Tag Archives: Christmas

Looking back, looking ahead and looking around

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January.  Ordinary time.  Fresh off the heels of an awesome (although shorter) Christmas and Advent season.  A season that we decorate our house to the brim in celebration of a sweet baby who came to save us from ourselves.  He came to an unwed couple, on a long and dusty journey in a stinky animal shelter.  Yep, he nailed our lives right on the head.  Imperfect people on a journey surrounded by a world of stinky temptations.  He tops it off with the most magnificent light, guiding us straight to HIM, accompanied by wisdom, preparation and love.  What a way to start the year!

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From Thanksgiving to Epiphany, it’s a month+ long party and celebration!

And so, this morning, as I drink my coffee and enjoy my quiet time, I plan the day and week ahead and pause to look back on last year’s “Resolutions” and to ponder the year ahead.  I’m joining in a link up of 2014 with a lovely group of ladies and see that we ALL want a fresh outlook for 2014, each trying to be a  better person one day at a time.   I’ve joined in at In Honor of Design, however, they are all linked and you can get to a multitude of fantastic sites from there!

Looking back:

  • Losing weight.  Wellllllll, I’ve stayed pretty steady in the actual numbers department, however, I have definitely made a much more focused and consistent effort in actually working out this past year AND healthier dishes, snacks, etc.  I’m certain it comes down to portion size and/or stress eating, so always room for improvement.  I feel good though, so I’ll just keep on keepin’ on!
  • More Joy-filled and focused.  Hmmm.  I’m going to say that I  am honestly so task-oriented that the JOY gets lost in the day-to-day.  The fact that I am working on it is a good one, the fact that I am less that consistent is yet another area to just keep plugging along, one day at a time.
  • Use and learn my real camera more often.  Fail.  Flat out.  Although…..I have recently started pinning photo tutorials and joined a photo website (free) with a bajillion tutorials and areas to join in and have work evaluated in a constructive criticism manner.  This might just be the year…..

It would seem 2013 was a big fat failure in the resolutions department OR it would seem that it is what it is….life…not always perfect and just taking each day as it comes and try to do a little better the next time.  It’s precious time wasted to moan and complain about all the imperfect moments that I wish I woulda/coulda/shoulda done differently.  It’s taken me 43 years to figure THAT out and a daily work in progress.

Looking ahead:

My word for this year will be “Be Present”.  Okay, that’s two words, but it’s my blog and that’s what I am picking.  Rather than changing all these individual things and ideas and re-working the wheel and all, I just want to be present in whatever I am doing.  Chilling the Eff out on multi-tasking when I am with my family and friends.  If I’m making dinner, I’ll make dinner—not make dinner, start laundry, change clothes and pack lunch for the next day.  If I’m talking to my kids or husband, to stay put and talk, not talk and and half-listen while I putter around taking care of a million small details at the same time.  It’s going to be hard.  No joke.  Honestly, I’m going to have to take a couple of days to really think about what I can do to re-train my brain to just SLOW. DOWN.

Looking around:

There it is, though.  Now that I am done blogging this out, I can get dinner going…THEN get ready for work.  Because TONIGHT we have a game to watch, folks.  It’s going to be a great one!

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For more inspiration on 2014, go check out IHOD and the multitudes and get ready 2014….here I am!

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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!

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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.

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

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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?

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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!!

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.

Merry Christmas and all that comes with it!!

Santa and Mrs. Claus making a pre-run/last warning call on behavior...

Santa and Mrs. Claus making a pre-run/last warning call on behavior…

Wishing you a Merry and wonderful Christmas.  Winter white (Mid-ish West and Northeast) or rainy and dodging tornadoes (Southeast) or just lovely and balmy (our neck o’ the woods), may your day be lovely.

My Christmas present to you:

In your downtown and sugar induced coma I have some GREAT links to keep you busy and up your screen time….aaaaaaaafter you have sufficiently spent Quality time with the fam,K?  K.

First, you can check out all the Christmas decorations with Katie @ NFP and me.  I love checking out other people’s homes and decorations, super fun and done in my jammies.

Best PG view....with a "white" top it's just not really "general public" kind of viewing...ya know?

Best PG view….with a “white” top it’s just not really “general public” kind of viewing…ya know?

Second, you can check out all the Christmas fashion you can stand and then some with the lovely and very preggo (and ridiculously tiny) Grace @ Camp Patton, also done in the PJs if you’d like….

My 'fit....super similar to Sunday

My ‘fit….super similar to Sunday, ‘scuse the look…this was 1a.m….Mama’s done.

Except for the super awesome necklace my sis gave me last year....jelly??

Except for the super awesome necklace my sis gave me last year….jelly??

Orrrrrr, you can read MY recap…because it’s my blog, right?  😉

Christmas Eve:  Work until 3.  Quick “last minute stocking socks” and caffeine stop.  6 o’clock Mass with the family.

Making our way...like herding cats.

Making our way…like herding cats.

Then off to the brother’s casa to feed the grumbly in the tumbly….

Papa and the clown-boy

Papa and the clown-boy

Papa and almost as tall as him boy....

Papa and almost as tall as him boy….

Popop and his girls

Popop and his girls

Pensive and handsome in his new jacket...

Pensive and handsome in his new jacket…

 

Dinner @ brother’s with extended family.  Or is it dessert with a side of dinner?

My sugar jumps just looking at them again....is there such a thing as too much chocolate?  A question to ponder...

