Posts Tagged With: Christmas

transition time

My twelve-year old niece woke up the morning of November second and began playing holiday music and decorating her bedroom for Christmas.
Initially I was a whole lot of WTF? but then I smiled as she strung lights, and created a display of nutcrackers on top of her dresser. She’s ready for the holidays!

I’ve always said, if I could go straight from Halloween to Christmas I’d be happy.
But you know, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. As much as I dislike Thanksgiving, I need the transition. I need that little bit of time between Halloween and Christmas. I need a little bit more time with my autumn decorations. I need time to get my (Christmas) ducks in order.

That said, I visited Pier 1, Home Goods, Hallmark, and Michaels today specifically for Christmasy things. I found and purchased ornaments for both Thing 1 and Thing 2. Also Husband N. Chose one for YBW, but the line at Pier 1 was longer than I had the patience to wait in so I’ll go back.

See, I need this time.
I need to make sure I have the perfect ornaments chosen for my family. I need to make sure I snatch up all the cute wrapping paper before it’s gone. In need to make sure I see what’s out there before every place is jam-slammed with other humans.

Thanksgiving is not my thing.
I try so hard not to be a hater, you know?
I just can’t help it. I truly believe it’s nothing more than an excuse for gluttony. And of course, my mother died the week of Thanksgiving. That I could have lived without.

However, I’m doing something new this year.
I’m choosing to embrace Thanksgiving as the transition time between Halloween and Christmas. I’m going to use this time to my advantage. I’ve even invited a house full of people for the giving of thanks.
I’m going to try so hard not to be an ass about Thanksgiving. I’m accepting its placement on the calendar as a blessing. I’m not quite ready for Christmas. But I need to get ready to be.
I’ll use this time to transition from leaves and pumpkins and cotton bolls to trees and stars and all the baby Jesuses.

For me, November will become a healthy transition time between Halloween and Christmas. And though I may never come to embrace Thanksgiving, I can accept it. I can choose to celebrate it.

I’m thankful every single day of my life. Even those days when I’m a raging f**king hater. I’m grateful for the life I have, the people in it, and the love that surrounds me.
Thanksgiving is a day, just like any other. I can choose to be filled with gratitude that day too. I can accept that it’s meaningful to people who aren’t me and embrace them instead of the day.

I’m so close to being ready to pull out all the Christmas things!
I just need a bit more time to transition.
Thanksgiving provides that for me this year.

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Little D’s Christmas

Little D is coming today and spending the night!
It’s actually his Christmas gift.
You see, Little D more enjoys spending time with the people he loves than he does toys and stuff. Partly this is because he’s an only child, and partly because he lost his mother so young. But mostly it’s because he’s a social kid that likes to be around the people he loves.

One of the people he loves most is Thing 2. Born on the same day fourteen years apart, they are our birthday twins. A fact each of them absolutely adores. Thing 2 and Little D are also “daughter and father” this comes from a time when he was just three, Little D took Thing 2 by the hand and lead her all around our old preschool telling everyone, “Dis my daughter Thing 2.”
Apart from the Nutcracker, and probably the Cathedral visit, what she was most looking forward to was spending time with Little D and his folks.
They built trains and played hide and seek and then settled down to color.

(I was standing on the sofa to shoot this pic and sadly lost my balance so it’s out of focus, but that’s OK I still love it.)

During that visit, Little D found his gift under the tree in our front room.
It was an invitation for a very special sleepover with YBW and me. In which a detailed plan was laid out for us to play, watch a movie, (with popcorn of course) then for breakfast we’ll make his favorite, french toast and bacon.
The first thing he said was, “When!?!”
His mom and I quickly got out our calendars and picked today!

Of course he’ll have another gift.

Batman jammies, a truly amazing book, and a movie I know he loves.
Y’all I don’t even like Batman, but I freaking love those jammies!

My local bookshop didn’t have the book in stock and it took forever to ship, so I must stop writing and get on the wrapping of his pressie! Then YBW and I will head out to meet their family for lunch and bring that kid home to play and be goofy!
I’m so excited!

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happy new year (occasionally, I’m a conformist)

I’m seeing all these end of year and happy new year things on social media, in the blogs I read, in news articles, etc. And you know what? It is really irritating me!

I understand it conceptually, but to be completely honest, I’m not really feeling it. I mean, sure, I’m more than willing to put 2017 in my rear-view mirror. But as I look at 2018 looming, I’m kind of…well, apathetic maybe? I’m not entirely sure that’s the right word…but that’s where I’ll settle for the moment.

