Category Archives: Christmas

Crawling to Christmas…..

Joining Kelly and her posse for a wrapup, because I’m waiting on a tow truck for the kiddo’s truck, so hey…..why not?

Advent is so relaxing.  said no one ever.  I don’t know about you but THE.  STRUGGLE.  IS.  REAL.  It’s so hard to reallllllly stop and slow down and focus when there is LIFE all around us getting in the way, isn’t it?  I’m on a podcast ROLL (greg and jennifer, girlfriends, among women)  and I am so completely affirmed in this universal feeling, but also in the constant pressure to make the perfect memories and traditions.  It can be completely overwhelming and overshadowing.  That said, while our Advent has been far from “PERFECT”, it has been pretty good for us.  Let’s get to it and see a few reasons why:

  1.  Band concerts.  6 years running.  Our last Middle School Christmas concert and I’m not sad.  Truly.  Bad mom?  Whatever.  Let’s be honest, beginning and intermediate middle school band are painful.  I love my kids but it is rough.  Although, it does make you appreciate advanced band.  Which leads me to this video of our 8th grader’s piccolo solo.  The piccolo she picked up TWO DAYS before her solo!!!  All those concerts?  Worth it.

2. And then, sometimes you have a little insomnia during Advent.  3 a.m. brain wake up call.  Pray, toss, turn all the things over in your head and finally cry “Uncle” and get up at 3:45.  Truth be told…..not entirely awful.  Coffee.  Peaceful.  Quiet.  Daily readings by the Christmas tree.  Did my retreat readings in preparation for our Wednesday night meeting.  And ready for spin class at 5:15 a.m. ON TIME.  Peaceful.  Productive.  But would really like that not to be happening on a regular basis.  You feel me?  I mean 3 a.m.?!?!?  #forthebirds

3.  Another concert.  Did I already post this somewhere?  Not sure.  I think insta…But it was lovely.  Our boy performing with the Floriday Symphony Youth Orchestra, opera singer, choir and ballet performing Nutcracker dances.  And outside.  THAT was a really good one.  Truly beautiful and time to just sit in this season.

4.  Some traditions stick.  Advent candle.  Lit several times this Advent, multiple weeks.  Even with the entire family at the table.  HUGE win there.  And peanut butter balls.  Every year.  If nothing else.  Always!!  This year a quadrupled batch, rolled 90% by our oldest daughter and her boyfriend.  (yes, I said boyfriend.  let’s move on, shall we?)  Another win, because while tasty, they are hugely time consuming and tiring….so happy to pass that off.  I did finish the final 10% while they watched Jim Carey’s “Grinch”.    And because they were rolling, I was able to whip out 3 other kinds of cookies, so roughly a gagillion dozen cookies last Saturday.  #happyneighbors  #happyfamily

5.  Last night EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY PERSON IN THE HOUSE WAS GONE. (mostly, the oldest kid was trying to fix his truck which wouldn’t start, so I left him alone–so mostly alone)    AND the Hubby (who very graciously drove our son to Orlando for his rehearsal and home because he’s had multiple rehearsals, performances and FINALS.  perhaps not our best parenting decision to allow this in hindsight.  for future reference, we must keep this in the memory. )  What’s a mama to do?  I’ll tell you.  Wrap ALL the presents.  This is pretty much the first time in parenting history this has not taken place on Christmas Eve, so I don’t really even know what’s going on here.

6.  What else did I do whilst having the house to myself?  Got all the Christmas cards ready to go (while I watched Bridget Jones baby.  Don’t judge.  I laughed and it was good.)  We skipped this tradition last year—breaking our 20+year streak.  And we lived.  And so did everyone else.  weird.  This year, the picture is totally casual, not dressy, a quick snap from everyone at Thanksgiving and I am A-OK with that.  This weekend we will throw a letter together for a few peeps and BOOM.  Done.  Maybe this weekend we will finally put the ornaments on the tree.  Who knows????  right now I just need to make the grocery list and figure out what dessert I am making for a Christmas party tonight.  AFTER the church Christmas play….but I digress

7.  In closing.  When your 13 yo takes a break from a melt down English project to “pet the dog for a few minutes” to recover her brain, this happens.  And  you know………….you probably feel it, too.  So take that rest when needed, life will go on and your brain, heart and sanity will thank you!

sleeper

Sliding into the end.