My sugar jumps just looking at them again….is there such a thing as too much chocolate? A question to ponder…

Back home to get kids set up for their annual “campout in brother’s room” and a movie and Christmas Eve present (new pillows and 3 new Christmas movies….I was told they had enough PJs….the usual gift!) and then back for Midnight Mass with our French horn player.

Midnight Mass roundup

Midnight Mass roundup

Stockings filled, Presents out. Bed @ 2 a.m.

Pretty....for a few short hours

Pretty….for a few short hours

Girl loves this "hamster vest"...

Girl loves this “hamster vest”…

 

Christmas Day:  Up at 6:30 a.m. with LOTS of coffee and present time and cinnamon buns, visit from the grands and walk around the ‘hood.  Now it’s chill time and then on to the In-laws for lunch.  I am officially breaking up with food (again) after today and if the weather keeps up I’m thinking a bonus walk around the ‘hood. Or some more Dance4….because I just whooped my girl at Rock Lobster…Please….years o’ practice…Mama don’t play.   Or a nap.  BCuz I am LOVE, LOVE, LOVING these cozy jams…

Can you feel the cozy awesomeNESS?!?!  Huh, can ya, can ya???

Can you feel the cozy awesomeNESS?!?! Huh, can ya, can ya???

 

Blessings abundant to you all!!  And be careful and don’t break your leg…like my Mom did last night.  Surgery today or tomorrow…keep those prayers comin’ ya’ll!!

It’s the end of the world/week…whatev…

Even though it’s Saturday, I figured I’d go ahead and jump in with Jen and her crew for the

— 1 —

Clearly the world didn’t end.  My son says they found another Mayan calendar dating to 3025.  I haven’t had time to research his claim, but clearly THAT explains it…or the whole Matthew 24:36  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. “  Yes, apparently even the Mayans didn’t know…

— 2 —

I FINALLY watched Minor Revisions this week.  Episode 1 AND 2.  All in the same night.  The best part was that Hubby watched, also.  He NEVER watches TV.  Ever.  Thinks TV and Technology are the downfall of society.  Books are the best.  And yet….he watched.

— 3 —

Our youngest had yet ANOTHER round of strep this week.  Guess we’ll be paying a visit to the ENT this coming year.  Joy.

— 4 —

Our youngest son clearly jealous of his sickly sister, decided to pull a “complications from the flu 2 weeks ago” stint and develop an ear & sinus infection with diminished lung sounds the next day.  Translation:  not contagious, on antibiotics and an inhaler=much better.  Adding to the stress of finals week.

— 5 —

Mama’s spidey senses peaked on our son’s health the same night we were to go to our church’s reconciliation services.  Hubby took the rest of the gang whilst son and I trekked to the Pediatric After hours.  Translation:  He and I will make a visit to reconciliation this afternoon.

— 6 —

I am reaching my annual “officially OVER food” quota that generally accompanies December and the glut of goods brought into the office, luncheons and my desire to bake and share.  Perhaps Santa will bring me some willpower for Christmas.  Although Hubby did promise to “help me out” after Christmas…y ‘all pray for me and our marriage on that one, K?

— 7 —

On that last note, I am lacing up the kicks for a quick walk since we aren’t covered with snow in our area!!  And then off to Publix for our supplies for our (8th?) annual “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” luncheon with my grandparents!  More food.  And quality time.  So that surely balances, no?  Blessings!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

It’s the most wonderful (busy) time of year…

The girls and I at the Nutcracker

The girls and I at the Nutcracker

Here we are:  12 days until Christmas.  Which would explain my semi-absence from the blogsta world.  So much is packed into this month.  I love it.  It’s hectic and chaotic, but it is fun!!  The anticipation of Christmas, Advent activities, baking, shopping, it’s awesome!  I figured it’s Thursday night so I’d tie this into Quick Takes @Conversion Diary and now TV Fame with Minor Revisions!  Woot, woot!!

With so much packed into this month there are things I’ve neglected or have yet to find the time/energy to deal with yet (7 off the top of my head):

  • hanging Christmas cards up (they are still in the basket we collect them in)
  • Passing out Advent Anonymous cards (need to print up the notes)
  • Finish baking (it’s an ongoing process and a tasty one at that!)
  • blogging
  • reading blogs
  • watching Christmas shows
  • watching Minor Revisions…Plan B is Saturday night @ 10p.m….

However, there is so much I HAVE done with the time I’ve not spent on the above (more than 7):

  • Walking several times a week (at least 20 minutes…I need some de-stressing)
  • Maximizing my hour-long lunch break (can you say Power Shopping!)
  • Burned up the internet with my online shopping (a working mom’s best friend—heck, EVERY mom’s best friend!!!)
  • Peanut butter buckeyes x 2 (cookie swap and prepping for neighbor sharing)
  • Attended the Nutcracker with the girls
  • Working at my J.O.B.
  • Sent my Christmas cards out
  • Made a PLAN for the coming week (before the kids get out of school and are in my way at lunch break!)
  • Picnicked with Hubby and the girls one Sunday afternoon
  • Prepared kids for various upcoming concerts, Christmas programs, Girl Scout sleepover and birthday parties
  • Planned for Christmas Eve, dinner, Mass….
  • Thrift shopped (a whole post really needs to be devoted to that…serious fun!)
  • Participated in the #AdventPhotoADay contest/photo sharing
Day 13, Feast Day of St. Lucy...The Eyes have it..

Day 13, Feast Day of St. Lucy…The Eyes have it..

And now I shall wake the minions (those still remaining…..the high schooler and Papa are already gone for the day)

So get on with your busy elf….and I’ll check back intermittently!  Blessings and Make way for the Lord, Christmas is coming!!!