Heirs of the Magi News Flash!

***Heirs of the Magi News Flash!***

The annual Smashwords Summer-Winter sale is on for the month of July 2018! Magi Ascension and Magi Master are both on sale this month for 50% off, so click on the links to the left and get your copies at a great price while you can!

Happy summer - or winter - reading everyone!

Cassie's Journals have now come to an end with the start of the Magi Ascension storyline on June 15, 2018! Ethan and Ehlana will now be taking over the Heirs of the Magi daily updates as Cassie prepares to move on to college - and you can read all about her story by picking up a copy of Magi Ascension - Part One! Ethan's and Ehlana's roles in the Ascension of the Light is just beginning now too; so their journals will offer a different perspective on the events going on at home while Cassie is away at college!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cassie's Journal - December 30, 2012

My lounge is currently teen central for Chris, Martin, and a bunch of their Witch Falls friends; including Rebecca, Jenny, and Shane.  having Jenny here with her boyfriend might be stranger for Martin than for me, but probably not by much; and I’ve had the added bonus of seeing other girls showing new interest in him now that Jenny no longer has a claim on him.

Jaimie and Kaitlyn are sleeping in their room for the first time this weekend, and Dawn and Mandy are somehow managing to sleep in my bed despite the noise from the lounge.  I’m once again writing this while sitting in the window alcove, and though I’m still hearing more from the lounge than I’d like to; at least I don’t have the permanent visual to go with the audio track.  Let’s move back in time and recap the rest of the day instead of thinking about that too much.

Tai Chi with Mom and Dad was again the calm before the Sunday morning storm that is the norm for a Proctor family holiday weekend.  Somehow, between wake-up calls and leaving for church, we managed to feed seventeen people; clean up the kitchen from that major meal; juggle eleven showers in four bathrooms; keep five younger kids and toddlers entertained; and have everyone dressed up and out the door fifteen minutes early.  We even managed to get to church five minutes before Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, and their guests, but then again, they didn’t look nearly as frazzled as the parents in our group did by then.

The last service of twenty-twelve was fairly normal compared to the last few holiday events, and there must have been as many people away for the weekend as there were here visiting; since we didn’t need to have overflow seating this week.  Sunday school was pretty much just free play and craft time.  Pastor Martha kept the service comparatively short too, and we were home again by a bit after eleven o’clock.  That gave all of us time to get changed; lunch was on the table by noon; and the kids were set free just in time for the guys to take over the living room for another day of football – this time, the final week of the NFL regular season instead of college bowl games.

Dawn and I took Jaimie and Kaitlyn with us; picked Rowen up at the computer store; and headed out for a chilly afternoon of park and playground action.  There were some younger boys playing at the park, but most of the tween and teen guys must have been either working or watching football too.  Mom, Aunt Alison, Aunt Grace, and Violet brought Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden to the park for a while at around two, so we played with them while they were there, and then we went home with them for a hot chocolate and snacks break before Dawn, Rowen, and I headed out again once we were warmed up.

While we spent most of the afternoon outdoors, the lounge had been chick flick central for some of the girls.  Ehlana, Jaimie, and Kaitlyn joined that group after our break; getting some quality cuddle time with their grandmothers, moms, and aunts.  Ethan and Jayden played in the lounge for a while too after deciding that sitting around doing nothing but watching football with the guys was just too boring compared to racing cars, playing with action figures, and bouncing balls around the lounge and my bedroom.

There were three buffets at the Inn today, and Grandma and Grandpa had reservations for the second sitting for everyone.  Rowen had to run home to get ready for that too when Dawn and I did, since her family was going to be there too.  We had lots of adult support getting the younger kids set up with their food first, but then Dawn, Rowen, and I were in charge of the ‘kids’ table; and spent most of the hour and a half we were there keeping up with Jaimie, Kaitlyn, Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden.  They didn’t actually run off all that often, so I guess it’s more accurate to say that we needed to keep them entertained, and get them to eat something more than ice cream and Olde Bakery dessert treats.

One of the bonuses tonight was getting to spend a couple of minutes talking to Isabelle Jacobs and Andrew Jennings.  Violet’s spent some time with them while hanging out with Dillon, but I basically haven’t seen them at all since they’ve been home from college for their Christmas break.  They’re both doing great with their academics; love their college; aren’t so crazy about residential halls; and miss Witch Falls a lot.  Ethan and Ehlana are happy about that last part, since they expect to have Isabelle as one of their teachers when she does graduate and come home to work at our school.  There were other cameo moments with other college kids or visitors that I’ve met over the past couple of years, and between those little visits; playing with my brother, sister, and cousins; and having some awesome food; I’ve got another set of great memories to add to all the others I have from the Inn.

With New Year’s Eve day just one sleep away, most of us were going with an early night – with Chris and Martin being the obvious exceptions.  We didn’t have any extra family house guests after coming home from the Inn, and while some of the guys needed to catch up on the football action; Mom, Aunt Alison, and Aunt Melissa did bath time with Jaimie, Kaitlyn, Jayden, and the twins.  I was put to work making sure that my lounge was clean, stocked, and ready for the tween-teen invasion, but Dad and Uncle Rick made sure that I had help hauling pop and snacks upstairs from the pantry.  Dawn and I also folded two loads of towels and put them away after that, but then stopped working once Chris and Martin’s friends started arriving.

