The kids were up early, but Jill wasn't. When we arrived, bringing the Christmas bread, we were informed that breakfast was being moved back to 9:30. Everyone was OK with that except Isaac, who did a remarkable job of restraining himself, since he REALLY wanted to get to that pile of gifts under the tree.
We did do stockings while we were waiting and preparing. That was fun. The stockings were well stuffed.
Just before Breakfast, Irene placed the decorative cherries on the warmed wreath bread.
We ate eggs and sausages and cardamom bread and talked and took our time. But then Tom and Jake had to get the barbecue ready for the turkey and the turkey stuffed and ready to be smoked and roasted.
Finally it was time to open gifts. There were fun gifts and surprise gifts and warm and cozy gifts.
Jake entertained himself working Isaac's new puzzles.
Tom searched under the tree for the next right gift to deliver.
This won the prize for the most fun gift. When we took the kids shopping for their gifts for their mom, Irene found this calendar - Hot Guys and Baby Animals - and insisted we had to get it. How could you go wrong with that!
There was one thing that Isaac wanted more than anything, Nike LaBron high top shoes. He knew they were expensive and that if he got them it would limit what else he got. Well, I have never paid that much for shoes in my life, but Grandma is a soft touch. The package was well buried, and he had to wait, but when he opened it, he got very quiet. I think he was having trouble believing that he was actually holding them.
Jake took a photo and posted it on Facebook - this is guy news!
Little old Tiger found a good nest in the chaos.
Gifts done, and clean up sort of done, I went for a walk. When I returned, I found Tom back on his phone.
I always give the kids, Jake included, small Lego kits in their stockings. I found Jake at the table putting his together.
I found Isaac in the computer room putting his big new kit from Santa together.
I found Irene downstairs adding to another kit they have been playing with for several weeks.
Jill was in the kitchen preparing stuffed mushrooms.
Then it was time for the concert. As a fifth grader, Irene is now in the school band and is learning the saxophone. Her band teacher told each student they had to perform for an audience some time over the holiday break. Irene prepared a program to announce her performance.
Well done, Irene!
Irene shared her new book with Jake.
Isaac set up Skype on his new Kindle Fire reader, so he can communicate with his dad. I think he was going to sleep in those shoes, and the Oregon Ducks hat too.
I worked in the kitchen with Jill, peeling lots of potatoes and vegetables.
It was as we were waiting for the potatoes to boil that we first noticed that the burner wasn't hot. We had been using the wall oven and the new stove oven and the burners, and then suddenly none of them were working!
Tom tried the circuit box, and the appliance lights came on, but nothing was heating. OK, what to do. The vegetables roasting in the oven were done enough, but the yams weren't baked, and we NEEDED mashed potatoes and gravy. The turkey on the grill got done and we wrapped it up to keep it warm while Tom and Jill and I began to think.
When we think back on it now, we are impressed by how calmly we just started problem solving. We could boil some potatoes in the microwave in a glass bowl. Jill had a camp stove we could set up on the deck. We could put the stuffing in the toaster oven we could plug in in the laundry room.
Jill gave us a new microwave, and Tom said, "Hey, we have another microwave" and got it out of the box. We had to move it to the bathroom counter when we blew a circuit in the kitchen. We boiled the rest of the potatoes on the camp stove, Jill cooked vegetables in the microwaves, and as soon as the potatoes were done, I made the gravy on the camp stove.
As I stood out in the cool air on the deck stirring the gravy, I had to grin. Here we had given Jill a new stove for Christmas, and it wasn't working. How ironic. But instead of going into a panic, we just handled it. There I was stirring the gravy on the deck!
We got everything cooked, only a half hour late, and sat down to a wonderful dinner, very pleased with ourselves. Catastrophe averted by professional problem solvers.
Jake left soon after dinner to meet up with friends to go to the new Star Wars movie. Tom and I lingered to clean up and have dessert, We left for home about 7:00. All of us agreed it was a very good Christmas!
And Saturday afternoon Tom was back at Jill's house to try to figure out the wiring issue with the new stove. I was keeping my fingers crossed.
I got back from my late afternoon walk to find the message "It's working!" Tom had tested and traced wires over and over again, texted back and forth with jake for advice, and finally fixed the connectivity problem.
Jill's kitchen is now back in business! And I am relieved.