Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brian Ottomas Ch. 12 Christmas Day at the Ottomas House

Willow woke up extremely early Christmas morning and, after nudging Brook awake, she went downstairs and padded into her parents room, startling them out of their sleep as she giggled and said in her piping child's voice,

"Merry Christmas, Momma and Daddy!"

Heath was already awake when Brook came into his room whispering,

"Heath, it's Christmas!"

He jumped up out of bed to follow her downstairs. It was still dark and Meadow made all three of them sit on the bed in her room while she and Brian put on robes and slippers and brushed their teeth. Then Brian combed his hair in the familiar ponytail and Meadow got the tangles out of her own blonde locks. The children thought it was taking them forever, but Meadow always said Christmas couldn't really start until they all entered the living room together. So Heath and Brook and Willow waited and giggled and fidgeted. At last Brian went out to turn on the lights on the tree and Meadow got Rocky from his crib and set him down on the living room floor. Then she and Brian sat down to watch the children open their gifts amid much excited squealing and cries of "Thank you, Momma and Daddy! Just what I wanted!"

Besides the usual new pajamas, socks and sweaters that parents' always gave, there were teddy bears for the girls and for Rocky, a colorful jack-in-the-box, and a firetruck; these were all from Santa. A small castle dollhouse was under the tree, unwrapped, and Heath received a stamp collection kit and a new laptop. Communal toys were the video games and remote-control toys that included a car, a truck and even a helicopter. Best of all, at least from a child's point of view, were the toys that they could use once warm weather came back; a couple of the new Twirl-Spin-and-Wobble rides, a kiddie pool for Rocky and a Water Wiggler.

Rocky came to watch Brook with the jack-in-the-box and when she saw how excited he was she showed him how to work it. After that he played with it for another thirty minutes. All through the years when they remembered this Christmas morning the tinkly music from the jack-in-the-box would be the recurring background theme.

Brian put his arm around Meadow as they watched their kids playing. It was a Christmas morning they knew they and the children would remember all their lives. Of course, the couple had to duck occasionally as the helicopter whizzed past.

Once the presents had all been opened and the wrappings and ribbons cleaned up it was time for a pancake breakfast; the kind of pancakes Brian loved--Meadow's sausage-pancakes with butter and the home-made maple syrup they'd bought in Three Lakes. Rocky had his oatmeal with a bit of maple syrup and milk mixed in. From time to time they gave him a bite of pancake.

The girls cleared the table afterward and Heath helped Brian cart the "Water Wiggler" and the "Twirl-Spin-and-Wobble" rides up to the attic for the time being. 
Even though it would just be the immediate family this day, the girls wanted to wear their new dresses so after the cleanup they all had their baths and dressed in their Christmas finery. Heath wore his new sweater and spent the next couple hours at the activity table in the playroom. The children had begged their parents to let them decorate that room so there was a smaller Christmas tree there and Christmas lights around the room. Presents for their various friends were wrapped and waiting under the the "children's tree" to be opened later in the week.
Willow was reading her new book The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes. Technically it was an old book but in "like-new" condition. Meadow had always loved that book as a child and she'd found that copy for sale on Amazon a few months ago and promptly ordered it. Meanwhile, Brook was playing with the firetruck that Heath had finally abandoned when he went upstairs.

The day had started so uncommonly early that Brian and Meadow decided to lie down for an hour or two while Rocky took his nap and the children played with their toys. They had slept less than an hour when Meadow flung back the covers and jumped to her feet. Out popped her tummy and suddenly she had a baby bump. So much for wearing her new dress today; she was stuck with her old maternity outfit which she was heartily sick of, but she was happy about the baby making his or her presence known.