There were a few teens – including Rebecca, Jenny, and Shane – that couldn’t come until later, but the noise level and gaming action kicked into high gear shortly after Chris and Martin led their first group of guests up to the lounge.  Dawn and I split our time between the lounge and living room, but once all of the teens were in the lounge, it wasn’t long before we decided that being anywhere else was a good idea.  Dawn assured me that she feels exactly the same way at home whenever her brothers have a gang of both boys and girls over for a gaming or movie night.  She’s even thinking about moving to Witch Falls with Violet next summer, or going to live with Jillian, if boy-girl pool parties become a daily thing at her house.  I guess we do at least have the advantage here of spreading that kind of weirdness out along miles of river – or out at Quarry Lake and the other campgrounds.

In addition to our time in the lounge or living room, Dawn and I also did the bedtime story and snack with the younger kids, and had a little girl chat with Violet while she got ready to go out again and meet up with Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie.  After our last visit to the lounge, there was a little cuddle time with our parents, aunts, and uncles before Dawn decided that going to bed and cuddling with Mandy was more fun that either football or Zone Weird with her brothers.  Rebecca was the only teen to actually acknowledge our brief goodnight visit to the lounge; and I had a bonus hug for her after sensing that she didn’t really want to be there either, but was doing it for Jenny.

I don’t expect to be able to sleep until after the party ends next door, but there really isn’t anything else to report for today, so I’ll move on to something else while waiting for the exodus that will happen about ten or fifteen minutes before the midnight curfew that most of Chris and Martin’s friends have to be home for tonight.

Say ‘goodnight, Cassie’.

“Goodnight, Cassie.”

Cassie's Journal - December 29, 2012

Happy Proctor family Christmas Day!

Tai Chi this morning was the only calm before the family circus began with a major breakfast and a couple of hours of taking turns with bathroom time; getting ready for the day; and entertaining Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and three toddlers.  The grandparents, Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, and Aunt Grace all joined the party by ten o’clock, and while the kitchen and living room were the adult action centers all day; my lounge and bedroom were where the kids and teens spent most of the day when we weren’t opening gifts or having lunch and Christmas dinner.  Chris and Martin migrated to the living room to watch most of the football games too, but still fit in a few hours of video gaming in the lounge before getting to take over the living room for some late night gaming action once all of the ‘old folks’ had either gone home or up to bed.

Dawn and I took Kaitlyn and Jaimie out for some play time at the park for an hour or so in the morning when Rowen could go with us, but we spent the rest of the day indoors and warm.  Getting to play for most of the day was great, but Dawn and I didn’t escape from the post-dinner clean-up that took nearly an hour and a half from start to finish.  I guess that wasn’t too much of a downside to a day filled with music, chick flicks, games, and playtime fun.

Speaking of fun, I’m not going to detail every gift each person received today, but there was one particular gift that is fairly important to our future plans – Uncle Blaine gave Aunt Grace and Mark the blueprints and drawings for the house he designed for them.  it’s probably a really good thing that Uncle Adam did such a great job with remodeling his home for Aunt Leanne, because Aunt Grace and Mark are going to have an awesome house that manages to fit it with the style of the beautiful old homes we have in Witch Falls while also being modern and state-of-the-art.  Aunt Grace got teased a bit about the six bedrooms, but Uncle Blaine assured her that he was thinking about space for guest bedrooms as much as for kids – especially since Mark’s family visits wouldn’t likely be just for weekend hops when they were coming from Seattle.  I should amend that teasing to include Mark, since he was with us for that awesome Christmas gift memory – at least virtually – thanks to a little iPad Face Time.

That was the top gift of the day, though not as fun to play with as the toys Jaimie, Kaitlyn, Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden were given.  Mom, Dad, Uncle Adam, and Aunt Leanne were given a few things by Uncle Blaine too, but they weren’t gifts.  We now have the completed plans for the new lab, and though I haven’t seen them yet; Mom assured me that they’re just as awesome as Aunt Grace’s house.  Uncle Blaine’s been very busy, and he also had the first batch of plans for the houses he’s designing for the new part of town.  That’ll give Aunt Leanne something exciting to work on at the office during the slow winter months; and actually seeing what some of those homes are going to look like will probably get a lot of people in town fired up too.  Thanks to a little future insight, Ethan, Ehlana, and I know a few families that are really going to have fun with that in the coming year; and we’re going to have fun right along with them.

So I missed out on most of the future plans fun today, but Ethan, Ehlana, and I had a blast hanging out with our cousins; and I picked up enough snippets of the girl talk that mostly revolved around Aunt Grace and Mark to know that there were some parts of the adult fun that none of us kids needed to be around for.  I was also good with missing out on most of the football action, but I would have liked to spend more time with Violet and Dillon.  Their impending graduation from high school to college and adulthood next summer might be at least part of the reason why they spent most of their time hanging out with the adults today.

While lunch was a grab food when you feel like eating, two-hour long buffet and snack bar; everyone – including the football fanatics – sat down for Christmas dinner in the dining room.  The only family adoptees with us today – other than me – were Uncle Nick and Aunt Deborah, and now that she’s nearing the end of her fifth month of pregnancy; baby and pregnancy stories were high on the list of our dinner conversation.

While I’m fairly fired up about Aunt Deborah’s first baby, I should probably mention how Elaine Johnson is doing with her pregnancy while I’m thinking about babies, since I didn’t mention it in my journal at all over the Christmas weekend.  Nicole and her parents will have the new addition to their family arriving sometime in late February; and though her pregnancy hasn’t been quite as easy as Aunt Deborah’s has been so far; Elaine and her baby are both very healthy and doing just fine.

The good news for me was that talking babies, Christmas in Seattle, and weddings kept matchmaking for Cassie out of the conversation entirely.  Thanks to Chris and Martin, football was a top subject with the guys, and they even needed to find excuses to leave the room and check up on the game in progress.  Since I’ve seen them drink a half-case of pop each and never have a problem; I seriously doubt they each needed to go to the bathroom a combined total of five times in under two hours.

