Cousins in Town

Dear Liza,

Cousins Paul and Candace

Well, it sure has been a holiday full of family!

This past weekend, after Auntie Christy and Cousin Kyle left for home, we got a call from Grandpa Nelson’s Cousin Paul and his wife, Candace. They were in town to visit friends, and wanted to meet us for a Portland breakfast and see Auntie Katie’s bookshop, Books with Pictures.

Me, Auntie Katie, Grandpa Nelson, and Paul in the shop

We met them at Pine State Biscuits down on Division Street, just a few blocks from Auntie Katie’s place. I’ve eaten their biscuits before, with jam, and wanted to try their gravy, as well. They were delicious!

I was so busy eating that I forgot to take pictures.

Auntie Katie came by to eat with us and catch up on family news before heading off to open the shop at 10:00. We followed along, and spent a fun hour looking at books and visiting on the comfy couch in the shop.

When we had talked ourselves out, they headed off and we headed for home. What a lovely morning.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Christmas Day in Retrospect

Dear Liza,

Starting the day with cinnamon rolls….

It is now the day after Christmas and I am still full to the brim from the feasting and family. Our Christmas celebration started around 10 in the morning when the rest of the family woke up (Auntie Bridgett and I are early risers), and went until after 9 that night when tired Grandkids headed home.

Christy gets a Nicole Curcio bowl…

First there were cinnamon rolls and coffee, and presents for and from Auntie Christy and Cousin Kyle. We were all pleased with the Hogwarts’ goodies, so perfect for us and our chilly winters here in Portland.

Grandpa in his new Slytherin scarf.

Auntie Katie and the Cousins came later, bringing more gifts and a delicious ad- libbed cream pie.

Music, as always.

Kyle, being the Dungeon Master of the day, had prepared a Dungeons and Dragons adventure for Jasper and Kestrel, and the three of them developed characters and played while the older folks chatted, ate and drank, and played music.

Jasper, Kes and Kyle working in character development

Katie and I were the only ones who wanted a walk, so we headed off to Laurelhurst. I wore my new Hogwarts scarf, and met a fellow Hufflepuff! Her name is May. She is a delight and I hope we see each other again. We also did some serious bird-watching, Katie sharing her Great Grandma Billie’s love of feathered friends.

Watching the Bullock’s Orioles in the park

Katie is always good company. She and I talked about my story and she gave me some good advice on how to make it better as I go forward.

I met May, a local Hufflepuff!

We got home and had dinner, which was, as always, a team effort and delicious.

Then came more presents! Harry Potter and Wonder Woman and weird little Hands for Handy Hand to hang out with. What a day!

Teeny tiny hands!
Cool swag from Cousin Kyle

Then there was more music, with harmonies and extra verses. As everyone’s energy level started to sag, no one wanted the day to end!

More harmony and strumming…

Kyle and Jasper played a video game on the sofa while the rest of us watched The Grinch (the original, with Boris Karloff’s voice) and the White Christmas, with which we sang along.

Thank goodness for HIGH ceilings!!

Finally, we had a game of Kozo, then Dreidle, and then we had to just own up that it was time to go to bed.

Winding down….

I am so blessed to have this life full of loving people, safety and abundance, ideas, music and surprise.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Christmas Day

Dear Liza,

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Decorating in fancy clothes

We had a busy day on Christmas! I woke up at 6 in the morning to put the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and the cinnamon rolls in to rise. Coffee, cereal, and soon the rest of the family started trickled down the stairs. The cinnamon rolls came out of the oven in time for the second pot of coffee with Grandpa Nelson.

We opened presents and nibbled all the goodies that family had sent via Harry and David, Oh Nuts! and Pittman and Davis. Mouse enjoyed her new toy from a new shop, Mud Bay. I got Harry Potter things from Cousin Kyle, who works at a fun shop called Boxlunch.

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Grandpa Nelson, enjoying the day

When Auntie Katie and the cousins came, we opened more presents, including the ones from Auntie Christy…she had made us all magic wands in her wood shop. Maple, Utile, and Walnut woods are so beautiful, and will get even prettier as we use them to make good magic. We all had fun gathering magic from the air and sending it to our family across the room and around the world.

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Wands of Utile, Maple, and Walnut wood

Auntie Katie also brought a gingerbread house they had made and decorated, so we could help make it better. Some of our candy gifts ended up on the house! Later in the evening, we took a heavy mallet and totally smashed it, eating the bits. It was very dramatic!

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Soul Mates and Cousins

When we had put all the food away and made sense out of the mess in the kitchen, we walked around the park (which was getting darker every second) and found a new tree that Kestrel named Falfla. It is an old lady Sycamore, and seems to have a good soul.

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The Park at dusk

We talked and read and played games until it was time for them to head home, and I went to bed early, feeling like the richest woman in the world.

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The gifts that make you laugh out loud

Merry Christmas!

Love,

Grandma Judy