Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas 2014 (featuring lots of cats)

It's doctor/dentist/vet appointment week, that oh-so-necessary feature of most R&Rs and home leaves. So I'll try to think of something more fun and recap Christmas.

I was lucky to spend a second Christmas in a row home in NH, and I greatly enjoyed hanging out with family and celebrating favored traditions.

My aunt and uncle came to visit the weekend before Christmas along with their one year-old black lab, and we had a wonderful time with them. Saturday my parents cut down a very special little tree from the back pasture, and we tried our best to make it pretty. On Sunday we had a big brunch with other friends stopping by, and we spent the afternoon stringing popcorn and cranberry for the birds and laughing and telling stories. As soon as the sun set we headed out on our holiday pilgrimage of lights, which I thought I'd blogged about before but now can't find. My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew joined us, so we had two cars of revelers. The road to the first attraction was treacherous, and we all slipped and slid on the ice after parking and walking to see the lights, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus (and the Grinch, and the elves, and - new this year - the abominable snowman). My nephew was so excited to see his name (and his sister's) on the nice list, and he sweetly posed for photos. We headed to the next two attractions and had a lovely time and then drove home for Dad's world famous homemade pizza and a fun kid-friendly trivia game. On Monday Dad and I met my aunt, uncle, and grandmother for lunch and then shopped for dinner, a delicious Italian feast. It was sad to say goodbye to my aunt and uncle (and puppy!), but they now live a bit closer than they used to, so we should see them more often.

My grandmother came over on Christmas Eve, and we spent the afternoon watching TV and cooking. Dad made a seafood scampi for dinner, and we talked to my brother in CO. Christmas Day we slept in and leisurely opened presents and finished cooking what we were bringing to my brother's. The cats were very excited by their presents; Callaghan helped unwrap his and just couldn't wait until the packaging was removed because, well, feathers. We loaded the car with the kids' presents and headed to their house where we were greeted by cute little excited kiddos who wanted to show us their hauls thus far, which were quite impressive.

We hung out for a while playing with new toys and the cats and eating yummy snacks and then opened presents. My nephew LOVED his new spy gear and immediately tried out the rearview spy glasses, invisible ink, and the motion alarm.  Grandma got the biggest box of chocolates any of us had ever seen (she has a bit of a sweet tooth), and her reaction was priceless. We were in stitches laughing at it. Their cats also got some presents, and Flower went berserk for her new laser pointer.

After a yummy dinner of venison stew and my favorite butternut squash recipe, we relaxed in the living room. My niece started enticing the cats with their new toys, but they were having none of it. So I pretended to be a cat and chased them. Which she thought was the funniest thing ever; she was laughing so hard she could barely keep swishing the toys. Then she and my nephew took turns playing the cat, and we all played spy games a bit more. After dropping Grandma at her home we continued home and went to bed before a very lazy day after Christmas. It was perfect and lovely.

The cats watch the tree going up with skepticism.

We ran out of colored lights at the top and didn't bother to undo the clumps.

Only non-breakable ornaments this year, thanks to the cats. They were quite good though, never actually getting into it.

My other nieces, Flower and Luna.

Flower going crazy for her new laser!