Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 14

Our Pops story continued…

This is our Pop’s story dictated verbally by him a few years ago. I’ll be sharing excerpts every Tuesday. When I add to his story or explain a photo I will Italicize my words. Our Pop’s words will not be italicized. Our mom does not come into Pop’s story until “Tuesdays With Moisi ~ 9” even though I’ve posted photos of her before #9. I have very few photos from our parents’ life in Russia and Persia. At the end of my Tuesday posts I’ll add links to all the other posts.

The first four years of our sojourn in the U.S saw us living in the East Los Angeles area with various family members and friends.  I worked various jobs in the construction trades.

Our second child Vera was born February 1948.

Fred, our first son, was born in October of 1949. Ellen was born in March of 1951. We bought our first house in Montebello in 1951.

Fred, Moisi, Ellen, Kathy and Vera in the front yard of our first home in Montebello Gardens which is now known as Pico Rivera.

 

Tim was born in January of 1958 and Steve was born in December of 1959.

In the early 60’s we moved to a bigger house in Montebello to meet the needs of our growing family. In July of 1963 Nadia surprised us all by giving birth to twins – Leonard and Lana.

I’m adding to Pop’s story about the twins. Our mom was very embarrassed and distressed when she got pregnant since she already had 6 children. She was happy to have things even and to be able to say we have 3 girls and 3 boys.  Then when the doctor told her she was having twins at age 40 it threw her into an emotional period of denial. Financially things were tough already and she wondered how we could afford to have two more babies. She didn’t even tell our Pop that she was going to have twins. She kept the fact that she was having twins a secret her whole pregnancy. We had just spent a week at Forest Home Christian Conference Center in Southern California arriving home on Saturday, July 27th. Our Pop went back to work on Monday and our mom went into labor. Pop was working on a construction site and my mom couldn’t get in touch with him. She called a friend of ours to take her to the hospital. Our mom never learned to drive. Later that day our family friend let us all know that our mom delivered twins, a girl and a boy. We were shocked and excited and waited for our Pop to arrive home so we could let him know. Pop pulled into the driveway and our brother Tim ran out to the car first and said “Pop, Pop, not one baby, two babies”, holding up two fingers.  To say our Pop was shocked is an understatement. He walked into the kitchen, sat down, and asked for a glass of punch. (Hawaiian Punch concentrate was a staple in our home in the 60’s). In those days natural childbirth was not the common practice so my mother was not awake when the twins were delivered. When they brought the twins in for her to see she told the nurses that the boy was hers but the little girl with all that dark hair was not hers because she looked Mexican (maybe she was still a little woozy from being put under). The nurses kindly informed her that both the boy and girl were definitely hers! 1963 would prove to  be an epic year in the life of our family.

This was the kitchen of our home in Montebello where our dear Pop had his glass of punch before heading to Beverly Hospital in Montebello to see his newborn twins and our mom.

 

Spur One Another On…

…in love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10: 24-25 (NIV)

Cousins enjoying breakfast together the day after the funeral.

While many of our extended family gathered in southern California for our Pop’s funeral we took every advantage to enjoy each other’s company at restaurants, in homes and at the beach.

Cousins, aunts and uncles at Huntington Beach.

These two had to leave shortly after this photo was taken.

After the beach we gathered at our niece’s home in Huntington Beach and my siblings and I were captured having a laugh out loud till we cried moment.

Addy with her cousin once removed reading to her. Breakfast, Beach, airport, dinner all on Saturday July 21st.

Our pop’s famous greeting and benediction.

Newport Beach, Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula on Sunday July 22nd.

Newport Beach at our nephew and niece’s home. We are enjoying pizza and salad here for dinner. Earlier in the day we walked over to Balboa Island and enjoyed hot dogs from Crocker’s , the well dressed frank! Oh yum I forgot to take a photo of the best Chicago Dog that I’ve ever had!

