Monday, December 27, 2010

Kalamazoo Christmas

In order to have a true Christmas in Kalamazoo you have to do two things. One is visit Candy Cane Lane in Bronson Park.

It's romantical.

We were having so much fun during our photo shoot that we nearly got a parking ticket. This nice meter dude let us off on Christmas Eve. I unfortunately became sick as a dog with a horrid cough and cold. I could barely breath. I needed to wear a mask to hold my Baby Nephew. So we sadly missed midnight services at St. Luke's and the second most important Kalamazoo tradition; visiting the Winchell Neighborhood to see nearly 3,000 luminaries. This neighborhood has been lighting the luminaries for over 25 years and everyone turns off their car lights and drives slowly through the winding roads. Christmas Card Lane is another fun tradition, but Winchell is not to be missed.

We did have one more visit on Christmas Eve; to see the original Andrew and sweet Caroline. Two of my three babes that I babysat for since their older sister Jess was one year old. I'm so sad we missed Jessie and Brett who were probably getting their Winchell home ready for the luminaries.

We got to meet Liney's beau Dave.

And see Sarah's beautiful Christmas decorations.

Liney and I were sick as dogs but made time for a quick visit sniffles and all.

Little did we know that Dave was about to propose to Caroline only a few hours later! He set up luminaries on the Kalamazoo Country Club golf course for a surprise walk home to his parents house. I guess he was antsy during our visit but we couldn't tell at all. He is such a great guy and will make a great husband for Caroline. We are so thrilled to have had this awesome visit with the cute couple. 

Christmas morning was wonderful at Mom's house.

Elise was home sick with the flu. Poor angel!

They are the cutest little family and Andrew is in such good hands.

Meeting Andrew was truly the best Christmas present ever! 

Seeing E. with this baby makes my heart skip a beat. We love being Aunt Nellie and Uncle Charlie.

Mac is the most adoring father I've ever seen.

Granny Punks is in love too!

We just couldn't get enough of him.

These are a few of my hand painted cards for 2010.

Francie thinks I should start a card line. She's a little biased and I love it!

So Christmas morning Mac and Andrew came without Elise. It broke our hearts that she was so sick. But again, Mac did the BEST job! This is my little brother remember. I can barely believe he can put two words together let alone take care of a child! But he is a rock star Daddy.

Uncle Charlie was awesome with him too.

Prizes were flying and we had such a nice morning.

Andrew was sacked out for the excitement.

Santa Punks handed out prizes.

The baby slept and slept. Pure bliss.

Three generations of Averitt men. Mac really dressed up for Christmas dinner, but he gets a pass since he is running on three hours of sleep nightly. Love how Pappy and Andrew have matching hats. Ho, ho, ho!

Momma made our traditional Roast Beast and Yorkshire Pudding. It was delicious as always.

Daddy carved the perfectly cooked meat in the kitchen.

Francie was in town visiting too and we felt so lucky to see her twice within forty days. Sadly something happened with the camera and we lost the photos of her and Andrew meeting for the first time.

The most simple luxury but my favorite part of our Christmas dinner is always drinking ice cold water in Mom's silver water goblets. 

We had a few visitors who wanted to crash our dinner party. We had seen a family of seven on Christmas Eve in the neighbor's yard.

There were downy woodpeckers at the feeder.

Purple finches.

Momma cardinals too.

We ordered a ton of cookies from Sweet Spot to be delivered to Mom's house. There were very few left on Christmas day. Good thing Mom made Princeton Rocks too.

Another great gift was Daddy and Francie teaching E. how to play bridge.

Francie and Granddaddy used to play all the time.

Keeping all the terminology and rules straight is complicated. Trump, Dummy, Tricks, Books, Pretty Cards, the etiquette of how to shuffle, cutting to the dealer and the competitive bluffing just brings back so many memories of my parents, godparents and grandparents playing any time we got together.

Daddy was a professor so the schooling comes naturally.

E. picked it up immediately and there were lots of laughs.

Mom was a big help too.

I had a few tricks and felt pretty great that I hadn't forgotten how to play.

Then we got another visit with Baby Nephew.

It was the best Christmas ever. We just wish Elise had felt better.

Thank you Momma for your wonderful hospitality. You can whip up a meal in minutes flat with the greatest of ease. Thanks to Dad and Francie for the wonderful bridge lessons. Can't wait for our next game.  Best wishes to Caroline and Dave and their engagement! Really looking forward to many long chats about stationery and wedding planning with you Liney


Cindy said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Nelle!! xo

P.S. You would of been so proud of me...actually hosted and cooked Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas brunch and Christmas dinner this year :)

Tiffany from HOLIDAY said...

Sweet Aunt Nellie, I think Andrew needs something smocked for sure! I bought Stella's dress from a holiday bizzare at a local high school. While I haven't bought from the site,, I've had my eye on things. They have a cute selection.

We've had a lot of sickeys over the holidays, poor husband and Stella have been under the weather (and driving me insane...their crankiness makes me want a bloody mary...I failed to post that :)). I'm sorry you couldn't kiss that baby to death. The proposal sounds so unbelievably romantic! What a great story. Oh, and can I get on your Christmas card mailing list? I really think you should consider doing something business-wise with that talent!


susan said...

Oh sweet Nelle, Thank You! Candy Cane Lane and Luminaries, you brought home back to me! It wasn't Christmas without a walk through Bronson Park! I have a photo of my parents house in Winchell I took on Christmas Eve after midnight mass, the luminaries are lining the walk and there is snow, it's beautiful.
Thanks for the post, sometimes I forget how wonderful the zoo is.

Ella said...

Thanks for sharing photos of your family, sorry you didn't feel well. Hope you are better.

My little nephew was sneezing all Christmas eve (we deliver all Christm. presents then) and when my brother was filming she sneezed in her sisters hair and we all laughed at the poor little girl.

Caroline DeNooyer said...

We made the blog!!!!!!!
Love the pictures Nell and E, so much fun to see you. And even better-you met Dave and approved.
Happy New Year