So dinner was fun; the clean-up was at least a shared chore if not exactly exciting; and then we – mostly the girls – spent the evening watching chick flicks in the lounge while the guys continued the bowl game tradition.  The grandparents started heading home for the night by ten, and though Chris and Martin apparently complained about it; the remaining wives and girlfriend joined their boys in the living room for the rest of the evening after Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden were put to bed.  Aunt Grace chose to stay with ‘the girls’ in the lounge; and Dawn, Jaimie, Kaitlyn, and I all loved getting to spend the extra time with her; though Jaimie and Kaitlyn both fell asleep during the last movie while cuddling with their favorite aunt.

The remaining uncles and aunts headed home at midnight, and Violet and Dillon decided to call it a night then too; mostly because of church in the morning, and because he was going to be in for a long day at the Inn with extra holiday weekend buffets.  Jaimie and Kaitlyn are sleeping in the lounge again, and Dawn and Mandy are both sleeping now too.  I’ve been sitting in the window alcove for a while now; mostly winding down while puttering around the internet on my computer.

I’m not quite ready to call it a night yet, so this is probably a good time for those family news updates I wanted to write about.

Aunt Grace and Mark:
The girls in his family love Aunt Grace; his father and brother think he may have gone off the deep end over a pretty girl; and they all think that moving to Witch Falls is nuts for both of them.  There were even suggestions that Aunt Grace could really take her business career to the next level by moving to Seattle instead.  I suppose that’s true, but I get the feeling that Mark’s family – or at least some of them – don’t completely understand him; and this move will be as perfect for them as their fit into our future plans will be.

Uncle Blaine:
Is going to be very busy over the next few years.  Everything he’s designing for us is also helping to take his company to the next level; and his biggest problem is going to be having enough hours in the week for all of the work.  Up next for his end of our future plans are more houses; three apartment buildings; and two sets of townhome blocks with four or five different floor plans each.  He’ll have the medical center to design too, but we won’t need that ready for about a year or so.

Violet and Dillon:
College majors and school have been chosen; now we’ll just wait for them to make the grades and get accepted.  I have no doubt both will happen.  Next year is going to be awesome for them!

Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne:
It’s going to be a busy year for them!  Wedding plans; new homes to sell; running the clinic for an unknown length of time without Aunt Deborah when she’s off with the new baby; and much more that I wouldn’t want to chance spoiling by writing about now.

Grandpa Duncan and Grandma Mercy:
The big news for them is that they’re going to retire next year – before Aunt Grace and Mark get married if all works out as planned.  Maybe we’ll see if Grandma and Grandpa can recruit them to do some charity trips for the family business.  We could use their skills; and they might be interested in some free world travel – and spending time with their brother and sister-in-law.

That’s about it for the big family news.  There are always endless little daily life stories too, but I’m not so fired up still that I want to list all of them; and most wouldn’t really interest any future Magi reading my journals anyway.  I’m still not ready to climb into bed yet, but that’s all I have for tonight; so I’ll wrap this up and move on to some more random surfing.

Say ‘goodnight, Cassie’.

“Goodnight, Cassie.”

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cassie's Journal - December 28, 2012

We have a house full of family; most of them sleeping as I write this.  That’s made for a crazy-fun evening, and I’ve loved every minute of it!

Everything was fun today, from Tai Chi this morning with Mom and Dad through to another sleepover tonight with Dawn, Jaimie, and Kaitlyn.  Dawn and Kaitlyn are sleeping in the lounge, and Jaimie and Mandy are sleeping in my bed.  I’m sitting in the window alcove while doing my nightly computing.  Jaimie and Kaitlyn have the last third floor bedroom for the weekend, just as Dawn has the room across from Violet’s; but they’ll probably all be hanging out in my room and the lounge most nights for the rest of the weekend.

I’ve gotten ahead of the day again, though, so let’s rewind to this morning.

Rowen, Dawn, Emma, and I had most of the day to play again until Claire picked Emma up after work, and Rowen needed to meet up with her parents at the computer store before moving on to some Emerson family weekend fun.  Having Emma with us was probably why Dad decided to make up a bigger-than-usual weekday breakfast; and we all appreciated started the day with pancakes and bacon instead of cereal.  Being on the clean-up crew wasn’t quite as much fun for Rowen and I, but Dawn and Emma had fun playing with Ethan and Ehlana while we were busy in the kitchen.

We spent a lot of time playing outdoors again; and really just had a repeat of yesterday except for switching our home and Inn breaks; and exploring different parts of the park and town.  Guys playing football at the park and school, and then watching football indoors when the bowl games for the day started, were exactly the same.  We avoided the first, and appreciated having the great outdoors mostly testosterone-free for a few hours.  Ethan and Ehlana spent a little time with us today too, but while Mom was busy with more pre-cooking, she had them at KidZone in the morning, and Alicia worked again today instead of her usual Saturday shift.  That was a double bonus for me, since that got me out of a few hours of house cleaning to get everything ready for our guests.

Before we started welcoming our family home, after Rowen and Emma were gone, Dawn and I helped Mom with making dinner and setting the dining room table; we had another quick and easy dinner; cleaned up; and had some play time with Ethan and Ehlana in the lounge while Mom and Dad were busy.  Dawn’s parents and brothers were first to town; and they pulled into the driveway at a little after eight o’clock.  Grandpa Richard and Grandma Carrie drove down from Woodvale with them, but were parked two doors down at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s; where ‘the grandparents’, and Aunt Grace, were spending the weekend.

We were getting ‘the kids with kids’ members of our family, and the timing for arrivals worked out fairly well; since we were able to get Uncle Rick’s SUV unloaded, and had time to warm up a bit again before Uncle Blaine, Aunt Alison, and the kids joined the party and we repeated the process for the second and last time of the night.  Grandma and Grandpa had been over at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s, and once everyone was settled in there too, they all came over to our house for a little welcome home party.

