Tuesday, December 31, 2013

When A House Becomes a Home

If you ask my husband this was the best Christmas ever!  I am inclined to agree with him.  It was magical and will never be duplicated.  By now you've read many posts about our beloved farmhouse.  It has been the topic of many a blog post and the place we have made many wonderful summer memories.  One of our wishes has always been to spend Christmas at the farmhouse.  We took a huge leap of faith this summer and agreed, as a family, to spend this Christmas at the farmhouse.  

She sits and waits 
We arrived on a cold but not freezing rainy night.   We immediately felt the small town love that we seldom feel back in Houston.  Our neighbor picked us up at the airport and drove us home.  Another neighbor had been warming up our house for us by building fires and turning on the heat in our bedroom and bathroom.  We love our neighbors!  The house was exactly like I left it and the next morning as I sat in my usual spot and drank my tea it felt so familiar!  Even surrounded by a blanket of snow!

Mother Nature had been very generous this year with her snow!  From what we hear, two feet of snow before Christmas is not normal.  We just got lucky!  We did have an ugly day of sleet, rain and ice which postponed our Christmas tree procurement, grocery shopping and the arrival of our son and his wife.  All others arrived and departed in a timely manner.

 There was one Christmas miracle at the Halifax airport when our daughter, her husband and 3 sons arrived and were waiting for our youngest daughter to arrive.  Their rental car was too small for their family and one more and there were no larger cars available....what to do?  When what to their wondering eyes should appear but neighbor Bill and his sleigh with room for one more!  They sent a passenger away with neighbor Bill who arrived at the farmhouse to applause and dinner with 20!

It was the best we could do!  No, that is not toilet paper wrapped around it,
 it's burlap ribbon with gold flecks....just can't tell from here!

Young and old waiting for Santa arrive on Christmas Eve!
Christmas Day was very different.  No early waking to see if Santa came...no gift opening either.  We all loaded up and went to church.  We filled an entire row and made quite the statement when we entered.  I was a bit teary when they sang the first song,  we really did feel the true meaning of Christmas.  We even had a blue sky to light up the white landscape!

It was magical!

I was a happy camper!

Our last arrivals came Christmas night and they completed our family!  The following days were spent eating....a lot, playing with the grandchildren, baking, playing in the snow, hiking in the snow, doing dishes, visiting, and generally having nothing to do but be together and enjoy our surroundings.  One other Christmas miracle was that our internet went down on day 2 because of the ice and remained down until a day ago!  We were forced to go dark and therefore had to let our cell phones and computers have a much needed winter rest.  It was a major blessing in disguise!  Christmas unplugged.

We used every inch of our farmhouse and the place stayed warm and cozy and none of us felt crowded.  It was as if our house had been waiting to be utilized to it's fullest and performed perfectly.  With 12 of us living here, and all the laughter and activity the house went from feeling like a place we visit to a home...where all of our hearts will remember this most special week.

In no particular order here are some highlights of the BEST Christmas ever!

These two had fun sliding down the hills!
The neighbors came to visit!

John thinks this is a great place to be!

Looks like Grampy fell in the snow...

The grandsons loved rolling in the snow!
We had more fun than humanly possible here!
On toys like this....

Jehnna was in her element in the many feet of snow!

We did a little snowga!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Year In The Life Of The Blog

Before I head north for the Great Mahoney Christmas Adventure I thought I'd steal an idea from another blogger and share some of the best of the blog this year.  How do you determine the best?  Is the best post the one with the most hits?  Is it the prettiest?  Is it the one that makes you laugh the most or the one that brings tears to your eyes?  Or... is it the rare one that does all of the above?  I think maybe one out of 50 posts covers all the bases and since I haven't even written 50 posts this year (I was a total slacker), there may not be that "one".  I also have my favorites which don't always match up to the statcounter.  They are all my babies and unlike with my real babies....I do have favorites.

There is one clear standout in the number of hits this year!  Which shows what happens when a post is reposted by several people with broader networks than mine!

1.A True Fairy Tale
Once upon a time there was a girl who loved the book, Anne of Green Gables.  She loved the story and the setting.  She spent most summers in Nova Scotia and like many girls, related to Anne in many ways.  She was headstrong, like Anne.  She also dreamed that some day she and "her Gilbert" might be married in Amherst Shore, Nova Scotia.  (read more...)

The perfect day!

This next post may be one of my all time personal favorites and also in second place this year for the number of hits.  Personally, it is an example of true inspiration that came in a flash.  It was also something I have wanted to express and struggled to express for many years.  A rare time when all the pieces fit together.