Monday morning and I am heading into work (after  I drop a boy off at the dentist).  It’s been a fabulous Christmas so far…even with Thanksgiving falling so late (I am not  fan of losing an entire week of Christmas shopping and prep).  In spite of the shortened Advent season, it’s been a great Christmas so far.  I’m sure that it is by the grace of God that I recognized my limitations and cut back on a few things (baking, killing myself saying yes to events that needed a “no” for our family’s sanity).  With that freedom came a weekend trip to Tallahassee to stay with my nephews, attending a surprise birthday party mid-week for a friend, Adoration and reconciliation, regular spin classes with the Hubs and a nice Christmas Eve at my step-dad’s with family.  One of the more relaxed holiday seasons that I can remember.  Definitely turned our focus to the birth of Christ….shoot, we even managed light the Advent candles pretty regularly!!!  I’m calling it a win!

This week we will enjoy another short work week (which I could SO  get used to), ringing in the New Year, planning ahead for 2015 and prepping for a trip for the boys and I to see my mom in Pennsylvania.  I’ll mentally prep for my annual break-up with food and reunion with a healthier lifestyle—fully supported by the Hubs AND financially motivated by work–it might just work this year!  I’ll continue with the great purge of 2015, which I started yesterday in the coat/game closet and shoe area in the garage.  Blog regularly and master this new laptop (I hope).

Enjoy the week and all the goodness the Christmas brings!

 

7 Christmas QTs

Linking up at Jen’s Blog today so that she has some reading material while she is under the weather.  Moms really aren’t allowed to get sick, so I am always baffled when we do.  Baffled.

Hoping Christmas was lovely for you and if not perfect, hopefully you found some moments to hold tight to….like I did.  Ours was a great Christmas, however, for the first time in our family, I felt a shift.  The shift of teens in the house and only 1 of 4 still blessedly smitten with Santa, the Elf and the whole shabang.  It was subtle, but it was there.  Compound “the shift” with having done our family dinner with the in-laws on Christmas Eve and grandparents and step-dad having come and gone after breakfast, mom and sis out of town, and zero plans for anything EXCEPT relaxing and enjoying the day……I was in a constant state of post-Advent Zombie-ness (if there is such a thing).  Aimless.  Lost.   Shuffling.  A month of bustling and scurrying to and fro to a sudden halt……what does one DO with that?  I mean, WTH?!?!?  Clearly a 2014 goal needs to be getting comfortable with relaxation and learning to embrace that idea.  Anyhoo, it WAS lovely…Advent was wonderful and we are so very blessed to be together and loved and healthy and happy; there is nothing to complain about, because it’s ALL good.

Traditiona Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  So flippin' delish!

Traditional Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls for breakfast. So flippin’ delish!

tree

Our tree. Pre-present carnage. Simply the best morning light, I’m not sure what I will do after our tree is down….it’s an essential part of my morning coffee and Daily Readings.

CE

The Hubs on video, videoing me taking a picture of him.

nap

This kid. 16 and questioning everything, BUT….he opted for Midnight Mass with his brother and I versus 11 a.m. Christmas Mass with Dad and the girls. MM wore us all out. He and the cat caught a few winks after presents. Smart kid.

zebra

Next year she will be in Middle school. THIS year she put Zebra cakes on her list for Santa and he came through. That will never happen again. 10 is an awesome age, is it not?

games

Headbanz. Christmas games and camaraderie. Love these moments.

dinner

When I don’t have anyone coming for dinner, I don’t focus. I misread the brisket times and well…..Christmas dinner was scrambled eggs and toast and PIE! Christmas dinner was served on the 26th and a total winner. Worth the wait. We’ll call it a win, even though it was a day late!