Many of us out of towners left after this get together on Sunday July 22nd. The rest of the family enjoyed more special times together after we left.

Sunday July 29th was a birthday celebration at Golden Skewers in Montebello for our brother Leonard who is twins with our sister Lana. (She was gone for this celebration). Next door to Golden Skewers is a bakery we’ve enjoyed for over 50 years, Amy’s. The birthday cake in the next photo was purchased there.

Birthday brother with my two older sisters getting ready to enjoy the cake at my sister Kathy’s home.

With our parents gone from this earth the baton is in our court to keep our families connected and accountable to carry on in the good faith of our fathers.

Back here in Washington State we continue to tie up loose ends on this side of the mountains. We are making progress in emptying out our shop and making plans to find a spot to store that stuff in Colville or Kettle Falls. It’s been quite hot on both sides of the mountains and we are looking forward to cooler days to work in. Some new possibilities for homes have come on the market. We have a comfortable space here at our son and daughter in law’s in the meantime. God bless them. I’ve also had some quiet times in the morning to spend in the Word and then to even visit blogs. I don’t feel as displaced these days. Thank you for your visits and comments and prayers during this time of our lives. You are an encouragement to me.

Singing My Heart Out…

When we can’t see her in person and are 6 hours away my eyes light up when I see the little green light on my phone saying you’ve got a message. Our daughter-in-law is good at sending us photo updates of little Addy May. Thank you dear Jamie!

Our two girls from across the state staying warm in their icy cold conditions.

Here she is just chillin in the kitchen while mama gets something done. Dan and Jamie are going to have to make a more secure play area for her since just this week she’s learned to use her play toys to climb up onto the couch and be able to escape her cordoned off play area.

What does all of this have to do with singing?

I’ve been singing all my life and it’s an important part of my life. My love for singing started in church. In my father’s Molokan church growing up into my teens singing was acapella. There were no instruments in the church and the songs were mostly from the Psalms in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. My father was a “songleader” in this church. For Easter and Christmas we would visit my maternal grandmother’s Russian Baptist Church where we enjoyed singing with piano and organ. In junior high school choir was one of my classes and I was introduced to notes and music. After my father attended the Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angles in 1963 he started a new life of following Christ as his Savior and we eventually left the Molokan Church. We started attending my maternal grandmother’s church. At the Baptist church my sisters and I were part of the youth choir which eventually worked on recording tapes of Russian hymns for Far East Broadcasting and Slavic Gospel Association to be broadcast into the Soviet Union over radio waves. During my high school years our youth choir went out every Christmas Eve to carol in Russian and English at old folks homes. We’d choose the homes where folks from the Russian churches were housed. There was one apartment building a couple doors down from Bethany Baptist Church in Los Angeles where several of our widowed grandmothers lived in separate apartments next door to each other. We’d always start our caroling there. I have to add that in my junior high and high school years I memorized and sang along with the Beatles and Leslie Gore and with whatever other group was popular. I was a “songleader” in high school. We were part of the cheer squad at sporting events and mostly yelled chants while performing routines with pom poms. “Push em back, push em back, waaaaay back. LOL!

In my college years our Los Angeles Russian Choir added some Russian voices from around the state of California and we recorded an album in a professional studio. During this time we met a studio musician who directed a Christian singing ensemble that toured the states and Great Britain. My best friend at the time auditioned for his group. She was added and toured England with them in the summer of 1972. I met the members of Tom Keene and the Contemporaries before they left for England and when they returned an alto left and I auditioned and joined the group in fall of 1972. Dear, his brother and sister in law were part of the Contemporaries. Dear and I started dating. We performed most every Sunday evening at a different church in the greater Los Angles area singing and giving our testimonies. We had weekly practices. Dear and my relationship grew and we got married after our second tour of Great Britain.

This was a newspaper article from a British paper about our group touring and singing in local schools.

