PART ONE…Thanksgiving Day…
Thanksgiving Day in our family is full of good food, wonderful family, and furious decorating! We always have lunch at Pop’s with Joy in charge of the kitchen. Due to the effects of the past few weeks, we had a lot catered this year, and paper plates were in order. It was delicious! Our Birmingham Boy, Ian, came bearing two delightful deserts…one made by his own hand! Yummy!
While Lori slaved cleaning up the kitchen, all by herself, with a joyous attitude, Tara, Joy, Suzanne, Ian and I were busy seeing to the decorating of Pop’s house. It has been our tradition since Mom moved to Heaven to spend the hours after Thanksgiving dinner getting Pop’s house into a Christmas mood. Ian made 65 trips into the attic since he was the only male with young enough legs and strong enough arms to tackle the job. The other men were all a ‘few’ years his elder. His 3 peers were needed elsewhere…. onewas urgently needed to help control the deer population…out in the wilds of Abbeville. One was needed to sew and patch and transfer those who chose Thanksgiving and big sales as their clue to begin partying And, the last one was helping watch the youngest of the male members of our clan as they were showing their mad skills to each other and their grandfathers on various athletic equipment consisting of 2, 3, or 4 wheels! (But, if you notice, in the pics below, one of the little boys has a busted lip, chipped tooth and skinned nose…Way to Watch, guys!)
After we finally got the tree fluffed, and plugged in, we set about finding and hanging the 586 ornaments Mother had on her ‘family tree’. She also had a ‘Fancy Nancy tree’ elsewhere in the house, but the family tree has every single ornament any of her children or 5 grandchildren had ever made, or that anyone had given her. Oh, my! So many…and every one of them dear to her and Pop’s heart. We did away with the fancy tree, but still put this one up right in the den where he sees it. If Mother decorated something in years past…it must still be decorated now, according to our patriarch. Oh, and it makes him so happy to know she would be so happy to see it still done so. This means that 6 wreaths get hung, 3 light posts get adorned, arrangements on a dining room table, a kitchen table, the island, and two tables in the hall. AND the old ceramic tree with those tiny plastic bulbs that is as old as I, am goes in Pop’s study. We had fun, as we always do when we are together. Even Lori’s grumbling about people still using forks and glasses couldn’t stop our fun! (just kidding…well not really, but she did say it with a smile in her eyes!)
Someone may or may not have fallen off a step stool, onto a 3 foot tree lying on the couch and continued rolling until he/she hit the floor. And, the little tree may have been permanently altered. However, it sits proudly in its spot…propped up by 2 books that are hidden by some burlap around the base…looking to all the world as if it is intended to be that way. There can be beauty in the broken. Mom would be so proud!
Anyway, back to the purpose of my post today. John Thomas and Levi were so excited at the prospect of having another tree to decorate! Oh, the ornaments were shiny and bright and wherever they put them was perfection! John Thomas called the right to put up the star, with Uncle Ian’s help.
Let me just interject this observation. John Thomas is most cooperative and gracious to anyone who may even think they want to make his picture. He waits. He poses. He makes the most adorable smiles that make you just want to pitch his little cheeks! In fact he wants to be in every picture made!
Sweet Levi, on the other hand, does not have the patience nor the ‘want to’ to smile sweetly for just a quick second while you try and catch a cute picture. Pose? Are you kidding? You have to sneak around and usually the best I can do is get something from the side. If you ever do get him from the front…his eyes are looking around furiously to see what he can do the minute he is released. They are NEVER looking at the camera!!! (Unless he is being threatened by someone whom he knows really means it!) I always take 10 or 25 pictures of him in hopes of getting a good one!
You can not imagine what it took to get a good one of these 3 below…
Spot the difference in the two little boys? God love ’em both!
All kidding aside, with this tradition, we honor the sweet memory of our Mother and Granny and take great pleasure in making the house as festive as she did, knowing what pleasure it gives to Pop. And, he is so gracious and appreciative.
PART TWO…The Day After…
I ask for trouble. I know it’s true. Don’t mean to…but it happens.
Last year John Thomas was visiting me and asked me if we could paint a Christmas tree. I told him that I did not have one but I would look around and see what I could do. Well, things happened and people happened and life happened…and I did not get to carry out my plans. But, I told John Thomas that if I was able we would do it this year. And I was…and we did.
