Monday, December 23, 2013

gather near to us once more

Eliza, Henry and Lottie attended a birthday party Friday afternoon. Shortly after dropping them off, Forrest went down for a nap. It was 4:30 p.m. and my house was abnormally quiet. It was a bizarre, yet entirely welcome, feeling. Knowing that my parents were coming up for a visit that night, I was thankful for the rare opportunity to clean and cook uninterrupted. Merry Christmas to me!
Princess Charlotte, already for the birthday party 
A costume party in December
Eliza insisted she was going to "be protective and help" with Lottie

Our first year of marriage, Andrew and I lived in an apartment complex in Holladay, Utah. I was working full time at a graphic design studio as a personal assistant to the company's creative director. I likewise served as the receptionist. It was an exciting atmosphere/place to work. Early in the morning and late at night, I attended school at the University of Utah. Andrew was in school full time and working at the LDS distribution center. Disciplined young newlyweds, each of Andrew's pay checks went straight into a savings account where it remained untouched. He also worked as a handyman for our landlord to help reduce our rent each month. All of this helped pave the way so that I could stay at home with Eliza when she surprised us (four years early, according to our 'timeline') a year and a half later. I don't know why I mention this now. Maybe it's because the holidays make us feel nostalgic and because I've never blogged about our earlier years. Anyway, our first Christmas as a married couple was special.
December 2004

Anyway... back in December of 2004, funds were limited as we decorated our apartment for Christmas. Most of the decorations we had were acquired came from our Mothers. As for our tree, I remember buying bell shaped chocolate kisses and attaching ornament hooks onto them. The tree itself came from Grandma Popcorn's basement. Someone had discarded it because the three prong stand was missing a leg. Because of this, we propped it up in the corner of our apartment. Even so, I was so proud of that 'candy coated' Christmas tree. As a gift to each other, we "splurged" on a new office chair so that Andrew would have something decent to sit on while he studied. That same office chair would later become a make shift "rocking chair" when Eliza was born. (*Upon further review, the office chair actually happened in 2005, but it's still a cute story and the circumstances were similar)
 Christmas 2004

Our home has evolved over the years as I've added to our Christmas collection and added precious little members to our family. The pride over my humble efforts I felt that first Christmas has continued. I say all this because my parents take the time each season (with the exception of our South Carolina years, for obvious reasons) to travel to all of their kids homes to see our Christmas trees. Last Friday they arrived and just like I hoped, they 'oohed and awed' over the new stockings hanging above our fireplace. They listened with great interest as the kids explained the latest antics of our elf. Eliza read my Mom a Christmas story. The kids showed off their holiday artwork and danced around the house because they couldn't contain their excitement that we had special visitors. After a little dinner, we gathered around the tree and sang Christmas songs together. My Mom handed out a new ornament for each grandchild as well as some holiday M&M's. It was a happy night.

All tuckered out from a fun night,
thanks again for coming Mom and Dad 

The family time continued on Saturday as we trekked to Salt Lake to attend the Flegal Christmas party. The roads glistening from a fresh storm, I felt secure in our new car; grateful to have a four wheel drive vehicle that fits the whole family.
Charlotte Marie Flegal and Lois Charlotte Flegal

For me, one of the highlights came early when our sweet Grandma Popcorn arrived. Lottie rushed to greet her and jumped into her lap. The two of them were wheeled in her chair to her seat at the table. Lottie sure thought that little princess ride with her great Grandma was pretty neat.

Another bonus was when Karina strolled in!
High school friend turned college roommate turned BFF turned COUSIN!
Andrew and Karina are first cousins.
Our kids are second cousins and share in all that Grandma Flegal love and heritage. :) 
Pretty great deal if you ask me.

Dinner was delicious and the conversation was enjoyed. Forrest was tired and fussy but it all started right when he is usually going to bed for the night. That's life, though. After dinner, the kids gathered around Bubba and Nanna for stories. Grandma Flegal then took the stage and shared Christmas memories from her life. From nuts still in their shells, to oranges and hard tac candy, those were the things children pined for most at Christmas time. However, when she was near Eliza's age she received her first real gift. With love, she tenderly described her first doll, its beauty and pink nightgown. When she was finished, Aunt Jean surprised her with that exact doll. It's pieces had been in disrepair until Jean lovingly sewed her back together. It was an emotional moment. Those cute great granddaughters then took turns holding her dolly.
It was pretty special, if you ask me. The children also went home with oranges and candy canes to help them remember the significance of the stories that were read to them that night.
And then we were back to loading those Fleglets back into the car. Back up to home we went, to rest and recover, and then gear up to do the same thing all over again on Sunday.


rachel garber said...

I love your Christmases of old and new and all of it. Got your card today and it is adorable! Random side note, your street name matches my husband's first name. Did you even know that was his first name? I don't think I've ever mentioned it - other than our announcement back before we got married showed his first name. Fun little coincidence.

Happy Christmas! And I promise, when I have something worth announcing, you'll get notice :)

marie mays said...

We made another memory with your family ! Thanks for being so and the grand weeks!

Karen said...

I love that your parents come to see your home dressed up for Christmas. What a fun tradition. And your family gathering with Andrew's side of the family sounds so special. How sweet that Grandma Flegal got her doll restored.

Karina said...

hey! i made your blog. :) i'm catching myself up on your life. i'll call you soon. love you.