The lounge was kid and teen zone for that after the first half hour or so in the living room with everyone.  Chris and Martin ruled the gaming system; and the rest of us mostly played with Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden.

While I’m thinking about my youngest cousin, first impressions and comparisons between Jayden and the twins is always interesting for me.  Jayden’s three months older than Ethan and Ehlana; strongly latent; and very intelligent.  While I can’t study him with any overt use of my gifts, I continue to learn a lot about the development path for Latents; and how that compares to both Magi Masters like my brother and sister, and strong Magi like Naomi and Aiden.  Jayden also gives Ethan and Ehlana a great model to emulate their ‘public’ development on, but the more we study normal, latent, Magi, and Magi Master development; the more I’m convinced that this is going to be something that is going to lead to discoveries that will be very important for future generations of Magi.

I’ll write about that more in our Magi project archive, but where I’m going with that is the possibility I’ve mentioned before about nudging Latents into being actively able to use their Magi powers.  The reason I’m more convinced than ever about that is because it looks like the four development curves have an exponential component.  If we could determine the moment, or moments, when those development paths diverge, we might be able to change the outcome.  Being able to do that wouldn’t, for instance, change a Magi to a Magi Master; but it might be possible to optimize each person’s full potential.  A good example that I haven’t written about in this journal is actually Violet.  She’s a comparatively low-powered Magi, but since she’s primarily been trained by a Magi Master; she can do more than many more powerful Magi that didn’t have the better training opportunity.  It’s probably more obvious that the training Mom did with Ethan, Ehlana, and I from pre-natal awareness on similarly affected us; but we don’t really have any contemporaries to compare that against.  Maybe we’ll begin to learn more about that potential with Magi mothers like Aunt Deborah; but that’s really something very new to our Magi project research.

I’ll write more about that in the project archive in the New Year, but for now, it’s getting late; and I should wrap this up soon and get some sleep.  The parties in the lounge and living room started breaking up when Ethan, Ehlana, and Jayden were put to bed for the night.  Chris and Martin gave up the lounge so easily that I’ll guess they’ve had a few too many all-nighters with their buddies while Violet and Dawn were here; and just needed the break.  Whatever the reason, we were happy to put a movie on and have a little girl chat time before Kaitlyn fell asleep about a half-hour into the show.  Jaimie opted for moving into my bed with Mandy after that, and Dawn decided to curl up on the other end of the sectional sofa from Kaitlyn then instead of sitting in bed with me until Jaimie fell asleep; and she was probably snoozing before Jaimie dropped off.

There’s more to write about for news around the family – particularly from Aunt Grace’s Christmas with Mark; but I’ll get to all of that sometime over the next few days.  For now, it’s just time for me to...

...say ‘goodnight, Cassie’.

“Goodnight, Cassie.”

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cassie's Journal - December 27, 2012

It was time to get back to the real world for most of the grown-ups today, but most of the kids and teens were free to enjoy the break from the daily school grind – not that I really think of school like that anyway.

Rowen, Dawn, and I made a little change to our play plans by inviting Emma Norton to spend the day with us and stay for a sleepover.  That made everything we did more fun for Dawn, and though it was short notice; Emma was happy to throw some clothes together and get a ride into town with her Mom when she came in to work.

We had beautiful, sunny, but cold weather, so we needed to be bundled up whenever we were playing outside.  The cold also meant that we needed to put some air in the tires of the four bikes we rode pretty much everywhere we went; and that ended up being job one once Emma had joined us and we’d picked out bikes for her and Dawn to use.  The park and school playground were the top two kid zones all day, and we spent a couple of hours at the park, and maybe a half-hour at the school.  With College football bowl games on television every day between now and the big Championship game in a week and a half, most of the boys were in full-out football mode.  Our little group was good with that too, since it kept them on the football fields instead of the playgrounds through until the first bowl game of the afternoon started; and then the great outdoors was practically girls-only for the rest of the day.

In addition to playing at the park and school, we did a fair bit of biking and exploring.  We had one warm-up break and lunch at home, and a second break in the dining room at the Inn; mostly because neither Dawn nor Emma got to go there very often when they weren’t there with parents or family.  I can see why Mom, Aunt Leanne, and their friends like to do that now and then – it really is a nice change from just doing that at home.  We didn’t really do any shopping today except for picking up a few treats at the Emporium for when we were biking and exploring – and to get a few favorite snacks for our sleepover.  There was a bit of indoor playtime too, and we played with Ethan and Ehlana whenever we were at home.

Mom and Alicia were busy all day with Ethan and Ehlana; and with an all-day pre-cooking marathon that Dad, Aunt Leanne, and Uncle Adam all joined in to help with after getting home from work.  Violet spent most of the day with Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie; she and Dillon had dinner with us; and then they were off again for an evening of fun with their friends.  Dinnertime was fairly rowdy, and an hour or so of non-stop fun led by Aunt Leanne’s stories, jokes, and random acts of entertainment.  Since the oven was tied up with the cooking for the weekend, we had Olde Bakery bun subs; crock pot vegetable soup; a cold veggie tray; and a couple of chips options.  Thanks to using our best recyclable paper and plastic dishes and cutlery, the clean-up was a breeze; and ‘the kids’ were set free to play in the lounge within ten minutes of finishing our food.

