Christmas at Laura’s

Do you mind if I’m still talking about Christmas? I figure we’re still within a reasonable time frame, right? Yes? Eh? Hello?

Now if I’m still posting about Christmas when September rolls around, we’ll revisit the issue and I’ll probably have to make an appointment with a shrink. A shrink who specializes in bloggers. “So . . . take a deep breath . . . close your eyes . . . and now tell me. What are you going to post about tomorrow? What were your childhood fears? Do you feel like your blogging voice is a result of a traumatic childhood event involving a large dog? How does your choice of topics help you connect with your readership? Are your blog posts relevant to your audience, or are you just one more bloggity-bloggerina who can’t stop yammering about all of her life problems and insecurities?? Craaaargggghhhh!!!!” Wow. This Dr. X really has me figured out. It also sounds like he needs a vacation.

Anyway, every year, my husband and his family head down to Indianapolis for Christmas at Aunt Laura’s. Aunts, uncles, and cousins collide as we slurp down eggnog and catch up on a year’s worth of happenings. And we can’t be forgetting Grandpa Laird.

This year I was very excited . . . you see, last Christmas I didn’t have my Nikon. It allowed me to get a shot of Grandpa Laird’s weathered hands.

There’s something about aged hands that just speaks to my soul.

I was thrilled to walk around snapping candid shots. They’re my favorite kind.

Everyone is so grown up these days! I remember when I started dating my husband and came to my first Christmas at Laura’s many years ago–they were all kids.

And now look at ’em! *sniff*

That includes you John, my feisty, debate-crazy brother-in-law.

You adult-thing, you. Having your own opinions. And stuff. Like that’s even allowed!

Further proof of this ‘growing up’ thing is: for the very first time, Kate whipped my butt at Dutch Blitz.

I passed the crown on to a younger, faster, worthier candidate. Or should I say–the crown was wrestled from my reluctant hand?

Let’s go with the version in which I lost with elegance and passed it on graciously.

I know Kate will wear it well, and proudly. Her mama should be very pleased that she raised a Dutch Blitz killing machine.

Good job, Aunt Laura.

Until I take the crown back next year! *evil laugh echoes off the walls of my mad Dutch Blitz laboratorium*

Jake went skydiving for his birthday this year. Can you believe it? I can’t. Isn’t he still, um 12? In middle school? When did he get so . . . so cool??

Oh, I guess he is 18 . . . and finished with high school. It’s like all this growing up happened behind my back.

Honestly, it’s great fun–I have this whole posse of cousins that I have to get to know all over again. On their own terms. As adult-type people.

They have their own interests, goals, and views, and that is kind of thrilling. Joe is a master at the djembe, which ups his coolness factor to about 212 plus/minus 5. On a scale of 100, of course.

Grandpa Laird told his typical slew of stories. Unfortunately, none of them can be repeated here on this family-friendly blog. Or even alluded to, really.

Let’s pretend we’re back in the 1940s. Maybe at that point Grandpa Laird’s stories were considered appropriate.

Then again, maybe not. Though it’s hard to say–he hails from different times.

I love how a simple Photoshop action can make the clock turn back. This is the ‘vintage’ action from the Pioneer Woman’s free, downloadable set.

We took the traditional cousins picture on the stairway. Somehow, I ended up front and center.

I love how we’re all looking in different directions. It’s a classic group-shot problem, and it warms my little heart.

All the cousins posed with Grandpa Laird in turn. Unfortunately, the lovely red wall that was behind us caused my camera to completely wig out. My Nikon doesn’t get along well with intense reds. So my hand was forced. Feel free to hate this effect–it’s what happened late the other night. I can hardly remember what I clicked. All I know is that it makes our eyes look like they’re popping out of our skulls. Huh.

I think it makes Jake look kind of like an alien invader. A hipster alien invader.

Sorry everyone–I’ll do better next year.

One of the most touching moments of the day was when Aunt Laura presented me with this treasure:

There were tears and hugs. You see, it’s a recipe card written in Grandma Sue’s own hand. She died many years ago, and she and my husband had a very special relationship. When my husband was a small tot, they read the Oz books together, made maps of fairy lands, and rode whirly rides at Cedar Point. She was a woman with a lot of character, and she loved my husband very dearly. Therefore I love her very dearly. I wish I could have met her.

I’ll be making this recipe and sharing about it–and I just love the instructions. “Cook until blurps.” Okay Grandma Sue, I’m trusting you to lead me aright! Stay tuned for a historic sugar cream pie recipe.