Brian woke and stretched as she dressed and went in to Rocky, who was screaming to be taken out of the crib. She dressed him and set him on the rug in the nursery with his firetruck and he was happy. Then she went to prepare the Christmas dinner. Brian came in, looking hot in Meadow's opinion in his Christmas green turtleneck and black slacks and black sport jacket. He would be helping her with the meal. He used to cook often when he'd lived with his sister, Bridget, so he knew his way around a kitchen. He set the potatoes on to boil and cut the onions and celery for the stuffing Meadow was making for the crown roast. It would be a rather late supper but that was all right; the children would not be hungry until then; they'd gobbled much of the Christmas candy in their stockings until Meadow put it up for a while. This also gave them time for a nap if necessary although Brian commented that they seemed to be wide awake so far. 

"They're still high on Christmas", he laughed.

The day before Brian had made stuffed dates; he had three different recipes, in fact. One was an old recipe handed down from his father who refused to make anything in the kitchen that required more than four ingredients. The other two Meadow got from a Pampered Chef home party where they had all exchanged favorite family recipes. The recipes made old-fashioned snacks that anyone who loved sweets, fruit or nuts could appreciate and were healthy as well. Unless you ate ten-million of them, of course.

Pete's Stuffed Dates

24 pitted dates
12 pecan halves (or walnut halves or whole almonds)
Granulated sugar (or you can use powdered sugar)

Cut each date along one side and spread open. Stuff each date with a pecan half and roll in sugar. Done.
Creamy Stuffed Dates

12 lg. pitted dates

1 pkg. (3 oz.) softened cream cheese (may use low-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel)

3 tbsp. Smucker's Sugar-Free Orange Marmalade

Walnut halves or pieces

Cut each date in half and set aside.

Combine cream cheese and marmalade until creamy smooth. Toast walnut halves in oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cool. Fill date halves with cream cheese mixture. Top with walnut half. Store covered in refrigerator. Great "sweet tooth" snack for diabetics and hypoglycemics, too.

Goat Cheese and Almond Stuffed Dates 


14 large soft Medjool dates, sliced lengthwise halfway through and pitted

2 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature

2 oz. Neufchatel cheese (or 1/3-less-fat cream cheese) divided, at room temp

7 whole almonds


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Spread the almonds into a small baking sheet and toast until fragrant; about 2 minutes. Remove nuts from baking sheet and allow to cool.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the goat cheese and the Neufchatel cheese until well combined. Using a piping bag or a small spoon, stuff the dates with the goat cheese mixture.

4. Gently press two almonds into each goat cheese-stuffed date.

5. If preparing stuffed dates a day in advance, refrigerate until a few hours prior to serving. Best when served at room temperature.

Once they had gathered at the table and gave thanks Brian looked around at his family and remembered similar Christmases when he was small with his brothers and sisters. He was so fortunate; as the child of two alcoholics Meadow could not remember one happy Christmas in her life. Both her parents were deceased by the time she was fifteen and she'd been all alone. This Christmas time with their children was a gift from heaven and Meadow smiled across the table at Brian as his eyes met hers and he winked and then quoted Dickens,

"God bless"

In the living room within view of his father, Rocky played with his jack-in-the-box. When "Jack" popped out once more at the end of the music, Rocky laughed delightedly and gave him a big hug just for being so much fun. Christmas was over for this year, but it had been the happiest one yet for the family.

"Sweet dreams to all and to all a good night..."


Vee said...

Awww, what a lovely day! I felt like I was right there in their living room. So well written, as always, Lorelei. Great post. :)

Lorelei said...

I'm always so happy for Brian when I play/write his story with his family. He went from being a very sad loner to this great husband-father, all because of Meadow :D (It's the life he was meant to have before that terrible it seems right).

Sim Girl said...

I just love Christmas morning! It is soooo wonderful to see that joy in a childs eyes. I am glad they did not have to wait until after breakfast LOL!
Love that beauty of a baby bump!
What a beautiful post. Love it!

Lorelei said...

I had so much fun with this Christmas morning, Sim Girl. This is what my childhood Christmases were like lol! I'm so glad you liked it :)