Just as many of you, our home reflects our family's past and the people of our lives, especially at Christmas.
The family quilts my mother-in-law passed down to me warm up the living room with pattern and names of family and friends stitched long ago.
Most of the people whose names are stitched here were gone long before I joined the family 20-some years ago.
I think Aunt Tilda would've been my favorite. I like her bold, dark blue letters and neatly sewn stitches. Her quilt square is right next to Wild Bill's Great-Grandma Savage's square, but she was only Grandma back then...
Here's a photo of Great-Grandma Savage's daughter, Mattie, on her wedding day in 1912. Mattie was my mother-in-law's mother and Wild Bill's grandmother.
Wedding Day, Will and Mattie near Whitesboro TX
Mattie's square says simply "Mother" in various shades of pink. Since Mattie had 12 children in all (10 daughters and 2 sons), I can only believe that Mother was a title she cherished when she chose to use it instead of her given name.
Out in the kitchen, on top of the cupboard, Wild Bill's old boots are again part of the decor among the chickens and Christmas lights.
Those old sturdy boots are a reminder to me that sometimes when you least expect it, the right man can walk right into your life and fit right in with your family of girls.
1997 Wedding Day At The Hitching Post Chapel
Higher up, an antique mirror reminds me of the Nebraska relatives who patiently stored my grandparent's furniture for over 40 years.
My grandparent's left Nebraska with their six children during the Great Depression, headed for a new life in Northern California.
Wedding Day, Harry and Sabra in Gresham Nebraska
They left their furniture in a relative's Nebraska barn, planning to return soon to pick it up once they were settled. The furniture stayed in the barn for over 40 years until my father got a call that the barn was going to be torn down.
Dad drove back to Nebraska and picked up some of the furniture in the late 1970's. He chose the oldest pieces, ones that had been handed-down through Sabra's family to his parents.
Another 40 years later, I still have my great-grandmother's childhood dresser and mirror, which are the family pieces he brought back for me.
I don't know how the furniture was stored, but it was well protected. The beveled mirror is still crystal clear and unmarked.
Thanksgiving morning 1978, Dad and I, with my two oldest girls
My father's well-worn baseball hat of his beloved "A's" always has a place on a shelf in our home year round, but during Christmas tiny twinkle lights remind me of my father's lively spirit.
It's not a pretty hat, in fact it's worn and somewhat shabby, but it was Dad's last hat...the one he was wearing in January 1994, when he was taken ill and died just 2 weeks later.
Dad's hat is a reminder to me, a list-making planner, to live like there's no tomorrow...because sometimes there isn't.
Here's some of our ornaments, which are reminders of when the kids were little or of family pets who have passed.
One of my favorites...this masterpiece of a photo ornament, made with a cottage cheese lid and some yarn, when Oldest Daughter was in Kindergarten.
Her little hands also made a wonderful, sparkly ice cream cone ornament that same year. When she brought it home, we all admired it, then she hung it on a low branch of the Christmas tree.
Perhaps it looked a little too real, or maybe it hung too low on the tree. The littlest sister took a bite out of the bottom of the cone 37 years ago, but it still gets unwrapped each year and hung for all to see.
In 1992, I lost my little dog Ginger. Her death was hard on all of us as she was an important member of the family.
Ginger Dressed As A Bride, Halloween 1983
Ginger woke the girls up every morning for me, and she let me know the school bus was bringing her precious girls home 5 minutes before it even appeared.
Ginger Loved Her Grandma Betty,
Both Of Them Had Peach-Colored Hair
The girls and I found Ginger at an Adopt-A-Pet-In-The-Park event in 1983 when she was already 2 years old. Her elderly owner had to give her up to move into a nursing home, and poor Ginger sat in a crate under a table looking very sad and forlorn.
1981 Middle Daughter Always Cried When It Was Someone Else's Birthday
Little did she know three little girls and their mama were on a mission that day to find a dog to love and that, from that day forward, she would have four people who would make sure she was loved and never lonely again.
In 2013, I found an ornament to remember Ginger by. She looked just like this ornament when she came home from the groomer all fluffed up with a bow in her hair, but it's the big red heart on the chest that reminds me of her the most.
All three of our daughters lost their own pound pets within a 5-month period last year. Nine-year-old Sweet Dee was the first of the three to leave this earth.
Dee was my pal, and I still miss her terribly whenever I visit her family.
This ornament on our tree reminds me of Dee's party animal spirit. If Dee had been a human, she would've been "that girl" at the party wearing too much lipstick and a lampshade on her head.
Dee had another side, a real mothering instinct. She loved her two babies the moment they came home from the hospital, and she made sure she was by their side no matter what (or who) was in the way!
Dee Helping Grammy Take Care Of New Baby Ben, 2010
Dee Comforting Her Sick Boy Ben
Dee's ornament is just below Ginger's on our Christmas tree this year...
The third dog ornament on the tree is a reminder of Youngest Daughter's two terriers. Both were adopted from shelters separately after being abandoned when they were a 2 or 3 years old.
Bailey was a feisty girl, adopted after Youngest Daughter graduated college and thought all she needed in her life was a dog.
Bailey was quite the handful, a dog so smart she could get herself out of the enclosed backyard and sit waiting for us at the front door after her gleeful romp through the neighborhood.
While Bailey was a bold one, her pal Wrigley was scared of his own shadow when he was adopted a few years later. In the picture below you see him snuggling with his mama for protection when I aimed a camera at him.
Bailey lived a good long life. Long enough to settle down and help raise a new husband and two babies after her mama decided maybe a family was in their future after all.
Bailey and Her Mama On Our Last Visit Before She Passed
It was a sad day when 16 year-old Bailey left her family last year. Wrigs still carries on without her, but it won't be long before he joins up with his best pal again.
I've been looking for quite a while, but haven't found an ornament for Einstein, Oldest Daughter's dog, who left this earth last Christmas Eve.
I've thought maybe of putting two fake eyeballs on a cotton ball and making my own ornament for him. But I'll keep searching and see if I can find something commercially made.
So that's our Christmas home this year, filled with memories of all the family history and loved ones who shared our lives for a while.
Today I'm joining Dwellings for Amaze Me Monday and the link party Home For Christmas hosted by Debra from Common Ground and Amber from Follow The Yellow Brick Home. Hope you'll hop on over and join the parties too.
Thanks for dropping by!