On the 23rd Joe and I headed up to my sister Elaine's house in northern New Jersey. Because of Christmas being on a Sunday and originally she was going to have to work that day, we planned to celebrate a day early.
We started out about 3 p.m. and had an uneventful drive. It wasn't crowded like a usual holiday weekend, but there was still plenty of traffic. We got there around 5 p.m.
Elaine's friend, Frank, took us out to dinner for Christmas. We went to the local diner. The food was really good. We came back home stuffed.
Frank stayed for a bit, opened the gifts we had gotten for him and then went home. We put our gifts under the tree and went to bed, waiting until morning to open our gifts.
Cody got in on the action helping Frank open the mug and hot chocolate we got him.
The tree was beautiful.
Joe with his tablet.
The gifts are under the tree. It's bedtime for us.
Christmas Eve was Christmas Day for us. I was the last one up. I was so tired and slept in. Elaine and Joe had already been up, eaten and Elaine had fed her bird, Spike, and taken her dog, Cody, out. They weren't quiet, were talking and showering and I never heard a thing. I must have been really tired! They finally woke me up because we were going to leave right after lunch to get home in time for church.
There were all kinds of things for breakfast: scones, Danish and croissants. Yum! I had a scone and a croissant both of which were wonderful. Then I got showered, dressed and we opened our gifts.
I made Elaine this blanket. It took me months to knit it but it turned out good. It is made out of chenille yarn.
Elaine gave me the new Debbie Macomber book "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I've already started it and it's really good.
Joe gave Elaine this pretty teapot and teacup.
A can of popcorn and a pretty purse from Elaine.
This adorable Santa bag had a new electric toothbrush and replacement heads for me from Elaine. My brush died so I was so happy to get this. I should have taken a picture of it because it has a designer handle. Really pretty.
I wrapped my gifts differently this year and I think they turned out really pretty.
Elaine used these cute handmade ornaments as our gift tags.
Instead of a stocking I gave Joe a plaid bucket that I found at Target. He loves red and black plaid. It's so him.
I love this pen Elaine stuck into my stocking. It has feathers and three giant jingle bells. I call it my magic wand.
After awhile we decided to have lunch so that Joe and I could start for home around 2 p.m.
Elaine made some delicious chicken wings.
There were all kinds of things to make a sandwich.
Of course there were Christmas Crackers. Joe and I got a red one with a Christmas tree on it.
Elaine had a green one with a reindeer.
It's always fun to pull them and hear the bang.
And, of course, wearing the paper crown through the meal.
We got really nice prizes too. And surprisingly each of us got a prize that was perfect for us. I got a bookmarker. And of course a silly riddle.
Joe got a really nice pen.
Elaine got a pocket mirror.
Cody was with us waiting for handouts.
All of a sudden Joe said, "I feel sick" and began to throw up. He ran from the table to the bathroom but didn't make it. He was very, very sick! I began cleaning up the floor because he had left his calling card throughout the entire house. After he stopped being sick I put him back to bed and he went to sleep. So I decided there was no way we could leave to go home. I asked Elaine if we could stay one more night and of course she said yes. I called Carole to ask her to check in one more day at the house and called the parsonage to let Pastor Ralph and Carolyn know we wouldn't be there.
After cleaning up the house -- the whole house -- Elaine and I finished eating and then while Joe slept we watched a few Christmas movies. Joe finally woke up in the early evening and was so upset that he had gotten sick. But he couldn't help it and we kept telling him not to worry about it. If you are sick, you are sick.
We got up very early on Christmas morning. We got dressed and I ate before we left. Joe just had a coke which he sipped on most of the way home.
We left at 7:30 a.m. and made really good time because there was almost no one on the road. I didn't expect any traffic that early on Christmas morning. Especially since it was a Sunday. And I was right. We really didn't hit any traffic until we got into Pennsylvania. By then it was almost 9:00 a.m. so people were getting up and out on the road.
I had Joe take a video when we were on Route 206 in New Jersey. It really is a pretty ride. This is the first video Joe ever did and I think he did a really good job.
When we got home Joe went to bed. I called Elaine to let her know I was home and then printed out the church bulletins. I quickly changed my clothes and headed out to church. I was pretty close to the service starting when I walked in and Pastor Ralph called me a "heroine" for showing up.
The service was beautiful and I was so glad I had gotten there. I gave out my Christmas cookies after the service as I usually do. After doing it for about 15 years I guess people expect it. I didn't have as many as I usually do, but I had something.
My friend, Carol N., gave me a gift bag. I told her we don't usually exchange gifts and she said it was just something she wanted me to have. Inside was a crystal figure of a cat that her brother had given her years ago when she lost one of her cats. She thought maybe it would comfort me. That was so sweet.
Carolyn gave me a book of devotions from the Gospel of John. I am going to start it on the first of the year.
When I got home, Joe and I exchanged gifts. I got him a salt crystal lamp. I'm hoping it will help him with his asthma and other breathing problems. He gave me a stand mixer I've been wanting. I am really happy. I will have to take pictures later to show you how nice it is. You know I'll be making good use of it.
My friend, Diane, came over for dinner. I used to work with her at the library. When I found out she was going to be alone on Christmas, I invited her over. We had a pork roast, rice and mixed veggies. She brought fruit and cinnamon buns for dessert. We ended up the evening watching "Polar Express" which Diane had never seen and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."
After I took Diane home, I sat down on the sofa and fell sound asleep. I slept until the next morning. I was so tired.
Yesterday I did nothing. Absolutely nothing except go to the pharmacy for my medicine. I think I needed to do nothing because I am really tired. So I hope to get a lot done today.
I hope you all had a good holiday. From the blogs I've been reading, it looks as if you did.
Sunrise: 7:21 a.m.
Sunset: 4:42 p.m.
9 hours and 21 minutes of daylight