I suspect part of my feeling (whatever we’re going to call it) is because this winter break has not been restful. Thing 2 and Boyfriend J were here, and we went at a full tilt boogie from nearly the moment they arrived. While the Nutcracker was blissful, and Christmas with three fourths of our family was fun, I sometimes struggle with Thing 2 and her wild mood swings. I struggle with the occasional drama with the boys mother. I sometimes struggle with so many people in this house at one time. I sometimes struggle with my inability to just take a big ass breath and not let other people affect me.

I was so excited about my most favorite of holidays and honestly, I was kind of left feeling relieved when the boys went back to their mother’s and Thing 2 and boyfriend J went back to SC and there was no one here but YBW and me. This makes me sad. Really and truly sad. But I’m being real, and I’m being honest. Doesn’t matter how much you love your kids, sometimes an empty nest is a beautiful thing.

Conceptually the idea of being surrounded by three of our four kids on Christmas fills me with childlike joy. The reality of it is that I’ve got to cook more, keep the peace more, and as it was the first time Boyfriend J was here, turns out I didn’t really get to spend that much time with Thing 2.
I was ready for a break from school. To kind of be filled with the Christmas spirit and recharge myself. But I’m more tired now than I was the last day of school December 21.
Advent happens for a reason, y’all. I sometimes wonder if the anticipation and excitement leading up to Christmas aren’t the real gift.

Nora and Dale invited us for dinner tonight. I’m not remotely feeling it. I have no desire to leave the warmth of the house to brave single digit wind chills to have dinner with friends.
Here’s the ridiculous part, I’ll have fun. I’ll be better off emotionally spending time with my sweet husband and our friends than if I stayed put in this house in my jammies.
But I don’t want to! (Yeah, I’m whining…what’s it to you?)

My (undefined) feelings about 2018 are most likely due to the fact that I’m tired. And let’s be real, who’s ready to tackle anything when they’re not at the top of their game?

Here’s what I do know.
2017 was the year I stopped living with chronic pain. With the help of three ‘alternative’ healthcare providers I’m off all prescription meds, pain free, and with a brain that is the proper shape and size.
That right there is the best possible way to begin 2018!

I’ll slip into 2018 tired yet hopeful.
Hopeful I’ll accomplish what I set out to do.
Hopeful that our kids are healthy, content, and whole.
Hopeful that we’ll have loads of snow days this winter and I’ll be able to rest then.
Spring will bring birthdays starting in March. June will bring Thing G’s high school graduation.

Y’all, I may be grouchy and tired, but I’m smiling as I write this.
As it turns out, I too am writing about saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming 2018. How very conformist of me.
It’s cool, sometimes you gotta do what everybody else does to prove to yourself you’re a regular girl.
This regular girl wishes all y’all a non-conformist new year!

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love and light at the Cathedral

The day after Christmas we went downtown to the creche exhibit at the National Cathedral.
For the first time in many years, the sun was out on that cold, cold day. (sorta kinda)

We walked the long way around the Cathedral College on our way up the hill to the Cathedral.
Thing 2 especially loves this building, the tower with the ivy vines. I think it has something to do with her love of the Disney movie Tangled…though she might not agree. It was important to her to bring boyfriend J to this place.

I loved this glimpse of colored glass! It wasn’t until I viewed the window through my lens that I realized there was a pane missing.

The Cathedral is my absolute favorite building the the whole of DC. I mean to the point that I began to breathe differently when we drove up Wisconsin Ave and I could see it. The building is truly awe inspiring, but more than that, it’s just a lovely, peaceful place. God’s house for everyone.
I was pleased to see the Advent wreath in the Bethlehem Chapel!

Though they were beginning to look a little worse for wear, the Christmas trees were dressed with a garland of hydrangeas. A few jingle bells and, boom! You’ve got yourself a gorgeous tree.

The sun was shining brightly as we made our way through the chapel and the stained glass positively sparked!

The “Space Window”.
Inside that little white circle is a piece of moon rock given to the Cathedral in 1974.

This view stopped me in my tracks. I honestly cannot describe the beauty my eyes saw, and this photo is a sad representation.
But not so sad that I wasn’t asked by a local online culture and lifestyle magazine if they could feature it in a current coolest pics article.
Go me!

This little beauty was waiting in the observation tower.

Here’s a view of the Bishop’s Garden from the observation tower.

Down on the crypt level is the chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea. This is my absolute favorite space in the entire building. I always stop for a moment (or longer) in this chapel to talk with God.

The teeny chapel where we normally light our candles in prayer.

Much to our dismay this little chapel was otherwise occupied. Who dropped off an organ in there? It actually brought Thing 2 to tears.

So we went back up the the Bethlehem chapel to light a candle in prayer. I finished my conversation with God before Thing 2 finished hers and I shot this pic without her knowledge. Seeing her like this moved me so.

