As a scrapbooker and a blogger I get a big fat "F" for failure when it comes to this holiday season. Christmas has come and gone and I have very few photographs of the holiday celebrations (and half of what I do have were taken by someone else). With that disclaimer out of the way, let's take a stroll through Christmas 2011 with the Frazier's.
Let's start with the outdoor decorations
Aren't they pretty? Actually the photo doesn't do them justice. There are hundreds of thousands of lights here, some are blinking and they don't all show up in the photo at once. Also, this is NOT my house, but one from down the street. Every year the owner starts putting it all out the day after Halloween, each year adding to his display. People ride down the street and stop and stare in amazement. It's a sight to behold.
My house, on the other hand, is BORING. Once upon a time we put icicle lights on the house, lights in the trees, and wreaths on the windows and door. One year I even had lights that outlined the driveway. Sadly some good for nothing hoodlums, probably teenagers with too much time on their hands, stole my lights so I never tried that again. But this year I didn't even bother with one outside decoration. I'm not bitter, depressed, or playing the role of Scrooge. I was simply too lazy to bother with it.
And, guess what? Christmas still came!
Our tree on Christmas Eve morning with all the presents neatly stacked beneath it. My boys were so excited to see that this year I actually went out and bought new wrapping paper! For the last five or six years I've used the same four rolls of paper. I think that paper was magical because no matter how much I used, it never run out. This year I said "to heck with it" and bought new even though I didn't really need it. I really like the new paper with the exception of one roll, pictured here I guess it's trying to be politically correct .... Winter Wishes .... either that, or it was made in China where they confused their translation. Oh well, we got a kick out of it.
This year we broke with tradition and opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. The opening of gifts came after attending Christmas Eve services at church and eating dinner at Chili's. Initially I had planned a meal at home but, after cooking a big meal the day before and already knee deep in preparations for the next day's Christmas meal, I opted for dinner out. My mother had never eaten at Chili's before ... can you believe it?
After getting home we commenced with the opening of gifts. Santa was very giving this year and there were lot's of packages to open. Unfortunately I only caught a couple of shots of the gifts and their recipients
Here's Dale showing off his new headphones - yes, headphones, not ear buds ... he doesn't like them and I can't say that I blame him. I wouldn't want to stick those little things down in my ears, gross! Andrew got the new Halo game. It kills me how every year they put out a new version of these games. Anything to take your money. At least this one was easy to pick up. There have been some years they've asked for games that were impossible to find in the stores. Those years Santa wasn't a very happy shopper.
Here we have Ian perusing one of two books he asked for. Also in his lap is his new car stereo. He's so happy, now he can listen to cd's in the car and be able to hook his iPhone or iPod to it. Evidently driving from Knoxville to Atlanta with only a radio isn't much fun..
Do you see the piano in the background? It looks just like it does every other day. However in past Christmas' it would have look something like this Not this year. Remember, this is year I'm being lazy, but we can look at this photo and pretend it's current.
I also took a photo of my Mother enjoying one of her presents ... every year she gets a box of these . She's not supposed to eat them, but she loves them so much I can't help but indulge her. I told her she can eat one a day and she promptly informed me that she was eating two that night. So there!
Here's Nonnie relishing her gift - I had to put a sticker on her because she was making a terrible face and I would get in bad trouble for posting the photo on my blog. If anyone wonders where I get my photogenic gene ... it's from my Mom!
Santa also brought a box for both the boys and the other Grandma too. It was the cheapest and most popular gift for all of them. Next year I might skip everything else, give everyone a carton of chocolate covered cherries, and save myself a bundle.
Soon after this everyone wandered into separate rooms to play games, read, sleep, whatever ... and at 10:30 I began putting the ingredients together to bake a cake. Yes, you read that right. I baked a cake! I asked my husband what he wanted for dessert Christmas day and he was very specific. A strawberry cake with white icing and strawberries on top. Oh my! More on this later.
