And lo, Yuletide was dragged, sighing, into January, and lo, the Bakers didst congregate in Kirkwall (I know – where?) to eat and drink and wish, desperately, for deafness.

You see, my family (both sides), seems to have no hobbies but prolific breeding. There were 13 children there. Nine of them were five and under. I’m sure the people in the cemetery up the road were calling the police to complain. (More fun – in two weeks there is a get together technically for the other side of the family – the three youngest sisters of the Metzger clan. 11 of the same children will be there, plus an additional four. *sigh*) In addition, since I am rarely exposed to small children, and having been handed any number of sniffling, coughing, runny-nosed tots, I’m sure I’ll be dead of bubonic plague by next weekend. Yes, that’s right. I held babies. Several. The great thing about family is that you can walk into a family gathering and simply abandon your children. People like my mother (i.e. sans grandchildren) will take all the babies. The older kids will run off with their cousins, and you just have to round them up and shoo them into the minivan several hours later when it’s time to go home. A pretty sweet deal, methinks. In the mean time, you get to drink coffee, eat squares, and talk about that hockey game with the Russkies the other night. (Yes, my father calls them “Russkies” – isn’t he adorable?)

To wit…


A handful of the toys that ended up strewn throughout the joint. The kid standing is five. He’s monstrous. And his cat, who is, fortunately, extremely good natured and a big suck, and which he and two other boys spent the evening mercilessly chasing and “playing with”, is named Wonder Curiosity, which I think is fantastic. 🙂


The Twins (Culkin-esque, no?), who will be turning four at the end of this month, and their dad. I stared down one of them in the kitchen after supper and said, “Who’re you?” and in response he gave me a grin of the purest evil and then ran away. Clearly, this is a FAQ. I later learned from his mother that it was Justin. (He had the brown slippers and Jordan had blue. Otherwise they were dressed alike.) All other twins in the family are on the other side.


Horsies. My cousin Joyce (at whose house we had the shindig), is a vet and a horse fanatic. Baker genes being what they are, so are both her boys, hence the horse costumes. BUT! Only the all brown horse/child is hers. The other brown and white horse/child belongs to my cousin Cheryl. The female child, also pictured, is Madison, who belongs to my cousin Jeanette.


Oh, and the Baker clan is the small side of the family… See how every layer of the picture has more and more kids? And, of course, an adult stuffing his face. Because that’s the true meaning of Christmas.


This is the youngest one, Cheryl’s daughter Macy. She’s a dead ringer for her mama. Ever try to get a baby to sit still and not grab your camera with a chubby, sticky, Cheerio-encrusted hand? Amusingly, both Cheryl and Janet (mother of The Twins) have boys (elder) and then a girl (youngest). I do not believe it is a coincidence that the girls are sweet, quiet, well-behaved, and independent. (And these traits are noticeable in children less than a year and a half old.) 🙂


John is the youngest member of the host family. He was sick, and by the end of the evening pretty tired, and not so much in the mood for candid camera. Though he was pretty fascinated by the pictures when I set the camera on preview mode and showed him the picture of himself and the others. It was pretty cute when he crawled across the dining room table to spontaneously give my Dad an Eskimo kiss. (He looks not unlike my brother at the same age.)

candy corn

Now this… THIS is an abomination. The candy corn you get at Hallowe’en is vile enough, but they re-branded it for CHRISTMAS??? Have they no shame??? My cousin informed me that they do it up in pastel colours for Easter, too. I nearly hurled. Then I went and ate some chocolate caramel almond bark. 🙂


And finally… Look in the background of the picture. See that tall green thing? That’s a cactus. (My cousin has a wee bit of a green thumb.) Now, the ceilings in this house are probably 15″ high. The cactus is touching the ceiling now. We had an in-depth discussion during supper about whether the cactus would start to bend and grow sideways now, or whether it would attempt to head through the drywall. Seriously – what the hell do you do with a 20′ cactus???

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