This week news revolves around family activities, but I did manage to get some art done. I created a new kind of scarf—thanks to Cappi for the idea! It's made from old sweaters that I felted last week and red felt balls that I made last year! I’ve been making more sweater petals and re-stocking places like the By Hand Gallery and Wonderlab, but my main focus was on creating holiday cheer. The boys and I did some shopping downtown on the square with our wish lists in hand, supporting local merchants. Still, we couldn’t lose sight of the fact that Grandma and Aunt Lois were due to arrive Thursday afternoon. That meant a lot of house cleaning and holiday baking were on the agenda. The whole family piled in to the borrowed van and surprised them at the airport with our large welcoming contingent and hugs from everybody.
The holidays mean a full house with lots of feasting and adventures. Jim prepared a freshly baked peach pie as a welcoming present. It became breakfast on Christmas Eve day, and it was delicious. I learned that Indiana summer peaches freeze nicely. I plan to remind Jim of that every trip to the farmer’s market through peach season! That day we went to see the Cardinal Stage production of Annie. They just outdid themselves with this one. I didn’t think that was possible after last year’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” so now I can’t wait to see what they’ll put on next year. It was wonderful to see some children we know in the production, Joelle Jackson and Marlena Wagschal. We were beaming with pride for them and the great job they did. Their poise and talent was just amazing. That night nobody slept well, but everybody was still ready and excited for Christmas morning. There were plenty of presents and a tree decked out in chocolate. Everyone was happy. I made my traditional Stollen for breakfast, one with marzipan and one with rum-soaked fruits. Yum! They were excellent with coffee or orange juice, depending on your preference. That day I made a big pan of scalloped potatoes in a beautiful dish from Jan Arbogast while Jim and his Mom worked in the yard. She mowed the lawn and leaves while he raked and mulched. We had hoped for snow, but the sunny and mild weather was best for yard work. That evening we brought out the wedding china that hasn’t seen daylight since the boys were born and had a delightful Christmas feast, featuring an orange-ginger glazed salmon, my huge dish of potatoes au gratin, Aunt Lois’ cranberry salad, and enough jasmine rice to keep Jacob happy.
Monday morning we still had a house full of family, so the front yard became the focus. Grandma mowed, Jim raked and picked up sticks, then both went in the back yard to touch up the places that needed more attention. On Tuesday the winter skies finally opened up and gave us a little snow. Tommie and Jacob made a snow fort and they had battles with Jacob’s friend Garrett. Jacob and Garrett had the fort, but I think Tommie reigned supreme throwing snowballs, combined with his quick reflexes to dodge the frozen projectiles. Jim got out the chainsaw to cut up some wood when our fireplace pile went down. Tommie helped split the wood and cart it to the carport. We’re a good team—they make a roaring fire and I enjoy it!
All good things must end, and yesterday Grandma and Aunt Lois headed back to their home in cold Michigan. For me, it’s nice to be back at Zumba, shaking my tushy and working off the holiday fudge from Haley and Kris in New Mexico and the cookies from Katy next door. I laid out all my business paperwork for the year and soon I’ll be chugging along, filling out excel spreadsheets for the end of the year accounting. I expect the kids will be screeching around me with offseason play dates. I’m really looking forward to developing some fresh art ideas in the new year, which is my carrot to get the paperwork done. I want to do some stamping on fabric to support my Re-shirt venture. I’ll make my own stamps using the linoleum carving tools I still have from high school (I’m sure my five year reunion must be coming up soon!). Happily I got a new shop light for Christmas (our gifts are pretty utilitarian) that is hanging over my bench so I’m ready to go. I’ve been drawing a few sketches for patterns I might want to try. Much of the work will have to wait until the boys are back in school. Still, today I dream and tomorrow I work.