On the Christmas Day of Christmas

16 Days of Christmas

On the 9th Day of Christmas

We went back to the beach. Todd and the kids and I drove down to Del Mar beach just south of Newport, Taylor and I with cameras in hand. So much beauty to be captured! I saw a rather large, purple starfish on the rocks beneath the jetty, but the water was too swirly to get a good photo of it.

While we were there Tim and Rachele and their kids drove down to Newport Beach so we hopped in the car and drove the 8.29 miles to get right across the very small inlet.  No really. Look. We started at B and drove 8.29 miles all around the harbor to end up at A. We could have swam, swum, swimmed, dog paddled across the inlet and made it there quicker.

Newport Map

sealOnce all together much photographing ensued. There were a couple of seagulls and a pelican floating just off shore and while we were watching them a cute little seal poked his head out. I managed to get a couple of pictures of the seal, but I only had my wide angle lens on so I couldn’t get very close. Still, the photos are good enough to prove I’m not lying. Because I’m not that good at Photoshop.

On the 10th Day of Christmas

Christmas Eve was pretty leisurely. I made some pie crusts, but I’ve decided it’s hard to make something like that in a strange kitchen. Not that the in-law’s kitchen is strange. It is, in fact, an awesome kitchen. But you know what I mean. And when we eat the pies later today I can use this excuse if the crusts are bad.

I made my usual Dutch Apple Pie and then strayed from tradition and made a chocolate mousse pudding pie.  They look good. But, as we have all found out here, you can’t judge a pear by its skin.

Rachele and Katie and I played gin for a while in the backyard. But “gin” and “Jen” sound so similar and I was getting really confused so they started calling me Roxie at my request. Meanwhile, Todd, Taylor & Nicholas went to the tennis courts for a little tennis fun.

Nicholas decided he wanted to come back so Olivia went to get him, but there were other kids playing there so she decided to stay. So instead of tennis, it was Todd and Taylor throwing tennis balls at the kids. That sounds mean. I think the kids liked whatever “game” they were playing. But then Todd calls me and says, “you were supposed to come pick up one and now we have four. Come get them.” So Tim went to get all the kids off the tennis court. And then I got a text from Todd that said, “You were supposed to come get two and now there are three.” So I texted back, “I would send your dad, but then you’ll have four.”

All the while, Rachele, Katie and I were enjoying our rousing game of gin.

The best part of the day was when Taylor, Katie, Nicholas and Olivia made chocolate chip cookies for Santa. Serious cuteness occurred.

On the Christmas Day of Christmas

At 6:30 AM we awoke to the sounds of happy children squealing with delight at the sight of their Christmas stockings overflowing with goodies. We haven’t had small children around for Christmas for a very long time. We’re used to sleeping until, you know, morning. But it’s okay because it’s Christmas and we can take naps.

We drank coffee, opened presents, drank coffee, ate breakfast, drank coffee, played with our presents, drank coffee and took naps. Okay. I did all that. I don’t know about anyone else.

One of my favorite gifts this year was a 70-300 zoom/macro zoom lens. Now I want to go back to the beach and take pictures of Mr. Seal. I wonder if he would accommodate me again.

It is now 4:30 and the kitchen is all abuzz with people doing last minute dinner prep. This is my favorite part of Christmas day. Not opening presents. Not playing with the presents. But sitting around the table – everyone in one place and focused on good food and each other. But mostly the good food.

Just keeping it real.


  1. Michele McMillan on December 26, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Looks like LOTS of good memories were made on your trip out west! I noticed that your kids are blond and brunette (boy and girl respectively) and Tim and Rachele’s kids are blond and brunette (boy and girl respectively too!) Have lots more fun while you’re there! Are you going to the Rose Parade?

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