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December 26

'Tis the day after Christmas and all through the house, there is barely a sound, quite the contrast from yesterday. The counters are back to normal, there are leftovers enough for a few days, and the floors are swept. The washing machine is in full swing, and the dishwasher has done it's job for another Christmas. And what a Christmas it was! Merriment in full swing was the order of the day. But, I'm getting ahead of myself......

Leading up to the magical day the house was anything but quiet. Nancy helped me immeasurably, beginning with the wrapping:
Here she is forcing me to get the menu written down! After returning from a visit with Liza, Matt and Tom rolled out my vegan gingerbread, taking the decorating very seriously:
At first glance you don't notice Tom reflected in the mirror carefully putting eyes on the angel cookies. Vegan baking was stymieing me until Tom suggested I use some tapioca starch as an egg replacement. Because the cookies use shortening that was the only change we made. Brilliant once again!

After talking with Angela about the madhouse at Publix Thursday afternoon, I decided instead to head over there at 7 Friday morning. Brilliant as Tom would say with only a handful of cars in the parking lot when I arrived.

After Dave left  with Ginger on Christmas Eve, here's how Bruce and Baxter finished the evening:
Waking to perfect weather on Christmas was the beginning of a perfect day. Once Tom and Matt woke and showered, we opened gifts from each other and Jonathan. The meager stockings came first, with Tom receiving his very first Pez dispenser. Matt is instructing Tom on the intricacies of Pez dispenser management.
Jonathan always comes through with some of Bruce's favorites--romantic comedy dvds and new music:
Baxter had to be a part of everything! New music for Mom as well!

Sometime in November I began making a quilt for Matthew to have as a small throw on his bed in his VERY green bedroom. I couldn't wait for him to open it:
Nor could I wait for Tom to open his gift:
I've no clue how I discovered this cookbook, but I'm glad I did. I'm pretty certain he was pleased.

As was Bruce, with his new warm hat, purchased by Matt in Iceland for the bitter winter he'll be facing.
After all the excitement here's how I felt:

The truth is, although I get a lot of the credit for Christmas, realistically it is Bruce who deserves the most credit. Without his dedication at work, none of it would happen.

And happen it did! We all began our assigned tasks in earnest after the gift exchange, and by the time the family arrived, everything was perfect! Angela provided some British Christmas crackers, and although we didn't have quite enough to go around, we made do. It was SO fun. Here's part of our crowd in preparation to pull:
She insisted that the crowns should be worn for the full evening:
I believe Matt and Tom won the prize for longevity! However, I wore my for several hours, even forgetting about it until I saw myself in the computer when we did a video chat with Jonathan and Alissa. How amazing is having the ability to see each other?
There's our Jon boy on my computer with a big smile on his face. No clue what Bill is doing, but it looks like they were all enjoying it! As, I hope everyone else was.

This is our first Christmas in the renovated space, and it worked just as well as I'd hoped. After the initial question of where to place the tree, everything else fell into place. Honestly, aside from Jonathan and Alissa's absence, it has to rate as one of my very favorite Christmases. When Lisa and Amanda left, she expressed her joy at not having to put it on. You are most welcome Lisa--the pleasure was ours.

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