(Celia's Photo: Christmas Day - son Brad and daughter-in-law Lisa. Lisa is being a good sport and still wearing the paper hat out of her Christmas Cracker. She is also wearing the scarf and gloves we gave her for Christmas.)
Gregg and I celebrated our 37th Wedding Anniversary on the 17th. We did so quietly as the following morning he flew to Oklahoma City on business, and we got up at around 5.00 a.m. to take him to the airport. It was only a short trip, a couple of days, and Thursday night I was on the way back to the airport to pick him up, this time at midnight. It was dark and rainy but there were no Mad Hatters on the road and everyone was driving very carefully. I really don't like night-time driving any more, particularly when the weather isn't at its best.
We usually wait for special occasions to eat out at a-fancier-than-normal restaurant, so a few nights before our anniversary and because we knew Gregg was leaving on his business trip, we celebrated early and we went to one of our local restaurants - Rosemary and Thyme. We had a delicious meal. I again ordered the Spinach Ravioli. You get a choice of three sauces and I remember loving the Saffron Cream Sauce the last time we were there. We have never had a bad meal and the people are always friendly. I noticed for the first time on their website that there is a second restaurant in Washington DC but we feel fortunate that we have one this close to home.
(Christmas Day - Gregg's photo: Celia and Gully opening up their gifts from Lisa and Brad)
I wrote out all my Christmas Cards and some of the overseas ones had already been received. That makes me happy as I always seem to be late in mailing them out, and always say next year I will start a little earlier. 'Always' being the operative word and 'never that organized' being the way it is....but maybe I will surprise myself next time as I was still earlier than last year. The cards are rolling in, from family, from old friends and new friends and much to our delight we have reconnected with a dear friend this year after 30 years. She came across my blog. Hi Sue! Our kids used to play together when they were three years' old. Wow, didn't those years just zip on by?
(Christmas Day and a photo of Gregg with his gift from Lisa and Brad)
(Christmas Day and Gregg's photo: Brad and Denise watching Lisa opening up her gifts)
(Christmas Day and Gregg's photo: I am holding a super book that Lisa and Brad gave me. They know me well. The sentiments written inside by Brad caused a few tears on my part. I found them very touching. Thank you my darlings, we love you both dearly and you make us very proud).
Written after Christmas:
My in-laws arrived on the Saturday morning (the 22nd) and we've spent many long hours chatting. All the sad events before Christmas have been on everyone's mind. It is hard to put the magnitude of such tragedy into mere words, it's just not possible. We hug our family members a little tighter and tell them how much we love them. We know how very blessed we are and make sure that they know they are very much part of those blessings, no day is taken for granted.
One of the first things they did was to go to Arlington National Cemetery to visit Gregg's mother's grave. Gregg and I have been here on many occasions but I did not go this time. The three of them came back with some beautiful photos. Every year thousands of wreathes are laid at Arlington. You can read the story of how it started here.
Growing up we always had the Turkey on Christmas Day, but as that is the traditional meal for Thanksgiving and as the two holidays are only a month apart, years ago I had a request for something different. What better than to go back to another British tradition, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pud? Plain and simple but delicious! Sorry, I had already tucked in before remembering to take a photo.
I bought Christmas Crackers which we pulled before our meal and let me tell you, those things fought back this year, definitely a little more powerful than in years past. A few of the tiny items that were placed inside flew across the room. Paper hats were worn momentarily, corny jokes read and after our meal we exchanged and opened Christmas gifts. There were also several phone calls during the day from family and friends from all over.
(Celia's photo: one of my favorite photos, Lisa opening up her gum-ball machine, one of her gifts from Brad. As you can see she got a big kick out of it. They will have to keep a lot of quarters around!)
(Gregg's photo: our Great-Niece with Great-Grandpa)
The Sunday before we had a lovely visit with our niece and nephew and great-niece. They drove all the way up from Virginia Beach to spend the morning with us, and then went on to see a friend of theirs in the afternoon, and then were driving back home the same day.
(Gregg's photo - she is wearing Great-Grandpa's navy cap)
Our sweet little great-niece is adorable, she is walking/running all over the place now but Great-Uncle Gregg stepped in to give Mommy and Daddy a bit of a break and followed her around as she explored the house. Great-Uncle Gregg had a ball and we had fun watching them and playing with her when she stopped for a spell to explore the ornaments on the Christmas tree. She particularly liked the miniature teddy bear ornaments and kissed every one. She is such a little darling.
Celia and I went shopping while Gregg and his Dad found a place to sit for a spell and have a coffee. After an hour we came out of the store to find it had started to snow, there were big snowflakes.
We met Gregg and Gully at Middleburg Common Grounds, a coffee and sandwich shop on the main street right across from where I had called Gregg, to find out where they had parked themselves. When we looked Gregg was standing outside the coffee shop waving to us and we headed on over, snowflakes falling on our eyelashes.
Celia and Gully like the place too. It is new to us but the owner told us they had been open for seven months. You can look at the menu here.
Gregg and I have been looking for somewhere different and are happy we can add this place to our list. The coffee was great, the sandwiches we ordered were delicious, and the people very friendly.
Also a nice, casual atmosphere.
We can all highly recommend it.
After another half an hour it was time to go and we walked down the road to our car. It was still snowing.
It didn't snow on Christmas Day but when we woke up today (Boxing Day) there was a fine layer of snow everywhere. It is still snowing but it looks more like a sleety kind of rain now. The squirrels and birds have been down for a feed and Celia and I have been watching them. Celia is on the other couch looking at her computer, Gregg and his Dad are on the kitchen table as Gregg is being Gully's Yeoman today and helping with business letters, I am on my computer of course and we are all listening to the weather channel to find out about this storm system moving through the country.
December 28th - Tomorrow (Saturday) we are expecting more snow. Will it be a lot or a little, only time will tell. One thing I purchased early and with my propensity for falls in the wintertime especially, were two sets of ice grippers for shoes. Our driveway is very steep and it gets exceedingly treacherous and icy. I have been having a good spell this past year and have stayed on my feet I don't want to break my record, and even though Gregg laughed when he saw his early Christmas present, I know he appreciated them and will use them when needed. We both remember him shooting down the driveway like an Olympic ski jumper when he hit one icy spot at the top of the drive last winter. I had just stuck my head through the curtains to make sure he was okay when I saw it. Amazingly he remained on his feet all the way down - perfect form too!