Saturday, 16 April 2011

Christmas Eve at our family home

Christmas Eve is always a big deal in our house. To be honest the tradition of celebrating most holidays is inherited from my Mum so I am sure you can imagine how many little things are done to celebrate.

In Scandinavia they celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas day and in our family home we celebrate both with as much effort. My Mum always cooks a beautiful meal and this year was no exception.

Christmas Eve was tough though as my Dad wasn't there and you could feel this hole and everyone was aware of it. On Christmas Eve growing up, and still recently, he was a huge part of events. It was always his role to place the fairy on top of the tree at the end of the evening before we lit the real candles and marvelled at the candle light. He would then read Becky and I 'T'was the night before Christmas' and was so good at it... he read it with such drama. (I can still hear him now.)

The next morning it was always him and Fluffy (our ginger tom cat) who would go downstairs to check if Santa had been. They would always go first and I now know he would switch on the Christmas tree lights, open the patio door (which Santa used to get in to the house) and whilst my Mum looked frazzled (due to being up till some ungodly hour wrapping) he would be wide eyed and sprightly- laughing and smiling with us about the presents we had been given and he would have always bought my Mum some crazy gift as part of his present to her (usually only purchased on Christmas Eve and almost always from Studio One, Paper Tiger, Habitat and Inhouse.) He never let us know what he had bought her and we always couldn't wait to see what it was. They would open their stockings to each other after we had opened all of our presents from Santa (and we did the present opening in this way till a few years ago). It was always just as exciting to see what they gave each other. There was always giggles at the stage of Christmas Day. It was a wee insight into their relationship- like when you see your parents be affectionate to each other.

I look back and my Parents were such a good team at Christmas. My Mum was the grafter and did a lot of the hard slog.... the foundations and the little touches that don't always get the credit but it wouldn't have been Christmas without and my Dad added the humour and the finishing touches.

So many of my family memories centre around Christmas.... so it was never going to be easy but we made new memories and had a lovely time. 

The week before my Dad passed away Becky heard my Dad tell a nurse that we were a family of 4 when this all started in 2001 (when he first was diagnosed with cancer) and now we are a family of 6. He thought of the boys as family and we couldn't have gotten through the Christmas week if it wasn't for them (or the last year!). We are still a family of 6 but sadly only 5 of us were there to share Christmas together.

I loved my Mum's funky table cloth and it made me smile that the soup echoed the circles of the pattern
Becky and Nathan, who has always been at his boys Christmas Eve get together in past years came to dinner as they had moved their boys evening. A lot of the guys have children now so the Christmas Eve get together is less possible. We had still had a great time with all his school friends at Katie and Hector's wedding and Hector had had a mini stag so they got some of their boy testosterone out then!
Me and Dougie... I didn't have a chance to take any photos of my Mum as she was dashing back and forth from the kitchen to the dinning table.
Love this photo.... we had a good giggle over dinner.
Becky took on the responsibility of Dad's Christmas Eve role and she placed the fairy on the top of the tree. This was a poignant moment for all of us and a sad reminder of our loss.
Thinking of Dad as Becky placed her fairy on the tree.
As Mum lit the candles and we watched them flicker in the dark of the livingroom we remembered all the amazing times we have had together as a family around our Christmas trees. All the stresses to get everything done for guests arriving, all the laughs, the fun...... I was so glad Nathan was there to cuddle into.


So I know I have been religiously writing this blog for over 3 years now.... actually it is pretty much spot on 3 funny I just checked and it is exactly 3 years. My first post was the 16th April 2008..... I love it (I am going to add an image to celebrate the fact!) It makes me so happy to look back at the last 3 years and it reminds me of the little things I have forgotten and the sad & happy times I will never forget.  

It has grated me in the last 4 months that I haven't had time to update my blog but really I have had no time to catch breath with anything. Work was CRAZY in January and February (60 hour weeks are no fun!) wedding planning has been full on and amongst many other responsibilities I have been looking after my Grandma's affairs and trying to sell her house. So it's not been easy.

However I don't know what it is but this past week I felt like I've come up for air. Work is still very busy but it is manageable. I even found time to exercise (I need to do so much more as I want rid of those bingo wings for the wedding!) and have been loving Nathan's Clan Fitness early morning sessions (can you believe I have been working out at 6.30am!! (who would have thought it!) I am loving the classes and can see results already (bonus!)

It is my hen weekend this weekend and I am now sitting on the Saturday morning (I should be in bed building up my sleep for tonight) but I am so excited. The girls throw me a beautiful shower last night... I can't wait to post photos. It was fantastic. I feel so much love from friends and family and am so looking forward to the future.

So the plan is to update the last 4 months... I'm a stickler for everything being chronological as I want to turn this into a printed book for me to keep.

Then hopefully I will be up to speed in 6 weeks time. Because 6 weeks today I will probably also be up extremely early due to over excitement because it will be our wedding day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't believe it has flown by so fast. For a while the 18 month engagement seemed long but since Christmas we haven't even caught breath.

Nathan has asked that in the run up to the big day that I don't post anything about the wedding as he feels it will spoil it for all our guests and I can see his point. As the new Mrs Pike I plan to move my blog to a new web address.... for a new chapter. So watch this space.

But for now I hope you enjoy the posts from the last 4 months and here's to the excitement of the next 6 weeks!! x x