Friday, December 28, 2007

Kiley Christmas

Last weekend was the Kiley Christmas. Mom was a bit worried leading up to the event, because the forecasters were threatening bad weather, and so few people had RSVP’d. Mom has the worst time getting the family to RSVP, so there’s always a dilemma in the grocery store. Should she buy for the people who say they’re coming and run out of food if more show up, or should she buy for the people who might come and perhaps have tons of leftovers if they don’t? She’s tried it both ways, but usually errs on the side of leftovers. This time was no exception, and the food was delicious.

Grandma Carol and Grandpa Kenny couldn’t make it due to both weather and health trouble, and Grandma Norrie had a Christmas gather with her daughters to attend. However, Grandpa Russ, Uncle Bill and his (adult) kids Faith, Kaylene and Geno came. Faith and Kaylene brought their cute kids. Uncle Tom also came with his wife. His son Brandon came with his girlfriend and baby.

I had fun playing with the younger girls, but the tweens were glued to their video games for most of the afternoon. When I was playing Jenga with the younger girls, the older kids were slowly drawn downstairs and we played a game of Scrabble. Before we knew it, it was time to open presents (Norie and Russ gave me a pretty blue throw and a glass candle jar. Carol and Kenny gave me a generous check) and then it was time for everyone to head home. Miss Sarah began lobbying for me to come home with her. She’s such a sweet girl. At the beginning of the day, she didn’t remember me, but by the end she informed me, “I couldn’t love you more than I do right now.”

It was great to get to see Dad’s family. I hadn’t seen many of them in years. Too bad the batteries in my camera were dead. I didn’t get any photos. In fact, I thought my camera was broken. It seems to drain batteries SO fast! Oh, well. The pictures I do get are so pretty.

Tomorrow is Staker family Christmas. Then Sunday morning I meet with my college friends and that afternoon I fly back to New York. This trip home has gone so quickly! I’ve done a bit more playing in the snow, more photography (see pretty sunrise above), and more painting. I’ve been drizzling paint into clear glass balls to create marbleized ornaments for my grandparents and Unkie and Helen. I finished painting boxes. By the end, they were getting fancier and fancier!

One night I cooked my best dish for mom: Garlic Chicken with Peppers in a White Wine Sauce. I usually buy boneless thighs, but this time I didn’t see it at the store, so I had to get legs still connected to the thighs with the skin and bones still in tact. It took me twice as long as usual to make the recipe, but it turned out well. Mom and Dad seemed to like it, and I really enjoyed cooking for Mom for once. We all ate and fell asleep in our chairs! Apparently, my food is delicious and sleep-inducing. I wasn’t sure Dad liked it, because he’s not big on the praise, but another night when I was eating some of the leftovers, he kind of gasped. “You didn’t finish that off, did you?” No, I did not, but Dad proceeded to do so in short order.

This week I’ve gotten to spend more time with my parents and Grandpa Keith and Grandma Carmie. I miss them so much. It’s hard, because I can’t afford to visit them often in Arizona. Tomorrow will be the first time this trip that I’ve seen my brother, J.B.; my sister-in-law, Erika; and my nieces, Brooke and Courtney. I wish I got to spend more time with them.

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