I’m sure this is sounding repetitive by now, but I expect that Rowen and I will be playing our new saxophone and flute a lot, and nearly every day, for at least the next several years.  Tonight, we played; let Emma and Dawn take turns trying to play; and collectively entertained Ethan and Ehlana for nearly an hour before moving on to some video gaming in the lounge.  There are lots of girls around town who are nearly as addicted to video games as so many of the guys are; and there’s a chance that Dawn and Emma could be future video game junkies.  Hook Dawn up with any kind of Flight Simulator or game that involved flying just about anything; and she could play it for hours.  Emma was more into horse riding or car racing games; though she advised us that her proficiency with driving games came mostly from only having two options at home – car racing or fighting games.  Since her brothers had a tendency to take the virtual fights into the real world; car racing was safer – whenever she actually got a turn to play at all.

Ethan and Ehlana couldn’t show off their Magi-powered gaming skills tonight, but they still had fun with us; and played age-appropriate games on their iPads.  Since our family was coming for the weekend tomorrow night, Mom and Aunt Leanne took the twins away by nine o’clock so they could have baths before we all stopped to do the bedtime snack and story with them in the kitchen.  That break marked the transition from games to movies in the lounge; and we started taking turns using my Jacuzzi too.  Emma won the first spot, and then Dawn, Rowen, and I each spent a half-hour or so in the tub.  Tonight we went with pet-related comedies; starting with the two Cats & Dogs movies.

Dawn and Emma are still watching a movie now, but Rowen, Mandy, and I moved into my bed when they decided to try for just one more movie that I doubt they’ll stay awake to see the ending.  Rowen and I have been winding down with a little surfing and chatting, but we’re both pretty much ready to call it a night.  There really isn’t anything else to report for today, so I’ll wrap this up; and at least three of us will be sleeping soon.

Say ‘goodnight, Cassie’.

“Goodnight, Cassie.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cassie's Journal - December 26, 2012

The day after Christmas in Witch Falls doesn’t have the big city shopping madness that you see on the news, but it is always a really fun day; and it was that and then some this year.

After taking yesterday morning off, I loved doing Tai Chi with Mom and Dad today, and then Ethan, Ehlana, and I got the news that we were doing the early breakfast buffet at the Inn before getting started on our Boxing Day shopping adventure.  Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, and all of his family were doing the breakfast buffet too; so Miranda had set aside a large block of tables just for our family.  Ehlana, Ethan, and I were put at a table with Kara, Eddie, and Nicole; and Michelle and Chrissy won – or lost – the draw to sit with us and keep their younger cousins under control.  I’m fairly sure that Michelle was only teasing us about reconsidering becoming a teacher after hanging out with us, but I guess if she’s going to change majors at college; she should do that sooner than later since she is a sophomore this year.

Rowen wasn’t at the Inn for breakfast because she was at the computer store with her parents to help them get ready for the big sale; but she was set free in time to meet up with me and join our bargain-hunting expedition.  I picked up a couple of things at her store later when we stopped in to deliver Olde Bakery snacks for her Mom and Dad, but we had the most fun shopping at Palmer’s, Taylor’s, and the Emporium.  Violet and Dawn made it to town in time to catch the last hour or so of morning shopping.  Dawn spent that time with Rowen and me, while Violet shopped with Chrissy and her sisters.  Since she and Chrissy are getting to be pretty good friends, it’s too bad that they didn’t have more time together, but by noon, all of Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s guests were back at their house; getting packed and ready to leave.

Mom, Dad, Ethan, Ehlana, and I went over there to do a quick round of goodbye hugs and kisses, but then we left them to their work; and headed home to have lunch with Violet, Dawn, and Rowen.  After eating and helping to clean up, Rowen, Dawn, and I headed out for a little more shopping.  We stopped at the Inn and got Miranda’s permission to borrow Rebecca for an hour or so to go shopping with us, and thanks to a little empathic insight I got from Rebecca earlier while we were there for breakfast; I knew that’s exactly what she needed to cheer her up.

The dress she picked out at Palmer’s helped a lot too, with the perfect combination of looking amazing on her and being on sale for half price.  I’m really glad that we could help put Rebecca in a better mood by the time we dropped her off at the Inn again, and really glad that I’d picked out the clothes I wanted to get earlier; since I might not have bought anything if I’d been trying on clothes next to Rebecca and comparing results.  When I mentioned that to Rowen later, she laughed, and again reminded me that I’m going to grow up to look like my mother.  That’s true, but doesn’t help much when I feel like the ‘before picture’ poster child while Rebecca is closing in fast to the dream girl ‘after picture’.

Moving along, after leaving Rebecca at the Inn, Rowen, Dawn, and I went back to my house.  We had a snack break, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in the lounge with Ethan, Ehlana, and Mandy.  Rowen and I played a little music, and Dawn tried playing the sax and flute for a while.  We watched music videos; played some games; and talked about what we’d been doing since Dawn was last home at Thanksgiving.  Mom and Dad were having Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, Uncle Nick, and Aunt Deborah over for dinner; so Dawn and I were recruited to set the dining room table after Rowen headed to the computer store to meet up with her parents, and help them with a little post sale clean-up and re-stocking work.

Dinnertime was when my little Christmas hug and kiss moment with Michael caught up with me.  I should probably be grateful that Aunt Leanne waited until it was just family around to start teasing me about it, but everyone else, including Dawn, Ethan, and Ehlana, were having just a little too much fun with the whole thing for my taste.  I may not have been able to do anything about tonight, but I plan on being very careful for the rest of the holidays anytime I’m anywhere near Michael and Aunt Leanne at the same time.  With a little luck, that’ll only happen at church for the next week and a half, so hopefully my dear Aunt won’t have any opportunities to cause trouble.

I know, but it’s worth hoping for.

