Love's Pure Light

Christmas isn't over just yet, but it feels that way from where I sit.  My family's Christmas was as much loving fun as it could possibly have been.  I hope yours was too.  Here's how the tree looked prior to our ransacking it.

It is the custom in my family of origin to open our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve.  It's both a German and a Norwegian custom.  Mike came from a family that opened their presents on Christmas Day, and he insisted that we would do Christmas the "right" way when we married.  I think that lasted all of one Christmas because, like the rest of us, he found it difficult to wait the extra twelve hours.  We started opening our gifts on Christmas Eve the second Christmas of our marriage, and we have done it that way ever since.

It has always worked out well.  When I worked at the hospital, I was always happy to work on Christmas Day and take Christmas Eve off.  (Double time pay was an added incentive.)  Now it works well because we don't have to take turns with Mae's family at Christmas.  Erik and Mae come to our house on Christmas Eve, and they go to see her family on Christmas Day.  Everyone is happy and we all live in peace and harmony.

Yesterday was a sort of edge-of-the-seat day from beginning to end.  We were ever hopeful that Matthew would make it out of snowy Klamath Falls with his U-Haul truck in time to join us for our prime rib dinner.

Klamath Falls: Photos

Although feet of snow had fallen during the previous week, he was hopeful for a window of opportunity on Monday morning to get out of town.  He picked up his U-Haul on Sunday and had it completely loaded.  Then Monday morning at 10:30 a.m., he called to say he was gassing up the truck and he was on his way.  It was slow going up Hwy 97 out of Klamath Falls until he got to Bend, then the roads were pretty clear.  He avoided going over the highest passes by going through The Dalles and then west through the Columbia Gorge until he reached Hillsboro.  He phoned us intermittently throughout the day to reassure us of his safety, to gain moral support, and to keep us apprised of his newest ETA.

I spent the day cooking.  On the menu were prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, a salad and a dessert.  Erik and Mae provided the latter two.  They showed up around 6:00 p.m.  Mae knocked herself out making this delicious chocolate cake.  I forget what she told me it was...something with salted caramel and chocolate.  It was like eating a big luscious Hostess Ding Dong, and it was delicious.  This was her first attempt at ganache, something I've never tried myself.  She did a great job.

She also made an amazing tiramisu.  Both desserts were light enough that we could have them after a full meal without feeling as if we were going to burst.  They also brought these gorgeous flowers for me.  So thoughtful.

And they surprised us with an appetizer of steak tartare.  They have a friend who is a chef, and he made this dish for them on his way to a food competition.  He was kind enough to show them how to do it, and it was so yummy.  Erik was a cook while he was going to college, and so he's something of a professional himself when it comes to this kind of stuff.  Here, he chooses the appropriate cutting implement.

"I'm a professional.  Don't try this at home."

Satisfied that he was doing it right, Mae commenced enjoying her wine.

In fact, we were all enjoying our wine.  Here's Mike relaxing and enjoying the family.

We feel so fortunate to have such a lovely daughter-in-law, and I love seeing the two of them together.  They were married in 2009, but they've been together much longer.

Even Gracie, who hates noise and crowded rooms, decided to grace us with her presence for a short time.

Here's how the table looked before we added food to the mix.  That is my grandmother's Bavarian china, over 100 years old, and my great aunt's silverware, somewhat younger.  I love hand-me-down treasures.

We were trying to remember that original movie of The Waltons: The Homecoming.  Not the TV series, but the original program from which the TV series was a spin-off.

Please tell me you're old enough to remember this.  And didn't they spend the day waiting for Pa Walton to return home on Christmas Eve?  That's how we all felt waiting all day for Matthew.  Earlier in the afternoon, he called to say that he wanted to drive the U-Haul directly to his newly rented home in downtown Hillsboro.  The problem was that his car was parked in our driveway.  So earlier, Mike and I drove the car down to his house and left it there so he would have a way to get to our house if he made it in time for dinner.  It's the cutest little house!  It will be perfect for him when he starts his internship in January.

We had hoped to eat dinner at 7:00 p.m., but if Matthew was anywhere close by, we were prepared to wait for him.  Not necessary because he waltzed through the door at just about that time.  We were SOOOOO glad to see him.

He was dead tired after a harrowing drive on icy and snowy roads in a U-Haul truck, no less.  And he was cold too.  I was so glad to be able to have him pull up a chair for a rib-sticking meal of roast beast.

Yum!  Erik is admiring the "crystal" container of Kraft Horseradish Sauce.  And be sure and notice the sterling silver dish of pepper jelly.  We are nothing if not informal around here.

Matthew spent the night with us and then today, we helped him unload his U-Haul.  It's the first time we've seen inside his little house.  And what a great house it will be for Matthew!  It has a nice big living room, which he's going to use to set up his drums and recording equipment.  (We all have our priorities, you know.)

Upstairs is a large "rumpus room" type room where he can set up his living and entertainment space.  Very nice.  That's Matthew, the camera ham.

Here's how this room looks from the other end.

There's a nice small, but very functional kitchen.

There are two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs.  Here, Matthew demonstrates the "walk in" feature of the walk-in closet.

Can you tell he keeps us laughing?

So that's pretty much our Christmas for 2012.  I poured myself a glass of the delicious wine that Erik and Mae gave us for Christmas last night just before sitting down to write this post.

Let's see...what else?  In yesterday's mail, I received a block from my Block Swap Adventure partner, Charlene.  I love the fabrics she used.  This is my last month participating in the Block Swap, and so this is my last block.  I think I've collected enough to make a lap sized quilt.  I may add a couple of my own to make a larger quilt.  This block is called the Oregon Trail.

Charlene also included this quilt pattern.  

Oh and Sue sent me a thank you note for the pig ornament I gave her.  I neglected to take a picture of it myself, but you can see the one she took.  If you missed my post about the cat slippers she gave me, you'll need to check it out before the rest of this will make any sense.

So I opened the card and cracked up when I found these "flash cards".

Can you tell that Sue and I do a lot of laughing when we get together?

So that's about it from this end.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lee said...

I'm glad your son was able to make it for Christmas dinner and safely! My heritage also is German & Scandinavian - both Sverige & Norge and we also opened gifts on Christmas Eve. I always thought how unfair to open our gifts & not be able to play with anything until the next day. When I moved south, it seemed everyone I knew/spent Christmas with, gift opening was Christmas morning - or whenever everyone got there and had had breakfast. Morning has stuck with me, afterall, those stockings can't get filled until everyone's asleep on Christmas Eve!

Marls said...

Merry Christmas Barbara. So glad that Matthew arrived safe and sound in time for Christmas dinner. Mae's chocolate cake looks divine and I'm sure it tasted as good as it looks.

WoolenSails said...

I enjoyed seeing the photos of your family and I love Matthew's new place, has lots of charm and space.


Lyndsey said...

I am really pleased that Matthew made it safe and sound in time for Christmas. I'm also very jealous of that divine looking chocolate cake. I love chocolate but decided I'd eaten too much recently so didn't get any for Christmas. What a mistake, but to make up I'm going to bake a chocolate cake for New Year.
Matthew's new home looks lovely. Hopefully it wont take him too long to have it all set up to suit his needs ready to start his new job.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Looks like Matthew will need a few new quilts for that house. Gotta have a musical one for the downstairs, of course. That pattern you received, looks great. Merry (after) Christmas!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Merry Christmas! We also tend to do Christmas Eve with the main family plus have the big dinner. We exchange with my mom on Christmas Day since it's just the three of us then. I'm glad everything was wonderful and it looks like the New Year will be off to a great start.

Terry said...

What a lovely day you had. Glad everyone made it there safe and sound.

Rachel said...

Glad Matthew got there safely. Looks like y'all had a great time!LOVE the flashcards!

Snoodles said...

Oh, Barbara, what a wonderful post. I was in tears as I read - to have all your near and dear together and share love and laughter...isn't that the most that we could wish for? The pictures were lovely, and Matthew's house is so cute. Thanks for sharing such a warm and inspiring post with all of us. Merry Christmas, my friend! And here's hoping that 2013 is going to be an even better year for all of us.

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm so glad Matthew made it in time and I love his little house, it looks cozy and perfect for him.

Mary said...

It sounds like such a beautiful day. All is right with the world.

Sallie said...

Enjoyed your post. I have the Shake, Rattle & Roll pattern and made a crib quilt like the lower left. It's a fun pattern.

Quilting Babcia said...

A perfect Christmas for you - all your family made it to the celebration! Matthew's new little home looks perfect - and close by. That's wonderful!

Angel and Kirby said...

That was a long trip for Mathew. I had to map it out to see where it is. I am glad he made it safely and in time for dinner. We use to have Christmas eve at one Grandmothers house and Christmas dinner at the other. On Christmas eve, we went 4 blocks to Grandmothers house and Mom and Dad always forgot something and had to go home. I was very small when I figured it out that it did not take two people go go get a can of green beans and that Santa always came while we were having dinner!

Betty said...

What a lovely Christmas you had with your family!
My hubby grew up opening gifts on Christmas Eve, while my family had always opened them Christmas morning. When we had our son, I insisted that Santa came while we were sleeping, just like it was in my favorite songs and poems!

Kate said...

What a great Christmas! The storm in the midwest just about ruined our Christmas. We did about an hour on icey roads before we hit clear driving. Can't imagine having the same type of drive in the mountains with a U-haul.

quiltzyx said...

Hope you had a happy Boxing Day today! Your tree looks lovely - we had prime rib for dinner as well. For appetizers I brought 2 cheese logs, both Chevre cheese, one with blueberries, one with cranberries & crackers & my cousin's wife had some lovely pate. Yum. My aunt made a sort of mousse/pudding of dark chocolate. Nice & light after the beast. :)

Growing up, we always got to open one present on Christmas eve, then all the rest on Christmas day. Living on my own, if I'm at home & not at one of my sister's, I usually wait until the day. Not so bad since we exchange gifts at Auntie's Ceramics earlier in the month!
Matthew's new place looks wonderful. I'm glad his drive was relatively uneventful - it's so nice that he's closer to you now too.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

How lovely to have them all there for dinner and gifts. HAppy Holidays to you and Mike,Barbara.

May this new year be one in which every step we take leads the way to peace.

Irina said...

What a lovely time you all had!
In Catalonia we open presents on Christmas Eve, and then the Three Wise Men leave presents on the 6th of January... Funny to see how traditions are so different from country to country!