Chalk church in Gravesend

All this talk about singing was inspired by the fact that today Laura bought tickets for me, my sister Lana and Katie to attend The Sound of Music sing along at the 5th Avenue in Seattle. The four of us are meeting for lunch and then popping into the theater for what I’m sure will be a fun time of singing our hearts out! Have you ever attended one of these sing along events?

Looking forward to spending a few hours with these girls. Wish our girls from across the mountains could be with us.

My semi professional singing days are well over and now my favorite times to sing are still in church and to little Addy May. I sing nursery rhymes and other songs to her. She doesn’t care that my voice cracks and I don’t stay on key or…if I make up the words! Looking forward to when she can sing along with me!

Till next time, The hills are alive…

Getting to Know You…

I enjoyed reading Eileen’s Getting to Know Me and Mildred’s, too, so I’m answering the 25 questions.
1. What is your middle name?: 
I do not have a middle name on my birth certificate. In my Russian culture I would be introduced as Ellen, Moisi’s (daughter) Bagdanov. Everyone would then know that I was Moisi’s daughter not Ivan’s daughter.
That’s my maiden last name in Russian on my paternal grandparents’ gravestone.
2. What was your favorite subject at school?:
Any class where the teacher made me feel like they appreciated having me as a student especially my English teachers in high school. I enjoyed Home Economics and ended up majoring in Home Economics.
Mrs. Nicolaus was my favorite primary teacher.
3. What is your favorite drink?:
Morning: coffee  Cocktail: Gin and Tonic
4. What is your favorite song at the moment?:
Great is Thy Faithfulness
5. What is your favorite food?:
It’s hard to beat a good Ribeye steak or Osso Bucco or Prime Rib. I can’t narrow it down to one. My easy go to comfort food is probably Mexican food but I love finding good Persian restaurants that take me back to my food roots. I’m going to say my favorite food is food!
6. What is the last thing you bought?:
A large angel at Homegoods today.
7. Favorite book of all time?:
Yikes! Another hard one to narrow down. Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter Series.
8. Favorite Color?:
Blue
9. Do you have any pets?:
No
10. Favorite perfume?:
I don’t wear perfume and if you do please spray lightly. Thank you. 🙂
11. Favorite holiday?:
Easter is my favorite.
12. Are you married?:
Yes, this month we’ll celebrate 44 years!
13. Have you ever been out of the country?:
Yes. Great Britain seven times, Italy (Milan) once, Mexico once, Canada too many times to count.
14. Do you speak any other language?:
I can speak Russian poorly. I understand it better than I can speak it.
15. How many siblings do you have?:
Eight, 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
This photo is from my sister Kathy’s wedding. The groom and best man that are flanking Kathy aren’t part of the my 7 siblings and Dear is standing next to me. All the rest are my brothers and sisters who are now 44 years older! Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana and Leonard. The last two are twins.
16. What is your favorite shop?:
Homegoods
17. Favorite restaurant?:
For a nice hunk of meat, Metropolitan Grill. My all time favorite places to eat are Pubs in Great Britain.
18. When was the last time you cried?:
Last week. I cry easily during worship services.
19. Favorite Blog?:
I like a variety of blogs and especially enjoy visiting blogs that don’t bombard me with ads. I’m sad that a few of my favorites aren’t up and running at present.
20. Favorite Movie?:
The older Pride and Prejudice series with Colin Firth. Does that qualify as a movie?
21. Favorite TV shows?:
Great British Baking Show, Alone, Top Chef, Project Runway, Live PD, Survivor, NCIS, just to name a few.
22. PC or Mac?:
PC
23. What phone do you have?:
Samsung 4 or 5 , probably time to upgrade.
24. How tall are you?:
5′ 4-1/2″
25. Can you cook?:
Yes I can and I’m part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. My mother was a great Russian cook. Her love language was to cook for others and to feed them. She loved to listen to cooking shows on the radio and try to write down the recipes. Since she didn’t know how to write in English this was a challenge for her. She enjoyed trying new things and inspired all of her kids to cook. The photo above is from our humble home in Montebello at a dinner prepared for the cheer squad by my mom, Borsch, Meat and Potato filled Perishky and Blintzes. My parents modeled hospitality even though they always struggled financially while we were growing up.
Thanks for visiting today. We are hoping our counters will be able to be cut and installed on Monday!

