Posts Tagged With: Christmas

present and engaged this Christmas

For the first time I can remember, I didn’t take any photos at Christmas! ​
A tiny part of me is sad there are no photos, but I love that I was completely present and engaged on Christmas Eve when our family was here.
Three of our four kids, their two partners, one mother in law, and our grandgirl came to our new home to celebrate together.
We popped bubbly.
We laughed.
We opened gifts.
I was disappointed Thing 2 and Boyfriend M weren’t with us, but I talked to her for nearly three hours earlier that day, and I know she spoke with her sister too.

I put out the cookies Thing 1, Baby K, and I made.

We ate three different varieties of soup.
We nibbled and talked and told stories. We were content to celebrate together.

Baby K helped me pass out pressies to her parents, uncles, and other grandmother. She enlisted her Papa’s help as she was feeling a bit shy about taking gifts to her uncles and Thing C’s girlfriend.

We all had Christmas Eve gifts of jammies and books.
Our adult kids get gift cards for Christmas, which may seem boring, or even like a cop-out, but it works for our family.
Of course, not being an adult, Baby K gets gifts.
And I can assure you she was all about opening them!
Even though we went to see her Christmas morning, she opened gifts from us while she was here on Christmas Eve.

It was the loveliest Christmas I’ve had in a while and my love and joy were spilling out all over.
I hope all y’all and your families had a wonderful Christmastime.
I wish you all comfort and joy.

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love and joy and cookies

Thing 1 and I baked cookies all day yesterday.

Baby K said, “I help you!” many times.
Of course toddler help looks often looks like her taking cookies off the pan and cramming them in her gob as quickly as we can cut them. (I’m over here like, dude, that’s what scraps are for!)
Or taking a handful of flour and throwing it on the floor while saying, “It’s SNOW!”
Then when her mother unceremoniously removes her from the stool upon which she stands, laying in the flour on the floor and…”I making snow angel!”
(Yeah, we laughed. It was freaking adorable!)
We had a reprieve when her Papa came home from lunch and they sat at the island being all cute while they ate their lunches together.
And again while she napped.

Baking is not my strong suit.
But yesterday, baking with my girl. I was absolutely content.
I enjoyed her company.
I enjoyed working in the kitchen with her.
I enjoyed watching her be her daughter’s mom.

That time was sacred to me and I’m grateful for it.
It wasn’t about the cookies, though most of them turned out beautifully.
It was about the process.
It was about the fellowship.
I know how fortunate I am to live close to my daughter, especially after not for so long.
But more than that, I know how fortunate I am to be close to my daughter.
Love, joy, and gratitude are spilling over in me and out into the world.
I hope y’all can feel it too!

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silly reindeer

Baby K spent Saturday night with us so her mom and dad could get some last minute holiday stuff done before her other grandmother comes late tomorrow.

Our girl loves herself some snapchat filters.
“Me! Me!”

“Now ‘Boowie’!”

Who wore it better?
I’m going to go ahead and cast my vote for the toddler.

I hope y’all are doing all the fun/goofy/wonderful holiday things that bring you all the joy!

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merry and bright

Meadowlark Gardens does a Winter Walk of Lights at Christmas time!

I bought tickets and convinced YBW to go.
Initially I thought it would be a fun outing. You know, get all bundled up and walk around the gardens we love lit up at night. A Christmasy date night with my sweetheart.

But then…
But then, I got an idea.
“Then he got an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch got a wonderful awful idea.”
(Not really an awful idea. I’m just committing to the bit.)
I decided we could shoot our Christmas card photo there!
How precious, right?
Can’t you picture it? Two cutie-cutes all bundled up against the cold – festive holiday lights – the perfect holiday vignette.
The photographer in me was all about it.
The lover of all things Christmas in me was all about it.
Turns out, YBW was all about it too. Partly because he thought it could be fun, by mostly because I was enthusiastic about it.

There was a small part of me worried that it might be lame. Concerned I’d drag my husband out in the cold and it wouldn’t be worth it.
But when we got there, I went into full on SQUEE mode!

It was absolutely magical!
I took our photo at least fifty times and narrowed it down to two perfect Christmas card shots.
Mostly I just squeed. And told YBW how much I loved it. And thanked him for coming out in the cold with me.

I was the Christmas spirit.
I was child-like wonder.
I was joy.
I was merry and bright.

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a tune for Tuesday vol 104

How about a little Carpool Karaoke for week four?
Here’s James Cordon with a car full of folks singing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

Please listen responsibly.

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this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

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a tune for Tuesday vol 103

Today’s the day I always go sit in Warner Theatre and watch The Washington Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
Of course in the time of covid, everything is a little different and I’m not going to the ballet this evening.
But we can listen to Brian Setzer Orchestra doing their version of The Nutcracker Suite and pretend we’re dancing with the Sugar Plum Fairies.

Please listen responsibly.

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o Christmas tree(s)

With all the wrapping finished, Thing 1 and I decided to take on another holiday project.
Yarn trees.

Last weekend I watched a reel on Instagram and was like, “Pfft! I can totally make that!”
Thing 1 was all, “I’m so here for it!”

We got foam shapes and made yarn choices at Michaels, went home waited for Baby K to take a nap then got to work.

Y’all, my daughter has always been a natural craft-artist and made this work for her from the moment she began this project.

Not satisfied with the trees we made, we returned to Michaels armed with coupons and rewards dollars for different yarn choices and more foam shapes.
We started with varying shades of green and white/cream and added grays and a white with rainbow-colored iridescent strands.
To say I’m pleased with the results is an understatement.

Now I’m asking:
What can I get up to next? (so much yarn to choose from)
Do y’all have any interest in being crafty? Do you do homemade holiday decorations?
Or is that all too much for you? Am I just super extra for doing this?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

merry and bright

Thing 1 and I had such fun wrapping Christmas gifts together this year!
We sat across from each other at that big desk and consulted on paper and ribbon choices. I shared some of my tricks. We enjoyed each other’s company. We sang along to holiday music.
We even let Baby K help decorate gifts!

Thing 1 isn’t super confident about her wrapping skills, but I have to tell you, that girl created some absolutely gorgeous packages.

Some of the ones I wrapped and decorated turned out beautifully too.

I hope your wrapping was lovely and your packages are gorgeous.
May your (holi)days be merry and bright!

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favorite things: December edition

Here’s more of my favorite things!
Y’all wanna play along?

What is your:

favorite holiday
C H R I S T M A S!!

favorite non-traditional way to celebrate the holidays
Christmas Eve at Church of the Motion Picture
YBW and I love to go out for drinks

then to the movies on Christmas Eve

favorite holiday outing
visiting the creche exhibit at the cathedral

favorite sign of the season
Christmas trees on cars

favorite Christmas song
Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Santa Claus is Back in Town
*hangs up fishnet stockings*

favorite Christmas hymn
O Holy Night
When I was a little girl, I thought ‘fall on your knees’ was ‘aww yawn ya ynee’ and that was how I sang it for years.

favorite holiday tradition
new jammies and a book opened Christmas Eve

favorite item on your holiday to-do list
wrapping pressies!

favorite Christmas movie
Miracle on 34th Street

(the original with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood)

favorite holiday baked goods
crispy gingerbread men

What are your holiday faves?

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