december family affairs

Monday, December 7:  This evening, Mike and I took Adam and his friend Aeryn to dinner at Sakura Japanese Steak, Seafood House & Sushi Bar for Adam’s 23rd birthday.

Adam, Mike and me at Sakura Japanese Steakhouse
Adam, Mike and me at Sakura Japanese Steakhouse

We were having a fun time and everyone was upbeat until I mistakenly made a comment which upset Adam.  The evening suddenly became very tense.  I remember when Adam was about 4 years old; he threw a temper tantrum at his own birthday party because he wasn’t getting his way.  We had to put him in his room for a time-out at his own birthday party!  This kid is a tough one, but of course I love him dearly!

Thursday, December 24: On Christmas Eve, we have our family tradition of visiting Washington National Cathedral.  First we take a walk around the Cathedral.

Washington National Cathedral
Washington National Cathedral
the cottage on the Cathedral grounds
the cottage on the Cathedral grounds
looking up
looking up

It’s quite a warm today for Christmas Eve, but it’s also rather dreary.

After walking around the Cathedral proper, we walk through the crèches on display during every holiday season.  Below is my favorite, created by Zulu tribeswomen in South Africa.  Each fabric figure is almost completely covered with tiny, individually hand-sewn glass beads.  Even the zebra and lion come to pay homage to the Christ Child.

South African creche
South African creche

The Mexican beaded nacimiento was made by the Huichol Indians, noted in Mexico for the degree to which they have preserved their native speech, religion and culture.  The Wise Men bear gifts in the form of stylized flowers.  A tiny native frog also witnesses the holy birth.

The Polish form of nativity is called a Szopka and is traditionally associated with the city of Krakow.  Szopka makers utilize colorful candy and gum wrappers, as well as specially made foils.

The pottery nacimiento from El Salvador shows a small brown frog attending.  A tortilla maker, complete with her grinding stone is also present at the birth, as is a little shepherdess wearing a broad-brimmed hat.

The Jordanian nativity was created at the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, then in Jordan. It features clothing that is thought to be similar to that worn by Mary, Joseph and the shepherds on that first Christmas Eve.

The Kenyan hand-carved crèche includes additions to the traditional animals of ox and ass, including an African antelope, and both a mother and baby elephant and rhinoceros, all commonly found in Kenya.

The Indonesian mahogany crèche was made by physically challenged people on the island of Java.

The Bolivian fabric nacimiento was made by the Aymaras and Quechuas Indians from the Altiplano region.  Each of the figures is wearing the native dress of the Bolivian Highlands.

After browsing through the crèches, we take the elevator to the tower where we have some sweeping views of northwest Washington.

the view from the tower
the view from the tower

We can see the Cathedral gardens below, so we take the elevator down and take a stroll through the gardens.

view of the Cathedral gardens
view of the Cathedral gardens

It’s plenty warm today, although a little damp.

After we leave the Cathedral, we always stop at the Lebanese Taverna Market for lunch. Then we go home to relax awhile, and finish any last-minute wrapping, before we go to Christmas eve dinner at Mike’s sister’s house.  Barbara loves to decorate for Christmas.  She still lives in her mom’s (my mother-in-law Shirley’s) house.  Though I was in China last Christmas, the first Christmas since Shirley died in July of 2014, this Christmas just wasn’t the same without her.  I really miss her.

Christmas tree at Mike's sister's house
Christmas tree at Mike’s sister’s house

We enjoy a wonderful dinner, eat lots of cookies and Barbara’s famous gold rush brownies, and exchange gifts.

Friday, December 25: On Christmas morning, it’s just Mike and I and the boys.  Sarah is spending Christmas at her dad’s house in Virginia Beach, so we’ll go visit her later.  Barbara comes over later for our Christmas brunch, also our family tradition.  I don’t know why I forget to take any pictures of us on Christmas day!

Our tree on Christmas morning
Our tree on Christmas morning
Close-up of the tree
Close-up of the tree

Wednesday, December 30:  We drive to Richmond to take Sarah her gifts and have lunch with her.  Then we go to visit my dad and stepmother in Yorktown, where we spend the night.

Thursday, December 31: Heading home, we drive up Route 17, a much quieter drive than I-95, to Fredericksburg. On our way back, we stop for lunch at Lowery’s Seafood Restaurant in Tappahannock, where I have crab cakes and Mike enjoys fried oysters.  Lowery’s is the restaurant where my mom and dad used to always stop for lunch when they came together to visit me in northern Virginia.  My dad doesn’t get up to visit us much these days as it wears him out too much to travel.

That was the end of our December, and a quiet end to 2015.  As a matter of fact, I was asleep by 10:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, snoring right through the New Year! 🙂

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11 thoughts on “december family affairs

  1. Have you recovered from all the snow?
    Last year we had 3 storms in a row (1 week apart) with 18″ – 24″. This year, green grass!!!
    Not much snow and the big lake only has ice in the coves.
    Today is to be in the mid 40’s with heavy rain.
    Always glad to get your up dates and pictures.

    1. Our snow is almost melted, Ron, at least in the spots where it wasn’t piled into huge mountains by the snow plows. It’s so strange how we down here in the mid-Atlantic got more snow than you did up in New Hampshire! Thanks for coming to visit, Ron. I wonder if spring is right around the corner for you! 🙂

      1. Not only has it been a warmer than winter, but the politics are hot too.
        All the candidates for president are chris crossing our area big time.
        Between town hall meetings and hand shaking, you see and meet them all.
        It’s wild and interesting to see how they work the public.

      2. Oh, I’ve been watching the politics, Ron, and I’ve had enough to last a lifetime! I’m glad you’re having fun getting out and meeting them though. I sure hope they appear better in person than they do to us out here in the homeland. 🙂

  2. I didn’t see the New Year in either. We had the longest New Year’s Eve in history this time. We started it at home before driving to Brisbane to have lunch with our daughter. Then we went to the airport and flew out to Hawaii at 5.30pm. After a nine hour flight during which we crossed the International Date Line, we arrived in Honolulu at 6 am New Year’s Eve morning, so the day started all over again. (We arrived before we left!) Then we flew to Maui and spent a wonderful afternoon exploring Lahaina before having a delicious NYE dinner with live music on the deck at a gorgeous restaurant. By that time we had been up for nearly two days, so we decided to give midnight a miss!
    I hope this year is a wonderful one for you Cathy.

    1. That sounds like a super long New Year’s Eve, Carol! No wonder you didn’t wait up to see in the New Year. It’s so funny about that International Date Line and how you can arrive somewhere before you even leave! It sounds like a wonderful way to end 2015 though. I hope this year’s a great one for you too, Carol. 🙂

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