Happy Fall Y’all!

On Saturday we went to a Sign Making Party and this is the sign I made. It’s fun for me because you use stencils and all you have to do is pick the wood you want and the colors. Addy May and all her grandmothers, her great grandmother and aunties were there.

These are the four generations on Jamie’s side of the family. I’m sure my mom would have gotten a kick out of our little Addy May. One thing for sure this little one does not lack for love and attention.

We are still busy busy here in northeastern Washington and enjoying some fine weather that is about to change. Hunting expeditions have been successful. Next up is wood gathering for the winter. Hope you are enjoying fall where you are.

Berry Pickin Hodgepodge

 
1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm?
Yes.
Tell us a little bit about it.
When I was young my family stayed with Russian farming friends in Central California. I did not enjoy the fresh milk from their cow. My family would also drive to different farms in southern California to pick fruit for my mom’s canning endeavors. The black and white above is of the whole family picking something, maybe berries of some kind. I can also remember picking sour cherries, about 40 pounds total when we were done. She would cook and can the cherries for a sweetener for tea. A favorite with my Russian relatives. As an adult when we were in England we enjoyed an afternoon on a farm picking raspberries, picture below.
This was in 1973 or 1974. In 2006 we stayed on a sheep farm in England (bed and breakfast) for a couple nights. We enjoyed the farm noises and the walks along the Derwent River that the farm was adjacent to.
Since being part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook I’ve enjoyed times on a couple farms and at Farm markets in Abbotsford, B.C.
Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
no, yes, no, no…
I’m pretty sure I’ve been on a hayride somewhere but I can’t pull up the time and place.
2. What’s something younger you would like about you now?
 That I’m still smiling even though I don’t look like I did in that Berry picking photo with those cool shades.

3. What are three things you’d like to do more often? Three things you’d like to do less often?

Walk, read, and pray more often. Eat, b***h, jump to conclusions less often.

4. What’s on your nachos?

When I have them which isn’t very often, cheese, jalapenos, and diced Anaheim peppers.

5. What’s the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?

A tape measure might be the most random thing and it doesn’t need to stay there but it comes in handy when shopping for certain items that need to fit in defined or tight spaces.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Too cute not to share! She’s 6-1/2 months and this is her trusty furry friend Rayna.

Linking up to Hodgepodge Wednesday with Joyce From This Side of the Pond. She comes up with the questions and we answer them.

We are resuming our small group at our home on Wednesday night. It will be fun to see who shows up. Hope you all are having a good week.

There She Goes Hodgepodge

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? My maternal grandfather died in Persia before my babushka immigrated to the U.S.A. I was closer to my little maternal babushka. We visited my paternal grandparents regularly and honored them but never were as close to them as to my little babushka.

Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

Me and my little babushka on my wedding day. She was a believer and prayed for me all her days and tried to teach me to embroider. She embroidered with one hand because she lost one hand up to her elbow when she was young.

My paternal grandparents loved us as they could. We enjoyed a Russian Banya (Steam bath/sauna) at their home regularly growing up.

2. What’s an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I have not one item from my childhood that I’m attached to, in fact I have not one item from my childhood.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Out my current windows I see trees but no forest. I see houses no big views.

4. Do you like sour candies?
I enjoy Mike and Ikes.
Which of the ‘sour’ foods listed below would you say is your favorite?
grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats
limes
Have you ever eaten a kumquat?
Yes, I have. Growing up in Southern California our relatives had kumquat trees and we’d enjoy them fresh off the tree. It’s fun getting past the sour skin to the inner sweetness.

