Monday, December 16, 2013

Song: "I Was Home For Christmas"

I just changed the title of the song,  "I'll Be Home For Christmas",  to my post title, "I Was Home For Christmas".  We celebrated a little early, as we always do, with my family in Chicago.  Not all my siblings live there anymore.  A few of us moved to places like Ohio, Georgia, & Wisconsin.  But even if we've lived in our present places longer than our home town we grew up in, we will always consider Chicago "Home".  I think the memories you have as a child are not lodged permanently in the brain...but etched deeply in the heart. My Mother, thankfully is still with us, living in her home that my father built in 1951.  She may not be leaping tall buildings with a single bound, but she's involved actively with family, church and friends.  Maybe that's why we still take the time to migrate back if at all possible.  We feel those roots pulling us and uniting us with good food, good laughs, good times!  We try to do different ideas each year and this year we went with the trend of "ugly sweater".  And they were.  I was a bit embarrassed to realize how many I owned when I found a container of them way back in the recesses of a storage area. That is until I found out what they go for on Ebay!  Hey, I have a little retirement fund wrapped up in wool, bad Santa's, and jingle bells!  So if you'll forgive the following barrage of's my weekend in a Hallmark movie!  To begin with we had about 5in. of snow when we woke up Saturday morning. My hubby went out to shovel my Mom's driveway.  A little while later he came in and told me to grab my camera for a blogworthy pic.
The sweet neighbor kiddos across the street and a few from the "hood", came and just started shoveling and helping him out.  How sweet is that!  I think it's too bad we are so amazed at acts of kindness like this...but it did warm our hearts.  Jack was tempted to let us think he shoveled it all himself, but he knew I would smack him for letting a great moment pass unblogged! The kids live in the house that's behind them in this pic. It used to be my Aunt and Uncle's home.  My Uncle built this home and after he passed away my Aunt lived there until a few years ago when she also passed away.   It's great to see it lit up again with family, pretty decorations, and a heart of service for the neighbors. 
Mom's home all ready for comings and goings! A lot of living has gone on in this little home.  Like the parable of the "Fishes and the Loaves", it holds more and gives more than any dwelling on earth.

Jack was going to let me hold the shovel for this pic..but I believe in truth in journalism! I didn't help with the shoveling..just the reporting!  A little later we headed off for our "ugly sweater party" at my nephew's home.  Here is Jack's:
Sorry I cut off his head! But, he also came prepared if it got too hot in house to wear a sweater:
An ugly tee shirt!
My niece and her hubby were really cute and he won the contest with his elf sweater!
My Mom is the sweet filling in this family sandwich moment! Her sweater collection is as big as mine.  She also reminded me that I had given her many of the choices she had for that night! Ha! She's such a kidder! Right Mom?
My sister and I also made ugly sweater cookies for the table decorations...and they were ugly! Nobody even tried to eat one!  My sister Midge had a puzzle game for the kids to do. There was fierce competition!
It was so nerve wracking that little Andrew stripped down into his "wife beater" shirt (as we call it!)
Girls against the boys...even boys in crazy hats competed!
Oh, the victory of success! I won't show the agony of defeat, but tears were shed in the cousin puzzle fight..but at the end of the night, all was good..until next year!
We always have a "white elephant" gift exchange.  It too got a bit crazy when a few of the not-so-lovely gifts contained lottery tickets.  Oh my...we decided a no lottery rule will happen next year! No tears were shed and no big money was won either!
This gift has made the rounds year after year.  Not only is it still a perfect white elephant,  it still talks! The gift that keeps on giving...choose wisely my friend! Curtis is already wrapping it for next year!  We had to take time out for the family photo shoot.  Before we started I took this shot. What is Midge doing here:
1. Casting an evil spell on Mom?  2. Shooing away flies? 3. Being bossy and giving directions where we all should stand? Who knows...all I know is we did get the pics done!
Like the Mommo with her brood shot! I was really happy all of us were here this year. It made Mom pretty happy too!
The gathering wouldn't be complete if this guy didn't show up. He had delivered his sack of goodies to the kiddies and we sent him off with a plate of cookies with our thanks.  He (Val, my police detective niece's partner, has done this for us for the last few years! He's a gem!  He's also a big dude!)  The night was fun and it was great to see everyone again.  I put together a DVD of as many past Christmas pics as I could find and put it all to music. I was happy it turned out good and also amazed how much we've really done for this special night each year.  As I watched all the past photos go by on the screen I kept that special Christmas movie we watch every year..."We really do have a wonderful life"!  All too soon it was time to head for home.
This sign made me smile:
I'm not very good at the quick pic shot while the car is moving maneuver...but it was good to get memories again etched in my heart.