Christmas morning the boys slept in. I woke early to get the turkey in the oven and start preparations for all the other dishes. I was determined to go all out this year and put together a feast. My husband was the only non-heathen soul in the house, he went to church. Around ten o'clock I woke up the elder son and told him to get up and come help me cook. Younger son was allowed to shower before helping (he's quite cranky prior to the wake-up shower), and Mom was sent to living room to read, mediate, watch tv, whatever .... just get out o' my hair! I love my mother but she likes to talk. A lot. I can't concentrate on fixing food and carry on a conversation at the same time. It's sorta like walking and chewing gum. Trying to do both at the same time is a disaster waiting to happen.
Earlier in the week I got a little panicky thinking about how I was going to get everything cooked. Just about everything on the menu involved baking in the oven and unfortunately I only have one oven. There was no way it was all going to get cooked in time so I was forced to make some adjustments - I baked the cake the day before, nixed the sweet potato casserole, cooked the hash brown casserole in a crock pot, and put the turkey in the oven early enough to take it out and have time to cook the dressing. All I had to do was fry the bacon for topping the Seven-Layer salad and frost the cake.
Easy-peasy right? It really was because the night before I'd chopped all the celery and onion for the dressing and the potatoes. And, I had my little (six-foot-one) assistant. Cooking all summer at camp has definitely turned my boy into an excellent kitchen helper ... so much so that after I put the frosting on the cake I turned it over to him to garnish with strawberries. I think it turned out pretty good and both the grandmothers were thoroughly impressed. I tried to crop a close up of the strawberry on the side but it's a little hard to see the detail he sliced it thin and fanned it out ... Martha Stewart would be proud.
It's usually a Frazier tradition to take a photo of the nicely set table before eating. Taking photos was the last thing on my mind so, it didn't happen. However Ian did take a few phone shots as we were passing the dishes around the table.
Everyone else usually gets shots of people looking up and smiling. We're too busy chowing down.
After our meal we properly "addressed" the cake which turned out surprising well considering I haven't baked in years. We also munched on these goodies which my Mother-in-law brought. They were made by one of her caretakers, Frank. Let me tell you, that man knows how to fix food. For Thanksgiving he prepared the best turkey I've ever eaten. I seriously considered bribing him to fix my Christmas turkey for me but happily settled for these yummy cookies and nuts. As you can see there's a lot of goodies here and while we shared with our guests there were still lots left over. I think I've gained five pounds trying to save Dale from eating it all!
After lunch my cousin, Louise, helped me clean up the kitchen mess while we caught up on what's been happening since we last saw each other. The two family matriarchs retired to the living room and talked each other's ears off while Dale and the boys settled in to watch sports on tv and play on their phones. Occasionally my husband would wander in the kitchen with a glazed look on his face, I think the two chatter-boxes were a bit much for my normally quiet husband. Once Louise and I got in the room the noise and chatter increased dramatically and I just want to say thanks to my guys for putting up with it.
Before long it was time for the party to break up. Whereas Cinderella's carriage turns into a pumpkin at midnight, our mothers turn into pumpkins once it gets dark. It was time for our Christmas celebration to end. What a wonderful time we had together. Nice presents, pretty good food, and most of all time spent with loved ones. I couldn't have asked for a better day.
Late in the evening I was sitting here on the computer, thinking about how to blog my day. My husband came in and informed that it might be a good idea to toss the unused butter from our earlier meal. Apparently he walked in the kitchen and found our beloved feline on the counter happily lapping away. Personally I don't think I need to throw a (almost) perfectly good stick of butter away. All I need to do is cut away the lick marks and it's good to go for cooking with ... don't you agree?
Last but not least, I leave with you with this one last photo taken the day after Christmas. I've been trying for two weeks to get a photo of this girl and Andrew finally succeeded, despite the fact he thinks I'm crazy for wanting it in the first place. If you look real close you can see that she has painted her nails green. Isn't she stylin'? A Christmas pink elephant ... so much better than a Hippopotamus!
I hope everyone's Christmas was as merry as mine. Here's to a Happy New Year!!