What’s your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?
I like the effect and taste that limes add to pica de gallo and I enjoy lime in my gin and tonics.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it’s going so far.

Becoming grandparents and watching our granddaughter grow makes 2017 a stand out year.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Summer is great but it’s not my favorite season.

Linking up to Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond. Joyce asks the questions and we answer them.

Hume Lake Christian Camps

In my 66th year I continue my reflections on my life with a very significant year, 1963, my twelfth year on this earth. A year with a decision that has shaped the rest of my life.

Nestled close to  Kings Canyon National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada is the Youth Camp that I was able to attend in 1963, 1965 and 1967. I was 12, 14, and 16 during these wilderness adventures.

I was raised in a family who attended church regularly and often, very religious. The church I was raised in gave me the impression that because I was Russian and a member of their church that I had an exclusive connection with God. What I learned at Bible Camp was that the only exclusive connection I could have to God was through Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Being Russian and being a part of my father’s religion did not give me a direct link to God. In 1963 at Hume Lake while listening to a speaker talk about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to save sinners I was moved to step out and become a follower of Jesus. God’s plan of salvation was exclusively through his perfect son Jesus, who is fully God and came to earth to live a perfect life among us and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I knew I was one of those sinners and I needed a Savior. This decision began a journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, but a journey forward with my God and Savior. When I began my new life following Jesus I was clothed with His righteousness and reconciled to God. I continue on this walk, never perfectly but with God’s grace I carry on. He will be teaching me by His Holy Spirit all the days of my life. My God and Savior is and will be faithful to see me through all of my life on this earth and I look forward with the Hope of seeing Him face to face in heaven. During this same year, 1963, my father began his journey of following Jesus after hearing Billy Graham at the Los Angeles Coliseum share the truth of Jesus Christ and why He came to earth over 2000 years ago. 1963 was an epic year for me and my family. For my father and me we became part of God’s movement of love and grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother was a follower of Jesus when she married my father. My two older sisters had started following Jesus before my father and me.

I’ll share this verse that Billy Graham proclaims in every interview I’ve ever heard him give. John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

High School scanned4HUME LAKE CHRISTIAN CAMP 1967

Reflections of my story from age 18 onward of my life will continue in another post.

Presently we are still waiting for that phone call. We are happy for it coming later than sooner since baby Addy is enjoying the womb and continues her growth in that comfort. We have a bag partially packed so we don’t have to wonder about something we forgot. We keep the car gassed up and ready to go. We are still in a very rainy pattern here in the Pacific Northwest. Plants should flourish well here this Spring. How goes it where you live?

Just Because…

…today marks my sixty sixth year on this earth, I reflect.

I was the fifth child born to my Russian immigrant parents.

I arrived on the scene just four years after my parents settled in East Los Angeles from Tehran, Iran.

Our first sister died before she turned two in Iran and that’s why you only see four of the five of us born to my parents here.

Our mom always made sure we had new clothes for going to church on Easter and Christmas.

After 7 years of being the baby of the family my brother Tim arrived. We were still in the black and white photograph era. In the fourth grade I memorized these verses from the Bible in the King James Version and these verses are still among my favorite from God’s Word. I was on a journey that would lead me to a significant event in my life when I was twelve. I’ll share that in a later post.

John 14: 1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

After Tim and moving on to the color film era three more siblings were added to our family, the last two being twins. Oops, my older brother Fred is absent from the photo above. These reflections are from my first eighteen years.

I will add more reflections on my sixty six years in the days to come. For now the most significant change that will come to me in my sixty sixth year is that I will be able to hold my first grand baby, Addy, for the first time.

That will be a very nice gift for my sixty sixth year as I move on to the Baba/Grandmother stage of my life. More to come. I’m headed out on a little birthday adventure with Dear today. I am blessed. I’ll check in later to see your posts.

