Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....


Yep, the presents are all under the tree -- just waiting for Keith to print off a couple of family photos for me to put in frames for our parents and wrap them. Today we're cleaning: the kids are doing their rooms, and tomorrow after church they'll do bathrooms and vacuuming. T's room is done, so he's cleaning and sweeping the front porch. I'm taking breaks here at the computer to avoid overdoing (yeah, right!). Keith has some decluttering to do in the patio and his desk area, plus clean curtains to hang in our bedroom and bathroom and new curtains to hang in E's room that we bought her two years ago and have never hung....

Tomorrow after church we'll buy food for the festivities and I'm going to wash towels and bathroom rugs as well as scrub down the kitchen while the kids do their cleaning and Keith gets a start on the Christmas pies. I'll also bake Jesus' birthday cake, a gluten-free spice cake that no one can tell is gluten-free. It's delicious, topped with fresh whipped cream rather than frosting. It's pure Christmas goodness, and I love watching the little ones sing Jesus "Happy Birthday" on Christmas Eve.

On Monday I'll dust and finish up the cleaning details -- final wipe downs of bathrooms, etc. Keith will finish up the pies for Christmas Day, and E and I will tidy up the kitchen afterwards. Around 4 PM Keith's side of the family will trundle their way up the mountain to our home; I've figured that with our family, we'll have about twenty people, over half of them children. Keith's dad will come with Keith's brother's family as they live next door to each other in Ramona, about an hour away. With the five kids, there's nine of them, counting Renee's sister who is visiting from Michigan. Keith's sister is coming up with her middle son, his wife, and their three kids who are coming out from Missouri. I don't know if Karen's oldest daughter is coming -- she's up in Santa Barbara studying photography at Brook's. So it will be a very busy day -- I hope I can talk a few people into stealing away for a church service if the community church is doing something on Christmas Eve. Both Lake Murray and Alpine Anglican are holding candlelight services around 6 PM, but the distances involved don't really work for us; we'll need to find something in or very near our town. I'll also check to see if the Catholic Church in the next town over has a Midnight Mass I can attend ... Christmas is a time for CHURCH! One of my favorite things about Christmas is going to church!

We'll be home with just our immediate family on Christmas Day. The Anglicans are having a simple service at the parsonage at 9:30, but I doubt I can talk my family into attending -- it's the desire of my heart to be at church on Christmas, but so far we haven't attended. I would love to change that this year, but I think I'm the only one....

Around noon, we'll drive further up the mountain to my parents' little cabin where we'll celebrate Christmas Day with my parents, my brother and his family, my uncle, my aunt and her husband, and my parents' best friends who lost their home in the recent fires. We'll enjoy a lovely ham dinner with all the fixin's, and finish off with Keith's beautiful apple and pumpkin pies. The kids are hoping for a little snow to be on the ground at the cabin, but I think that they'll find that there will be no sledding this Christmas. We'll go up to the cabin again for New Year's Day, and perhaps there will be more snow by then.

On our way home from the cabin on Christmas night, we always drive through our town, enjoying the Christmas light displays and listening to Christmas music on the radio. We usually get home by 8 PM or so, tuck the kids in, and enjoy a cuddle in front of the fire. It's a quiet evening, one I enjoy very much.

The Anglicans are holding a St. Stephen's Day service the morning after Christmas; I'll have to see if I have the energy for getting up for that -- I want to! I also want to take the kids up to the Wild Animal Park one evening this week to enjoy the lovely light displays after dark. We'll see. We really don't have any plans between Christmas and New Years -- just resting, enjoying each other, perhaps watching some movies, etc.

We've invited two families in our town to come over and play board games with us on New Year's Eve, and then we'll go up to the cabin for chili and cornbread and more board games on New Year's Day -- much better than the usual sauerkraut that our Germanic roots demand -- a great improvement, imho. (Not that I don't enjoy family traditions -- I just don't enjoy sauerkraut.)

So that's what Christmas will look like around our place. We wish you a Holy Advent, a Joyful Christmas, and a Blessed and Healthy New Year, from our family to yours!


Pam said...

Your Christmas plans sound great Susanne! A nice blend of extended family and your own family. If you have a chance, I'd love for you to post the recipe for your gluten free spice cake!

Susanne B. said...

It's actually a boxed (or a bag, rather) mix I buy at the health food store. The maker is Numaste -- it's in a brown bag, and you can make spice cake or carrot cake. And it's scrumptious! Just top with some whipped cream. :) I usually sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top to make it look pretty. :)

Susanne B. said...

PS -- I bake it in a fluted bundt pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar for Christmas -- it looks so festive. :)


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