Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas in PA

On Dec 23 I took Johnny to see his doctor.  Patsy was worried about these episodes he was having and the doctor said they were deliriums and would pass in a day or say which they have.  He was asked a bunch of questions to be sure he wasn't heading down into dimentia and he wasn't.  We stopped at a restaurant in Mentor and the Trefethens joined us.  Johnny and Patsy finally got to meet Simon. 



Jocelyn and Steve invited to come spend Christmas with them in Pennsylvania.  We went even tho Jocelyn was so ill and pretty miserable.  We ended up taking Niko with us because I didn't start early enough getting a place for him at a doggie care place.  He was fine and loved the new smells in their yards.  I added this charm to my mom's jewelry tree...it is a charm my grandmother always wore...with a 'gem' on Dec 25, 1932, the day she married my grandfather (after a horrible first marriage.)  I came across when I was looking for some jewelry for Jocelyn to use on the tree she had hoped to create...maybe in 2015!
 We drove up there on Tuesday night and made it safely through some pretty treacherous foggy highways and byways.  Marissa and Hank and the boys went the day before, right after dinner with Ouredniks and they all met us there.

On Christmas Eve morn, the Christensens hosted their annual pancake breakfast for friends.  This is an outgrowth from the pancake breakfast Gwen and Christ Miller served for years.  Jocelyn must have been quite ill and just didn't let on because I made a grocery run for butter, syrup, eggs, milk, strawberries, etc.  I am sure they had plenty leftover because altho quite a lot of their friends came there weren't the usual number.  That was probably a blessing because I am not sure how Jocelyn would have held up.

Suddenly in walked a man who Jocelyn said, "I was pretty sure I knew him.  I recognized his face but it was only through the gift of the Lord that prompted the name." This was David Czekala.  Years ago Jocelyn had taken phone books and called all the Czekalas in Scranton or NY area attempting to find a relative.  At last she called this David and a lovely relationship developed.  David was on his way to VA to visit his daughter and just decided to take a side trip and stop in to bring gifts to the family.  His gifts were spot on for every kid.  I believe he swapped the bourbon (since, as he said, Jocelyn's family were all teetotalers) for honey from his own apiary.

Here we are standing with our cousin.  David's grandfather Martin was my grandfather Stanley's brother.  David's Dad was Andy and mine was Henry.    When I showed this picture to Patsy Ourednik, she said that David had more of Henry's brother John's appearance but obviously was a Czekala.

Finally it was Christmas Eve and as an early treat, Santa stopped by with gifts for the wee ones, to hold them over til midnight.
 Raclette for dinner.
 I think it was an amazing moment...as Marissa commented...Jocelyn made everything so magical and she saw it on Henry's face in every picture.  This is so true.  This picture made me wonder. What was going through their heads.  Is there a gift for me?  Will I be remembered?  Oh I hope so!
 Even Oskar got in on the act...get a gift and don't cry!



 

 I think Guy was the first in line to give Santa a hug!
 Poor Marissa who had to suffer through a young lifetime of misery on every Christmas Day while visiting Aunt Carol Etzel with her live trees and many cats, now had to experience the same thing at Jocelyn's.  No cats but the live tree made her so ill.  I realize now how bad a mother I was back then but Jocelyn was the perfect hostess.  I asked Jocelyn in the late afternoon if we could move the tree outside, to the porch that surrounds the back of her house. Without a second hesitation she agreed.  But we also de-decorated it but left the lights on.  A bit later I noticed she had put on several fans to blow out the odors of the tree..or the sap...or whatever.  So altho the tree was outside, it was still lit and was enjoyed in a different way.  Steve even said that it was so pretty they might need to buy 10 trees and light them all up on the porch.  This is what it looked like from the yard...on one of my trips outside with Niko.

 The children put on the whole nativity story.

Scarlett wanted a long long grey beard when she represented Isaiah and she was perfect.  It was so sweet and tender.
 Then came the reading of The Littlest Angel. Robert started and actually got farther than most years before the tears came.
 
 Here is Marissa and Robert, shedding some tender tears.  Jocelyn finished the story.  
Simon had no clue what was going on but he was fine lying on his blanket amidst the chaos.
 This is Steve's gift for Jocelyn...hidden...to be revealed later.
 Oh yes, Niko got gifts and because they were treats which he could smell he had a wonderful time ripping the packages open.



Here's the fun hoodie I found for Robert.

 Anything to make Marissa feel somewhat better..even a towel wrapped as if she had mumps helped with the feeling of pressure in her head, poor thing!
 Hank made Marissa a nightstand but only brought the top for her to open because the interior of the drawers needed to be painted/stained/finished.
 He filled the negative space with epoxy and it was smooth and clear!


 An amazing electronic kit for Guy who then made all sorts of fun things.
 Perhaps it was a good thing that the tree was removed to the outside.  This gave the kids a lot more room to exclaim over their gifts and to play with each other and their things.

 Miss Honor...every the Frozen princess.
 with her doll to match!
 THE REVEAL




 Steve rests with Simon and Honor.






Oskar loved the small flashlight.  He is a quiet one and seemed to just enjoy flashing it in small areas. I always wonder what is going on in his head.


 At some point, Oskar found a quiet resting place for his Froggie.

 A Yarn calendar of quotes from Dawn.

 AMAZING Chico items from Jordan and Hillary...plus jewelry.

 From the Christensens.
 Oh my...all this activity tired Niko out.  He just so wanted to go to bed and kept agitating to do so.  I told Robert to get his blanket and before we knew it, Niko was fast asleep at our feet as we all continued opening gifts.

 These are poofs made by Marissa for her three boys...something soft to sit upon or rest against.

 A gift from their Ohio neighbor.  Each boy got their own name street sign.

 This is the gift Cara made us.  It's in a frame and came with a dry eraser marker to be used on the glass whenever you want to leave a comment.  The first comment is from Cara...the last line is what Robert added.
 The Christensens made this wonderful piece of art which now hangs on our wall...it's fun to see the handprints each day.

We spent Christmas just being family, napping when possible. Steve did the dinner as Jocelyn had just maxed out.  We left on the 26th to return home.  Sadly Hank's car died and had to be left in Lewisburg to be repaired. They rented a car to get home.

Later on I received a copy of Hillary's Tried N True recipe collection.  I had seen it at her home in October. She had told me it was made for her sister who just got married but she gifted it to all of the Hatch women.  What a lovely gift!

But this is what I want to comment on and to remember.  THE BEST PART OF THIS CHRISTMAS WAS LOOKING AT THE HOMEMADE GIFTS WHAT ALL THE CHRISTENSENS AND TREFETHENS MADE FOR EACH OTHER (as with Hillary's cookbook).  THERE WAS A LOT OF LOVE PUT INTO THIS EFFORT AND A LOT OF THOUGHT.  

AND I REALIZE THAT AT MY AGE, WITH ALL THE THINGS I HAVE AND DON'T NEED THE THINGS, IT IS THE HANDMADE THAT TRULY TOUCHES HEARTS.  SO MY GOAL FOR 2015 CHRISTMAS IS THAT WE MAKE GIFTS TO GIVE.  THEY MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST BUT THEY MIGHT TURN INTO KEEPSAKES.    It is easy to buy a gift and quick, too.  I have no idea what I can make in 2015 but am grateful I have a year to consider it.

1 comment:

Dawn Barrett said...

I made the matching water bottles for you and dad...

email updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner