Thursday, January 1, 2009

~Just Words~

On the way home from Washington, we stopped to visit Steve and Sarah Nebel. They are always so gracious to have us in their home, even though the time there is usually limited.
Sarah gave me a beautiful 2009 calendar that she had made for me, each month is graced with a great photo she took over the year. The French toast pie was delicious and the perfect thing for the brisk morning that we left Nebel's.

From there we drove to Wellman to visit my mom at the care center.
She was sitting in the dining area waiting for lunch. She was thrilled to see Spencer and Chandler and couldn't sop hugging and kissing them. Mom enjoyed hearing the boys sing several Christmas carols for her and we read some verses from Psalms together. She loved her Christmas gift of slippers and lotion. She was in a nice mood and wanted to talk. This always makes for a nice visit. It was hard for me to leave this time.
After seeing mom, we drove to West DesMoines and stopped for lunch at Matt's Aunt Carol and Uncle Ron's. We had a nice visit with them, catching up on family news and reminiscing of years ago. I love those great stories about when Matt was little and oh so naughty! Thank you for such a wonderful time, Ron and Carol.

Christmas this year was special. We never regret the busy time, because it always involves being with the ones you love. Nothing is more important than family. That is why making memories is a big focus of my life. I am thankful for each and every member of my family, Jaquis', Schaefer's, Frier's..... I know how much God has blessed me for allowing them to be part of my life.

Now a new year has begun. I have goals this year. I want to learn more. I pray God helps me to be used for Him, daily...on good days and bad... even in small ways. Happy New Year!!

~Christmas in Iowa~

We always look forward to our annual Frier Christmas. Aunt Pris always has the house decorated so beautifully. And all the kids, big and small, can hardly wait for the Hunt of the Nativity. I think there ended up being 39 total nativities all over the house.
Part of the excitment is when we are sitting around talking and we hear the back door open. It is so fun to get up and greet the next family who has arrived. I call the area between the kitchen and dining room the "hugging zone" as every one takes their turn greeting and hugging the new arrivals with their luggage in hand.
Once everyone gets settled in, we all catch up on each others goings on over the past year. Sometimes I just sit back and take it all in. I can hardly believe where time goes when I see and hear of all the travels and schooling and lives in general of my cousins. (sniff) I am so proud of them all!
For Christmas dinner, we traditionally have had chili and oyster stew. This is completed with relish trays, tortilla wraps, cookies, candies and crackers and cheese. All the beauty comes together as it is all served on the blue Starry Night Wachtersbach dishes. This year, however, much of the hard work and dish washing was eliminated as we all 27 of us went out to dinner. Thank you so much Aunt Pris and Uncle Jim! What a nice surprise that was!
Our annual "program" is after dinner and clean up are over. Many moons ago, I was one of the ones who was displayed to sing or play a Tannenbaum song on the piano. Those years are happily long past. Now, it is my children who I encourage to get up and use their talents for the Lord. This year, Chandler played a piano solo and Spencer did a violin solo. They also sang "Love Reached Down" as a duet. Trilby and Angelique played and sang as well. And what an accompianest Trilby is! Keep up the great work!
Following the program, we read the Christmas story and pray. Then come the dozens and dozens of presents. What a wonderful time we had together.

Grandpa and Chandler

Chandler always loves the decorations of Grammie Frier's house. He took a few of these pictures.

Aunt Pris, Sandy and Marcia

Uncle Jim, Tom, and Nate

My favorite are the antique decorations on this tree . The red hots were gone again from the drum.

~Games and more~

Chandler was eagerly anticipating his turn in the white elephant. This look was too great to pass up with out a few clicks from my camera.
Some of these moments were hilarious. We were all cracking up at the affects that Wii boxing has on these two guy's hips. I am not sure if they were boxing or dancing.

Tom had to hand over the sweet basketball he scored in the gift exchange. I think the basketball was a great idea. The best gifts are the ones that everyone has their eye on and that was the case here. Tyler ended up being the lucky winner!

The Leppert family.
From the left, Wilson, Jeff, Beth, Tyler, Alex and Bryn.
Thanks for coming out here guys!

~More Family Fun~

Spencer was thrilled to "steal" Kung Fu Panda" away from Bryn in the white elephant gift exchange we do. Much to his surprise and joy, no one stole it away from him.
Tom, Celeste and Brandon are just getting here, when Tom gets pelted by Nerf fire from a heavily armed Abigail, Alex and Chandler.

Matt and Tyler enjoyed a few games on the Wii.

Looks like Leta is having fun with the Wii as well, as Robin sipped on a hot cup of Wassail.

This is one shot of Bryn I was able to take when she didn't have a camera in her hand.

~The Jaquis family is here!~

Every year, my brothers and sisters try to get together for Christmas at one of our homes. This year, every one headed to Omaha and we celebrated at my house. Missed you Jane and Bill!
My brother, Bob is a fabulous cook and really helped me in the kitchen. We decided on Bengali fare. I made traditional chicken curry. And Bob made a beef curry. The cow is sacred in Bangladesh and therefore I think we broke a big rule by eating Bob's curry. It was wonderful along with the jasmine rice.
Bob also made a cucumber yogurt salad with toasted cumin. And I made a chutney and current cheese spread. For some of the kids, we had good old American sandwiches and chips and of course there were plenty of goodies. Thank you so much, to my siblings for helping with all the food.

These are a few of the spices I added to my curry. I like mild to medium spice temperature, hence the small amount of red pepper on the plate.

Bob cooking up a storm in my kitchen.

Most of the first cousin posed patiently for all our flashing cameras. We love and missed you Peter, Ross, Justin and Evan!

My nephew, Brandon is ever growing. He 11 years old, just two months older than Spencer. His height now exceeds my own. Yes, I know that doesn't take whole lot.

Chandler and Abigail are good friends. It is always so much fun to have cousins come to play.

~Quiet Darkness~

There is something special about waking up early to a dark and quiet house.The only sound was the drip of the brewing coffee. The only light was that of the sparkling Christmas tree and red glow of the fireplace.As I walked from room to room, there was a faint glow of bluish white as the snow outside shined in the windows. Oh and the smells...the smells were wonderful too as the aroma of breakfast egg souffle' filled the kitchen and the Balsam and Fir candle burned in the living room. These are great moments. And I never want to forget them.

~Joyous Moments~

I am big on traditions. Keeping them with busy schedules can be tricky. Spencer and Chandler always open a small gift on Christmas Eve.
Christmas morning, though, is what we all look forward to. Chandler admitted to never being able to sleep on the night before Christmas. I think I remember doing the same when I was his age. It is hard for me to explain the feeling I get when the boys open their gifts.Yet, something about the magic in the air and the expression their eyes seems to need no explanation. Like the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words".

Spencer got the game "Sorry". We all sat down to play in the afternoon and Luther decided to take a nap on the game. This picture was taken right before he stretched and his paw swiped over the board causing a three way tie for the win!!

Legos are a boys best friend.

Clad in their p.j.'s, Spencer and Chandler dumped out their stockings.

~Christmas Treats~

Christmas day, after presents were opened. We spent the morning baking a few things to "graze" on through out the day.

Little smokies in a blanket are a favorite.

I also made a spinich artichoke dip and served it up with tortilla chips and crackers.

For breakfast Christmas morning, we had egg souffle'.

Chandler was a huge help with much of the baking.

Matt arranged a meat and cheese Christmas tree tray.