The day after Thanksgiving John Thomas and Sweet Levi showed up at my house at 10:00 sharp. And, I was ready and waiting on them! Time for our morning of fun to begin! I had a huge sheet spread out on the floor. Both boys had the same supplies…a bare tree, a palette of paint, brushes, an empty snow globe, two empty glass ornaments, a tiny truck, and a tiny tree. I kept control of the paint bottles, and the supplies for the snow globe.
We began by swirling different colors of paint inside the glass ornaments…these turned out very pretty…but was not a hit with the boys. It took too long for the paint to run down the sides. They needed fast results!
Then we started the trees. Now this, they loved. They discussed which colors they would use. Levi told John Thomas that he should copy him because he does art everyday. John Thomas told Levi that he already decided which colors and not to copy him! I think that ended all discussion of paint colors. They both went to work and let their creative spirits soar. I guess they didn’t notice they both had the same 4 colors.
The trees are hinged on the back so they will stand up. They did a great job! Then we washed up and sang a few Christmas carols to liven us up!
We made our little truck ornament for the tree, and then came time for the snow globe. Oh my!
I found the neatest snow globes at Michael’s this year. They are plastic and are in 3 pieces…the globe, a little platform for the characters you choose, and a twist on cap. And, they are large enough that you can put more than one thing in it. I had a snowman, a deer, trees, 2 elves, a house, a bicycle and two signs to the North Pole. And two bags of snow! John Thomas chose first cause he said he was older. Levi said, “Don’t you know I’m 4 now?” JT told him it didn’t matter, he was still older. Levi told him that he went to his birthday and he was four, too! John Thomas just rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, two years ago, Levi” I didn’t stop at 4!” Not sure Levi gets it yet, but we let JT go first. He tried out several and decided on an elf and a tree and a sign. So, I hot glued and then we opened the snow. OH! THE! SNOW! I bought some somewhere that was teeny little styrofoam like balls. BIG MISTAKE! They immediately attach themselves to your hands and clothes and face and everything! And, they are so very lightweight that every time you breath out or say a word the weight of your breath sends them into orbit. They fall where they will and refuse to let themselves be picked up again! I learned a lesson, for sure.
Levi and John Thomas were sure troopers though. They got down on the floor and tried their best to corral the lost snow. Oh if only it would really melt! Needless to say, we grabbed what we could and dumped it in a bag and decided Levi would use the flaky snow! He had been studying the pieces and finally decided that he would take the other elf and a tree and a sign…just like John Thomas! I glued. And told him to wait for me to open the bag of that lighter than air flaky stuff. Somehow, his brain did not comprehend what those words meant and he bit a hole in the top of the bag and proceeded to pull it apart with all his might. And he did…pull it apart. And it really truly snowed in my studio. A whole bag full. I couldn’t speak. John Thomas stared at me. Levi laughed and said, “Come on, John Thomas, help me put it back in the bag and lets do it again!” JT didn’t move. He knew. He’s 6. The bag was quickly then removed from Levi’s hands and cleanup began. OH ! My! What Fun! Here’s the two other ones we did. See those little demon balls in the snowman? NEVER buy them!
We finished up with the projects and put everything away. They played with cars for a while, then John Thomas chose a book for me to read. But, no. Levi decided he would read to John Thomas. He ‘read’ him a photo album of his K3 year of school. I don’t think JT was particularly enthralled. But, the dear boy was kind, and let Levi finish.
And this is the only bad picture of John Thomas known to be in existence!
And our fun morning came to an end. The boys gathered their treasures together to take home and soon their Moms came to pick them up. I tried everything to remove snow from my studio, and finally hit on a lint roller as the best tool for the job. Used up all the sheets on the roll…but there’s very little snow left!
JT looked the the pics I took before he left and he told me I messed up on this one. “You don’t have anything in this picture, Aunt Tonja, “he said. “Oh yes, I do, Little Man! There’s a little hand reaching into to a beautiful palette of paint! He can paint anything he wants. He can create a blue sky or a dark storm, or a truck or an airplane or even a family. It’s all up to the artist. I think it’s beautiful!” He said it still looked like a wrong picture to him. That’s OK. He’s 6!
“…work with your own hands…” 1 Thessalonians4:11
And, it’s now nap time for the grown-up!