I saw many lovely nativities at the creche exhibit, including one from Norway in which both Mary and the baby had red hair! Like, what’s that!?!
But this one is my favorite from this year.
From the collection of Mr and Mrs Harold R Amos, Jr, painted on wood by Miami folk artist, Flor Larios.

We left our coats, hats, and gloves in the car to avoid having to carry them around the Cathedral. Not the smartest choice when we decided to visit the Bishop’s Garden. Though the beauty of the dappled sunlight nearly made the freezing air bearable.

My Cathedral experience (as always) ended with the Cathedral Library.

I love this building. I long to get in there and oodgey-goodgey, only it’s never open when I’m there.

This Christmas is over and I find myself feeling that natural sadness. But in a positive ‘comfort and joy’ way. That beautiful sense of anticipation during Advent and the childlike joy of Christmas morning has moved through me and now I find myself ready to say a hearty “Bye Felica” to 2017 and see what kind of shenanigans 2018 will bring.
YBW and I are already talking about going on a mini-break for Christmas next year. Neither of us are sure how we feel about that…leaving home for Christmas, but we’re considering the idea, and it feels kind of fun.
I think I’m in a place within myself, he’s in a place in him, and we’re in a place together that we’re ready to make some changes to better suit the ideas we have for each other as we move through our life. And that’s very exciting! Perhaps ‘just we two’ will be even more fun that we can imagine!
Blessings of love and light continue to wash over me.

Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A very Robynbird Christmas!

I must have “been an awful good girl” because some of the things Santa brought me include:

Books to read.
(The Alton Brown one is signed!)
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Markers for coloring.
(Dying to use these brush tips!)
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Tickets to a show.
(Box seats! What? What?)
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The solar system on a chain.
(Even Pluto little Pluto!)
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An angel for my baby Jesus.
(Actually a tree topper, but I don’t care!)
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The stars and creche, and a new shepard and animals.
(Tears of joy!)
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There was also the softest blankey in the history of the world. Perfume and a new bathrobe. Music from Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday celebration. A Christmas color book, and new gloves. The I Love Lucy box set. And a blu-ray Adventure with Alice to save the Hatter!

Thanks, Santa Baby!
xoxo
Robynbird

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Christmas Eve at Church of the Motion Picture

Saturday night after the Hanukkah candles were lit and prayers said, YBW and I realized we wouldn’t make the early Christmas Eve service at Emmanuel.
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And at roughly 45 minutes each way, we knew we wouldn’t want to attempt the 11:00 service. Sad face Robynbird. I do so love Christmas Eve services.

But then I got an idea! Kind of like the Grinch, only mine wasn’t an awful idea. Mine was a wonderful idea!
I turned to YBW at the foot of the stairs and I said, “Let’s go to ‘Church of the Motion Picture’!”

When he asked what movie we should see, I knew the answer straight away.
assassins-creed
(Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!)

We busted out of the house to get to the shoe store before it closed at six. I decided at the last moment I wanted to wear these shoes to lunch on Christmas day.
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They were 30% off and I’d earned a $10 certificate and I had a store credit from returning a pair of boots. So I got these adorable booties for less than $30 that was already spent! And I rocked them with the cutest dress for going out to lunch on Christmas Day!

We left DSW and headed to Fairfax Corner. We were almost an hour early for the movie so we decided to stop in at Coastal Flats for cocktails. The girl tending bar was called Michelle and she took great care of us. We chatted her up and laughed and generally had a great time.
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I had a Lucky Lounge Lemonade and YBW had a mojito.

After the movie, we came home to open our Christmas Eve pressies. Then snuggled for a long time in front of the fire with a bottle of prosecco before we finally gave up waiting to see Santa and went to bed.

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happy Hanukkah

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I’m only a smitch Jewish, but it’s an important part of my heritage so I like to celebrate when I can.
I especially love when Hanukkah and Christmas coincide.

The prayer for the first night is my very favorite.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehechiyanu ve-kimanu vehigianu lazhaman hazeh.
Thanks be to you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, for keeping us alive and in good health and for bringing us together.
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Happy Hanukkah, y’all.

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a very Idol Christmas

My love for Billy Idol knows no bounds.
But this video…well…it kind of makes me giggle.
Meh, who cares? It’s Christmastime, and I’m ready to Jingle Bell Rock!
Please listen responsibly.

