Family and the Holidays

I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had with my sister and her husband and my niece and nephew here for the Thanksgiving holiday! It has been the absolute BEST TIME EVER and I cannot wait to do it again for New Year’s Eve (provided I can keep her awake to watch the ball drop in Times Square lol) and then again this summer! We are already planning a family get-together at the beach either here in Virginia or in Maryland where one of our uncles lives.

danielle jazzie and shane

This is my sister, Danielle, with my niece, Jasmine, and my nephew, Shane. Jazzie is 7 years old and Shane is 5 years old – and both of them are just absolutely adorable. This visit was the first time that I actually got to spend any time at all with them. I had never met either of them, only seen pictures and talked to them on the telephone. So when Jazzie came in the house and promptly curled up on my lap for a cuddle after we all sat down – I was a big ole puddle of mushy auntie in her hands. Me being the procrastinator and DORK that I am … knew that she was coming on Wednesday and I still had some cleaning to finish up.

She had said that they weren’t leaving till the kids were out of school – which down here in Virginia wouldn’t have been till about 1:00 p.m. for a half-day, so I futzed around on the computer all morning and most of the afternoon – thinking a good 6 or 7 hours trip, they wouldn’t arrive till about 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. So imagine my utter and complete panic attack shock when she calls me around 3 p.m. and tells me that they will be here in an hour or so! I went into full-blown panic mode LOL! Y’all would have laughed your arses off at me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, throwing stuff in the closets and shoving under the beds, wishing I could have an additional feather duster or three attached to various body parts as I went!

Needless to say – none of that mattered when I saw my sister. If I hadn’t been so thrilled to have them here – I would have been a big ole’ puddle of tears! We hugged each other as though we hadn’t seen each other in years. Shane was the first one in the door – he just came flying in and said hi and headed straight for the kid’s bedrooms lol! That little guy is just so. much. FUN! We had an awesome time chatting and just being near each other – we hugged every chance we got LOL!

After a short while, Kenny (my sister’s fiancé) was fading fast poor guy (he had just gotten off work at 7 am that morning and had not had any sleep at all after having worked all night long) so Sis and the kids and Kenny went off to the hotel to check-in and then they were coming back so Kenny could get some much-needed sleep. After she had returned and we had some more time to get caught up with each other, all that traveling was starting to catch up with them and it was time to head back to the hotel. I didn’t want to let her go. I wished I could have just tucked her into bed with me and kept her there. Before she was even out of the parking lot I was in tears again, missing her already.

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day arrived and I think I was more excited this year for the holidays than I have ever been before. I was up super early (for me anyway) cooking and getting my turkey seasoned up and pulling out pots and pans and casserole dishes to get everything cooking. Once that was done, I started working on ‘fixing’ my dear sister’s computer. Yes, folks, she BROUGHT THE COMPUTER FROM PENNSYLVANIA so that I could fix it for her ROFLMBO! She’d gotten herself some spyware on the computer and didn’t know how to get it off. Naturally, her geek sister was able to hook her up and get her back up and running again. I almost stole her computer. She’s got a touch screen – so jealous! Sis and the crew arrived that morning (she wanted to help but with the kitchen being so small, there wasn’t a whole lot she could do with my fat arse in there too!) and while the kids were playing and we were waiting for dinner to finish, we had a glass of this:

Oh. My. God. I am not a wine drinker per se. When I drink, I want something that is going to knock me out of this world with just a few sips … but this – this was the BEST wine that I have EVER tasted! We had the Blueberry Wine from Stone Mountain Wine Cellars while the turkey was cooking, and the Desire Wine after we returned home on Friday from a day full of ripping and running here and there (I tried to show them everything in Richmond in one day. Epic fail and supreme excuse for plenty more return trips). I have to admit, my wine experience is limited to Boones Farm and the occasional bottle of Dom Perignon for New Year’s Eve. That’s about the extent of it. But I completely and totally fell in love with these two wines and will DEFINITELY be getting more! After completely draining my glass and starting to feel a nice little buzz…the turkey was done!

(photo courtesy of J. who was playing with the Blackberry)

Talk about G-O-O-D! I think it was one of the best turkeys I have ever cooked! After everyone stuffed their faces, and neighbors dropped by and left with a heaping plate of food as well – we all settled back to just chill and relax for a while. The turkey – doing what it does – had us all ready for a nap within minutes of sitting down and getting comfy. Either that or my demon couch and chair were in full effect. Nobody can sit on them and get comfy and not want to fall asleep. It’s their curse. I regret that I didn’t take photos of the awesome pies that my sister brought from Pennsylvania for us. Pecan, German Chocolate Cake, and a Shoofly pie. Something I had not tasted since I was a young girl growing up in Pennsylvania (recipe will be forthcoming) and I shamelessly ate the entire pie by myself over the course of a few days! All too soon, it was time to call it a night and my sister and the crew went back to their apartment. That was okay though…they needed their rest for what I had in store for Friday!

Start of the Christmas Season

I’m sure that all towns have one particular event that ‘officially’ kicks off the start of the holiday season. For Richmonders, it is the appearance of Legendary Santa at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. I couldn’t wait to take Shane and Jasmine to see Santa. We have the REAL DEAL here, y’all. There is no other Santa like him, and I couldn’t wait for my niece and nephew to experience the magic of Legendary Santa. To ‘kick-off’ the festivities, Shane and Jasmine each received their own video straight from Santa as well. (You can have Santa send one to your child too right here). The sheer joy of being able to watch Shane’s eyes light up when Santa was talking to him was a precious gift that I will forever hold close to my heart. My sister and I sat there watching him and Jasmine watch their videos and bawled like babies. Sigh. The waterworks must run in the family. Shane watched him about five times before we left to go see Santa. First, there was a stop at the local McDonald’s to ‘fuel up’ on some goodies before we headed off for the day.

Isn’t that just the most adorable smile?

Then we were off to see Santa…I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Once we finished our visit with Santa and dropping off letters in the mailbox for him and riding the train, it was off to The Robins Nature & Visitor Center at Maymont and then a romp through the park afterwards. Everyone (including the adults) had an awesome time!  

By the time we finished walking the majority of the park, it was time for the adults to head back to the house for a glass of wine and to rest our aching feet – the kids were just getting their second wind it seems, but we were exhausted! We had dinner and dessert, and then it was time for my sis and her family to go back to their hotel for the night. Again, I didn’t want to let her go. Having her here with me for the holidays just somehow made me feel complete. The only thing that could have possibly made it better was if my daughter had come by to see them while they were here.

Saturday and Goodbye

I didn’t want Saturday to come. I cried Friday night – alone in the shower where nobody would hear me – at the thought of her leaving and not knowing when we would be able to see each other again. It was as utterly heart wrenching and agonizing as losing my father was. I tried my best to put it out of my mind, but eventually, Saturday came, and I knew I would have to say goodbye.

We spent as much time as we could together, but the morning had disappeared after everyone had breakfast, and it was time for them to leave to travel to Maryland to see our mother’s brother – our Uncle Tom. We helped them get everything loaded up in the car – and clung to each other like life support systems. She later told me that she saw Tre at the store across the street (where they had stopped for gas) and he wanted to know what was wrong. She was sitting there in the car bawling her eyes out – just as I was sitting on my chair in the living room bawling my eyes out.

Sisters are like that.

We’ve made plans for my brood to travel to Pennsylvania to welcome in the New Year with my sister at her home. I can’t wait. I’m counting the days until we leave.

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