Linking up to ABC Wednesday for J is for Just because…thank you jubilant hosts.

Christmas Through the Years…

This morning I’ve been reminiscing about Christmas over my sixty some years on this earth. Here it is the day before the day before Christmas and you might be thinking that it is quite odd that I have the time to reminisce. It’s Vee’s fault, she got me going this morning with a simple question, “What makes Christmas feel like Christmas to you?”

Growing up in Southern California we never had a white Christmas. We would be happy if it was at least cold!  My parents were fresh immigrants not off the boat but off a Red Cross Plane. I doubt there was a Christmas tree the first few years here. I’m going to call my Pop later this morning and ask him. He might not remember since he’s getting close to being 93! …That was a fun phone call. My parents did not start getting Christmas trees until they bought their first home in Montebello Gardens now called Pico Rivera and after my maternal babushka and Uncle’s family arrived in the United States. I had to give my Pop a lot of prompts so that he could remember.

The picture below might be the very first Christmas tree we had growing up. This is the living room of our home with my mom, oldest sister Kathy, me, my brother Fred and sister Vera. This was a bonanza Christmas for us with a couple presents each. I remember a year when I woke up to find no presents under the tree. That was sad. When I went to church and my friends were bragging about what they got, I made up stuff that I got. Pride starts early on…

 

Before my mom’s mother and brother’s family arrived from Persia my parents were mostly influenced by their Molokan friends and my Pop’s side of the family who were all Molokans. Molokans are a small Russian sect. They did not celebrate holidays like Christmas and Easter or Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Before I step on any toes here there are Molokans today who do celebrate some of these holidays. My mom’s side of the family were Russian Baptists. They did celebrate Christmas and Easter and my parents starting attending their services on those holidays and soon we started adding a Christmas tree and Christmas celebrations in our home. Although Christmas was celebrated, Santa was never part of our festivities.

 

The above photo was taken in San Francisco at some friends of my parents. I’m adding this one because I think these outfits are our Christmas outfits that my mom made us. I’m the one with the Buster Brown hairdo sitting in the chair. My sisters are on the right side of the photo and my brother is kneeling on the floor. Every Christmas and Easter we had a fresh set of clothes to wear to church.

 

In January of 1958 we had a new little brother, Tim. Since he was very mobile by Christmas we had to watch him closely as he managed to pull the tree down.

 

We ended up putting a table in front of the tree to keep it a little more out of reach for him. This was also a year that I did not go to church on Christmas and that’s why I’m still in my pajamas. I was ill with what I understand was a kidney infection. I was in the hospital for several days and then out of school for several months and had to have an in home teacher come to the house to give me lessons.

 

In December of 1959 our brother Steve was born. This photo was taken at my Uncle Paul’s home in 1960. My babushka lived with them and we would go and visit on Christmas. My dad has his Molokan shirt on (think Dr. Zhivago) but I’m not sure if this is before church or after church. We would have two more siblings added to our family in 1963.

 

Christmas a few years after we had two more siblings, the twins, Lana and Leonard.

 

This is probably Easter not Christmas but I had to show the whole family minus my brother Fred. We were still living in Montebello.

 

We moved from Montebello to La Mirada and this was the Christmas before Kathy and I were married. Fred and Vera were married already.

 

There came a time that my little Babushka decided she wanted an apartment of her own next to a few of her Russian widowed friends. This apartment was just doors down from the Russian Baptist church we all attended. Breakfast at Babushka’s became a tradition every Christmas before our Christmas service at Bethany Russian Baptist church. It was a feast which my one handed babushka prepared for us until she died. She lost one of her arms up to her elbow when she was a child. You should notice that my father is wearing a suit and tie this Christmas and his countenance is merrier. No more Molokan Shirts for my Pop as he accepted Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade and subsequently left the Molokan church and was baptized at Bethany Baptist. Hallelujah and amen! He was ostracized by his own family for this decision but had reconciliation with them a few years after.

