Monday, December 27, 2010

Home from the holidays

I've enjoyed catching up the last two days in bloggy-land, reading about everyone's Christmas festivities.  Now, it's my turn to post something! :)  I'm glad I took the two days prior to Christmas off from work; I enjoyed the time with my family.

I headed home Wednesday night and met my parents and brother Ryan in St. Cloud to celebrate my mom's birthday.  We ate at Grizzly's (wow, their food is delicious!) and she opened up her gifts back at home.  She did open up my card while we were at dinner, and my gift to her was eight hours of my time to help her clean the basement.

I accompanied my dad to the nursing home in my hometown on Thursday to visit my grandparents.  Grandma was recently admitted (Grandpa has been in there for at least one year, if not two), and the adjustment has been hard on my dad.  Grandma recognized me right away, but she never used my name.  Grandpa sleeps pretty much all the time now, and if awake, he usually only responds if you speak to him in Polish.  Both grandparents have dementia.  I'm glad I was able to spend time with my grandparents; only God knows how much time they have left on this earth.

Back at home, I helped Mom with baking, cooking and cleaning, while more snow fell outside.

View of the house and Christmas tree from the river side of the property
I surprised my mom by putting up her handmade nativity set after she went to bed that night.  When she woke up the next morning, she said the first thing she thought when she saw everything set up was, "The angels came and finished it for me."  Aww... I'm just glad I helped her out.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Mom used old jewelry and rhinestones to decorate the wise men and their camels when she originally made them
Christmas Eve morning, I went swimming at the local rec center to get some exercise.  I'm looking forward to the day I start running again; I'm not liking this holiday weight gain I've been experiencing.  After some final preparations, we started our Christmas celebration with a delicious supper of creamed chicken on baking powder biscuits and sour cream raisin pie for dessert.  Later, we opened gifts, one at a time.  Besides receiving necessities (toiletries like shampoo, body lotion, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, underwear, socks, etc.), I received a sewing machine from Mom and Dad for Christmas (well, part of it is a Christmas present, the other part is a birthday gift).  This sewing machine is the same make and model as the one Mom has had since the 1970s.  I learned to sew on her reliable machine, and now I have one just like it.  I can't wait to set up a little sewing nook once Mark and I find a place to live.  I don't sew often, but I have a Minnesota quilt that I'm looking forward to making.

What a big tree--12 feet tall!
Mom, Dad and I later attended midnight Mass, and I talked to several people I knew, including two gentlemen from the senior choir I used to accompany with the organ.  One guy has a great sense of humor:

Me: Don!  Merry Christmas!
Don: Richelle, my long lost love!
(We hug)
Don: You married yet?
Me: No, that's next September.
Don: Good, because when I see him, he's gonna get it!
(After some laughter, Don asks about Mark)
Don: Uh-oh... I see a divorce coming.
Me: Hey now, I'm not even married yet!
Don: Not yours... mine!

Don cracks me up.  He also told me I turned into a beautiful lady, which definitely made me grin from ear to ear.

Christmas morning, I headed down to Spicer to celebrate the day with future hubs and his family.  His brother's girlfriend was there, too; she's a sweetheart.  We enjoyed a delicious meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies, and Bette's booze balls.  Yum!  We later opened up gifts, played a few rounds of the card game Skip-Bo, napped, and watched August Rush (great movie!).  What a relaxing and fun Christmas Day!

Mark and I headed back to the Cities that night so we could attend Mom's family's celebration on Boxing Day.  Jan and Gerry hosted the event, which meant that I also had the chance to see my cutie-pie goddaughter.  Within the first five minutes of our arrival, Rachel had given me a big hug and I had read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to her.  It was a nice gathering, made better by the fact that my other brother, Kevin, had also attended.  He and my parents have a strained relationship (yesterday was the first day he had verbally spoken to them for six months), and his relationship with Ryan and me has also been testy.  I'm very thankful we were all together at some point during the holidays.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and I look forward to what the new year will bring for you.

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