December 27, 2009

So I did indeed make it safely to Goshen on Christmas Eve, or by the time we drove 3 and 1/2 hours in the rain, early Christmas morning.  Despite getting really tired of driving in the rain, the ride was much brightened by the company of Becca and Roselyn, I am not sure I really would have been up for it if I hadn’t had folks with me.  And of course getting welcomed by both Jonathan, my dad (briefly) and Google (the best dog ever!) made it all worth while.

Since then it has been a long blur of games, eating, reading, sitting around, taking walks and entertaining ourselves by torturing Google with games of ping pong.  I guess I should probably explain that Google is the puppy dog that Jonathan and his friend Colin adopted this summer out in Colorado and my family got to dogsit for 3 days or so while Colin was at Camp Friedenswald.  A black lab mutt of around a year, Google is highly affectionate, smart and totally nutso about his frisbee, his pear and ping pong balls.

Christmas itself was a bit anti-climatic in that Tim and Charletta were only scheduled to arrive the next day so we saved gifts and the turkey dinner (My second in less than a week!) till Saturday.  So Jonathan, Mom, Dad and I entertained ourselves by (re)learning Puerto Rico and baking cookies.  I persuaded Mom that we should make a batch of thumbprint cookies, so this time we tried out homemade grape jelly and pear butter in addition to the more traditional apricot and blackberry.  I think grape was my favorite of this batch.

Saturday morning included a trip to E&S sales in Shipshewana (the store that Becca loves so much because it sells corn nuts) with my Mom and Becca.  After a frustratingly long attempt to pick up an order for the Harvest (a local co-op in Evanston), we purchased a random assortment of interesting items including dark chocolate Reese’s cups, discount Arizona tea, pistachios, and black licorice (for my Dad, who loves the stuff for some unknown reason).  Then we stopped by Yoders’s department store and I finally purchased a cookie dough scoop, which I had been wanting for several months.

That afternoon Tim and Charletta finally arrived after their snowy 6 hour drive from Iowa and so we opened gifts. This year we had switched to drawing names instead of just getting gifts for everyone. Dad had my name and so I received the book When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put, which oddly enough I had just added to my hold’s list at the library. Apparently Dad and I had heard the same report on NPR, so I was happy to actually receive my own copy, especially because the book is full of beautiful watercolors and interesting projects/recipes/etc that I will probably want to look at multiple times.  Also Dad got me a gift certificate to Amazon, so it will be fun deciding which book/dvd/random kitchen appliance I will be purchasing.

Saturday evening we had our turkey feast for which I made the corn bread stuffing I had made for my feast with the Girls and my Dad baked a turkey in a paper bag.  An interesting technique that payed off with very succulent turkey meat, if a rather odd roasting experience.  Also my mom made this incredible cranberry chutney, so obviously we ate very well.  After dinner we attempted to learn Agricola (Jonathan’s gift for Tim), but all the turkey and the late hour meant that we only got to the end of the first stage.  But I didn’t actually hate it like I tend to do towards any new game I play for the first time.  We finished up the evening with an episode of Planet Earth and some more reading by the fire place.

Sunday was finger food breakfast at Assembly, so I got to see my old church and marvel at how some of the kids I babysit for are now graduating from high school!  It was wonderful to have a chance to reconnect with a wide variety of folks, which is always one of my favorite parts of Assembly, there are always lots of adults who remain invested in your life, even after you leave.  So when you return they are always eager for updates, even if they are the 1 minute version.  Plus I got to see their beautiful advent decorations, hear an incredible frank and beautiful sermon by Julia Keim and sing some great Assembly songs.

After church we had turkey related leftovers and then Jonathan persuaded us to do a group painting.  This is also something that he started doing this past summer with his friends Colin and Matt.  Basically everyone starts painting on one part of the canvas (or in this case piece of wood) and then after a while you rotate the canvas so that everyone gets a chance to paint on different parts of the canvas.  Sometimes things get painted over and other times different parts join up.  It was lots of fun and here are our results:



  1. 1.Love the painting. Kudos to Jonathan for the great idea. How about a painting party up this way soon? I probably have enough materials for it.
    2. Glad to finally get a gander at the canine that has stolen all the N.’s hearts:)
    3. Now for another post?

  2. […] Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift […]

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