My grandparents, aunts, and uncles were making an early night of it after a long, busy weekend, but Rowen came back over after finishing up at the store and having dinner with her parents; and was staying for a sleepover with Dawn and me.  Violet was going out with Dillon, Jake, and Stephanie, so she was only home after dinner long enough to get changed and have a little hair and make-up fun with Mom before going over to the Inn to meet up with her friends.  Mom and Dad were going with a quiet night in, and Ethan and Ehlana split their time between hanging out with us in the lounge, and some pre-bedtime cuddling in the living room with Mom and Dad.

We’ve been watching chick flicks in the lounge; played around with the sax and flute again; surfing the net; and kept entertained talking about everything except boys or sports.  Making plans for the next two days we have free to play and do whatever we want until the Proctor clan starts getting to town for the long weekend was at the top of the list, and though snow fun isn’t in the cards; having cold but sunny weather does give us lots of outdoor play options.

Dawn fell asleep about a half-hour ago, but Rowen and I are finishing our third movie of the night before climbing into my bed with Mandy.  There isn’t really anything else to write about tonight, so I’ll wrap this up and move on to do one last email and news check before shutting down for the night.  Christmas is over, but the good news with having it near the start of our break from school is that we still have a week and a half of play time ahead of us before getting back to the real world again.  Rowen, Dawn, and I are going to get started on that by fitting as much fun into the next couple of days as we possibly can!

Say ‘goodnight, Cassie’.

“Goodnight, Cassie.”

Cassie's Journal - December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Mom and Dad – I mean Santa – gave me a saxophone, and the big guy must have had a sleigh full of musical instruments this year.  Rowen got a flute, and I found out that Michael had a saxophone under his tree this morning too when I popped over to wish them a Merry Christmas before going to exchange gifts with Rowen at her house.  I don’t want to know if Aunt Leanne had a chat with Santa first, though I’d love a picture of her sitting on Santa’s lap, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she did get involved; since the two saxophones are identical.

You can guess that I’m really fired up about my new saxophone, but let’s back up a bit; since there was a lot happening around here before we got around to opening gifts.

We actually slept in until seven-thirty, so we needed to get up and start working in the kitchen right away to get everything ready for when Grandma and Grandpa came over at eight to have breakfast with us.  That actually worked out great because we were able to open our stockings after they got here; and then sit down to have breakfast.  Being Magi Masters doesn’t keep Ethan, Ehlana, and me from having as much fun as every other kid on Christmas morning.  We all had a few chocolates and treats from our stockings before and after breakfast, and we played with some of the little toys and games on the dining room table while eating our food.  Grandpa was probably the biggest kid in the room, and he especially loved playing with Ethan and Dad – racing little cars back and forth between them while trying to avoid the small herd of dinosaurs that were migrating from the North to the South ends of the table.

Mom, Dad, and I were the clean-up crew this morning, and Ethan and Ehlana were put in charge of entertaining our guests until we were ready to join them in the living room and open our gifts.  With just the seven of us, we could take our time doing that, so we did; and packed a lot of fun into the nearly three hours we spent unwrapping presents, playing with toys, and watching a Christmas parade on television.  There must have been a few people in the know about what Santa had planned for me, since there were saxophone accessory gifts to go along with my favorite present.  Grandma and Grandpa gave me a cleaning kit for one of their gifts; Ethan and Ehlana had apparently picked out a neck strap that Ehlana had seen me looking at when I was picking out the one I gave to Michael.  There were also some music books, a box of reeds, and an instrument stand that is currently in the corner of my room with my saxophone set on it, and gleaming with the glow from the lights on the Christmas tree in the lounge.  I wonder if every musician feels like I have all day after getting their very own instrument for the first time.  I know for sure that Rowen feels exactly the same way I do; and it could be quite a while before I stop getting the warm fuzzies every time I pick that sax up and play it.

Since I’m thinking about the lights on the tree in the lounge, I’ll get that little Christmas surprise story out of the way now.  I didn’t find it until after carrying my gifts upstairs, but Michael apparently left a gift for me with Mom yesterday while I was out, and she put it under my tree in the lounge.  There is no doubt that Aunt Leanne will have some new ammunition to tease me with, but the delicate little dangling saxophone earrings and matching necklace are adorable; I love them; and he deserved the hug and kiss on the cheek.  I just hope that the witnesses of that moment at his house won’t give him a hard time about it – especially since he was spending most of the afternoon with Lisa today.

Rowen and I were able to spend nearly two hours together at her house before we both needed to move on to family dinners.  Since I had gifts for her parents and brother too, we opened gifts with them, and then spent the rest of the time in her room.  We had a little play time with our new instruments; listened to Christmas music; and played a new video game she got for Christmas while having a long Christmas chat.  After hearing about my visit to Michael’s house, I think she was wishing that she had an excuse to be hugging and kissing a certain boy too, but even though I couldn’t get her that for Christmas, we still managed to have fun; and her flute was definitely a best-ever-so-far Christmas gift.  I think the flute is a better gift than getting a boyfriend would be – and it’ll certainly need less maintenance!

I stopped in for a quick round of Christmas hugs and kisses at Aunt Leanne’s after leaving Rowen’s house, but I was still home again early enough to help Mom and Dad with the last half-hour or so of work getting dinner ready.  While I was out, Grandma, Grandpa, Ethan, and Ehlana had all taken short naps after watching a movie with Mom and Dad; so I hadn’t missed too much action while I was out.  We’d skipped lunch, and Mom had just put snack trays out for us to munch on when we got hungry so we could have an early dinner; and get the last bit of work out of the way with lots of time left for more Christmas fun.  There is a big difference between Christmas dinner when the whole family is home and when we just have Grandma and Grandpa with us, but it was just Mom and me for my first eight Christmases; to two ‘quiet’ Christmases we’ve had since moving here really aren’t by comparison.