2.What Is A Cottage
 This cottage doesn't know it but it was the inspiration for this post. I was walking along the lane the other day and was inspired (I've been waiting...).  I have walked past this cottage so many times in my life I can't even count them!  I am always struck by it's beauty, it is still on the shore side of the lane and with it's weathered shingles and window boxes filled with red geraniums it strikes a lovely profile against the beach.  It was built in 1906 and has survived the test of time. (read  more...)

3.  How To Party Like A Scotia Woman
The third in the Scotia Woman series which has proven to be very popular!  Who can resist Scotia Woman?!  She may even make an appearance at the Great Mahoney Christmas Adventure!

read more here....
The next post is not the prettiest visually but if you use your imagination it definitely paints a picture.

4. Hindsight is 20/20
I remember back in 1985 when my husband bought our (his) first VHS! video camera.  It was about the size of a current microwave oven and probably heavier!  It was not coincidental that this purchase was made the same year our only son was born.  (read more...)

5.  The Boy In The Striped Sweater
Today I saw the light in the form of a bright rainbow striped sweater on a grown boy with special needs. 
(read more..)  

When I reread this post from very early in the year the memories flooded back and I am still in awe of the family who put things in perspective for me on that day.

P.S. One year later, my LG is doing quite well in the City of Brotherly Love!

Thank you, boy in the striped sweater!

Finally, this next one was not big on the "hit" list, it has no pictures and it is not funny.  It does however hold a special place in my heart.  Especially at this time of year, it's important for me....and you, to remember some special people in our lives who have gone before us.

6. Turning the Page
Two weeks ago we turned the page in a chapter in many lives.  We said goodbye to my mother-in-law.  For the last five years or so I have thought of writing about my mother-in-law and resisted..... 
(read more...)

There you go folks!  A little light holiday reading.....I'm sure everyone has their personal favorite post for one reason or another.  This is a combination of the most popular and a couple of my favorites over the past year.  Thank you for reading and for your kind words of encouragement.  I will continue to try to live up to your expectations!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

While We Were Away

While we were away eating delicious French food,

Delicious buttery flaky pastry!
 drinking French wine,

 and walking many beautiful miles in Paris,

my favorite bridge in Paris, Pont Alexandre III....
 there was a bit of funny business going on in our neighborhood with the mail delivery.  Apparently our substitute mail person went "postal"! I arrived home to about 15 emails from our neighborhood representative, aka mail fraud private eye, about the missing mail.  After many inquiries to the post office it was discovered that our mail person would just quit delivering the mail when it got dark and "hide" it back at the post office.  Like not one would notice getting no mail for days around Christmas time! No kidding! Guess our carrier just didn't buy into the Postal Service motto,  "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds".  The mail delivery has been corrected and all is right with the world and the 5 a day emails from our neighborhood rep. have ceased!

Another thing on my mind while I was away
walking through Tuileries garden

enjoying the view from the top of the Ferris wheel

admiring one of my favorite buildings, the Petite Palais

and taking in the sunset from the bar at the top of Tour Montparnasse

 was whether I should put up a tree and decorate our house this year.  (First world problems here people!) We are going to Nova Scotia for Christmas, so why bother here?  My inner Scrooge lost out to my inner sentimental self and I have a mini Christmas tree and about 25% of my decorations around the house. I still have to laugh every time I pass our mini tree in the foyer...sorry mini tree.  We even put up some of our outside lights....I just could not let down the neighborhood and all those people driving around looking at lights.  People still do that don't they?  We do....but we are nerds who love Christmas lights.  

As far as Christmas cards go this year, they will be New Year's cards.  I am going to wait until we have the entire family together at the farmhouse to take "the" picture for the cards....and I'm going to wait until I get home to mail them, even though with the way the mail goes around here that might not be the best idea!  I'm also hoping the creative powers that be invade my consciousness so I can whip out that letter!

One thing I did not think about while I was away was the chance of running into someone I knew while I was away.  Thanks to Facebook and my need to let everyone know what I am doing and where I am going, one of my Boston cousins noticed I was going to Paris and let me know that her daughter was going to be there at the same time!  All this happened during my layover in the Newark airport.  Probably one of the few good things that have ever happened to me in that airport!  

Bonjour, Boston cousin and friends on the Champs Elysees at Christmas!
There is just no telling what will happen when you go away!  Stay tuned....for the great northern adventure in a week.  Yes, it will be an adventure!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...