Tis the season, 2018

Here we are, two days before the new year and I’m just now getting around to blogging about Christmas. I’ve followed this same timeframe for the last 10 years so why mess with tradition now?

Mom and the twins arrived at our house the night before Christmas Eve. I treated them to a Hallmark movie that night because what says Christmas like a predictable love story and fake snow? 

We went to a Christmas Eve service this year. I didn’t go to church the night before Christmas until I was married but I think it’s a beautiful new tradition. We planned to attend a service I thought was at 5:30 but found out at 4:50 was really at 5 o’clock. Since we ended up with a few extra minutes I had Aaron take a family picture of us. I love Aaron but he is not a skilled photographer. He points the camera in the general direction of the subjects and pushes the button. It was a horrible angle and I looked awful. I hadn’t tried on my outfit before that night and thought I looked awful but I didn’t have any other options so I had to wear it. I have been so self-conscious lately about how I look. I took one look at the picture and started to cry. And cry and cry. I wanted to be thinner. I wanted the rest of the family to be here. I was having a third Christmas without a new baby. It was a straw that broke the camels back situation. This is just the holly, jolly Christmas recap you came here for! 
 I pulled myself together and we got to the service with a few minutes to spare. 

My dainty daughter hiccuped and coughed through the entire holy service. A lady on the end of the row in front of us heard the commotion and all my shushing (the whole church did) and passed us a box of mints. This was the first year Annabelle paid attention to the candlelit portion of the service and needless to say she had a million questions. How would it be lit? Would the whole church burn down? Could she take the candle home? Would I have a candle too? Did we have to share candles? Would it be hot? Could she hold it? Who was going to lit it? Would it hurt when it was lit? 
This was the fifth year in a row AB wore this dress. I’ll make her wear it until college.
Growing up we always did the same thing for Christmas. We went to one uncle’s for Christmas Eve and a different relatives house for Christmas Day. I felt almost lost trying to decide how to make our own traditions. One tradition I carried over was making artichoke dip. It isn’t a holiday without hot dip! After the service, we ate, played games and played music together. Aaron played the keyboard, Christopher played the drums and Annabelle passed out instruments for the music basket for the rest of us. I don’t want to boast. But I’m a mean tambourine shaker. It was so fun.

For Christmas, Annabelle made Christopher a little book about their Saturday morning tradition. Almost every week they go to Daddy, Daughter Breakfasts while I sleep in. It’s a tradition we all enjoy. She wrote the pictures and told me what to write on each page. Look how she’s looking at him! It melts my heart.

One page in the book was stickers that reminded her of him. “I think Daddy needs a bear sticker because we’re a bear family. And a soda sticker! Are there any library stickers? But Dad doesn’t go to the library because he reads books we already have and read them on his phone and the couch and, yeah. I think a movie sticker is good too. Can we buy some stickers for me too?”

Last year Annabelle started asking for a marble track. For whatever reason we didn’t give her one last year so I wanted to be sure we did it this year. We also got her a bike. We have a large yard but much much for her to do outside. We don’t have a place for her to do chalk and no paved driveway for her to drive the tricycle. She can ride this bike on the dirt patches and, bonus points, stick her babies in the little seat in the back and take them for a ride.

For Christmas dinner, I planned on making our traditional four-course Italian meal. Turns out it’s easier when there are seven aunts around to help. I made antipasto, chicken soup, and ravioli and saved the roast beef for another night. I use only the finest family heirloom dishes. 
Just kidding. They’re from Dollar Tree.

I hope your Christmas was full of joy and cookies and free of tears. I ate more cookies than should be allowed but Christmas comes only once a year so I live it up while I can.

(barely) decked halls, 2018

I almost gave up on Christmas decorating this year. More accurately, I decided it might be easier to skip on by Christmas entirely. 

I ADORE Christmas. I always have. Last year, my cozy New York house was a new high in Christmas decor. I loved how everything looked. It was glowing, sparkling, and smelled with happiness. 

Back in the glory days of my favorite house.

This year I had boxes of Christmas decorations, fake trees, bags for Goodwill, Amazon boxes and laundry lined up behind the couch in the living room. I couldn’t find half the things I wanted. I couldn’t get any of it under control. I can’t make heads or tails of decorating in this house on a good day, let alone December. I don’t have a mantle or even stairs to hang stockings on. Things literally fall off the walls. I’m a perfectionist by nature and it always gets worse around holidays. Everywhere I looked on blogs or Instagram I saw perfectly done houses and mine felt like a wreck. Not many people here put up lights so yet another tradition (driving through neighborhoods while drinking hot chocolate) was falling apart. So I gave up for a few days. I didn’t have the energy or the desire to do much of anything. Eventually, I pulled myself on by my bootstraps because stuff had to be done and I want to give my family a nice Christmas. I’m not in love with how things turned out, but I’m so glad I made myself do it.

For our theme tree this year we chose to make an Amelia Bedelia tree. We combined the two trees we saw in her books- one with pompoms and lots of round ornaments, and the other that had a mirror on top with a sign that said “see the star” underneath. Our first mirror broke and I didn’t make a long enough pompom garland so it’s a bit wonky, but Amelia Bedelia herself is the definition of wonky. 

Our regular tree has more ornaments every year. I read an article about a woman who has 400 trees and we might have her beat in a few years if we keep collecting ornaments at this rate. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is sit near the tree in the living room with all the other lights off. It’s so peaceful.

