Christmas of 2020

I took very few pictures this Christmas but few pictures has never meant few words so buckle up.

We went to an outdoor Christmas service a few weeks ago but our church had candlelight services again on Christmas eve. They had four services to accommodate for the spacing of attendees. I wanted to ask the pastor if he was so tired of saying the same things four services in a row that he wanted to switch up the sermon a little. “What Mary really wanted was a soft pillow to lay her head on, but Joseph didn’t remember to put it in his satchel. They might have been newlyweds but they sounded like an old married couple when they argued about who was responsible for not packing the pillow all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Mary gave Joseph the silent treatment for several hours and did not offer to split the last fig with him.”

We got home from church just in time to have a video chat with my family back home. We were supposed to go home for Christmas but couldn’t because of current circumstances. Instead, several of us had a group facetime to visit and sing carols. There were all the freezing screens, mismatched audio, and garbled speech we’ve come to expect on these calls. We made lemonade out of lemons and had some good laughs.
We had our traditional North Pole breakfast on Christmas Eve. Annabelle “helped decorate.” It wasn’t necessarily how I wanted to practice patience but she enjoyed being part of the process.
AB was THRILLED to have Grammy and Aunt Elizabeth (aka Squizen, aka Betty Bopp, aka Squidelz, need I go on) here for Christmas. She was stuck like glue to her the whole time.
During Thanksgiving, AB asked me what I can’t get enough of. I said, “The learning of gregorian chants and the new Hebrew textbooks and ancient scrolls I just purchased.” Kidding. I said earrings. She gave me a lovely pair of earrings and told me I should have more since I can’t have enough.

Normally it is a huge struggle to find Christopher gifts. His birthday is in November so I have very little rest time between gift-giving opportunities. I like to think that gift-giving is one of my spiritual gifts so not knowing what to give him is very frustrating. This year I hit it out of the park. He has boxes of old t-shirts that he’s been saying he needs to have made into a quilt. I packed them up, sent them away, and presented him with a t-shirt quilt. It was really a gift for us both as I was tired of seeing the boxes of shirts. Our tenth anniversary is in April and I’ve been saving all my work money for our anniversary trip. I used some of my money and booked us a little airbnb in Atlanta. It was the cutest little place near several fun restaurants. We played rummy, walked in the few shops that were open, went to the art museum, and generally had a grand old time. Again, it was a gift as much for me as for him but I couldn’t send him off by himself!

may perspective be 2020 and we not repeat these mistakes

Welcome to my yearly airing of grievances where I beg the world to cease and desist all behaviors I find annoying. It goes without saying that any and all viruses which shall not be named are no longer welcome in the new year.

+ Several years ago in my grievances I mentioned how I loath abbreviated words such as sammie, brekkie, and addy (instead of address). It makes me gag just writing those words. Sadly the world has not listened to me and I’m still hearing those words. I come to you this year with a new word we need to abolish from our vocabulary: K instead of ok. Do you not have time to type ONE more letter and make it a complete word? I’m not asking that people go above and beyond by spelling o-k-a-y. All I’m asking is for a complete word.

+ Political pamphlets. It was a veeery long political season and in Georgia, it still hasn’t wrapped up. We’ve been getting 2-5 pieces of mail from both political parties almost every day since October. We’ve known who we’re voting for in the runoff election for months so we learn nothing new from the pamphlets and they go straight into the trash. At this point, I think I should have kept count of which party sent the least mail and vote for them!

+ Groups of friends who get together for visit then spend the entire time on their phones and not interacting with one another. One time at church I was VERY ANNOYED WITH THE WORLD and I directed this annoyance at a group of teenage boys sitting in a row, each on their phones. I wanted to roll up a bulletin and throw it at them but Christopher said isn’t how we are to behave in church and it doesn’t need to bother me so much and who suddenly made him the reasonable one in this relationship?

