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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Joy of Boxes

Wilder unwraps the secrets of Christmas morning joy and discovers love in a box.

Merry Christmas!

We had a lovely continuation of Christmas Day over at Brian's folks' house with a delicious dinner made by many loving hands. Uncle Bear, Aunt Brooke, Uncle Joe and Boppa made quite a team playing with Wilder and keeping him entertained.

Unfortunately, Wilder had had enough of Christmas by about 5pm and we all did lots of songs and dances to help his Sir Grumpalot get into the holiday spirit. Mima tag teamed during dinner so I could enjoy the delicious, warm food! Thanks, Betty! Wilder got some dynomite presents, including this awesome rocking horse, though it was too much for him to enjoy playing with it last night.

Aunt Brooke and Uncle Joe -parents-to-be soon! They got lots of practice last night with Wilder -and they are going to be wonderful parents!

Bows, glorious bows...Again, the paper is what Christmas is all about!

Smiley Wiley!
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy a delightful new year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Starting Christmas

How often do things go as planned, particularly on the holidays? Never. Here you are orchestrating the perfect -or even just acceptable- holiday and your whole day and plans get shot to sh... heck. It's a lesson learned in elasticity, or, rather, how flexible you can be and STILL be happy.

Wilder and I made it to Walmart yesterday by 8am to get last minute food items for Christmas dinner and the evening with friends. It was a bit busier than usual, but everyone was in the holiday spirit (though that honestly ranges from "run ragged" to "angel on speed") and it was a pleasant experience. Wilder went down for a nap and my conquering continued. I cooked and baked and cooked and baked and wrapped and wrapped and then, while in the middle of three different cooking projects inevitably Wilder woke up.

Sweet boy must be teething or going through a clingy phase, but the little dear hardly let me take two steps without him wrapped around my leg or latched to my hip. I was tired, busy, and in the middle of everything. I kept pausing, remembering that it's people, not things, that are the most important in life. If I don't get my potato salad made in time for dinner, who cares; my baby needs me right now and just wants to play trucks and wrestle on the floor. So we took turns playing and cooking.

I had planned on an early dinner, then hitting up one of the local Christmas Eve services with Anissa, followed by a holiday movie here and a slumber party so we could do stockings together and neither of us would have to wake up home alone on Christmas morning.

To make a long story a little shorter, only 30% of my plan happened AND it ended up being, as aforementioned, one of the best Christmas Eve's I've ever had! Instead of my planned on Shepherd's Pie we had total German fare. Brautwurst, homemade potato salad and steamed cabbage. We ate at nearly 10pm and sipped mulled wine for hours, chatting about religion, relationships, and politics, of course. Supposed me broke all the dinner conversation rules, but we had fun doing it! Ruth and Anissa went to midnight mass while I made my mother's famous Danish Puff. Anissa returned with her dog, Skippy, for a slumber party and we chatted by the cozy fire until nearly 3am. A hair of three hours later Wilder was up and proclaimed it officially Christmast Day!

Santa brought Wilder some fun trucks, cars and one of those rolly popcorn balls on a stick. Whatever that is... It's a classic toy, he just had to have one.

Wilder making faces at me while signaling "Move, Mom! I'm watching a Christmas movie!"

"All done!"
Opening the wonderful gifts from my even more wonderful family. Just two months ago Wilder could care less about wrapping paper, but now -officially 14 months old as of yesterday- wrapping paper is the end all.
Hooray! More wonderful books from Aunt Ruth Ann!

Sometimes it's not what IN the box that counts. It's the box itself. :)

More Christmas fun to come!

Brian, we love you SOOOOOOO much and I'll try to keep you posted throughout the day! All my love -and Wiley's too!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Getting To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Getting into the spirit of the season, Anissa, Wilder and I went to see a local church's live nativity last night.

We agreed that the best part was the dancing angel (right.) She must have wanted to keep warm and show enthusiasm at the same time during her angelic display. We're guessing she was the coordinator? Two thumbs up for creativity, that's for sure!

