Adam (nephew) drove two hours from St. Louis (where he lives) and parked his truck in front of the house and helped himself to the offered coffee while I threw pajamas and a change of underwear into a satchel and grabbed my soft pillow and headed out to the already packed and fuel filled car.
We dropped Dylan off at his dad's house (the Exploder sits dead in front of the house) and then headed downtown so that I could pick up a movie from 9th street video before hitting the highway.
The streets were snow covered and slightly slick.
We drove the three hours, or he drove the three hours while I slept, having worked the typical fourteen hours at the hospital the night before and leaving late that morning slushing through the thickly snow covered roads to home. People dropped by mother's house on Christmas eve and there was much visiting. Christmas morning was the typical me, Adam and mom. "Thanks for coming up you two, this morning would have been depressing." It would have. Can you imagine waking alone when for years there have been people around? No. And so we opened our stockings and ate breakfast before I made my bed, straightened the room, kissed mother goodbye and headed out, driving the three hours home hearing "Mary did you Know" only once and crying as it played (oml, how can you not??)..and hearing only one Mahalia Jackson song (Go tell it on the mountain).. Mahalia is completely one of my favs and she is simply NOT played enough at Christmas time...
Getting home there were gift tins to pack and a few cookies remaining to bake (the dough was in the fridge) and a lovely grand marnier frosting to prepare.
|Chuck and Dylan digging into stocking contents|
|The cat in the midst...|
|Amanda, Patti, Elliot, Hallie|
|it was after ten, the sane people were gone|
|Ray and Chuck|
|Great Grandmother M w/the E.|
Kids were down in the basement and everyone wanted to see and hold the E. (Elliot) which they did and pictures were taken and food was consumed. The visit was pleasant and afterward Chuck chose to drive home while Ray and I went to the hotel. The room was advertised as a 'suite' room. Now what does suite mean to you? To me it means separate bedroom from living area with the fold-out couch and chair and television in the living area. No. Not this time. Suite room simply meant a regular hotel room with a king size bed, a desk, chair and couch. Voila! Elliot and I slept well on the king, poor Ray slept horribly on the couch.
|Ray resting poorly|
|Elliot resting well.|
Boxing day (the 26th) was lovely with a late breakfast at Arthur and Patti's house. Lawrence, their youngest, opened up a living room window and greeted us with a yell (he is three) his father had to come in to the living room and close the window. Mother held Elliot a long time. He is a happy baby. Later, when I was walking out to the car to retrieve the camera, Lawrence opened up the front door and said "Excuse me! Excuse me!"..turning I said, "Ye-es!!" with a smile (because how can you not smile when a three year old asks your excuse!). So he continued, "It's cold outside"..said with the front door open as I walked laughing across the snowy lawn. "Yes it is. Why don't you close the door." He stood hanging on the door for some time then disappeared, leaving the door wide open. Of course the story had to be repeated to the family.
|G-gma M. @ the bfst. table.|
|Audrey. Stewart was downstairs with pinkeye.|
|Patti showing me the tie that Arthur hates.|
|Art and Lawrence|
Ray, Elliot and I left shortly after noon and drove the dry, sunny roads to Troy (ten minutes north of the 40/61-I70 interchange) to visit with his (the baby's) great grand parents before going home. We stayed an hour and a half. They both held the baby (poor Elliot, but he took it well)...
|Great-grandmother K. w/Elliot|
"Being pretty on the inside means you don't hit your brother and you eat all your peas--that's what my grandma taught me." Lord Chesterfield
|Completely lovely tiny tree pre-Christmas|