Had to show you another gift I received this month all the way from Luxembourg. Paola sent me another "goodie" for the Roses for Sally box. It is so elegant and the stitching and finishing is just impeccable. I cannot thank you enough Paola, for such a beautiful pin pillow for my box. Periodically I sit down with my box and spread the pieces out so I can look at them and play with them a little before putting them all back so very neat and tidy until next visit. I always loved to play with my dollhouses and needlework smalls have taken their place. Continually pulling items out, playing with them a little and then rearranging them back in the box. So much fun! I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful stitching friends who shower me with such beautiful treasures. Thank you so much Paola, this will be cherished by me and when I'm gone Sara will lovingly take it and cherish it as well. It is such a comfort to know that my treasures will live on once I'm gone and not end up at a yard sale. (that would be enough to make me rise from the dead) I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine was. I happen to fall ill on Monday preceding Christmas and each day ended up doing nothing but sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. I didn't even stitch (that shows how sick I was). Each day hoping I would pull myself together and get busy getting my work done, and each day just laying there saying "tomorrow, I'll get things done tomorrow." By the 23rd I was thinking I wasn't going to be able to pull it together and each of the girls after coming over, looked around, and said, "At least let me help you clean up the house." There were at least 15 bags of groceries sitting on the kitchen floor (at least I did get the stuff in the refrig and freezer so that much was done). I did manage to shampoo the living room carpet (and announced that would be the last time I ever did that-in fact, it was exhausting.) But I woke up on the 24th, bright and early around 5:30 a.m. and said "it is now time to do or die trying." Since I felt a little better, I started right away hoping I could get most of it done. With each item checked as done, pickled beets, spiced peaches, cinnamon rolls, turkey prepped and ready, sauerkraut ready, candied sweet potatoes ready to go, cheesecake finished, apple pie finished, Jello Smetna mold done, mac & cheese for the kids ready, I started feeling like I might actually accomplish this. Mary showed up and said, "at least can I help with the front porch" but no that wasn't going to happen either...I was on it. I realized I would need to go out to the grocery store one more time and Michael decided to come over so off we went. After returning back home Michael decided to put his feet up and take a nap on the sofa. Unfortunately I sat down to regroup and woke up a couple of hours later. Uh, Oh, I didn't have that kind of time. So while I was feeling a little panic, thankfully Sara went to the church after the 5:00 service and got things ready for Christmas Day services so I could continue working at home. I was feeling like I was going to really pull it off and thought at 1:30 a.m. that I would just sit and take a breather. Well, that didn't help because that breather lasted until 5:30 a.m. Oh, no Christmas day and I'm still working on getting ready. So I got the sauerkraut into the crockpot, make the stuffing and got the bird stuffed and in the oven. I was panicing because the kids showed up two years ago around 10:00 a.m. and that screwed me up completely. Everyone comes to my house at dinner time and we eat and exchange gifts then. But Solomon was hoping someone got him a computer two years ago and when he didn't get one upstairs he came down to see if he got one from me (which of course he did) but that has meant my house is next in line if something is missing from upstairs. I had everything done but the gravy and the 2 vegetable sides so I started finishing the pick up of the house, wrapping a few gifts I found and hadn't done yet and I heard the door open around 9:30 a.m. and just about screamed when I saw Mary and said, "OMG, are the kids here already?" But the surprise was mine, she made a stuffed French toast (cream cheese and strawberries-yummo) with bacon and sausage and brought me a plate. The kids were still upstairs. Win Win. It was so good and gave me the super charge I needed. Mary refused to let the kids come down and I finally called upstairs around 1:30 to see what was happening. She was shocked when she came down and everything was picked up, gifts wrapped and in place, table set, food cooking and I was still sane. Sara kept texting since she is usually my first call when I am in the weeds. (this is why we live so close to our children isn't it...to get help) Anyway, each text from her was answered with "I'm fine, it's all good, and I've got this." I've decided that on my gravestone it should be chiseled, "She thought she had it." Around the 3:00 text I said, "Well, the kids are here, everything is done except the green beans with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and the asparagus has to be roasted and hollandaise sauce made, and the gravy. Perhaps if you could come a little early it would be good. She runs down in her P.J.'s and takes over the kitchen (thank God) and starts the vegetables and getting the gravy done. The only thing I actually did after that was the hollandaise sauce so as usual, Sara ended up finishing up the Christmas dinner with just one thing to say, "Mom next year we're doing this at my house." It's always the damn vegetables and gravy that I poop out on....but hopefully next year is a whole other story. I swear I can do this with no help....here's hoping 2016 finds me in good health and able to let Sara stay home until dinner time. (although I think it would kill her to see me complete the dinner without her help) Both girls went overboard with gifts, which is typical and I got lots of goodies so Santa was definitely good to me. When the night was finally over and everyone left, it felt so good to lay down and just relax and know that I survived another Christmas. The 26th we always redo the Christmas dinner to get rid of as much of the left overs as possible. During the day Brian came down to hook up the Roku system he and Mary gave me and I decided I was going to make French fries with my new big fryer for the kids (and me). I had extra potatoes and decided to cut them fresh since I didn't have any frozen and it's so easy why not. I had everything heating and was in control, although Brian stayed to help with the French fries since he is one of the chefs at the Hilton and has worked with a fryer. When all was said and done we were down 3 people, Vernon and Michael went to Cabela's for their after Christmas sale (really, after all you got and you still needed to get more) and Solomon spent the 26th at the skatepark and then wanted to go home with a friend. But as I said, well more French fries for us. After dinner was over and everyone had gone, I Roku'd myself to sleep as I watched "Vicious" so witty and fun to watch. And today, we're back at work. The weather is gorgeous, oh, yes, in fact I was so hot on Christmas Day we opened the windows and I slept that night with the windows still open, in DECEMBER I slept with the windows open. Can you believe this? Sunny and 70's, I thought it was summer. In fact, I've pulled some of my summer tops out to wear. Today people are riding bikes on the boardwalk in shorts and sandals. Mercy, we are so fortunate. I see the news and the horrible weather situations and think I'm blessed to live here. This sure makes up for the month of June when the Graduating class of 2015 was in town...I'd rather live at the dump than put up with that. The only thing that went wrong for me this year is that I didn't pick up my needle for almost a week. Not one stitch until last night.