+ One-way aisles in stores. This issue was brought up by the pandemic shandemic and much like the pandemic shandemic, it needs to be kicked to the curb. If the one-way arrows on the floor are meant to limit interpersonal contact, then tell me how it makes sense for me to see the box of crackers I need in empty aisle 13, but the arrow is saying I need to walk up crowded aisle 12 to get to the other end of 13 so that I’m not going the “wrong” way. I understand their reasoning, but it’s not well executed. I’ve said before how I’m a very conscientious rule follower, but this makes absolutely no sense. I tell my conscience it’s more of a suggestion/preference than law as I go into the empty aisle the wrong way. Our grocery store recently took down the arrow stickers because no one was following them. TJMaxx still has them but whoever put them on the floor didn’t pay attention to what they were doing because in one section the arrows make a square around the food and you could go ’round and ’round for hours. In another spot, the arrows meet in the middle of the aisles and are pointing in opposite directions. –> <–

+ Constant notifications for phone and computer updates. I will push ‘ask me later’ and ‘postpone’ 99 times so I don’t have to deal with the changes the updates will bring. I can only push postpone on my phone so many times before it does its own thing and updates itself but I will delay as long as possible.

+ Boomerangs. I don’t mind boomerangs that are someone diving off a cliff then going in reverse up to the top of the cliff. There are some very entertaining and well done boomerangs. The boomerangs I’m specifically speaking on are pointless. A girl did a boomerang of her hand taking a book on and off a shelf. Someone else posted a boomerang of stirring her coffee. You could literally do the same action without the boomerang part and it would look the same.

The first word I saw was mud. I was hoping for something along the lines of plenty of sleep or an unexpected windfall of cash is in your future. I hope this not a sign of things to come!

Christmas tour 2020

The living room and dining room are the only areas I got decorated this year and honestly, I barely got them done. I wanted to decorate the kitchen too but what with pandemics and miscarriages and blahblahblah I didn’t have the energy.

It’s clique, but I do love the glow of the lights.
The glow of the tiny neon tree lights adds a very authentic touch to the nativity scene.
Annabelle’s snowman army has been growing strong for six years. They’re the first things she asks to unpack when we get out the Christmas boxes. They obscure some of my decor and end up all over the living room and kitchen. Every so often I try to weed them out but she always notices. One of these years she won’t be excited to see the snowmen box so we continue to line up them up and see her smile. Last year nutcrackers became her newest obsession and the nutcracker army is beginning to form.

Our theme tree in the dining room didn’t pan out well this year. We had several good ideas but didn’t have the time to gather the necessary supplies. Instead, we used ball ornaments we used on theme trees in years past and a package of new pastel glitter balls. I prefer to call them baubles as it sounds much more sophisticated. I guess you could say the theme is pretty baubles.
I love sitting on the couch at night and seeing the living room tree to my left and the theme tree to my right.Long live Christmas cards!

“My family told me to stop telling Thanksgiving jokes, but I said I couldn’t quit cold turkey.”

Let’s discuss Thanksgiving before Dececmber zooms by and I’m posting a delayed Christmas recap. I’ve been delivering late recaps since 2009 and honestly, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

We had a small Thanksgiving with Christopher’s family. We played endless games, ate so much and went on boat rides in the lake. Annabelle had a great time.
She kayaked for the first time and took to riding a bike without training wheels like a fish to water. We’ve been encouraging her to do it at home but she was too nervous. At Oma’s, she didn’t have the option to ride with training wheels and she took off down the road like a pro. Remember when I pushed her around town in the stroller when she was 6lbs? Now she’s riding a bike and will be publishing a book on global economics next week.I loved seeing her with her cousins. I grew up near almost all 12 of my cousins and saw them all the time. It’s one of the disappointments of my life that she doesn’t get to grow up near her cousins so any time spent with them is special. It’s rude how big they’ve all gotten. We mostly hung out at the house but we did go to a beautiful lights display at NASA. “Wow, Mama! I get to sit on the moon!”I didn’t know seeing the moon behind a real rocket was missing from my life but now that hole is filled and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Speaking of filling a hole in my heart, Stephanie gave me an”antiqe” phone and I am so tickled. I don’t like calling people I don’t know but I will happily call the insurance company just so I can use it.

things were good in her ‘hood

I am not a fan of Halloween and have not one Halloween decoration to my name. We tend to stick with general fall-themed decor. Annabelle mentioned off-handily that it would be funny if a friendly ghost was pretending to play our electric keyboard. I used two vacuums, a drum and cloth pumpkin a little magic to create a piano-playing ghost. When we got home from school, I turned the piano on so it would play an assortment of classical hits and jazzy tunes. Then I used the vacuum to clean the rug so not only was it decorative, it was useful.

