Ornament Tales 2014: Post #1
Today, I’m going to share with you my ornament tales 2014. These are basically some flashback memories brought to me (and to you) courtesy of my Christmas tree ornaments.
About five years ago, it occurred to me that the souvenirs that would serve me the best from travels and special occasions would be ornaments for my Christmas tree. I label them with the year and as much information as I can fit. They work perfectly for me as they aren’t things that eventually add to clutter around the house. They don’t set on my shelves so long that I eventually forget the special reminders they are purposed to bring. Instead, when I use a souvenir as a Christmas ornament, it refreshes my mind at the most special time of the year on the people and places I associate with that beautiful little piece. And isn’t that the purpose of a souvenir, after all?
I think it will be fun to do a post on one or two of my special memory ornaments each year. This idea of ornament tales occurred to me today, as I took down my Christmas decor. In future years, I will write my posts before the holidays.
This year, I will start with a sweet little starfish dangling from my tree. Looking back, I am shocked that I never blogged about our awesome spring break trip to the Boston area. I guess I dropped the ball on that given that we began moving into our new house the afternoon we flew back from Boston and then I had to defend my master’s thesis the following week. Too many things were in the fire.
Many of my cousins from Panama have relocated over the years to the Northeast, mostly to Boston or to suburb towns of Boston. My parents and I don’t have a whole lot of family here in Arkansas so it was such a blast to travel stateside and be surrounded by so much family. Not to mention that my Boston cousins happen to be some of the sweetest people ever!
We bounced from one cousin’s home to the next every few days and were able to spend some quality family time with most of them. We started off at my cousin Y’s house. She and her sisters have always been some of my favorite cousins, and I think it is because we are around the same age and I have fond memories of spending summer visits at their house in the mountains of Panama when I growing up. This is back when Panama was not nearly the Americanized country it is transitioning into today, and we spent most of our time outside with the chickens or playing with corn cobs as dolls (the silk on the ends were the hair).
She and her husband cooked some great meals, and I had such a nice laid-back time at her house while recuperating from my first trimester exhaustion and our first air travel with a grumpy 18-month-old. One night, Y and her sisters and daughter even got my mom in the Wii dance action! My mom danced to “Limbo” by Daddy Yankee, y’all! If you know my mom, you will understand why this is worthy of posting. So much fun! One morning, Y, mom, and I made some traditional Panamanian meat pies. Well, two of the three people worked to grind the corn on the grinding machine and did most of the work. The third mainly took pictures for her blog. One of these days, that blog recipe post might even get finished and published.
Next, my cousin D’s husband R came and picked us up and drove us to their home in the coastal town of Hull. R is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. The knowledge that man has! He served as tour guide/historian on both the Boston area and the Panama area throughout the week. We couldn’t have learned more had we been traveling with a paid guide. When we walked into D and R’s home, my jaw dropped. Wowsers. The back of their home featured wall to wall glass along the kitchen, dining room, and living room. And the view…well, I’ll just let you see for yourself.
Incredible! I was ready to drop everything back home and move to Hull, Massachusetts the second I heard those waves and saw the sun lowering on that backdrop.
The next morning, D, mom, and I made homemade tortillas asadas, again using the corn grinding machine. I actually helped this time. While out site seeing with R, the next day, I picked up the little starfish for the tree at a quaint little shop. D offered to stay home and watch SB so that we could really take our time without being under the command of the little dictator. It was a nice break. That evening, several of our other cousins came over to join us for dinner. It really is such a blessing to be surrounded by family!
The next day, we rode a ferry from Hull straight into downtown Boston. It was amazing how one minute we were there at the house staring at the beautiful scenery. Twenty minutes later, we are in the hustle and bustle on the streets of Boston. Despite the super cold morning, it was fun to walk around with our favorite historian and learn all about the buildings and the landmarks. We walked to an amazing playground/park so that SB could enjoy some fun with the little Bostonians.
|This southern belle showed those Bostonian kids how it’s done on the playground!|
The next day, we were on our way to Cape Cod to stay with my cousin J at the weekend home he and his wife recently bought and renovated. We had a very laid-back weekend, eating at one of their favorite places along the coast and stopping to see some great landmarks in the Cape Cod area, including Plymouth Rock and a glimpse of the Kennedy compound.
On the last full day of our trip, my cousin A hosted a large percentage of the Boston-area family over for lunch and an afternoon of fun at her home in Rockland. Although we were Facebook friends, I had never met A in person before this trip (yes, our family is THAT large…over 70 first cousins from my last count and I could have underestimated), and I found her to be the sweetest person! I really wish I lived closer to all of these cousins. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to have so many cousins under one roof.
|SB was in heaven being doted on by so many precious cousins!|
That evening, we spent the last night at my cousin W’s house. When I was young, W was one of the first of my cousins to move to the United States. I have such fond memories of her coming and staying with us for a while in Arkansas before eventually settling down in Massachusetts. It’s hard to believe that was so long ago. Now, she has a beautiful daughter who has just started her freshman year of college as an engineering major and a very pleasant teenage son. We didn’t arrive at her house until late and had to be up at 4 a.m. to make our disgustingly early flight so we had to get to bed soon after arriving. W drove us to the airport and was so very gracious when SB threw up everywhere in her brand new (2 days old) car and in the car seat that cousin A had loaned us while we were in town! Oh, my word. I was horrified. To make it worse, the puke fest happened right as we were pulling up to the airport, and we had absolutely no time to spare before making our flight. W told us not to worry and she would get it cleaned up. Love you, W!
Yep, this cute little starfish brought back all of these memories these last few weeks.
Thanks for reading my ornament tales 2014. I’m already excited to make some new trips and some new memories in 2015! Happy New Year to you all!
Update: If you enjoyed this ornaments tales 2014 post, check out Ornaments Tales 2015 post!