That wraps it up for today.  As usual, I am going to be rushing to get out the door in time for work, so enjoy the day!!  P.S.  for those of you without cable, may I suggest Chromecast?  The Hubs got it figured out yesterday and SO.  COOL.

Blessings!!

Christmas Cookies and a Christmas Message

Cookie monster heaven

Cookie monster heaven

Every year (almost) for the past 11(?) years, my former roommate, her mother-in-law and 2 sisters-in-law host a cookie exchange at Christmas.  Although we only live about 30 minutes-ish from each other, this is our ONE time of year we get to visit and catch up.  Ah, this busy life.  Anyway, this cookie exchange is THE cookie exchange of cookie exchanges.

My roomie and I.  We glow.

My roomie and I. We glow.

These ladies start in the summer with preparations, menus, taste testing and I believe—-even some cooking and freezing.   Come December, they each invite scores of lady friends across the social circles of high school, church, work, neighbors and so on.  It’s a FULL HOUSE and often many reunions are taking place.

Holy COW!!

Holy COW!!

Aside from the cookie swapping, there is a massive spread of various hors d’oeuvres, tea, water and coffee and prior to the number calling and cookie picking they do a little something as a reminder of the reason we celebrate Christmas:  Jesus Christ.  One year, there was a Worship dancer from Hawaii (a high school friend of one of the gals) who did a traditional Hawaiian dance to a wonderful contemporary Christian song, other years have been stories and small skits.  Among this large and varied group, the message is clear:  this get-together is a fellowship ministry for women sharing life with Christ as the centerpiece of this gathering.

The tale of the Three Trees.  A must have for Advent and Christmas reading!!

The tale of the Three Trees. A must have for Advent and Christmas reading!!

Every year the family looks forward to the various cookies and recipes I bring home and I look forward to the time with my friend and her family and running into new and old friends.  Next year, they’ll take a year off, however, my friend and I have already pencilled it in the calendar for dinner the first week of December 2014!!

When you’re up waaaaaaaay too early

Up Early

Hubby is the early riser.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a morning person for certain, but he’s Mr. Up and at ’em and wants to chat and discuss and GO.  His body clock is pretty regular at o’dark hundred, even when he wants to sleep in.  THIS  morning however, I was up with him.  Let’s call it 4 a.m. because that’s when I finally looked at the clock.  After tossing, turning, chatting, concentrating on breathing, yada, yada, yada…we both got up.  4:30.  A.M.  What the?????

So what DO people do when they are up at ridiculously early hours?  Here’s a little peek-a-boo:

Drink coffee.  Lots.  Gingerbread coffee…in…the…house!!!

Daily Readings.  Advent Devotional (thanks, Ali).  Git my head and heart on straight!

Skim news.  While the rest of the country prepares to be frozen out in the super near future, I’m completely irritated that not only is our A/C ON, but part of the reason we woke up was because it was too hot.  We had to turn on the ceiling fan.  For.  The.  Love.

Check Facebook.  There are a few birthdays happening and catching up on pictures.  #photostalker

Read blogs.  This one from Momastery was particulary good.

Pinterest.  Adding this clean eating fudge  (thanks, Shan!) AND these not AT ALL clean eating Egg nog cookies (thanks, Lisa!) for our work party next week.

Pricing freezers for the garage.  YESSSSSSS!!!!  (Woo hoo, Amanda!)

Next up….

Oatmeal.

More coffee.

Pay bills.

Plan meals for week and grocery list.

Plan our Happy Birthday, Jesus party with my grandparents.  This whole shorter Advent season is the pits.  Someone put Thanksgiving back where it belongs, OK?  Thanks!

WIWS Vol.7…and some thriftin’..

You can blame it all on Emily and Kendra @ Fine Linen and Purple.  Sunday has become the Mass Fashion show….raising the bar on how we present ourselves in Jesus’ house, how we prepare ourselves mind, body and spirit for Mass and snapping some photos along the way.