What is the same is getting to have some really great food, and sharing the day with the people we love the most.  The bonuses are having so many more people to love; getting to spend the day with them; and Olde Bakery desserts.  I should also add that it’s really great having a hyper-metabolism on days like this too.  Trust me, I really needed it today!

I was on the clean-up crew again, but it didn’t really take all that long to get the work done – especially when Mom and Dad agreed that it was okay for us to take a shortcut and use a little Magi power to speed things along.  That left us lots of time to watch a movie and play with Ethan, Ehlana, and some of their toys before bundling up for the short walk down to Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s home; where we ended up staying and playing with everyone there for nearly two hours.

Kara and Nicole were especially happy to have Ehlana and me to play with, and Ethan and Eddie hung out with Jonathan and the other guys while they mostly played video games.  There was still some work going on in the kitchen when we arrived, so Mom and Dad visited with most of the other grown-ups there while Grandma and Grandpa joined the other gramdparents who were relaxing in the living room and watching White Christmas.

Aunt Leanne was too busy to spend much quality time teasing me tonight, but she did manage to get a couple of sax-related zingers in during the two short visits she and Uncle Adam made to the third floor playroom.  That meant she also didn’t have much time to hear about the rest of my day, and what she did hear about didn’t include anything about Michael and me; even though I’m sure she’ll give me a hard time about that little omission when she finds out about it.  I’ll deal with that when it happens.

Mom and Dad started rounding us up at a bit after ten, and it was ten-thirty before we were on our way home again.  Grandma and Grandpa came with us, but only stayed long enough to gather up their gifts and some leftovers to take home with them.  Ethan and Ehlana were ready to go straight to bed then, but I wanted some quality time with my Jacuzzi after helping to tuck them in for the night.  I spent over an hour in the bathroom between having a long soak and then dealing with my wet hair, so Christmas Day was officially over by the time I climbed into bed with Mandy and my computer.

There were quite a few email waiting for me, so I took care of that first.  Top news was Aunt Grace’s first Christmas with Mark’s family, and it sounds like they were given quite a few gag gifts that were all related to their small town move plans.  Since we’re going to build a state-of-the-art medical center, Mark won’t need the Wild West doctor supplies, and when his family comes here for the wedding, I’ll make sure that Mom and Aunt Leanne take the girls to see Abby’s store so they can find out that Aunt Grace will have more options than flannel granny nightgowns.

Violet and Dawn had a really good Christmas too, though Violet really missed getting to spend the day with Dillon.  They’re both fired up about coming home in the morning; and Violet’s really glad that we didn’t get the snow that had been in the forecast, but had completely missed us except for a random snowflake here and there.  If they don’t get held up too much by traffic in Crystal Springs, Violet’s hoping to be here before lunchtime so they can get in on some of the Boxing Day shopping and sales.  Dillon’s going to be working at the Inn anyway, so if it was me; I’d probably do a little shopping in the city on the way through, but then Violet and Dawn get to do a lot more Mall time than I do, so it’s probably not a big deal to them.

I had a half-dozen Christmas report emails from friends and classmates, and it sounds like everyone has had a happy day.  There were some Boxing Day fliers posted on the town intranet; a bit of local news; and some Christmas pictures and music to look at and listen to from the concert Sunday night and Christmas Eve service.  My news, sports, and entertainment check didn’t take long, and once I finish writing this journal entry; I’m going to snuggle with Mandy and get some sleep so I’ll be ready for another fun shopping and play day.

This has been such a great, fun-filled Christmas that I feel like there should be so much more to write about – so many feelings and thoughts that are bigger and more than I can articulate.  We didn’t end up getting the white Christmas that I’d hoped for, but everything else was just as amazing as I used to imagine Christmas should be before coming to Witch Falls.  I may not capture every wonderful moment in this journal, but I will always have the memories.  Maybe some day I’ll turn all of them into videos just like we’ve done with turning them into pictures before.  Now that’d take our Magi archives to a whole new level!

For the rest of tonight, I’m just ready for some happy Christmas dreams and a good night’s sleep.

Say ‘goodnight, Cassie’.

“Goodnight, Cassie.”

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cassie's Journal - December 24, 2012

I love Christmas Eve day in Witch Falls!

Tai Chi this morning was the last time I slowed down until now; and I’m writing this and doing my nightly computing while waiting for my turn to play Santa – and maybe shake a few presents while I’m downstairs anyway.

Dad had some work to do today, so after having a hot cereal breakfast, he headed out for the office while Mom and I tag-teamed the clean-up; getting ready for the day; and taking care of Ethan and Ehlana.  When we were ready, we all went over to Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s to meet up with everyone for our morning shopping adventure.  I made a little side-trip to get Rowen too, and then we had a short visit – mostly to welcome the McEwans – before heading out again.

Since it came up again today, I’ll add a little side-note about the comments Rowen and I have been getting this weekend about growing up fast.  I guess we’re not the pixies we were when I first moved here, and we are about six inches taller than we were last Christmas, but four-foot-nine isn’t exactly giant territory; and we’re definitely still shorter and on the kid side of tweenie compared to most of the girls our age.

While we’re on the topic of growing up; one of the news stories from the McEwans was about Jonathan having a girlfriend back home, and doing girlfriend Christmas gifts for the first time.  I can sympathize with him for getting teased by Aunt Leanne about that, but wish that I hadn’t been the one to break that news story to Rebecca today.  At least she heard it from somebody who cares about her instead of through the grapevine news network.