Donna said...

Great sweet funny post! Your pics are good, especially the one with you and Jack and also your family pic. Bet they loved your CD. Chelsea is having an ugly sweater party this weekend too! She asked me to get mine out. I had 6! She thought they were SO funny. I still LIKE mine...ha!
On another note, so glad your was a heck of a day! Stories...

acorn hollow said...

such a wonderful post. what a great family and so great you still have your mom

Willow said...

So nice to live in a lovely neighborhood.
Your family has such fun Ya Ya !
Great to see your sweet mom again.
Your looking so pretty in your pictures, not a bit like the ugly sweaters.
Happy Holidays
From Whimsy Willows Farm :)

Shady Del Knight said...

Ugly sweaters, ugly t-shirts, ugly cookies, an elf costume, "wife beater shirt," crazy hats, puzzle fights, white elephants and Santa Claus (or one of his helpers, let's say) - all of those things combined to make it a wonderful family get together in Chicago.

Your mother looks absolutely wonderful and her ugly sweater was the prettiest of all. With the sweater Jack was wearing, you did him a favor by cutting off his head so that no one can make a positive i.d. :) I was hoping to see Eddy dressed in an ugly sweater of his very own. Maybe there's still time before Christmas! (hint hint)

It was so kind of the neighbor kids to pitch in and shovel snow. That was a pleasant surprise and a very blogworthy moment to capture with your camera.

It warms my heart to see your family sharing holiday spirit and lotsa love. I am happy for you, YaYa, and I'm glad you made the trip over and back w/o any flat tires or other problems!

Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend!

selvageedge said...

Hard to believe that Jack didn't win that contest. He was robbed!
It's great to see that your mom has helping neighbors; what a blessing that is. It looks like you had another wonderful time. Ohio is lucky to have you on a permanent basis with all that draws you home to Chicago.
My family's white elephant exchange is this weekend and I'm not ready. Maybe a few lottery tickets would do the trick. :)

Julia said...

Oh my Yaya, it doesn't get any better than that. You are doing such a great job of making gathering fun. Thanks for sharing what you've been up to. It's priceless.

Stay safe and warm and keep on having fun this Holiday season.

gin said...

You do have a wonderful life. And a crazy family. Looks like a lot of fun going on with all y'all together. I know your mom was one happy lady.

Becky Jerdee said...

What a fun family you have!!! Loved your gift of letting us peek inside :)

Munir said...

What a nice family post. Your Mom is adorable as usual. God Bless her.

Munir said...

God Bless every one else too. Ameen.

Stacy Crawford said...

Christmas with a loving family is the best! We sure do love your family!

Rick Watson said...

Great post Yaya. I've had a few of those sweaters too :)

Hope said...

what a fun festive family gathering! the pics. are great! thanks for sharing!

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

This post was beyond wonderful. It brought back memories when my Mom was alive and we would all go home at Christmas and my brothers and sister would be there with all of their children. Now..that part of my life is over...and I am in YOUR mother's place. Even our hair matches! :) This was just plain wonderful!!
*sniff sniff* ...touched my heart!

Sue said...

What fun! Looks like you guys have a ball together.


Christina said...

What a blessing to still have your mama and new memories every year. I love the ugly sweaters! haha And the cookies! I also love, love the picture of your house in your header. It's so beautiful!

Deb Shucka said...

What a wonderful post. It holds everything that is the best of this season, and I'm so happy you've shared it. I'm even more ready to celebrate now. You are a beautiful family, even in ugly sweaters. :-)