I am so grateful for Saturdays - especially when one is sandwiched between a two-week vacation. =) Today Paul and I have been feeling a bit under the weather, perhaps due to the raininess and cold that apparently is part and parcel of Petaluma's winter season. But, since it's a Saturday, we were able to laze around the house, letting the Nyquil work its magic, watching movies, cleaning, napping, doing laundry, and baking up some treats for coffee hour at church tomorrow. Now the house looks clean and orderly, we have freshly laundered clothes to wear, the smell of brownies baking is in the air, and we're feeling better overall. Even Kitty Johnson is enjoying the day, as you can see.  


Paul and I just returned to Petaluma after spending four very busy, but very fun days in the East Bay for Christmas. Saturday we celebrated Christmas early with my parents, cousins, uncle and aunt, and great-aunt.  We basically played Scrabble, gorged ourselves on swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes, and exchanged gifts. On Sunday Paul and I went to Bay Books, played more Scrabble, enjoyed some delicious food and drink and some rowdy college football fans at the Englander, and drove around to look at Christmas lights. Sunday was a quiet, restful day before the second round of Christmas hoopla began. On Monday afternoon we rode out to Ripon with Ken and Tess for "The Johnson Family Christmas Eve." It was quite the extravaganza with 33 Johnson family members in attendance - we sang a lot of songs, participated in a pirate gift exchange, and ate a huge potluck meal. Afterward the four of us stopped in Livermore to see the legendary Deacon Dave's Christmas lights, which is where I took the photo of the jailed deer. (My photos of the lights didn't turn out very well, but you can get a glimpse of it here.) Then we attended an 11 o'clock Christmas Eve service at St. Clare's Episcopal Church in Pleasanton. The service was interesting - everyone who read spoke with an affected British accent, the choir members wore ruffled collars up to their chins and sang in an operatic style, and the organist was a knight. It all seemed a little pretentious in comparison to our church, but it was still a good service and Paul and I determined that attending a church service on Christmas Eve is the one tradition we intend to keep above all others. On Tuesday, we spent the morning at Paul's dad's house for a delicious pancake breakfast and exchanged our gifts with him and Tess, then we stopped by Tess' family's Christmas celebration, followed by a brief visit to Paul's grandpa and grandma Johnson's, and, finally, we were off to Paul's mom's house in Pleasanton for Christmas dinner. And what a Christmas dinner it was - melt in your mouth prime rib (like, seriously), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffed mushrooms, breadsticks...yum. Following dinner, we opened presents, and had yet another Scrabble match. 
All in all, Christmas '07 was a fun time filled with family, food, and...Frabble?        


Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. I hope Paul doesn't kill me... 
Click here to see what I mean: Merry Christmas from the Johnsons 
Thanks for the inspiration uncle Kent and aunt Jeanne! =)


Merry Christmas from Harvest Christian School! We're all smiling so big because there are only four and a half more school days until Christmas vacation - or perhaps it was the Bear's Lair merlot we imbibed. 


A couple of weekends ago Paul and I went to Union Square on a whim to go Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived most stores were already closed, but we still enjoyed seeing all of the lights. (What is it about Christmas lights in particular that is so mesmerizing?) Petaluma doesn't seem to decorate for Christmas much and I have to say that, in a strange way, I kind of miss the big, tacky, burn-your-cornea, displays that Castro Valley puts out for the holiday season.