Friday, January 11, 2013

Holiday Cheer

We were blessed to have all of our children home over the Christmas holiday season, with airport runs  to receive them beginning December 10 (Oldest Daughter) and continuing right up until Christmas Eve (Active Son, who has Resident Advisor duties). I'm trying not to borrow trouble from the future by thinking that our Christmas holidays all together are numbered, but such are a mother's thoughts. I now understand more fully my mother and mother-in-law's desire for all their children to come together for family gatherings.

I'll use some of Tayta's photos to remember highlights of our time together. She received a new camera lens for her 16th birthday (December 24th, celebrated this year, for the first time on December 26 to accommodate Active Son's late arrival.) but even without it, she's become the family photographer.

We enjoyed mostly sunny skies throughout December, so were able to get out and enjoy the countryside together. We took the kids to the Dibeen Nature Reserve to share with them the beautiful sights which Dear Husband and I had enjoyed just a month earlier. Dibeen marks the spot for this year's family picture.

My favorite people
(disclosure: Artist Son is standing on a low rock. He is now the tallest in our family. Who'd have thought?)

After the hike, we drove to a lookout point in search of just the right spot for our picnic lunch.This was no ordinary picnic: A few days earlier Tayta confessed that she dreamed of making a two layer chocolate cake for a picnic, and pulling that cake out of a picnic basket. In addition, the knife to cut the cake would be taped to the bottom of the cake plate with paper tape. This dream was inspired by multiple readings in childhood of a Little Golden childrens' book given to our family before Tayta was born.

The boys, playing the part of Mickey, carrying the picnic basket to the picnicking spot.

Minnie, I mean Tayta, living the dream. She did forget to tape the knife to the bottom of the cake plate, but thankfully, she didn't forget to bring it. The cake was delicious, especially the frosting which was whipped coconut milk with just a little powdered sugar and cocoa. I'm glad this poetic daughter convinced this pragmatic mom to let her bring a frosted chocolate layer cake on our picnic.

It wouldn't be a complete holiday in Jordan if we didn't get out to visit some ruins. Since Um Al Jimaal    (Mother of Camels), once a Byzantine and early Islamic town, is just 15 miles from our home, we decided to go there.

Some things never change.

If I remember correctly, I'm someplace outside the frame of this picture yelling to the boys, "Don't even think of trying that." 

A family photo...

and the backstory: Here are the boys convincing me that it is safe and easy to walk along these arches, and it's the perfect place for us to stand for a family photo. My trepidation revealed my aging sensibilities.

The favorite holiday food in our house was not the homemade oreo cookies with mint frosting, or even the traditional chocolate covered peanut butter balls. It was Dear Husband's olives.

Indeed, we polished off a gallon jar by the first week of January.

We learned a new game together: Wise and Otherwise. I gather it is played something like the game Balderdash, which I've not played, but in this game you are given the beginning of wise sayings from around the world. Bananagrams, Settlers of Catan, and Boggle were also enjoyed.

We saw the Hobbit together--not 3D, for which I was thankful. The womenfolk found it too action-packed, making us feel at times that we were experiencing a giant video game. The special effects were a little too special for us. More than once, while watching the film, I thought how nice it would be to be curled on the couch, reading the book.

One afternoon we went to the balad (downtown) in Amman to do some shopping. Each of the kids picked out a Bedouin rug from our favorite rug vendor's shop to take back to the US with them.

Next we went on a search for a thobe (long, traditional dress) for Tayta.

A post-successful-transaction shot in the shop where Tatya found a lovely Syrian-made thobe.

Our fine weather came to an end this past week, and we endured a cold air mass, winds, rain, rain, rain, and finally, an unusual amount of snowfall. This, in its own way is considered fine winter weather as Jordan received 65% of it's annual rainfall in just one long storm, however to the unprepared and inadequately sheltered (think Syrian refugees in tents) such weather is very distressing. Heat management is an ongoing task for nearly everyone in Jordan and our family is no exception. Props to Dear Husband for keeping us warm (mostly) and with hot water on demand (mostly).

Oldest Daughter returned to Chicago last week (missing her!) and we have just three more days with Active Son and Artist Son. Just enough time for a couple more special meals, stimulating discussions, and a few more hugs.


MagistraCarminum said...

Just lovely! :-)

Anonymous said...

How very nice! The weather has been unusual for Jordan but I hope you will cope. Here in Stockholm we have had a lot of snow since beginning of Dec, but we have no problem with heating. It is like we are living inside a freezer, with the temperature I mean...

Is it possible to post the recepie for Tatya's cake??/S Susan

Pictoria said...

Loved hearing about your family time this Christmas and LOVED all the pictures!

Anonymous said...

I love all your pictures too! What a fun Family Hoilday. So glad you were all together. We had Christmas December 21st with # 2 & 3 sons and their families before travel. It has been below freezing here for over a month now. Cooled down day before our fridge/freezer in kitchen quit so were able to save most of food. We've been able to stay warm however because we had to replace furnace & air conditioner this summer in triple digit weather. We are so blessed with appliances that "help" us live a luxury life. I almost feel guilty about replacing burned out dishwasher in Sept. but didn't know fridge was going out in December!

We had #4 granddaughter born in Michigan January 11th to oldest son. Quite a change from our 3 boys and 5 brothers between Mike & I! Our quiver is filling with blessings.

Our thoughts are with you. Linda R

Teri said...

I LOVED this update and each picture with it. Looks like a beautiful Christmas. It made me so happy to see all of it. However many Christmases you have, you're certainly making the most of them. : )