Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas-The Middle Years

I know I left you hanging back in 1996 in last week's Christmas post so I thought today I'd move on to Christmas in the middle years.  More or less.  I have lots of
bad pictures, but I'm trying to limit myself to just one or two per year.  Merry Christmas!

For the entirety of the 'middle years' we lived in Maryland, BUT...we did not spend a single Christmas in Maryland. We have always and forever trekked somewhere else at the holidays, which in all honesty is a teensy bit exhausting. It's also fun and the facts of life happen to be that our families have never been less than several hours away so that's that. Traveling with middles is a little trickier than traveling with toddlers. Middles require a detailed explanation as to how Santa will know where to find them. Sometimes gifts were too large to haul so we had to get creative and explain that Santa knew he'd need to bring that doll house-computer-bigger than a bread box item early.

I suppose there are parents who would call that lying.
We just called it keeping the child in childhood.

1997-The year of University Barbie. 

University Barbie as opposed to lawyer Barbie, nurse Barbie, or teacher Barbie.

I guess she needed to get her degree first-Ha! 

Besides the too much cuteness for words, two things struck me when I came across this picture.  For one-I am definitely a fan of the matching Christmas sleepwear. At what age are sisters too old for matching sleepwear?  Hmmm....

Here's a helpful hint for young parents-open all the packaging on toys before you wrap them. Remove the annoying twist ties and staples, insert any required batteries, and then box the toy back up. Makes for a much more pleasant Christmas morning.  

Back to 1997...the second thing I noticed when I saw this picture is my own sweet grandmother sitting in her chair beside the fireplace. Her 'assigned seat', if you will. Hey, nobody's exempt on Christmas morning, not even the seniors.  

Gigi's place was always beside the fire because she was always always always cold. We'd all have to de-layer and she'd still be shivering in her long johns and wool sweater worn under a warm bathrobe with a blanket across her lap. Grandmothers are always missed, but never more so than at Christmas.  


Hey-matching nighties!
These were from American Girl and they were darling.  They look a little bit sack-like in this photo, but trust me-they were cute.  Plus my girls were peanuts.

Still are.

1999-The Year of the Theatre

Daughter1 was livin' large in December of 1999.  She had a big role in the 5th grade Christmas play-Mrs. Claus. 

That same season she danced in The Ballet Theatre of Annapolis's Production of The Nutcracker.

So exciting to dance with real live honest to goodness professional ballerinas.  
Are male dancers also called ballerinas?  

No they are not.  I just Googled that, something I actually never did in 1999. Pretty sure Googled was not a verb in 1999.  Incidentally, male 'ballerinas' are called danseurs (French for dancer).

You're welcome.  

Do I have any pictures of the professional ballerinas and danseurs?
Non.  Also French.  It means no.

I saw that show at least six times so I should have pictures, but non.
In 1999 it was not uncommon to just soak up the present minute, sans photography.

2000-The Year of the Program

Even numbered years always found us in Tennessee, most years in a cabin in the Smokies. Once the grandchildren got a little older we started trekking down the mountain to church on Christmas Eve, but while there were littles and babies in the house we had our own home grown Christmas Eve service.  The girls would choose carols for all of us to sing together, followed by solos they assigned themselves. ahem.  

fyi- my girls love a's their father's genes.

They'd each take a turn reading a portion of the Christmas story from scripture, and there would be a lot of directing from the peanut gallery, and some giggling too.  I think God looked forward to these programs as much as we did, and I'm quite certain their innocent tender hearts made Him smile. 

The Smoky Mountains in December.  
Ice Ice Baby

2001-The Year of the Game

Daughter2 got a Gameboy for Christmas.
I think she liked it.
The women in my family take their games seriously.

Need more proof?

The level of intensity in this game of Scattergories is a little bit scary.

2002-The Last Maryland Christmas Not in Maryland

Deja vu?
No, but Daughter2 is wearing the sweater Daughter1 was wearing in the picture two Christmases ago. This picture fills my heart to the brim and overflowing.  I look at this and know the future which is today.  

But in 2002 these three girls sat together for Christmas dinner in a cabin in Tennessee and smiled for the camera and played pool upstairs and sang Christmas carols round an old piano.  There was much laughter in the Smoky Mountains that year.

Hello my lovelies-

You're moving to England and you have no idea.  
Neither do we.    

Just keep smiling.
Every little thing.  Is gonna be alright.  

2003-The Christmas Where We Hopped the Pond

We moved to England on the last day of August in 2003.
In October we stood in front of nearby Windsor Castle for a Christmas card shot.  

Who'd a thunk it?

I remember going with another newly transplanted American friend to the B & Q to buy a Christmas tree for our English home. The B & Q is essentially the UK equivalent of Home Depot.  Sorta kinda.

I remember being grateful to the men who packed us up on the Maryland end of our move.  Men who were seriously done with us by the time they got to our full finished basement, but who still had enough patience left to tell me I'd be wanting some of my Christmas decorations on the other side of the pond.

They were so right.
I spy that little preschool Popsicle stick ornament front and center on our tree.
Where we go, it goes.

We made our first trip back to the states that December.  We managed to see both sides of the family because that's just what you do when you're on the same continent even though both sides of the family are many miles and states apart.  You live out of a suitcase and schlep from pillar to post because it's Christmas and you love them.

And because it brings a smile to your children's faces, and because you do not yet know how deeply England is going to embed itself into your heart.  Three months after the move you're all just a little wobbly. 

No worries.
Your definition of home is going to expand.
So is your world.  


  1. It's so nice to have the photographs to go with the memories. We are lucky these days with digital cameras and cameras in the phones that we can snap away to our heart's content. Happy Christmas to you and your family.

  2. What a fantastic post! Love all your photos (I know you love the reminiscing), especially the Scattergories one! Looks like Grandma was really getting into it!
    And how great of those movers thinking about your Christmas decorations!

  3. Love to hear about your past Christmases and getting a glimpse into your life.

  4. What a wonderful look back at times that will always be alive in your heart. I am going to have to try to work "dansuers" into a conversation now.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed sharing in your Christmases past this evening!

  6. That was a great idea on opening the packages, I never would have thought of that. Joyce, the pictures are such a joy to look at. I can tell you that I loved playing Game Boy. I enjoyed Tetris.