Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Normal Christmas

Char and I have been home less than twenty-four hours and I have been asked at least a half dozen times, “How was your Christmas?” I always answer, “Normal.” It gets some great reactions. We spent Christmas in Normal with the family.

After landing at O’Hara my most favorite airport in the world. DOR and SILOR drove us down to SOR and FON’s in Normal where the majority of the festivities were held. As you can tell by the Christmas tree, there was no shortage of gifts. Everyone must have been very, very good this year.

But, gifts were meant to be opened. As soon as we arrived, DOR decided she and SOR should open Uncle Ted’s presents. Throughout the years, my Uncle received a meat and cheese package. Except for one year when DOR and SOR decided they should not only open his gift but also eat it. That’s the year my Uncle got a back massager. Since then it seems like we have always opened Uncle Ted’s present for him.

Another tradition surfaced on this trip - pajamas. While a new tradition for me – I have to admit I like the idea. You can read about the tradition on Desiree’s blog. You can also view what I hope becomes another tradition - the annual family portrait.

Here are the ladies sporting their PJ’s (a.k.a. – the uniform). This is a rare photograph – Desiree is laughing. It’s hard to get a picture of her when she is smiling much less laughing (okay, that’s a lie).


Then the guys had their turn. It was time to fashion how uniforms are to be worn – tucked in.

Finally, Christmas morning had arrived. At 6:00, we were awakened and told it was time to grab a cup of coffee and open stocking. That’s when Ralph almost ruined Christmas. See the stocking stuffer Char is opening? We all got one.

They were round coke bottles, shaped like ornaments. It has been a long time since I celebrated with an eight year old so I didn’t think twice before saying, “Where did you guys find these coke bottles?” I turned and looked at Desiree. Her jaw had dropped and she sat there speechless. That’s when I realized Santa, and only Santa, is in charge of stocking stuffers. How quickly we forget.

Then it was on to the gifts. SILOR is about the only guy I know who gets really excited about socks. But, he was excited.

Remote controlled items seemed to be a hit this year. Those items require batteries so Ralph, SOR, and SILOR ventured out on Christmas day (in their uniforms) to find batteries.

More gifts were handed out and that is when FON almost ruined Christmas. She knew I spend a great deal of time with a calculator so she decided to get me a new one. Only problem is she bought me the Colossal big button calculator. I had to point out I might be old and wear glasses but I’m not blind.


Finally, all our differences were settled and we could move on with the day. There were puzzles to put together. Here Char is just showing off. She is multi-tasking putting the puzzle together and talking on the phone at the same time.


Puzzle number one was complete. This lamp has been featured in the movie, ‘The Christmas Story’. One little known fact is – Char modeled for the leg lamp. Yeah, her legs are that cute.


Christmas isn’t just about fun and game. It’s also a time where lessons and skills should be shared. So, time was spent teaching and learning how to knit.

Food and drink also play an important part. FON prepared a feast for Christmas. With the amount of food she made I really thought the entire neighborhood was going to come over. No, it was just us.


After Christmas, we went out to eat at Steak and Shake. We don’t have these in Colorado so getting to go there was a first. The steak burgers were actually quite good and the orange shake reminded me of a orange ice cream bar.

For those of you that don’t know FON is a cleaner. If is a glass, a cup, or a plate is left unattended FON will rinse and place it in the dishwasher. This called for firm and immediate action on my part. My ice tea glass cannot disappear. I created my own coaster. FON would reach for my cup, see the note, and her hand would start to tremble. To her credit, she never once touched my ice tea glass but it did bother her. Next year she might get a pre-paid membership to CA (Cleaners Anonymous) for Christmas.



Back in Chicago, DOR and SILOR took us to Walkers Pancake House for breakfast. This restaurant in Wilmette opened in 1960. Char is somewhat of a crepe snob but this place had her drooling over their crepes. All they serve is breakfast but they are open from early morning to 10:00 PM.

At DOR and SILOR’s, Char and I did a little singing. The video game was similar to karaoke. This must have been a love song as I am down on one knee.


In Chicago, we stayed with our good friend Millie. Millie had family in from California, New York, and Oregon. Yet, somehow, she made room for us. They invited us out dinner with them and let us crash a few other family events. They were all delightful people who made you feel welcome. I’ve said it before but it’s so true, Millie has one of the few homes where I can truly feel comfortable and make myself at home. That is a true gift.

So, was Christmas normal? No!! It was so much better than normal thanks to SOR, FON, the kids, DOR, SILOR, and Millie. We had a GREAT time.

18 Comments:

Blogger Live Well, Laugh Often & Love Much said...

What a great post to end 2008 with. I can not wait to see what comes in 2009 !

7:23 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Gotta agree with Desiree! I enjoyed seeing everyone and knowing you all had a great time! Great seeing FON laughing!! tehe

I think I can hear her too! I loved her laugh!

11:47 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

It sounds like a truly wonderful Christmas, Ralph. I love the calculator, and really love that lamp! Are you going to put it in the front window, like Dad in the movie? that should shake up the neighbors!

A very happy new year to you and yours!

5:34 AM  
Blogger Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Ralph! Belated Merry Christmas. Your family Christmas looked 'normal' to me. Lots of fun was had by all.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year. Lisa

6:13 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Happy New Year Ralph and Char and to y'all!
:-)
..

6:21 AM  
Blogger Shady Gardener said...

I see that a Normal Christmas was wonderful... and normally Christmas is! We are all so fortunate.

Thank you for your entertaining posts. May you continue to find humor in your daily situations (and provide it for the rest of us!) Happy 2009!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Did you get there in time for one of the Midwest's finest ice storms?

Glad you had a Normal Christmas.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Paul Nichols said...

We also went to Chicago. I was looking all over for you two, but no luck. I figured you were out having the best of times. I was right. We did, too.

Happy New Year to you and Char. Glad to know you're back home safe and sound.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous DOR said...

It was fun. Happy New Year

7:35 PM  
Blogger Cheyenne said...

Sounds like you guys all had a really wonderful time.
Happy New Year to you and your entire family!

11:06 PM  
Blogger Granny Annie said...

What a wonderful family Christmas! That's the way to do it right.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Good "Normal" Christmas post Ralph, happy New Year to you and yours.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Marla said...

Looks like a great Normal Christmas. I Hope you new yeat i Normal as well!!

5:24 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

I'm so glad you were finally able to get fon to relax and open up a bit. Even smile a little... so nice.
This was a great write up Ralph. I'm glad the Windy City didn't get the best of you.
Good choice btw for a tea cup.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I hope you know how blessed you are! Have a great new year.

1:10 PM  
Blogger GardenAuthor said...

Ralph - Such an entertaining account of your better than normal Christmas!

May you and your family enjoy a better than normal year in 2009! /Deb

9:02 AM  
Blogger Aravis said...

This sounds like the very best sort of Christmas! Lots of fun and laughter with family and friends. That's what it's all about.

Unless you're a kid (legitimately, not just in heart), in which case it's all about Santa. *G*

11:18 AM  
Blogger nora said...

How fun! And how did you get Desiree to stand still long enough for a photograph?
I got an actual leg lamp for Christmas. It's proudly displayed in my front window.

11:02 AM  

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