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And Then There Were Two

Things have been pretty busy around the Peck household, as I suspect they have been at your homes as well. The party is over now though,  following the departure, yesterday afternoon, of our beloved Matt and Tom. Dropping them at the airport around 4, they are dressed and ready to return to a much colder climate in London.
It is both good and bad when family visit during the holidays--good because it just feels good to be surrounded by the people you love; bad, because sometimes things are so hectic that you spend all of your time getting ready. In the end I hope, despite few touristy outings, our lads from London will remember this visit with fondness.

Actually on Christmas Eve we did do something touristy, a visit to the Morse Museum in Winter Park, made even more interesting by using Sunrail to get there. Matt took this photo of his parents while we were waiting at the station.
It is a wonder either of us can see out of our squinty eyes! If you've not used Sunrail before it is worth a trip, if only to see our area from another vantage point. The stations are nice with handy "helpers."
As you can see there were plenty of seats available! The museum was super, however, there is so much to see you almost suffer from beautiful overload! Following our visit we ate lunch at a Thai restaurant on Park Avenue, followed by a little shopping, cut short for both the train schedule, and the fact that most of the shops were closing at 4 PM. Can you blame them?
The remainder of the day is a bit of a blur, however, I do remember the tree looked nice with mounds of presents underneath.
Bruce, Matt, and I, went to the lessons and carols candlelight service at the church which was just lovely, scoring bonus points for beginning at 9 PM. And then it was Christmas day which was super packed with activity. We began the day with Jonathan and Alissa opening their gifts via FaceTime in Austin. That was made even more fun because they were "cat sitting" two kittens who made their presence known by jumping not only on top of the boxes, but in them as well!
Before you go thinking it is Jonathan on the screen, let me set the record straight...he is holding up a book we gave him about Star Wars fans during the last 40 years which I hope will be highly entertaining. The follow up FaceTime chat was with Tom's family in Melton Mowbray where it was gray, chilly, and rainy. You may recall me mentioning my first successful machine quilting project and now that the Fludes have opened their gift, I can show you what I meant.
It seems as if they liked it! And then it was time for some morning champagne,
and Christmas crackers,
and finally opening gifts! Bruce is famous around these parts for his fantastic ribbon work.
Generally they are so nice no one wants to actually cut them! The rest of the family arrived for even more gift opening. Bill is inspecting some beef jerky from his brother Jonathan.
Fallon is inspecting a dress from us..
while Dave and Michelle are just looking cool.
Snacks, drinks, and laughter ensued. Soon thereafter we made our way to the north end of town and my sister Lisa's home where she does the Christmas hosting. Well, actually, Danny does most of the cooking, so props to him! Bill brought along the new banjo Fallon gave him, treating us to a little picking.
That's my brother Pat, looking very tropical, and our niece Amanda's husband Matt, an economics professor at Duke, a simplification on my part because I can't recall the specifics! Amanda and Emily were looking beautiful in the kitchen,
my sister Maureen and her adoring son Rich,
and Rich's wife Jen with their two darling boys having fun down by the pond in Lisa and Danny's back yard.
The blondes, Lisa and Fallon posing in the kitchen,
and Danny, on the couch next to Bruce, is finally getting a much needed rest, along with my sister-in-law, Ruth.
Tired by now? I was, except, son David put the guilt trip on me, and so we went over there, back on our side of town. One of their neighbors allowed him to drive their pontoon boat while they were out of town, and Dave begged me not to wuss out before going out on the boat. Good call Dave!
Decked out by both Christmas lights, and pretty ladies, our niece Katie!
More champagne, music, lights, good company, and finally cool breezes which were most welcome! Captain David at the helm.
Just tremendous really, and now Tom and Matt can amaze friends with their Florida Christmas story!

Bedtime? You bet!

The day after, I did the bare minimum, spending all afternoon reading two photo books given to me by Matt, and Jon, which I'll write more about later as this post is going on and on and on! Pam, anxious to try her hand at preparing vegan food, invited us for dinner on Boxing Day. Having lived in New Zealand, those British terms roll right off her tongue. Can you say amazing food for both the vegans and the carnivores? She's documenting them for the friend who gave her the cookbook for Christmas.
Those would be poached pears on the other counter! In a first, according to Glen, she even allowed Tom to help a little! The artful presentation of the chicken with tangerines would be his work.
Sunday, Liza, Matt's childhood friend, came over with little Maisie, who is a living doll!
Spending the remaining time looking at some old pictures I inherited from our parents, Matt was able to see some faces to go along with all the people he's researched for our genealogy.

You know the perfect anecdote to loved ones leaving? A party! This time it was the annual after Christmas party hosted by Kirsten, her sister Bea, along with her husband Steve. Still super warm as you see Kirsten is wearing a sleeveless dress!
This post has included a lot of folks to keep track of hasn't it? I suspect that you are either bored or fascinated by now, and I can't blame you for either reaction. :) Lots for me to keep track of too!

It should be noted that, although I am thrilled when people read my blog, it's purpose is both entertainment, and documentation. How else are we to know that the weather was perfect in Orlando on Christmas day in 2010?

It takes two,

Gail
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