Friday, December 30, 2016

M'Lord and M'Lady Go to Lunch

Perhaps the most delightful Christmas gift I received was from Philip and Kara. They gave to Adam and me official royal titles, issued from a tiny micro-nation called Sealand.  Sealand was an anti-aircraft platform built by England in the Channel during WWII in international waters. Built of steel and concrete and not particularly elegant, the towers amid the waters declared its independence in 1967 under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Bates and their teenage children. The base was derelict and abandoned. Now, it's the world smallest state!
And I'm officially Lady Mary Kathryn of Sealand!! Here is my documentation, which I find utterly cool. I squealed when I opened this gift at Christmas.
 Lookie, lookie!!!
You may now simply address me as "My Lady." Hahahaha!!!
The fun fact is this: Roy Bates took over the towers of Sealand on Christmas Eve, 1966, exactly 50 years before I acquired my title. I am married, of course, to Lord Adam.
We decided to mix with the commoners for lunch today and ate at the local burger stop, Aggie's.

 I took a selfie of Adam and me.
You never know when you might get the unexpected good photo of old fat people.
The first one was fuzzy.
 So I took a second.
Adam thus had time to prepare a goofy face.
 Which made us both laugh.
 Isn't he adorable?
We had cheeseburgers, fries ...
 Subs and onion rings ...
 And more onion rings!
We are all enjoying our Christmas vacations and adjusting to our royal titles, hoping they do not come with any responsibilities.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Unlike All the Dead Celebrities ...

We had a pretty good 2016! 
Seriously, for pop culture and Hollywood, it was a rough year.
 But here's a look back at 2016 in the Christiansen household:
January ~ I enjoyed the new weaving loom Adam bought me for Christmas. 
February ~ I began spending many calm hours in the greenhouse,
 tenderly tending baby plants.
I also freed many entrapped apple trees in the garden, but they didn't bear.
March ~ We sent our little girl Anna to the other side of the world to teach English in Japan, not knowing when we would see her again.
 That was quite hard.
April ~ Adam made us a new bathroom, and we found a new farm dog.
Both have turned out to be a real blessing,
although the bathroom doesn't chew everything to bits or scare chickens.

May ~ Peter graduated from Western Carolina University!
We attended my niece's wedding on her parents' beautiful farm in West Virginia.
And although we have some real heart-aches occurring in our extended family,
I love them so much and miss them. 
June ~ We got chickens on the farm!!! 
I ate my first tomato from my garden on June 1!
Also ... I started wearing compression hose for my bad veins. Sigh :(
July ~ Adam and I went away to a nice B-and-B for our 27th anniversary.
August ~ Peter finished an interesting, hard-working summer on a farm,
and he decided not to go to Africa with the Peace Corps,
 opting insteadto invest in a very important relationship ....
September ~ I'm struggling a bit with what we actually did of importance
 in this month.  Lots of farm work. I was back at work each afternoon. 
Tomatoes -- yes, we were still doing tomatoes.
October ~ Adam bought me an early Christmas present, my autoharp.
And we weathered our first hurricane on the farm:
November ~
November started off with a bang of celebration!
Peter and Shani got engaged!
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In smaller matters, Adam enclosed the front porch:
In addition, lots of eggs, and more tomatoes, 
plus some roofing work kept happening.
December ~ All I can say is that this has been the best Christmas ever!! Ever, ever!
Having everyone here, enjoying each other's company, relaxed, squashed in, 
eating and laughing and happy. It's been great!
Here are a few pics to share the joy:
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Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, ocean, beach, sky, water, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, ocean, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

So -- although some people we love have exited the planet
 and gone on to greater things,
 and although some that we love are undergoing great sorrows and we pray for them to be delivered, still ... in our family this has been a good year of milestones.
And I am thankful.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Where to begin ...?

Okay. Let's start with the food! Adam made yet more fudge. (And then when he found out Shani is allergic to nuts, he made yet another batch without nuts!)
I made a half-size Mississippi Mud Cake for Philip's birthday.
The baklava is disappearing. I may or may not be participating in this disappearing act.
Many gingerbread people are coming to life and being eaten.
Christmas Eve, the local thrift store had a massive sale, and I went with the kids. Isn't it cool that, just because of romantic love, my four kids have now increased to six kids? Love that :)
Meanwhile, Adam had to repair a hole in the dining room floor. When you have eight adults in an 1100 square-foot house, holes in the floor are a problem. He did a great job.
Christmas Eve afternoon, all of us traveled across the river to see a movie together, Rogue One. I really, really liked it, for many reasons. More than any other new Star Wars movie, it reminded me of the original trilogy. The plot was adequately complicated but held together well and was developed well. Characters were sympathetic and interesting. I highly recommend.
We returned on the ferry just at sunset. This is Philip and Kara.
The sunset was impressive.
These two cuties are just a joy to behold.
We sang to him. One of our dogs ate most of my birthday candle collection, so I only had a "6." Philip is 26 wonderful years. We are so proud of him. He was a Christmas Eve baby.
(Video of us singing to Philip should be here, but I'm having technical difficulty.)
And then ... the boys finagled me into playing Settlers of Catan, a game I'd never played before.
That was a long game! In the end, we were all desperate for it to end. I needed a shower and to do dishes, but we are Christiansens, so we had to play until the WIN. It took Forever.
After the kids all arrived, and mysteriously decided this would be The Year when they all bought presents for everyone, our tree was heavy-laden.
Adam made pumpkin scones and oatmeal/maple scones for breakfast this morning.
Our living room was totally trashed after Santa came! I think this was after we'd picked up a bit :)
Many dishes were done. Peter and Shani were great!
The boys put two leaves in the table, and I used my fine china and even my crystal! That was fun. Peter is now old enough that I can trust my crystal in his hands, heehee.
For Christmas dinner, we decided to have my mother's Sunday pot roast dinner: beef brisket, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion in a luscious gravy, cooked slowly for hours (while we were at church). This brisket weighed about 12 lbs. It was MASSIVE.
Adam, who was a bit sick with a sinus cold, sat at the head of the table.
Peanut gallery on the left ...
Peanut gallery on the right ...
My plate -- in addition to the contents of the pot, we had my mother's cole slaw, asparagus, peas, and Adam's dinner rolls.
Adam and I really enjoy this new stage of life. The kids are grown or almost grown. Regarding young children in the house, we are at a pause -- in a few years, I'm sure the little toddlers will come along, and we will enter a new, even more wonderful stage.
But I am absolutely loving these grown kids. We have had the most lovely and delightful visit so far. Thankfully, Peter and Shani will stay a couple more days, and Philip and Kara will stay the rest of the week. And Anna is here for THREE weeks! I'm so happy.
Anna, Shani, Peter, MK, Adam, Kara, Philip, Julia, Beau
Tomorrow we girlies will go to town and get nails tended to. The menfolk are playing Settlers of Catan again tonight, and they are much better suited to that highly-competitive game than I am. I'm watching my advent candles burn down again this year, one of my favorite things to do. It's a little sad to blow them out one at a time as Christmas night slips into darkness, but the cycle of God's years means that this celebration of the Salvation of the world will come around again, and we will again remember. Merry Christmas.