diego I added the Hotel Del Coronado to my collection. You can just about see it in the third photo at the top on the left.

Back in the day I painted wooden ornaments and this is one I made for our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

This is one I painted for my Mum and Dad as a small gift from our son to his grandparents.

Have I ever told you how much I love teddy-bears? I think so but if you haven't read that before, I love teddy-bears.

I bought this little lady a couple of weeks' ago.

Some people put a train that runs around their Christmas Tree, but every year I put teddies around ours. Gregg doesn't mind, he's always been a good sport.

The one in the center is my pride and joy. "Teddy" is over 59 years' old. Mum and Dad gave him to me when I was a year old. He has received much love as you can see. The Bobby came to live with us because my Dad was a 30 year career police officer. The teddy on the right my sister gave me.

Last but not least and before we got busy, I spent a quiet evening with Mark Harmon and all his lovable side-kicks on NCIS, one of my favorite TV shows.

Thank you all for visiting me over the last few days. I hope to catch up with you all in the next week.

I will also be sharing our Christmas Day in my next post.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

To my family and friends who are celebrating Christmas,
I wish you a Merry Christmas
and to my friends of different faiths,
I wish you a Very Happy Holiday Season.
To Evereyone,
A Very Happy and Healthy New Year.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb:

If I were a wise man
I would do my part.

Yet what I can I give Him,
Give Him my heart.

~Christina Rossetti~

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Excuses, excuses!

The squirrels are trying to convince Santa that they haven't been eating all of the birdseed this year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spending time with good friends

All these photos were taken with my cell phone, consequently several of them are out of focus because it doesn't seem to do well in low-lighting, unless I get really lucky, so please excuse the poor quality. I haven't been able to recharge my pocket camera as I seem to have tidied the charger into non-existence; that is I have been doing a lot of house-cleaning and have apparently put it in a place I can't remember. It will probably turn up when I am looking for something else in another week or so.

We have done a lot of socializing lately. This past Sunday we were guests at our friends' church. Kathy and Chuck play the bells and sing in the choir and asked us if we would like to attend Sunday Service. Another good friend, Anne, also has a beautiful voice and even though she is not a regular church member because she lives over an hour away, sang in the choir as a guest. It was a great pleasure to hear my friends singing. Back when Kathy lived in England she taught the boys' choir for the opera performances at Covent Garden, and met Chuck in Italy when he was training as an opera singer. He also has a magnificent voice and did a couple of solo's. Because I was in church I made myself sit on my hands and didn't take too many photos but I did get this one of Kathy who is on the left.

After the service our friend Carol invited us all to lunch at her house. She has a lovely home with many things that catch my eye. Below is friend Hazel, very out of focus but I liked the softness of the photo and decided to include it. I don't think Hazel would mind.

Hazel with another friend of ours, Jackie.

I like Carol's fireplace a lot and took three photos....

and here's Gregg eating an appetizer, drinking a glass of wine and enjoying that lovely roaring fire.

Time for lunch.

A delicious meal.

Afterwards we all sit around and enjoy chatting with Carol's oldest granddaughter who is taking good care of her little sister. You can just see Carol on the left, next her husband Donald who is looking at his granddaughters - notice the Redskin Shirt - Donald is a big fan and occasionally disappeared as there was a game going on. He returned with reports on how the game was progressing and that's Chuck, Kathy's husband.

This little long-haired chihuahua's is Sophie, and her mummy is Carol's daughter. Kathy enjoyed giving her a fuss.

Gregg with Kathy and Anne. Kathy is again with her new best friend, the little chihuahua, but don't tell Hamish. Yes I am joking, he needn't worry as we all know that he is number one dog in Kathy's life.

This is the little chihuau's sister, a Pomeranian called Lily.

One of me with those darling little dogs. I was at that point wondering if I could smuggle them under my coat and take them back home with me.

They are definitely getting a lot of attention.

Time for dessert. By this time it has gotten dark outside and I feel very lucky that this photo came out as prettily as it did. I liked it so much I used it in my new header photograph.

The next two photos are totally out of focus but I'm still happy that we at least got something. Carol's husband took a couple too, which I hope they will be sending me soon. In the meantime here we all are; left to right Kathy holding Sophie, Carol, Denise, Anne, Jackie and Hazel.

Another good time together and already making plans for the next gathering.