What Happens On Cookie Day…Really?

Rhoads family cookie day occurs just once each year.  Let me give you some sage advice: never give your grandchildren little love monikers, like cookie names.  It leads to hosting a family cookie day where we bake each kind of cookie.  It leads to bedlam!

It all began so innocently.  Matthias was our first, and whenever we wanted to talk about him, we all just said “M” and he never caught on.  Then I had a little Sugar, so the others all asked what their cookie names were, and, well, before long I had a Chipper, a Gingersnap, a Snickerdoodle, a Tea Cake, a Chocoberry, and a Lemon Drop.  If you make double batches of each, that’s a whole lot of cookies!

in the beginningIt begins with a pristine kitchen large enough for all of us. We go to the church, which has three ovens.  I wonder if the kitchen feels any fear…it’s those Rhoads kids again! Watch out! 

Everyone lines up for hand washing.  When Alma was alive he wore an old security guard uniform and his sole function was watching little hands touching faces or noses or hair…it was back to the sink for all of them once or twice.  They’re better now, but Bill watches all the same.

Some of the chilled dough is ready for immediate baking, four batches have to be mixed, and of course, everyone loves helping Katelyn with the sugar cookies. The shapes are beginning to look better, but icing is thick and literally swimming with decorations. Note to self: You can never have too many sprinkles.

When it’s all cleaned up, the cars are loaded, and I turn off the light, I breathe a sigh of contentment mixed with a whole lot of relief.  Cookie day is a happy memory.  I hope when I am gone each one will think of me when they munch on cookies, and remember how much I loved them…enough to endure cookie day once a year, lol!

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Only 109 Days Till Christmas!?!!!

Holy chocolate reindeer!  I’m falling behind.  My shopping isn’t complete…I like to have it done in September so I can focus on Thanksgiving, and then really enjoy Christmas with only stocking stuffers on my radar.  Needless to say, Christmas is my favorite holiday.  Looking at the foreboding and grim specter of an imminent move, I plan to really savor this bittersweet Christmas.

Christmas 2007 013Alma was a “Bah, humbugger” not because he didn’t like Christmas as much as because it made him feel inadequate.  Finding the perfect gift, the perfect affordable gift turned him from a Tiny Tim to an Ebenezer Scrooge, eschewing the holiday to eliminate the angst.  He’d sit back in a rocker on Christmas morning and enjoy the spectacle, participating only when forced, happy to be present, never realizing his presence was my present.  His favorite part took place after all the gifts were opened, after all the empty stockings gave up their treasures, when gifts needed to be assembled.  Everyone will miss the handyman.

What a mom wants is to be surrounded by her kids and grands, with lots of happy sounds, full tummies…a family bursting with joy.  That’s why I start my Christmas shopping so early.  Why I set up my tree on Thanksgiving night.  Why I decorate every possible surface.  Why I bake, bake bake.  I want the perfect Norman Rockwell experience for my family.  My old friend and the quintessential crooner said it well.  “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white.'”   Yup, thanks Bing.

This year will be bittersweet.  Thankful for the 15 blessings around the table, I’ll be missing one.  Knowing I may have to leave my home, it has got to be picture perfect.  Every single blessing I can give simply must be a part of the celebration.  I have no idea what my future looks like, so I will cherish the now.