Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Part Deux

I wasn't sure if I would get another post in here or not but it occurred to me that of course I would! Christmas Part Deux was happening on the 28th! I think I had explained in previous posts how Christmas would be done this year but in case you missed it here's how it went. Christmas Day would be like any other Christmas. Formal breakfast, opening of the gifts and dinner around 4 pm. Because the 2 youngest kids hadn't arrived yet only 4 Tyson's would be joining us for dinner Christmas Day. Even then, it turned out to only be 3 of them as Dan was pretty sick with the crud and didn't want to give it to anyone else. Christmas Part Deux wouldn't be had until the 28th when the 2 youngest kids would arrive. The joining of our two families for dinner and a gift exchange for the first time, it was to be monumental. (and monumental it was!!) The theme was "Handmade Christmas." Slowly as time went on more and more gifts appeared under the tree, mostly for the kids. We celebrated on the 28th, after the two younger kids, Nate and Anika, arrived in Albuquerque. (They live in the D.C. area with their father). We have a few things planned for when the kids are here...to make sure they are sent home with memories. But Christmas, it was so beautiful and fun and joyous! Everyone arrived at our house with more gifts in tow and all four kids....we were a complete family again for the first time since the summer. That alone was worth the celebration! There are quite a few pictures to share so I'll just get to it...


This is Mom and I getting food out and things ready for sandwiches and chips and salad...


And all the kids diggin' in! We all sat and ate, the kids in one room and the adults in the family room. That's just the way it worked out. It was simple, it was easy, it was perfect. After we were done we all gathered around the tree and began the long process of opening all the gifts. None of us really believe in just putting all your gifts in front of you and then ripping into them all at once. We went around the room and people opened things one at a time, having a chance to thank the person that gave the gift right then and there. It was fabulous! It was perfect. 


There were lots of presents under the tree. I knew what we were giving and I was really excited about it all. The tree was so big that it was impossible to get the entire tree in the shot with all the presents. We all felt truly blessed. 


The first gift opened was for my Mom and Dad from Dan and Dilshani. It was an incredible art piece done by Dilshani...


I love this picture of Mom holding Dilshani's watercolor because all the colors flow....from whats on paper to what my Mom is wearing. Dilshani took a page from a dictionary and did a mountain watercolor on top of it. Its just fabulous!


I was asked to open the next gift...from Dan and Dilshani. You have to understand, Dilshani doesn't just knit. She does artwork, she sews, she does a lot of paper crafting. It was impossible to know what she had done for me. I loved the colors when I saw them...it was a pillowcase!!! An awesome pillowcase done with Van Gogh's "Starry Night" in mind...


Pretty awesome, right?! Beyond the first two gifts, I don't remember what order things went in...so I'll just put the rest out there...


This was a Seahawks picture framed I tracked down through a seller on EBay for Dilshani. In it is a picture of the two of us from Thanksgiving. The Seahawks played that day so we were all wearing our gear. I loved this pic of the two of us and to put it in this frame was near perfect...


This is Nate in a blanket that Dilshani made for him. He loves it obviously!


And a great picture of Nate. We love this kid!


This is Anika coming in for a hug. I love this picture. She had written to all of us. Mine said..
"Aunt Claudia, Merry Christmas! That seems pretty good, Granted, my beginning will never be as grand as your fiery red hair. I could pick you out of a crowd so easily I don't have to smile for it. Your intricate knitting doesn't begin to show your skill. I love you - Anika" So sweet. I love this girl I MISS THIS GIRL when she isn't here. Notice that she is wearing her fingerless mitts?! Those are one of 9 pairs I have made so far this season and I have a pair to go. Everyone got a pair this year. They all LOVED them!  That was my gift to everyone, fingerless mitts. Moms gift to everyone were coffee cuffs done in Seahawk colors!


She made them all random...so everyones is different. I cant wait to use mine!  Dads gift to everyone...well...not difficult if you know my Dad. But he had to make sure all the kids had the appropriate t-shirt for the coming game on New Years Day...


A group picture was needed and I love the looks on everyones faces here! Happiness and joy! I did the order job on these shirts and I gotta tell ya, I ordered Nate and Kamal the same color so hopefully Nate wont steal Kamal's shirt. He wont have to since he has one of his own! 