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25 Responses to Christmas at Laura’s

  1. Circe says:

    cook until blurps is such a great cooking instruction. I hope the pie turns out exactly as you want it

  2. norma says:

    You can talk about Christmas anytime. What wonderful pictures and what a beautiful family. You are blessed.

  3. skippymom says:

    Your pictures are just lovely – the love and the happiness – it’s like you can touch it.

    And I want Grandpa Laird to be my boyfriend. What a cutie! I wish we could hear his stories too – I had Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents that could really “spin a yarn”.

    Thanks for sharing.

    If you have anymore pictures or stories like this I will happily read them all the way into the fall. [and promise not to report you to the Mental Health Association ;) ]

  4. alongtheohio says:

    love the photos :) and the hand-written recipe card is really neat. I have some things of my own Nenaw that were hand written…something about the script just makes it priceless. Adam’s family is just lovely! Happy cooking….can’t wait to read about your cooking adventure. I’ve never seen/heard??? a blurp! ;p

  5. surlykitchen says:

    oh, jenna, how i love your photos! beautiful. i can’t wait for your post on that pie. old family recipes are the best!

  6. What a grand photo lineup of your family get-together at Christmas! Your family has fun, Jenna. Real fun. I appreciate seeing all the generations together and conversing happily. Blessings to you…

  7. claire says:

    Christmas any time of year is okay with me!

    I love your photos- they are gorgeous, so amazing to have all of the generations there!

  8. Wendi says:

    I absolutely adore the picture of your grandfather’s hands. They have seen a lot of life.

  9. Marco says:

    We , people in the Netherlands , do not play Dutch Blitz. I never heard of this play. I am jalours about the way the people in the US spend X-mas. In Holland we only eat and drink a lot..I like to read your blog


    • Jenna says:

      Hi Marco! It’s funny that it’s called “Dutch Blitz” then–I guess in the same way that “French toast” isn’t French and “Ensaladilla rusa” isn’t Russian. =) I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog! I hope you’re having an awesome Tuesday.

  10. So fun!! I love that side of the family. Hey, also I love that turquoise shirt you are wearing in the cousins picture. I NEED IT. GIVE IT TO ME *please*.
    thanks. you know my address. overnight shipping would be fine.

    • Jenna says:

      Hah! Well on that note, you can totally send the adorable little cardigan with the ruffles that I borrowed for our Panera excursion when we were at your place for Thanksgiving. I definitely need that. =)

  11. Veronica says:

    Love the pictures! Can’t wait for that recipe. Heirloom recipes are the best.

  12. Laura Livingston says:

    Oh, Jenna! Thank you SO much for capturing this. These pictures of Dad are just priceless. You are such a lovely, lovely blessing to us!

  13. I have a lot of handwritten recipes from all sorts of relatives- mainly my great-grandmother. They are priceless!

  14. LOVED your Jacoby Christmas blog. Gene and I met Laura and John when Jake was six months old. Amazing to see these kids now. And I’ve heard quite a few of Laird’s stories and, you’re right, best not repeat them – anywhere! Have a wonderful 2011!

  15. Sarah says:

    how fun! didn’t know you were just 1 hr south of me for christmas! :) looks like a blast.

  16. Oh, Jenna! You have the sweetest family! Thank you for sharing! And will be looking forward to that pie! :)

  17. Weighting For 50 says:

    What a beautiful post. Your photos speak volumes!!! LOVE the hand shot in particular. Thanks so much for sharing these special memories with us.

  18. Hey Jenna,

    Thanks for popping over to visit me! :) Just coming over to see you now! And what a lovely family you have I discover. Beautiful photos – they really capture the happiness and love you all share together…it is very warming…and these will be special memories in years to come. Anyway…will have a bit more of a read now…xxx

  19. Nicole says:

    I love how you capture people with your camera and then write about them until I feel that I either know them… or want to know them. :) Sounds like such a special Christmas!

  20. This Italian Family says:

    Love this! And I know how you feel. It’s crazy how little kids grow up!

  21. Looks like a lovely time with a lovely family. How sweet to get that hand-written recipe! Can’t wait to see the post about it!

  22. viviene says:

    wow.. nice photos.. =) yes, your talking about Christmas is still within a reasonable time frame =p

    thanks for stopping by my blog =)

  23. You play Dutch Blitz! Me and my sisters too. And my little sisters … wow … they are GOOD at that game … :)

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