Posts Tagged With: favorite holiday

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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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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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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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?

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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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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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santa baby

I absolutely adore this holiday tune!
The original was recorded in 1953 by the ever fabulous Eartha Kitt.
You can listen here: Santa Baby ~ Eartha Kitt

She sings her wishlist to Santa in a playful and sexy way.
I like this combination of playful and sexy. She was a sex bomb! But she was also a down to earth kind of girl. I love that about her. I love that about myself. I’m playful. I’m sexy. And I’m not afraid to be either, or both.

She also asks for a sable which was much more acceptable in 1953 than in 2015, but like Eartha, I too, long for one.
She wants a ring, but not on the phone. How sassy is that?
(I don’t need a ring, Santa. YBW sorted that for me.)
I am, however a great big fan of things that come in the legendary little blue box, so if you’d like to decorate with baubles from Tiffany, I support that wholeheartedly!

In 2011 came an unlikely remake of Santa Baby. By the ever delicious Michael Buble.
Now at first, I was confused.
Then I listened.
You can listen here: Santa Baby ~ Michael Buble

The first time I listened I felt annoyed. There was a whole lot of me thinking: Lookahere, buster! Did you really need to remake this song if you were going to make all these changes?
But then I listened more and began to enjoy it.

He calls Santa: buddy, pally, dude and poppy. It’s obviously more “guy like” than calling him baby. But I think that’s a bit of the problem. It’s as though he and Santa are pals. It doesn’t seem as much singing a wishlist as much as talking with one of his buddies.
(Actually I rather enjoy when he calls Santa ‘dude’. It makes me giggle.)

Of course the things he asks for had to change, partly because he’s a guy and partly with the times. Almost sixty years later, we simply want different things. (A sable, for example, isn’t OK to want in this day and age and we all know why.)
So he asks for a Rolex instead. A fancy watch because he’s a guy. He also changes the car from a ’54 convertible to a ’65 convertible. This guy wants a muscle car not a big ol’ finned boat. Changes the color too, maybe light blue is too girlie for him? He asks for steel blue.
He wants hockey tickets and “cha-ching”. Apparently Tiffany’s isn’t up his alley, he opts for decorations from Mercedes.
But really, dude, why you gonna hang the Mercedes symbol on your tree, that’s just sad. Don’t you know all good things come in the little blue box?

So boys are weird. But this we know.
Anyway, I love his version of this song too. Not as much as the original…probably because I’m a girl. Though I am with Michael on one thing…I’d rather have a muscle car than a big ol’ finned boat. But I’d want mine BRG not steel blue. (I’m just sayin’)

Mostly what I’d like to say is this:
Thanks, Santa Baby. Because I’m getting the best pressie this year! And it’s not in a little blue box.
It’s having my whole family with me to celebrate my most favorite holiday. Two girls and three boys and a new part of my family too, one more boy.
But if you do think I’ve been an awful good girl, I’m open to a new (Tiffany) charm for my (Tiffany) bracelet…I’ll leave it up to you.

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two weeks notice

Two weeks from tomorrow is the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
You know what that means?

Time to get CHRISTMASY up in here!
Trees and ornaments.
All the baby Jesuses.
Wreaths and stars.
Jingle bells. Santa Claus and Ho Ho Ho.
And mistletoe and presents to pretty girls.

I’m SO ready!!
Since I missed Halloween this year, I’ve decide to “emotionally/mentally” skip the giving of thanks and move straight into Christmas.

The boys will be with their mom for Thanksgiving and YBW and I will pick up his mom and go to his brothers. I feel ambivalent about it, but I don’t have to do any prep work so I’m good. I just hope I’ll get the watch the whole parade before we leave home.

YBW won’t put up trees without the boys being here. Luckily they’ll come back here Friday. That means Saturday can be: All Christmas All the Time!
I’m ready to set up nativities.
I’m ready to wrap pressies.
I’m ready to hang stockings.

Two weeks from tomorrow…
Must. Be. Patient.

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