 

Another breakfast at Babushkas after Dear and I were married with some of my family and cousins.

 

Our first home in Huntington Beach.

 

Our second home in Huntington Beach where Josh was born and celebrated his first Christmas. All of our children were born shortly after Christmas in their respective years so they were almost a year old when they enjoyed their first Christmas.

 

Josh and Dan in 1981 or 1982.

 

Our family of four still in Huntington Beach. When our kids were little we didn’t go overboard on Christmas gifts. Some years a few more, some years a few less. We were never fans of gift opening going on and on and on.

 

One of the years that the Christmas celebrations were at our home for my extended family. We are reading the Christmas story from Luke chapter two. I think this was 1983.

 

Christmas with Dear’s side of the family was always nice and quiet compared to getting together with my side of the family. In the two bottom photos of the collage I’m pregnant with Josh (Christmas 1978). Each of our families added a little girl to our numbers later. We would read Luke chapter 2 together before we opened gifts. We also would enjoy a nice meal together.

 

Christmas in Ventura 1985, and 1986 and Christmas in Washington 1988. When we first moved to Washington we tried to drive down to California for Christmas each year. That got old fast as the roads over the Siskiyou pass in Oregon state could be treacherous and it was hard being away from home during Christmas. We decided summer visits to California were more beneficial for all.

 

We had a surprise White Christmas in Washington in I believe 1990.

 

 

 

On a rare Christmas in 2008 family from Dallas, Washington and California all got together for a Bagdanov family Christmas in Huntington Beach at my sister Vera’s home. This was Christmas Eve 2008. Our immediate family flew home to Washington on Christmas morning and were met with several inches of snow at this old house and a power outage! I’m skipping a few years now…

 

Christmas 2012 we were missing a few of our family at Christmas. Katie was in North Carolina waiting for Andrew to arrive home from a 6 month deployment to Afghanistan. Dan was in eastern Washington and didn’t have Christmas off.

Pictures18-001Andrew arrived home on Christmas day. The very best of gifts!

2012-12-031

We all were together after Christmas that year.

2013-12-021

In 2013 Andrew was in Afghanistan again and Katie spent Christmas with us.

 

2014 we were all together with the newly engaged couple Dan and Jamie arriving later on Christmas day.

We decided early after our kids got married not to hold on tightly to having to celebrate together on a given day but to be flexible choosing joy in what worked out for the year.

This Christmas we are grateful that all eight of us will be together on Christmas Day.

So, what makes Christmas feel like Christmas to me? It’s not the weather but it is the people. Loved ones sitting at a table filled with good food. Loved ones singing together in church or caroling. Music is a big part of Christmas for me. We enjoy going to a Christmas Eve service to sing about our Savior. I’m glad when traditional carols are part of the service. Our youth group in junior high and high school would go Christmas caroling every Christmas Eve. We would go to convalescent homes where some of our Russian church members were being cared for. We’d sing in Russian and English. We’d always stop at the widows (babushkas) apartments a few doors down from the church to sing for them in Russian. Before I was married my family went to church twice on Christmas day. Once for the morning service and then in the evening there was usually a cantata that my sister’s and I would be part of and that we practiced for weeks ahead. In between services we’d have a meal at our home where a few extra people would be added at the table. Growing up my mom always sewed a new dress for me to wear on Christmas. Wearing something new on Christmas makes it feel like Christmas to me, too.

Ever since our kids were little we have woken them up to Christmas music playing on the stereo on Christmas morning. Even these years they wait to hear the music so they know it’s time for stockings!

This post is mostly for me to see my Christmas history. If you made it through thank you. Is there something that makes Christmas feel like Christmas to you?

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage on their site. All my photos that I stored and uploaded from that site are now big ugly black and grey boxes with a message to pay big bucks to get them restored to my blog. It will take me a long time to restore thousands of posts.