 I got the little houses on sale at a thrift store for 75 cents each. Don’t say I’m not a big spender!
I love creative little salt and pepper shakers. Christopher gave me these penguins a few years ago.
I bought this set as a Christmas gift to myself. I don’t care about cars but I love red and green pickups at Christmastime. Sadly, the cats are no respecters of my beloved items and they broke the truck this morning.
Speaking of Linus George and Lucille Barbara, they’ve figured out how to climb the Christmas tree. They were not part of my original theme.

season’s snapshots

Cinnamon playdough and cookie cutter gifts for her school friends.
Linus and Lucy, always on high alert under the tree.
Sesame had been asking for an elf all season and my aunt mailed her one as a surprise.
She loves it.
All ready for her first school Christmas concert!

all I want for christmas is good hair and an empty laundry room

No one has ever accused me of being hard to buy for, but just in case, I’ve compiled a list of my top ten Christmas desires. The price range is varied so there will be something for every budget.

1. Hair that stays a nice shade of dark brown. It brings me great sorrow to report that the gray and white hairs on my head are rapidly multiplying. I have highlights on top but all the offending hairs underneath shine like Rudolph’s nose when my hair is up. I’d like hair that stays the right color until I am of an appropriate age for it to change.

2. Everywhere I look I see “blessed not stressed” and “too blessed to be stressed” shirts. The sentiment is great but it’s not realistic. I realize how blessed I am, BUT I AM ALSO STRESSED. Thus, I present to you my patent pending sweatshirt design. 

]\\\\\\\\\\ (<— Lucy the cats contribution to this post)

3. For slightly round midsections (aka baby weight that never disappears) to come into style. 

4. A floor with hidden compartments underneath so we could hide all the toys out of sight.

5. Dunkin Donuts delivery service

6. An hour long nap each day. Or longer! I’m not picky.

7. For a fresh breakfast to appear for me in the morning. I’m not even asking for EVERY morning, just Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I think that’s very reasonable.

8. A chauffeur to drive Annabelle to her various activities. Driving to school and beyond is something I did not look forward to in parenting and it’s turning out to be just as soul time-sucking as I thought it would be. I’d also like said chauffeur to be free.

9. I am so thankful for my washing machine and dryer (#blessed) but I’d like a few changes in the laundry department. I’d like underwear and doubled shirts to be separated before going in the hamper. The same goes for socks. Please unroll socks so I don’t need a facemask and salad tongs to separate them.

The current laundry situation at my house.

10. For everyone in the world to chew and swallow quietly. People at the international space station shouldn’t hear you eating an apple. 

I’ll use the photos of AB and Grayson at their rehearsal dinner

Now that we’re a few weeks from Thanksgiving it seems like time to briefly recap the end of October.

Last week we went to the fair with friends.
 AB’s friend Grayson drove her around on the bumper cars. They held hands as they waited in line. When they got in their car, she put her hand on his head and tried to turn it in the direction she wanted to go. There was crashing left and right, but Annabelle was unphased. She continued to point to where she wanted to go while loudly telling him what to do. He paid no attention to her. They looked like an old married couple.  

The next night we went trick or treating with a group from church. I very much dislike halloween and would be fine if the whole thing went up in flames, but I do love seeing babies in costumes and Annabelle was very excited about dressing up.  Several of her little friends were having a get-together and the parents kindly invited us. 

Contrary to how she looks, she was not a Target employee. She dressed as Annie from The Magic Treehouse books. It was the easiest costume to put together. It doesn’t look like I put any effort into it whatsoever, but I was told a dozen times that Annie wears a red shirt and jeans so that’s what I got from the clearance racks at Walmart boutique.
 Grayson dressed as Annie’s brother, Jack. Those two are stuck together like glue. If you think I haven’t started planning their wedding you haven’t been around here long enough. 
Of course, Prince George is our first choice, but in case he doesn’t work out Grayson is a great substitute. 

Father’s Day, Edition 5

If you’re wondering if your weekend was wilder than mine, let me put your mind at rest. By 9 o’clock on Friday night I was in bed with a headache and asking Christopher why there was half a piece of dried rice in our sheets. 

No one parties harder than us.

We started celebrating Father’s Day on Saturday. We took Christopher to an eclectic sandwich restaurant downtown then did a few errands. On Sunday we presented our various gifts and he requested I make enchiladas. I was behind on cards and gifts so we were finishing them at the eleventh hour. This is what it looks like when you wait until after church on Father’s Day to buy a card.

We filled out a paper of facts about Christopher and some of Sesame’s answers made me laugh me laugh so hard.

My dad’s favorite thing to do is cuddle, hanging out with me.
I love it when my dad plays with me.
My dad’s favorite food is pork chops.
My dad is really great at woodworking.
I think my dad is funny because jokes.
I know my dad loves me because I’m a girl.

My favorite thing to do with my dad is help do the chores.
My dad’s favorite sport is I don’t know. I think it’s baseball.
The one thing I hear my dad say a lot is “You have to pick up this and this and this.”
I love my dad because he takes good care of me.

AB loves giving gifts so she had been wrapping bits of paper and making cards with glitter for days. She found a rock on the kitchen floor and wrapped it in Rudolph wrapping paper. She loves rocks so I guess she thought Christopher would appreciate one too.

I could put more pictures of Christopher here but let’s be honest. He wouldn’t be having a Father’s Day if it wasn’t for us.