I’ll get to that part of my day, but let’s back up to the morning shopping.  We were doing that early mostly to make sure that we didn’t get to the Olde Bakery too late to get our Santa-approved cookies and reindeer treats.  The shopping at Palmer’s, Taylor’s, and the rest of the stores was just an added bonus – really!  It would have been nice to have Violet along with us today, but Chrissy, her sisters, and the other girls in Uncle Adam’s family really are fun to shop with too; and Rowen and I had a blast.

We all had lunch back at Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne’s, and then Rowen, Ethan, Ehlana, and I had some running around to do; delivering Christmas presents to some of our favorite people.  We had multiple gifts for Naomi, Aiden, and their parents; dropping off the first at Naomi’s home, and the second at the Olde Bakery.  Half of our stops were along Witch Falls Road, and we made our last stop the Inn so we could combine dropping off gifts for the Stones with a hot chocolate and bakery treat snack break.

Rebecca wasn’t happy to hear about Jonathan’s change in social status, but I hope the Christmas gifts that Rowen and I picked out for her, and the bonus holiday hugs, helped a little.  It was another all hands on deck day, so we were able to personally deliver almost all of the gifts we had left; and that was a bonus for me.  Michael was off on his afternoon break, and hanging out somewhere with Tim, so Ethan, Ehlana, and I left our gifts for him with Rebecca on our way out after our little warm-up break.  I was hoping that would help me avoid any teasing from Aunt Leanne about giving Michael a Christmas present; but that was too much to expect; and even being crazy-busy with a house full of family didn’t keep her from hearing all about it from Miranda and Stephanie sometime before or after the Christmas Eve service at church; and then teasing me about it when she and Uncle Adam were over for our bi-yearly Christmas Eve gift exchange.

I’m getting ahead of the story again, so let’s back up a bit.  While we were delivering gifts this afternoon, Mom was free to do a little work, and run a couple of errands.  Dad was finished work for the day by the time we got home from the Inn, and the six of us spent the rest of the afternoon playing until Rowen needed to meet up with her parents and brother at the store; Mom and Dad started working on dinner; Ethan and Ehlana supervised them; and I went upstairs to grab a shower and get ready early for the Christmas Eve service so I could take care of Ethan and Ehlana after we ate and cleaned up.

I’d picked up several dresses for Christmas, and had saved my favorite for tonight.  Let’s not discuss what Aunt Leanne had to say, and just note that I was very happy with how I looked tonight.  By the time Ehlana and I were finished playing dress-up, she looked beautiful too; and Ethan was very handsome in the coordinating outfit Mom had picked out for him to go with Ehlana’s dress.  The only thing I need to say about how beautiful Mom was tonight is that she and Dad were the last to be ready to leave; and we won’t write about why they were running late.

We did make it to church on time, and Grandma and Grandpa had saved us seats.  The sanctuary was full again tonight, and though I heard a few kids complaining about going to three services in two days; I loved being there, celebrating Christ’s birth, with the people I love the most.  Tonight’s service was quiet and subdued compared to the teen Christmas concert, and it was also heart-warming, simple, and beautiful.  The Pastors told the Christmas story, with the musical performances and carols woven in so it was almost a Christmas cantata.

There wasn’t a reception after the service, but it did take us quite a while to make our way out of the sanctuary again while sharing Christmas best wishes and embraces with our friends and neighbors before heading home again.  Grandma and Grandpa came over straight from church too, but Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne needed to go home and get things settled there first before joining us.  The bonus for me with that was having Aunt Leanne too busy to start on teasing me about Michael while we were still in public.

Before we go on, though I’d really rather skip writing about that whole thing, let’s air out Aunt Leanne’s Christmas fun at my expense.  First of all, I gave Michael several contemporary and jazz saxophone music books; not books on, or about, sax.  For anyone who has played a school instrument, the custom, padded neck strap should be an obvious good gift idea; and does not subconsciously suggest anything.  No, I did not ‘pre-soften’ the reeds, Aunt Leanne, and I really wish you hadn’t continued down that thought-path for anywhere near as long as you did.  Maybe next year, I’ll stick with something safe – like video games; though I’m sure Aunt Leanne would still find a way to turn anything I do into a matchmaking opportunity.

Enough of that.  While we were waiting for Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne, Mom, Dad, and I put snacks and drinks together while Ethan and Ehlana kept Grandma and Grandpa entertained.  We were all in the living room and settled in by a little after ten o’clock; and I played Santa and handed out the gifts being exchanged between Uncle Adam, Aunt Leanne, and the rest of us.  I loved the clothes and jewelry that Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne gave me – even with Aunt Leanne’s suggestions about how Michael would react to seeing me in the soft sweater, blouse, and pants.  I didn’t need to be told that the blue sapphires in the earrings were not a coincidence, but they’re beautiful; and maybe Michael won’t ever find out that my Aunt picked them out for me with him in mind.

My favorite part of the evening was watching Ethan and Ehlana open their gifts – both the ones that they’d be able to show off in public; and the gifts that were more appropriate to their actual abilities.  Uncle Adam probably picked out the new microscopes and the big science lab kit, while Aunt Leanne took care of the toys and clothes.  It’s too bad that we can’t show off the pictures and videos of Ethan and Ehlana doing science experiments and checking out some slides that Uncle Adam had made up for them to play with in their microscopes.  I can hardly wait to see them in action after the lab is built and opens!

We didn’t really have enough time together before Uncle Adam and Aunt Leanne needed to get home again, and Grandma and Grandpa were ready to get started on their one more sleep ‘til Christmas.  Ethan and Ehlana were in bed by eleven-thirty, and I’ve been cuddling with Mandy since midnight.  Mom and Dad should be nearly finished with their end of playing Santa, so I’m going to wrap this up; get my things ready to take downstairs; and hopefully get around to a short Christmas nap by one-thirty or so.

Say ‘merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night’.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”