This wonderful hug is from Michael whose gift to us was his time. He gave us each a coupon which read "The coupon is for a whole day of my time to spend with you. The coupon has no expiration date and can be used multiple time if you so chose to. I hope you enjoy this gift to the fullest!" Everyone got hugs for this one!


See those? Fingerless mitts? Yeah, one they were opened they were put on and not taken off. This is Mike hugging Dad for his present from the family...a card with $20 in it. All the kids got one. This next one just cracks me up. Its Nate hugging me for his fingerless mitts but he damn near took me all the way down on the sofa! Too funny....


Next up was Dan. Once he opened the gift from the family we lost him. Like, for the rest of the evening. That's when you know its a good gift!


Dan love anything and everything about ancient Rome and Italy. Being retired from 18 yrs in the Air Force he is very interested in ancient warfare. We got him a book on all the Legions of Rome. Also, Mom passed on a book to him from her collection which, hard to explain, but was so next. It showed the way things used to be in Rome versus the way things are now. We lost him after he opened these gifts. And even after the gifts were done, we lost him and Mom to the kitchen where they were discussing the book and Mom was showing him a few of the ancient coins that she'd been given as gifts from Aunt Betty. Very cool. I love my adopted brother. He has an interesting mind and a giving and caring heart. 


Next up for Dan, he had already opened my fingerless mitts but he finally opened the hat made for him by Dilshani that he really really wanted. He picked out the pattern on Ravelry and said "here! this one! make this one!" What he didn't realize until he opened his hat was that it was the same color as the mitts. Olive drab. Camo. His favorite color. Dilshani and I planned it that way. We both used the same colorway of Malabrigo Worsted to make our projects! It was worth it because he seemed to love them both.

Next up was Dilshani and the gift from Mom...


Its a lovely shawl pin that Mom picked out from Village Wools for her. These Jul pins are so marvelous. Each one is a work of art in itself. Annnnnd she's wearing her green fingerless mitts too...


Another great pick of Dilshani and her shawl pin being photo bombed by beautiful Anika! And last but certainly not least was the gift from our family to Dan and Dilshani....


We got them a gift certificate so that they, the two of them, could go out on a Date Night and have dinner at Red Lobster. They loved it! Who doesn't like Red Lobster?! Dan was VERY excited about this! The kids also opened gifts from their other Aunt and Uncle in Illinois and enjoyed those as well.
All in all it was a wonderful evening. The gifts were from the heart and totally sincere. I think our plan worked. The plan to teach the kids about homemade gifts and what really mattered was being together. I really think the kids will remember this Christmas for years to come...the very first Christmas with Grandpa Sam, Granny Kay, and Aunt Claudia. It will be stuck in their minds forever. Hopefully. Our focus is more about creating memories for the kids to take with them wherever they go. We have other plans while they're here too....boy howdy do we have plans. On the 1st, New Years Day, Dilshani is coming over early, probably around 9am and will start to cook traditional Sri Lankan food for New Years. The 1st is also Anika's 13th birthday where she officially becomes a teenager. Dilshani's Birthday is on the 6th so we will have a joint celebration on New Years Day for their birthdays too. It will be another big day! This Friday we will all be going to the Natural History Museum for First Friday Fractals! The kids have never been and neither has Dan or Dilshani so to share this with them will be a blast! You can read about the Fractal Show here. It is a show that is unique to Albuquerque. If you live local and have never been I highly recommend it. Its fabulous! Sometime before the kids leave (I think they leave on the 4th) we plan to all go put putting. When was the last time you went put putting?! I haven't been in YEARS. At least 15 years, since I lived in Tucson AZ.

More memories, creating more memories is what its all about for us for the kids. I talked to Dilshani on the phone this evening and she told me that while on the way home last night in the car, Anika exclaimed "Mom, this was the BEST Christmas ever!" That just makes my heart smile really really big. Every bit of planning that went into this, every stitch knitted, it was worth all that and more. I love those kids. Each one of them. Santa gave me exactly what I wanted for Christmas; happy, smiling, fulfilled children! So until next time, probably after the 1st...Knit On!!

PS... All photos produced and edited by Dilshani for Dilshani Tyson Photography

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