Christmas Day

on 31 December 2014

Ordinarily, I LOVE Christmas.  I love the lights, the carols, I love the food, I love my little family, I love the tree, I love trying to create this sense of wonder and magic for my kids.

That wonder and magic is a lot easier when you aren't on an Impossible Budget.  In years past, I generally start setting aside small amounts of money to fund Christmas in September, so that by December, we have a modest, but fun Christmas and I don't have to sweat my January bills, but this year...oh this year...It's been an expensive year.  What with buying a house, and Chris retaking the MCAT, and then med school applications and then secondary was just a really, REALLY expensive year.  So my Christmas budget was...well, non-existent.

And once you're sucked into that particular vortex of worry, it's pretty hard to feel excited about Christmas at all.

And the sad thing is, the money stuff wasn't the only vortex of worry that Chris and I had been sucked into.  We were worried about getting into med school and really worried about t'other Baby Girl.

(This pregnancy has been riddled with fear, anxiety and worry for me and for Chris.  All along it's felt too good to be true, and so we've both been waiting for the axe to drop, for something to happen to her or to me, which translates to a lot of worry and not much sleep.)

Anyway, so I was trying to cobble together a Christmas to the best of my abilities, without caring about it very much.  I was so tired that I just wanted to cancel the whole thing and crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head and come out when it was over.  But my sweet children woke me up every day asking, "How many days until Christmas, Mama?"  And their little faces were so full of excitement and wonder, how do you extinguish that with your own selfish desire to call off the whole affair?

I did my best, my parents gifted us with a new and PRE-LIT Christmas tree this year, so we set that up before we left for Savannah for Thanksgiving.  That way we could come home to something cheerful and beautiful.  I put together a frugal, but hopefully fun array of gifts for the kids.  My parents were a little unhinged playing Santa for the kids, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to see their faces as they came downstairs on Christmas morning.  I baked up some cinnamon rolls, and once the presents were opened and the kids were happily playing with their new toys, Chris and I crashed on the couch and totally fell asleep.

It really was a magical day, but I was still really happy when it was over.

Apres moi, le deluge...

on 29 December 2014

Christmas eve...may I just say, that when Chris and I were looking at our town house, one of the first things we talked about was how great the layout of the kitchen/dining room/living room would be for our Christmas eve party? 

So it goes without saying that we were super excited for our party this year.  Chris agreed to do most of the food prep, if I would do the cleaning/organizing/decorating.  And since I had long since ceased to care if the house was beautiful, I readily agreed.

For those of you who are new, we host my family every year on Christmas eve for a Nabs Party.  Nabs are what Chris' family call appetizers, so everything is casual and fun.  In years past, we've just ordered up a chicken nugget tray from Chick-fil-A, but for the past couple of years, Chris has stepped off the verge of crazy and decided to COOK our own nuggets.  And this year was no exception.

So the night before, we're in the kitchen and he says to me, "How many chicken breasts do you think I need to thaw to feed everyone?"  And I say, "I don't each?"  And he says, "No way!  We need more than that!"  So he pulls out our bag of frozen chicken breasts (we buy the big kahuna bags at Costco) and starts counting them TWENTY-TWO I stop him and say, "Whoa, nelly, you're going to be cooking ALL NIGHT!" 

Please to remember there are only TWELVE of us, and 2 of those are 6 and 3 years old respectively!

So Christmas eve dawns, and the kids and I get to work cleaning the house and Chris gets to work in the kitchen.  Our running joke with each other was that, Christmas 2014 was brought to you by cream cheese, cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers because here's what was on our menu for the night:

  • chicken nuggets
  • steak bites
  • boursin cheese (made with cream cheese)
  • jalapeno pimento cheese (made with cream cheese and cheddar cheese)
  • jalapeno poppers (made with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon)
  • cold spinach dip
  • warm spinach dip (made with cream cheese)
  • chips and salsa
  • cheese and cracker tray
  • homemade cheese ball (made with cream cheese and cheddar cheese)
and for dessert!
  • mini-cheesecakes with cherries
  • pecan tassies
  • cherry blossoms
So some of these things Chris had put together the night before, but he still spent the bulk of Christmas eve in the kitchen, which is why it wasn't until later in the afternoon that we noticed that our roof was leaking.

Oh, yes, you read that right.  It poured rain the WHOLE day, and I had noticed what appeared to be a water stain on the ceiling in the Girl's room, and mentioned it to Christopher as a cause for concern, but we had been so wrapped up in med school applications and worry with that, that we sort of just ignored the ceiling in the hopes that it would go away on it's own.

No such luck.

But water dripping through a heating and cooling vent onto the floor, will awaken you to a sense of the reality of homeownership faster than anything else, so we set a bucket underneath it, Chris stormed up into the attic to marvel at the inadequacies of the roof, and I called the HOA and left an urgent voicemail because it's CHRISTMAS EVE, no one is in the office.

Then we went back downstairs and had a party!  Because what else can you do?

Everyone came, it was SUPER fun, my sister and her whole family had been sick since before Thanksgiving so we hadn't seen any of them in a looooooooooooong time, and we had really missed them.  So we talked and laughed and ate and laughed at Chris making this MOUNTAIN of food for all of us.  We read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and the kids opened presents from their Nana and Popper.  It had been such a long time since we had all gotten together, that I was just happy sitting on the couch surrounded by most of my favorite people in the whole world.

Needless to say, we were eating chicken nuggets for DAYS and DAYS.

Oh, Dear me...

on 17 December 2014

I am drowning y'all.  Drowning in the holidays and not nearly enough energy to keep everything all together.  I should tell you about our Thanksgiving trip to Savannah, and the fun that was had.  I have some darling pictures of my little ones with their MeeMaw that need sharing.  I should tell you about my good intentions for a streamlined, well organized holiday season, that would be high comedy, for that has not materialized...well, it's streamlined, but it's not very well organized.  I should be able to show you pictures of Chris' Christmas socks for this year, for they are wonderful and my own design, but alas, NOT finished yet.

So instead, I'm going to share with you two of my THREE favorite things about Christmas this year, they are both videos and both promise to lift your spirits if you're feeling a bit frazzled and irritable.  The third favorite thing I can't share with you, but WISH I could and that is the experience of watching my two babes who are OBSESSED with these videos watching them over and over and over and over and OVER again, and sneaking off with my phone to watch them again, and begging me in the morning and at rest time and at dinner time and before bed to "Pease watch Angels one more time?!"  Both of them have both videos memorized and listening to them sing or read along with them is pretty much the highlight of my Christmas season.  So while I can't give you that Third favorite thing, here are the first two.  Grab some cookies and milk and enjoy.