Good food, good friends and family together, feeling thankful

Today was such a lovely, relaxed-as-far-as-they-go Christmas Eve. The kids were bustling around with such excitement and were so patient and well-behaved! It was great. Each boy got to open one present last night so as to assuage some of the waiting intensity and to help assure appreciation for each thoughtful gift. Oliver opened an apron which he'd really wanted, Misse gave, and that thrilled him. His reaction was one of pure joy- darling! Jack chose his gift from Oliver which turned out to be a pair of real spurs for his cowboy boots. He was over the moon; we had to put them on his boots immediately, and he wore those suckers all over town today, proud as get out. By the time 5:00 came around this evening, the anticipation was almost bringing Jack down but he did such a good job, and finally it was time. He got a real mess kit and a toy camp stove, a hat band for his cowboy hat and a game about horses. He was just thrilled. Oliver received a toy coffee maker and immediately began making and serving everyone; it was so precious. He loved his new books and other goodies too. The twelve of us here right now are like friendly, familial cogs in a wheel. Everyone pitches in, relaxes, cooks, cleans, walks the dogs, hangs with the kids...

It's really such an easy, calm, fun dynamic, and we all feel so grateful to spend a holiday like this! The meatballs were a huge hit and success at dinner, and earlier, I made a pecan-oatmeal pie, and Dad made a pumpkin pie. An apple pie is in the oven now, and tomorrow before we roast the turkey, we'll make two more blackberries and another pecan. I need to thaw my cheesecake and pie..

Anyway, we are eating like kings and feeling grateful and festive. My heart is full with love for my family and friends and with gratitude for all we are so fortunate to have.  My heart breaks for the many out there tonight who have very little or nothing. I wish I could fix the myriad inequalities that riddle our society, but as I don't know how, I can at least be grateful and teach my children to appreciate, give back in ways and at times they can.

I hope you each had a happy day. For those celebrating Christmas, I hope Santa is good to you.

More of everything tomorrow. I missed writing today but it was buuusssy!