Ray, this one's for you! Your wife is quite the "live nativity" enthusiast! And we had a blast looking at Christmas lights all over town while listening to Bing croon holiday tunes as we cruised in our cozy car.

In Texas, Santa drives a John Deer, fyi.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas -and Christmas Eve!- and hope your holidays are bright, white and delicious!

(I'm currently watching "Die Hard" to get further into the Christmas spirit. "Yippy-io-kay-ay!" -I won't finish the phrase since this IS a family website :) It's been a holiday movie marathon over here. Some of our (or MY, really) favorites have been:

-"White Christmas"
-"The Lemon Drop Kid"
-"Christmas Vacation"
-"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (puppet/claymation)
-"The Muppets Christmas Carol"
-"Christmas Story"
-"While You Were Sleeping"

Wilder is a big fan of the ones with musical numbers, so we tend to watch them the most.

Lots of love to you all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Cameron Christmas Baking Weekend

For ages, Grandma Anne has been making her famous fudge, divinity and sugar cookies. This year the cousins and I got in on her secret recipes and got to taste our sweet success all weekend long (and for the rest of the holidays until we can finish all of our homemade holiday delights!)

Aunt Carol, Grandma and Bailey get started on the first batch of fudge. There is a fine art to not burning the sweet concoction on an electric stove.

Wilder adores his cousins (Russ, how does this work again? I think we decided that we'd just call them cousins, no funny nonsense about once removed, twice reunited, or 3rds.) Wilder always wanted to head-butt Bailey -and give her lots of kisses.

The Ball + Walking Wilder sequence. Photo 1.

Photo 2

Photo 3.
It's crunch time! We've reached the right temperature...

...Time to add the marshmallow goo! Mother and daughter make quite a team!

The Supervisors.
Wilder was pretty clingy on Saturday, so this is basically the only time I got to stir -though he's crying while Aunt Carol holds him. My participation in actual candy making didn't last long, but it was wonderful being together and seeing the recipes in action!

Making divinity. Be sure it's a low humidity day if you're going to attempt this sensational holiday treat!

Wilder dances in his penguin p.j.s and sings in Wilderese, "I'm not going to be-ed, I'm not going to be-ed!"

Three generations between them only make them better buddies.

Wilder enjoyed watching Celtic Women and Roy Orbison's Black and White concert on PBS while he fought the sandman off tooth and nail. At 11pm I finally resorted to an untried, but very true, trick of driving around the block. It worked, of course.

Sunday was super sweet with Grandma's sugar cookies!

The dough committee assessing the current rolling situation. All in all, it was decided these cookies turned out to be delicious. Grandma always said that the more the kids roll them, the better they taste. Hm... must be a secret ingredient called fun!

Yep! And here we are adding that ingredient to the dough!

Bailey: Cookie Decorator Extraordinaire.
Rem and Bailey finish off the last of the dough.
Mother and daughter team up to quickly place the walnut halves on top of the fresh divinity mounds. It's a job that requires speed, accuracy and a love of fluffy white goo!

"Great Grandpa, will you put my shoe on for me?"
Ah-hah! The bed-defying walking mini-Brian is found staying up late again -yet heads off to bed much more peacefully than the night before. But not until after watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" with Great Grandpa. He had to see who won the $100,000.

Monday during Wilder's morning nap, Grandma and I made our own full batch of sugar cookies and divinity.
These are my waiter sugar cookies. Mustache included.
Wish you were here!

My, this was a weekend to remember. I know I will always treasure the memories of Christmas goody making, walking the lighted neighborhood, playing all together, the wonderful family meals all at Grandma and Grandpa Cameron's house with the cousins.

It must be from having my own family and perhaps getting to that age when you know your time with your grandparents is limited, but this visit meant so much to me and I am so deeply touched by our time together. I didn't grow up near my Aunt, her family or my grandparents, so I consider this catching up -and we have a lot of that to do. "Thankful" is such a small word compared to what I feel for this experience, but I guess it will do. Thank you for such a wonderful time with you, family! I love you so much and look forward to our next visit very soon!


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