Woke this morning to this gorgeous sky...the sun came up behind the woods and the lighting played so beautifully with the tops of the trees. What a beautiful sight!!!
Well, the big day is over and now the Christmas celebration continues until New Year's Eve with visits, family time, and after-Christmas-sales. We had a wonderful dinner but as good as it is, it sits like a rock in your stomach after you eat it. Stig said this is because we don't drink this stuff called Akavit here in Norway which is a very strong alcohol which according to Stig should settle your stomach after such a fattening meal....hmmmm....I found that my Pepcid tablet helped probably just as well and tasted better then Akavit thanks!!!
The kids were allowed to open one gift each in the morning and then had to wait all day for the rest. This was not a very popular idea for Thomas, the day went so slowly for him. We took a walk with the dogs into the woods, Thomas and Sarah drove the atv and met us at different points as the atv couldn't go the whole way through the woods. It was a gorgeous day yesterday with crisp white snow and blue skies. Couldn't have asked for a nicer day for Christmas, although a beautiful snow fall would have been super!
After dinner we opened gifts, saving the best for last!! Stig opened his first from me and got what he hoped "Santa" had brought him- a shiny new router. Now Santa wasn't so very familiar with routers, just knew this was what Stig wanted and went into the store, found the first thing that said router on it and got it...and apparently "Santa" got a nice one...nicer then Stig had thought he would have gotten!!! So Santa was happy and Stig was happy!!!! I've been promised lots of lovely things made with wood now that he has his fancy little toy, so I'll keep you informed what I get!!! Then it was my turn to open my gift from Stig....and it was what I was hoping he had gotten me- a new sewing machine!!! I have never had a sewing machine, I don't have any idea how to sew, not even a button!!! But I'm hoping to learn and be able to make some beautiful things. I got a bit nervous reading the instruction manual but Stig told me he'd help me get started so I'm excited!! Good I have a husband who can work all these nifty gadgets!!!! hahahaha!!!!
Then it was time for the kids to open their gift which was wrapped as a gift to them all, they opened the paper and saw a computer box....Oi, they started to ask if they had gotten a computer but we told them to continue, they took out the newspaper and two cans with nails that Stig threw in there as a decoy and found three individually wrapped packages and one package to all three. At the count of three they all ripped open their gifts to find IPOD Touch for each of them...their happy faces were proof that we had made a good decision and their hugs and proclaimations that we were the world's best parents ever and how surprised they were was wonderful!!! None of them had a clue as to what they were getting and had seen the three other individual packages we had wrapped to them and thought they were cell phones...but they turned out to be ski goggles!!!! So they had no idea what this last gift was, not even as they opened it!!! That was so fun!!! They have been inspecting these gifts under the tree for the last two weeks, shaking, feeling, and everything and they didn't have a clue!!! So much fun!!! These IPOD Touch are cool, Stig is so fascinated by them that I keep telling him we could always return his router but he's not up for that but he loves it and I think there might have to be one in his future, it would be great for him since he travels so much and so far and these are easy to take with and have so many neat gadgets on them, games, music, movies, maps, calculator, internet access.
So the gift part of Christmas was a success, the dinner was a success and the weather was gorgeous...we were all together and that was special...so this was in my humble opinion a very successful Christmas. Today we are getting a visit from the woman we train our dogs with and her family. I've made a lovely carrot cake with some extra Christmas spices in it and I have some leftover banana bread from yesterday we will also serve. Tomorrow Stig and I are going to a bygdefest (local party) and though I'm not a party person I'm trying to stay optimistic about it and looking forward to hearing the choir sing in the first part of the party and then socializing with the locals and becoming better acquainted with our fellow islanders and local folk. I know a lot of people from working with kids around here but Stig doesn't know that many so he will get the chance to meet people also. Monday we are going to a dog show near Oslo and Stig has to go to the Brazillian embassy to arrange for his visum to Brazil, he can't travel without it and D-Day is coming up all too quickly.
Despite the success of our Christmas there was some sad thoughts entering my head yesterday...the biggest was being away from my family during the holidays. We haven't spent a Christmas at "home" since Sarah was about to turn 1. She will turn 16 in January. I cant believe it's been 15 years!!! I miss my family Christmas's. We were thinking of going home for the holidays but tickets were going to run us over 30,000 Norwegian kroner for all five of us and then we have to have someone watch our dogs, the girl we use we would have had to pay about 6000-8000 kroner for two weeks plus arrange food for her. That's cheaper then a kennel, but still a lot of money...so we passed on the idea...but I spoke with my dad yesterday just briefly on the phone, they were headed out to do last minute shopping with grandma. I've gotten use to living over here, I love living here in Europe, but at Christmas is when I feel the pain of living so far away from my family. It's always been a big holiday for us, a family event, I knew from Christmas's past how their day was going and I missed being a part of it.
I also had thoughts of those less fortunate then us...while I made us banana bread for breakfast and fresh french bread I thought of those who woke and had no food...the fire was roaring in the fireplace and I thought of those who had no shelter and no warmth...our tree was bulging with gifts and the children's stockings were full of sweets and I thought of those who didn't have a tree and no packages under them, no stockings...when Stig and I had a Christmas drink I thought of children living with alcoholic parents who will be plastered this holiday season and how these poor children must deal with parents like that....I read on the internet about a soon to be 6 year old girl with a highly aggressive brain cancer and she is not expected to live much longer. She lives in Georgia in the states and her dream was to have a white Christmas, so with the help of Stone Mountain Park, some volunteers came to her home in the night and laid 30 tons of snow outside her home so she would wake to a white Christmas! Her parents said her laughter when she three snowballs would stay with them long after she was gone and this meant so much to them....On another website I read about a car crash that happened outside of Stig's parent's home this morning. Stig had spoke to his dad and his dad said he woke this morning at around 5:30 to a horrible sound, he looked outside his window and saw a car slammed against a tree and a body laying in the road outside his home. He went outside but there had already come others to help and the young man was taken with helicopter to Trondheim with severe injuries. Stig's dad said he didn't think it looked like the boy would make it but the newspapers report he's severly injured but still alive. He is the same age as our nephew (20) and was at the same party as our nephew that evening. By the grace of God our nephew didn't ride with this kid and no one else did either but that he made that tragic mistake of getting behind the wheel after he had been drinking might have cost him his life and think of his family getting news like this on Christmas morning! We are so blessed and lucky and I am so appreciative for everything in our lives...It's so easy to take for granted the lives we live so I hope everyone takes a moment to hug your family a little longer then normal...to say grace for the food on your table, to appreciate the warmth in your home and be more grateful for the things in your life....
Well, I have to go ice the cake...have a wonderful Christmas day folks... The photo is of my beloved children and their goggles...healthy happy and wonderful kids who I adore so much and the last photo is of the beautiful sunrise we had this morning...