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Four Sons in One Day

Although I received some great gifts for Christmas, the best one of them all was seeing all four of our sons in one day. Only three in person, however, using Facetime is the next best thing!
That would be Tom's folks on the left. Their lovely home is in a part of England called the Midlands, and it is but a two hour train ride away from Matt and Tom's flat in London. Here in Orlando, we all gathered round my computer to open gifts, and it was wonderful. They had been celebrating for hours already, with champagne in the mix, so it was even more fun. My knitting son made lovely gifts for all four of us, and you will soon be seeing my present, just not today.

So, Matt is pictured wearing a sweater, or rather jumper as they say in the UK, whereas here, the air conditioner is running full blast. It is a good thing the fireplace was not called into action as I needed the space for pretty packages.
I am, though, getting ahead of myself. Bruce and I were both looking forward to the candlelight service at church, arriving way early to get a good seat. Lessons and carols, and it was simply beautiful. Reverend Garvey lit the final candle, the Christ candle, in the advent wreath to begin the service.
What we've now learned is that you just go ahead and sit up front where the seating remains plentiful. You know how it is when you walk into a church and it looks full,  you sit in the back? I think that is what happened here, and it was to our advantage because we could see it all. In between Scripture readings, all familiar, but still ones to give a believer chills, the choir and mini orchestra made beautiful music.
This year, in an effort to keep the dripping candle wax off of the carpet and pews, the entire congregation gathered out front to sing Silent Night while holding lit candles. Okay, so it was as great as you are imagining.
While I was guilty of snapping a quick shot for this here blog, others filmed the whole thing, which leaves me wondering just how much do we really need to document? Is it possible to really be in the moment while holding a phone steady for recording? I'm not so sure. At any rate, that is just being persnickety on my part; go ahead and ignore me!

Because Alissa's family were in town to see her, we got to the business of opening gifts as soon as we were done with the Melton Mowbray crowd. It pained me to purchase these soccer cleats, but it was on Jon boy's wish list.
Then again, in a quilt, those colors might not be too bad! I'm disappointed that I have no photos to show you of Alissa, but I assure you she was there, and not without plenty of gifts of her own. Following their departure, I gave Bruce a gift that, while gone in about ten minutes, he thoroughly enjoyed. He just loves Corned Beef hash and grits!
Before long it was time for two more Peck boys to enter the scene. Obviously not boys to you, but they will always be boys to me. :) That would be David on the left, and Bill on the right.
When they were real boys, well make that toddlers, Bill always wore blue shoes so people could tell them apart...as in Billy blue shoes. These days, Bill always has longer hair making it a breeze to identify who is who. That said, at the party last weekend, Michelle's Mom was confused for a bit! For some of the family, telling them apart in a long ago photograph is a breeze, however, there are some amongst us, and I would be one of them, who oftentimes are stymied. Thus, my identification in this space. Who knows what I will see when I look back at this photograph in ten years? I did manage to get one shot of Michelle and Fallon while they were here. Candid of course.
Jon and Alissa return, Michelle and David go back to their home to make dinner for a lonely friend, and we loaded up the car with gifts, heading to Longwood to my sister Lisa's house. If you were looking for a sign of great days ahead, no doubt this double rainbow would be it!
I know, right?

Every year Lisa and Danny host Christmas in their expansive home, serving lots of great food. This year, Amanda and Emily, their beautiful daughters, helped make light work of things.
Several options for our non meat eating loved ones--roasted butternut squash, warm chickpea salad, roasted asparagus, and more.
Because they have so much room, they are always moving furniture around and this year was no exception...the dining table was in front of the fireplace which looks very inviting, doesn't it? That would be my brother Pat in the brilliant blue shirt, feeling much improved since last I wrote about him. I'm really digging that blue shirt...
Way back in late September I made a quilt for Lisa and Danny to match a dresser in their bedroom...trust me, the dresser looks super cool. Naturally I was happy to finally give it away!
I never did take a photograph of the whole thing, but the above gives you an idea. They, too, are fans of the color orange.

On Christmas Eve, Sherri stopped by to say hi, having just arrived hours earlier from Pennsylvania. If she said it once, she must have said it six times, how much Jonathan looks, talks, and pretty much is a copy of Bruce. She took to calling him Bruce Jr. What do you think? Do they look alike to you?
Although David wanted us to stop by their place on the way home, the truth is, I was pooped, heading straight to bed when we got in the house. You would have thought I'd been cooking or hosting all day with as tired as I was!

Here it is Wednesday already and we haven't done all that much since Christmas, however, the warm weather continues, so perhaps today we'll head out into the great outdoors. Then again, sometimes it is just nice to be together and lay low. Or, in Jonathan's case, nap under a quilt made by his Mother.
A gift to me, in itself.

Hoping your Christmas was merry and bright,

Gail

p.s. I received another amazing gift that so moved me I just had to share...my old friend Leah sent me a message with Christmas greetings AND said how she thanked me for the gift of my blog throughout the year. How awesome is that?

Pretty awesome.
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