I broke one of my cardinal parenting rules this Halloween. I’ve always said that AB can’t change her mind on a Halloween costume after October 1st unless she wants to wear something in the dress-up basket. Usually, I make her costumes and I need plenty of time to cut and stitch and hot glue gun my fingers. This year she said she wanted to be a bat which, to no one’s surprise, did not thrill me at all. I longed for the days of costumes with tutus and wings. I hadn’t started making the bat costume yet when she switched to Little Red Riding Hood. It was a surprising choice since she’s never mentioned liking Red, but she was listening to her podcast about fairy tales and decided to vote for Little R. R. Hood 2020. I hand sewed the apron while watching Netflix, much like Caroline Ingalls did in ye olden days of the 1800’s. The hairdresser told me that “they” might cancel Halloween this year. Normally I wouldn’t care but I did not want AB to miss out on another thing this year. Whoever “they” are could knock on my door and try handing out a cease and desist order, but gosh darn it she was going to have a chance to dress up.  I didn’t think it was any more dangerous than taking her to the grocery store. We went to an outdoor trunk or treat at church and she skipped around the building ”like Red Riding Hood does.” It was precious. When we went to a few houses that night, she kept asking that we stay back while she went to the door. Then she’d get nervous and turn around every two steps on the way to the door turning around to make sure we were still there. She repeatably walked into bushes and shrubs because she was too busy looking behind her. Little Hood isn’t ready to be out in the woods by herself.

bits and pieces

The kitchen remodel project is nearing it’s end and I love how it looks. Painting the walls has been harder to do because Belle Belle has been very clingy and we had to establish a schedule of when we can play together and when I need to work.

I had a friend’s 13yo daughter come over as a mother’s helper for one afternoon. She had never been over before and AB was a little nervous about it. I checked on her in bed the night before and she was holding her little mirror and practicing what she would say. “Hi, Reagan. Would you like to play with clay? Hi, Reagan. Thank you for coming over. Mom, I don’t think that was right. Did I sound friendly?” At least she always got her name right. Our neighbor’s name is Kennedy and I kept calling Reagan the neighbor’s name. I knew it was a president’s name!
When Reagan did arrive, Annabelle had so much fun. She loves any new person to entertain with her endless stories and ridiculous questions. Reagan had just finished a safe sitter class so she asked me all the questions the teacher recommended. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to being on the mom side of the fence instead of the babysitter side. Her mom was thrilled that I asked for Reagan’s help. She texted me and said, “Thank you for giving Reagan this opportunity!” You’re thanking me? THANK YOU for giving me three hours to paint without disruption. I will be happy to give her the opportunity at any time. It’s crazy to think that in 7 years, AB might be the one I’m dropping off to be a mother’s helper. I need to go breathe into a paper bag. 

We watched one of AB’s little friend’s yesterday. They get along fine but have vastly different interests. He can explain Minecraft and legos. She asked him if he knows what types of food they eat in Bulgaria then several hours later asked if he wanted to waltz. He did not. It made me laugh so hard.

The fourth of July has always been one of my very favorite holidays but this year but so different. I know it wasn’t normal for anyone and it didn’t seem like a celebratory day. We did a few things at home and I did grocery shopping like any normal Saturday. There were no parades, no cookouts, and no big fireworks displays. We have no family nearby to visit. We did make star and flag sugar cookies while listening to patriotic music which was nice. Christopher and Annabelle picked out sparklers and little fireworks so we had a little show in our driveway. Our favorite was the one that shot out a little parashooter. 

AB gave me a lesson on how to do the throw poppers so they popped properly. She called them “popper-its.” She knows how to waltz and set off fireworks. There’s nothing she doesn’t do!