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the spirit of Christmas

I got an email this morning about listening to Christmas music, and geographical facts about the North Pole, and finally, how “Santa’s house at the North Pole is allegedly in Alaska just off Route 2″…
(In the immortal words of Deadpool, “What in the ass?”)
deadpool

So this got me thinking about Santa and his reindeer and the elves…
Which in turn got me thinking about the Christmas spirit…
And here’s what I wrote in response…

Santa doesn’t live in Alaska! He’s not American! He’s of no nationality! He’s just Santa. (Yes I know the origins of his story, but we’re discounting those for the sake of this conversation!)
I know you’re getting all technical about the North Pole…but I believe Santa’s home and workshop are…well…a load of crap if you want the truth.
(It actually surprised me when I wrote those words!!)
santa-north-pole

I truly love the idea of Santa.
Santa is the spirit of Christmas! The spirit of giving and love and well, even hope. Because some folks who don’t really dig the baby Jesus do dig Santa. Anyway…it’s fun to think of workshops and elves and the like. But I sort of feel like we all carry the spirit of Christmas in us…that we each have a little bit of Santa in us.
I don’t know…

I remember when Thing 1 asked me about Santa, she was eleven and in 6th grade.
She asked if I was Santa.
I asked her what she thought.
She said, “I think you’re Santa.”
I told her about Santa being the spirit of Christmas and giving, and love. I explained that I believed so strongly in Santa, the spirit of Santa…but that a fat man in a red suit didn’t bring the presents into this house.
She paused for a moment, and she said, “I’m going to believe in the spirit of Santa too, Mommy. But I know who brings the presents into this house.”
And then we hugged for a long time.
I made her promise not to tell Thing 2 and we went along our way.

The spirit of Christmas is what I love above all else.
I do believe that the world waited for a light to enter? Absolutely!
light
Was that light really a little Jewish baby called Joshua (later mistranslated to Jesus)? I honestly don’t know. But I love the idea that a baby could create that much hope. That much love. That much light.

So, maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the baby Jesus at all…(though how could it not?)
Maybe the spirit of Christmas really is just love and hope and light.
Maybe the spirit of Christmas is simply the idea of Santa Claus bringing these gifts.
Gifts chosen by someone who loves you so much that they work hard to make sure you have the right thing, beautifully wrapped so you know how much you are loved. So you know how much love and light and hope is in the world because someone loves you.
Anyway…that’s what Christmas is to me…for the most part.

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Robynbird’s ‘must see’ Christmas movies

I’ve made the list of Christmas movies that I simply must watch. I’ve already watched White Christmas once, on my ipad in the bathtub…but I’ll be watching it again. Most likely while I wrap pressies. (I did…also watched Love Actually while I was wrapping.)
Christmas movies are the best!
At least I think so.
Of course, that could simply be because I’m a bit of a whore for Christmas…
There will be obvious holiday movies missing fromt this list. But remember, it’s not comprehensive, it’s my list of movies I love to watch at Christmas time.

Anyway, here are my ‘must see’ Christmas flicks.
(in no particular order)
Please watch responsibly.

White Christmas 1954
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney
The music, the dancing, the schmaltzy story…what’s not to love?

How The Grinch Stole Christmas 1966
I’m talking about the cartoon version here, y’all!
There is absolutely nothing about this that I don’t love!

Love Actually 2003
Too many English actors to bother naming, but in the words of Julianne Moore, “Just a s**t ton of famous people.” up in Love Actually.
Now I’ve written about this movie before. I watch it each year at Christmas time, therefore it must be on the list.
The relationship between Sam and his step-dad, Daniel is my favorite of the whole movie.

The Holiday 2006
YBW always says, “Isn’t that the ‘gumption’ movie?”
Yes, yes it is.
Eli Wallach as Arthur warms my heart. He knows that Iris needs a little gumption in her world. And as much as she helps him, he helps her. They are my favorite relationship in this film. I absolutely adore Kate Winslet. Cameron Diaz and Jude Law are cuter together than one might imagine. And Jack Black is precious as Miles!

The story is predictable, but I love it anyway.
Arthur is a doodley doo.

Die Hard 1988
Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman (God rest him)
Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

die-hard

Yes I love it.
Yippee ki yay, mother f**ker.

A Christmas Carol 1999
Patrick Stewart, Richard E Grant, and (the beloved) Joel Gray.
This is the only version I watch. I love that it’s depressing as hell yet hopeful all at the same time.
When Scrooge is thrilled to find he’s awake and alive on Christmas morning and begins to laugh is absolute perfection!

Miracle on 34th Street 1947
Maureen O’Hara, Johny Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and teeny Natalie Wood
This is my favorite Christmas movie since I was a little girl.
I especially love when Susan teaches Kris how to blow bubbles!

bubble-gum

There comes a point in every person’s life when they doubt their beliefs. Even in something we know isn’t exactly real, like Santa Claus.
But here’s what’s up. The spirit of Santa is real enough. Never ever forget that. Always believe!

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