Warning, soap box moment:  Once upon a time dressing for Mass was dressing in one’s Sunday best and there wasn’t even a second thought or argument about it; these days its anything goes (and in our warmer climate…believe me…ANYthing goes).  On the one hand, we should just be grateful people are PRESENT for Mass and disregard their dress (maybe pray that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to their cleavage bearing/thong showing/ripped jeans/flip-flop selves); however, there is the just-coming-from-work-and-straight-to-Mass-dress and there’s just-popping-by-Mass-before-I-hit-the-beach-club-BBQ-dress. Big difference.  This is where this lovely little link-up comes in….a way to remind us to take the time in all areas to properly prepare and present ourselves for Mass, time spent with Our Lord, one measly Hour completely His and to give Him the respect He is due.  Ideas borrowed from other women and men and encouragement in taking a little extra time with our appearance.  Stepping off the soapbox now….

Submitting my little collage…trying out a new app…of the girls and I ready for Mass.

Untitled

skitched-46-1Deets:  Collage, meh…not loving it so much so I gave you the bonus head-to-toe shot so you can get a little better look at that animal printy shirt…Rarrr…

Shirt: Kohl’s, few years ago, Pants, Christmas gift years ago, Shoes: Kohl’s

Necklace and earrings: gift from my girls a while ‘go

Ring: Lia Sophia fave

Mini-mes:  Sporting yesterday’s thrifty finds, dresses AND shoes…and a sweet little Christmas necklace on the Diva daughter.

Blessings, y’all…We are off to do nada…or maybe hit the movies…

Friday…and all mixed up!

With Christmas and New Year’s falling on Tuesdays it is really wrenching my brain on what day it is….Off 2 days, work one, off one, work 3, off 2, repeat…what?!?!  It will take me until mid or end of January to get straight.  Sheesh.  Thank goodness I have the day/date feature on my watch to keep me straight…Gotta love the 20+year old Seiko, baby!

However…let’s cut to the chase.  It’s Friday.  Joining in with Jen and the humongous throng o’ bloggers doing the end of the week “7 Quick Takes” so jump on over and check ’em out…it’s always fun and interesting and good for hours of screen time…no joke!!  Without further adieu…here I go:

  1. Christmas was GOOD.  You can refer to this post for the deets, but overall, somehow the chaos felt “manageable” this year, less rushed, time to enjoy each other.  A win for us.
  2. My mom is home from the hospital post surgery for her Christmas Eve fracture (see #1 insert for the dirty…), so now she just needs to manage the walker, the snow, the dogs, getting around, getting ready to host her daughter and 2 grand-daughters in a few weeks and potentially re-plan her trip back to the Sunshine State or learn to drive in a boot….tricky.  Time will tell.  Drink lots of milk, Mom!!!
  3. Colds stink.  Hubby has one.  (far worse than mine…go figure).  Hopefully, the kids are immune since they’ve all had their opportunities at being sick this past month.  So cough, sniffle, blow, repeat….Chicken soup is on the menu.
  4. In TV news January 6 is a BIG, BIG day….(and I’m really just NOT a big viewer of the tube, but…..) I have a couple of favorites and the best is that JANUARY 6, 2013 DOWNTON ABBEY RETURNS……I’m so excited.  So is Hubby.  (maybe not all CAPS excited, but excited)  In anticipation, we’ve been rewatching some of Season 1.
  5. Once Upon a Time ALSO returns January 6!!!  What???  Our girls think Hulu is playing tricks on them and holding back…they are going to flip out when they find out they have ANOTHER week to wait!
  6. Biggest Loser returns WITH Jillian (sailor mouth) Michaels on January 6!!  ACK!!!  The girls and I love this—Hubby and the boys can’t take all the tears and boo hooing….personally, it coincides with my annual giving up of food and another effort at losing the baby weight (the baby is now 9—you do the math).  Exciting!
  7. And that’s all I got folks….my stuffy head is ready for bed and hope this winter cold nonsense hits the flippin’ road.  And I mean soon!

Blessings and don’t forget to visit Jen et al.