Monday, January 14, 2008

Christmas Past

You knew I would eventually get back to OUR Christmas at home, right?! I've now completed 4 of the 5 Christmas albums from here there and everywhere. THIS is from home, way back on Sunday the 23rd. So, yes, I've been going backwards in time.

I think I told you that Donica's job is always the hors d'oeuvres. She's the Queen of them. So everyone came early, around noon, to start enjoying the day.

After hors d'oeuvres was the Christmas stockings. Actually, Donica does those and she's Queen of them as well. In fact , the kids say they enjoy them as much as the "real" presents. And besides, this is the one time when everyone can "open" their stockings at the same time. No one has to wait.
And then Nicholas gets to open all his gifts because he always has the most. And we all watch him. Kids!

BUT when the rest of us start opening our gifts, we have a tradition: one gift at a time, one person at a time, going around the room till they're all opened. I can't stand free-for-all gift opening! After all the time and energy and thought put into the gifts, each for the other, there needs to be some careful respect. That's my motto!

Besides, some gifts are so touching, everyone has to look and see...

...and laugh, together!

There's even time to discover and explore and pay attention.

Then we all went outside. This year, the weather was NICELY permitting!

Mark and Dennis threw the football...

...while Donica and Amy held down the fort, Nicholas tried out his new Nintendo DS game, and G'ma took the pictures.

Speaking of G'ma, lucky her, she gets to show you HER special gift of the day: another photo book from Amy (remember last year's on our Castles of Scotland?!). This one is a compilation of photos I took of her and Mark from when she was age 0-13. Can you imagine THAT! OMG! How can she top that, two years in a row!

And speaking of Amy, here she is after all that outside fresh air, fixing the spinach salad for the Christmas dinner. That's always her dinner contribution. It's to die for!

My part was the traditional pot of Chicken Paprikash that we all grew up on from their dad's mom years ago. Though a Hungarian poor-man's dish, it suddenly became what we all decided was our favorite dish after the divorce. Once a year at Christmas!

It's one of the few times we actually eat in the dining room! If you squint, you can see that Nicholas really IS there, on the other side of Donica.

Later, after the dishes are done and there's room in our stomachs, Mark's from-scratch pumpkin pie comes out! He's the King of our desserts in the same way Donica is the Queen of our hors d'oeuvres. We ALWAYS save room for his pumpkin pie. It's a no-brainer.

By the last bite, we've just finished 8 hours together! A beautiful memory of family time, now with Dennis included! He fits right in, of course. He doesn't need to be married to Amy YET to be part of the family. But that'll come quickly. June 1 is not that far away, as we all know.


In the here and now, Donica and I are both safe-n-sound in Amsterdam. On Wednesday evening, Tracy/Lurch from the UK, part of my Shutterchance photoblog (SC), arrives by plane for a couple days here at the apartment. On Friday, Astrid and Scarlet, the Dutch Girls, will join us for fun and games. A mini-SC meet-up!

Life is always exciting, isn't it! How could I ask for more?!


  1. What a super Christmas, and all that food.... yum! Funny that Mark is the King of the Pumpkin Pie, as my OlderSon always make PP from scratch at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So darn good warm with a big splodge of whipped cream.
    BTW you're a redhead, right?
    I've posted about redheads today, we are 2% of the worlds population. A definite minority!

  2. what a super duper amazing christmas you had there! i'm personally glad you're still doing christmas posts. seems like so long ago already. the chicken paprikash looks delish!!
    what a happy family.

    glad you arrived safely in Amsterdam!!! Chris and i talk constantly about our trip, and i've been researching galore. so excited!!!

  3. Ginnie, I already knew you had a wonderful time with your dear ones, but by seing this pictures, only shows how special everybody is, cherish those memories.
    Amy did give you the most dearest gift: the picture book of when they grew up....I know that pictures always tell their own story and it is nice after all those years you are able to get those 'blurred' memeories back in your memory as 'cristal sharp'. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures, heel erg mooi gedaan, hartelijke groeten.

  4. Ex-S: Don't we love our sons who can make the desserts! :) When Mark and his dad started making pies together when Mark was a wee lad, I decided on the spot to never make them again. And I haven't! And yes, I'm a fellow redhead. Yay for minorities. :)

    Lesley: We really do cherish our memories. And lucky us, we got to share them with YOU as well this time around! We, too, are excited about your soon-coming trip. March will be here before we know it!

    Astrid: You'll see Amy's book because I brought it back with me. You'll love it. Dank je wel, mijn vriend.

  5. What a great post...your Christmas looked lovely....

  6. how much fun!!! Oh I can't wait to hear of your adventures.. as i hold onto hope that I'll actually photograph soon...

  7. Thanks for sharing your special Christmas traditions. So cool.

  8. What a great Christmas celebration withthe family... and all that food is mouth-watering! You know, we have the same tradition about opening gifts one at a time. I find it much more fun and I get more out of watching others uwrap their gifts, too.

  9. Oh man, so many thoughts. I can so picture Donica buying all those stocking stuffers, she's such a good gift buyer.

    All the food sounds fabulous. From scratch pumpkin pie, Mark? Woohoo!

    Love that photo of Amy, Nicholas and Donica and the truck. How cute, Amy with a glass of vino. :)

    That was an amazing photo album, which I'm thrilled I got to see at our house.

    So nice to see Dennis there.

    And when are you going to start using a tripod so you can be in the picture at the table??

    This was wonderful.

    And what, pray, is album #5??

  10. Such wonderful family photos Ginnie! Along with he children in your previous post. Beautiful traditions for a beautiful and blessed family.
    And...I adore the little note left on the microwave. Big Heart Love!

  11. It is so touching to read about your family Christmas celebration. How wonderful for you.

  12. Oh dear,
    I see what you miss.
    Let the rest of my thoughts be left in silence

  13. What wonderful pictures exhibiting the nourishment of family at the holidays. The house looks to be beautiful and Amy is simply stunning! We can't wait to see you two again.

  14. Thanks for taking us with in these lovely Xmas traditional time!

    I do agree with you; one present at the time so that the children can observe and appreciate.

    This Chicken Paprikash looks delicious - my mouth is watering!

    Good to know you and Donica is together again in Amsterdam and I hope you'll have a fun time with the girls!

  15. I almost feel like I was there. I am with Rauf, though- wish I could taste the food!

  16. Neva: You are so sweet to stop by again. Thank you!

    ET: You will! Hold on to your hope, Lady.

    Susan: I think traditions are what we all need to hold us down to earth and to those we love!

    CS: You and I have always been on the same page, Lady! I like that. :)

    Ruth: It never occurred to me to use the tripod to include myself this time. Duh! I do it with my blogger friends but not with my family! What's wrong with THAT picture! Album #5, as you might guess, is THE FARM! Yay. It's coming.

    Mad: You noticed the note on the microwave! Donica left that for me months ago...maybe years ago. I have never had the heart to take it down. :)

    Karen: Yes! I need that grounding!!!

    Tor: You know. You know.

    Integrity: I know who you are, Bob, and am SO GLAD you stopped by and commented. THANK YOU. You made my day! We will see each other again soon...maybe in February?

    Renny: You know all about these important traditions. You of all people. Thanks.

    SHart: One of these years we need to see YOU and Swede at a Hart tradition! SOON.

  17. Yes, yes... soon! There are so many things I wish to do, and visiting Michigan is pretty close to the top at this point. Although, Atlanta is a little more desirable, as it is warmer:D