Christmas 2017

There are no words to describe Christmas 2017.  Except for, you know, all these words 🙂

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I talked to so many people about Christmas falling on a Monday and consensus was that it kind of rocked.  We got to have our normal Friday and Saturday before Christmas activities commenced on Sunday, which meant Friday night fettuccine & The Holiday.  Every year when we watch this movie and it gets to the part where Jack Black and Kate Winslet make “Christmas Eve Fettuccine” I’m struck with a strong feeling of jealousy.  I needa be eating a bowl full of creamy noodles too!  We tried out this Bon Appétit version that claims fettuccine should NEVER EVER be made with cream and it was good but I think I prefer the tried and true recipe of my childhood that absolutely uses heavy cream.

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Saturday started with Whole Grain Gingerbread Waffles, then a manicure for me.  I think this might be my favorite color I’ve ever gotten!  It’s called “Demi” and it’s lovely.  Also thankful for a moment of peaceful self indulgence because the rest of the day was sort of nuts.

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Back at home: Christmas Day prep!  Joey and I tag-teamed a giant bowl of Puppy Chow, I mixed a giant bowl of roll dough, we made a giant trip to the grocery store then broke for lunch of a giant salad for me and giant sandwich for him.  Do I sense a theme?

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With renewed energy, I set out to make Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, which rose like a dream.  I don’t know if you can fully tell from the photo just how tall they were but Joey and I found it really amusing.  We also wrapped all our presents and I wanted them to be all cute and classy looking so I ordered red wrapping paper and Baker’s Twine on Amazon last week.  I loved how they all looked under the tree!  By this point, we had finished watching Love Actually (our very last Christmas movie on the list!) and I felt like this had been a marathon day, so I was ready to pass out but Joey insisted on putting together a gingerbread house.  I saw the finished product the next morning and almost cried over how cute that gumdrop fence and candy snowman were!

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Christmas Go Time means keeping your wits about you by fully taking in the beauty of a quiet snowy morning and a little morning time Child’s Pose.  Please don’t ask how I took that photo though 🙂

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Lori fell sick on Christmas Eve Eve and wasn’t able to join us for our breakfast and movie tradition.  I was seriously so sad that our fearless Christmas Eve leader wasn’t with us 😦  We forged on without her and had breakfast at The Pig & the Sprout — we were seriously the only party there, just like last year! — walked around the Tattered Cover for a bit, then saw Lady Bird at the Sie.  Yes, I saw it again and I had forgotten just how many funny parts there are!  I think I appreciated it even more the second time around.

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We had a few hours between the movie and Christmas Eve dinner so we did a little bit of food prep — including a corn casserole that I seriously scaled back on in the cream cheese/shredded cheese/butter department — and picked up our turkey from a very crowded Union Station Whole Foods and hey, I even gave myself some introvert time, reading in our room before we left for the evening.

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What can I say about Christmas Eve except that the butterball soup was as delicious as ever, the gift exchange was interesting as ever — I brought a Bob Ross mug that paints itself when you add hot liquid — and there was an actual fluffy puppy in our midst.  I think there was a collective moment when we all thought “I want a puppy for Christmas!”  I particularly enjoyed when he walked around on the table between dinner and game time 🙂

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Look, I know I can be sort of a control freak/over-planner sometimes but obsessive plotting and list-making all paid off Christmas Day when our kitchen time felt easy and breezy and fun.  The sky-high cinnamon rolls were a hit and I was honestly so happy with how all the food turned out!  Last year we made way too much but we’re learning year by year and I think we nailed portions/amount of dishes this year.  Joey rocked the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and I think the rolls, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, Brussels sprout salad and cranberry sauce all turned out great.  Spending the day in the kitchen with Joey, watching Steve iron napkins into Christmas trees and listening to Christmas Vacation in the background made my heart so happy ♥

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We all got to hang out and exchange gifts before Joey and I had to head out.  Made it to my parents’ and proceeded to open presents and cheers margaritas before dinner.  Mom made the best spread of beef tenderloin, stuffing (!!!), pureed parsnips and Brussels sprouts.  Felt so nice and cozy and relaxed and it was just the best way to end the best day.  I went to bed feeling positively smitten with life.  P.S. We missed you, Chad and Lori!

Unpictured: Gifts galore — including, but not limited to, a Kate Spade purse, a Vitamix, a “Grow Your Own Therapist” toy that I can’t stop laughing about, a Snitch fidget spinner, tickets to The King and I, beautiful bamboo kitchen utensils, an “I am freaking cold” sweatshirt and many other things that I feel so unworthy of.  All you gift givers are the absolute best.  I cannot thank you enough for spoiling me so!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, remembered to put BOTH your contacts in the morning (I sure didn’t…) and are feeling ready to end this year on a good note 🙂

Christmas 2016

When I think of Christmas 2016, I will think of the hellish month that led up to it.  I will think of the deep undying sadness of those days and the way Joey and I dropped all usual holiday priorities for things and people that were much more important.

I will think of the way we spontaneously volunteered to cook Christmas lunch for 15+ people, never having hosted that many people or even cooking a turkey before.

I will think of the week leading up to Christmas.  Of the supportive and understanding conversation I had at the book swap I went to.  Of the dinner I shared with Lori, Adam, Chad and Joey.  Walking through the Renaissance Hotel all decked out in holiday glitz.  Of the show we all attended that was so so inappropriate but also so so funny and how good it felt to laugh that hard.

I will think of the way Joey and I slow danced to Amos Lee in our living room.  How I stood in the doorway between our hallway and kitchen later that night, surveying our little home and our Christmas tree all lit up and feeling so fortunate and happy.

I will think of Joey’s grandma telling me she liked the restaurant I picked for Christmas Eve breakfast and realizing how much that kind of approval means to me.

I will think of how much work and preparation went into that Christmas lunch.  How many things we crammed into Joey’s truck to make it all happen.  How Adam, Steve and KJ got out the crystal, ironed the tablecloths and napkins and set the tables.  How Joey cooked the turkey perfectly, mashed the potatoes like a pro and made gravy like he’d been doing it his entire life.  It could not have gone easier or smoother and I could not have done it without this amazing person that uncomplainingly commits 100% to anything I get us into.

I will think of Lori and how she does so many things that make the holidays what they are.  She takes us to shows and dinners and movies and showers us with gifts and attention.  I could not possibly dream up a more loving mother-in-law.  I am not worthy, but I am so grateful.

I will think of my own mother.  Of how, even at 27, she makes Christmas feel just as special as it did when I was a little kid.  It has taken me this long, but I finally realize how much she puts into these holidays and how she does it all for us.  She is a saint and I love her so much.

I will think of Christmas Eve with Joey’s family.  How hard we all laughed as a present wrapped ten times was passed around the table, each of us taking a turn trying to open it with oven mitts on our hands.  There is a steady and reliable positivity about this family that is joyous to be around.

I will think about sitting in my brother and sister-in-law’s living room, passing around old pictures of my family, laughing at hairstyles and fashions of the past then watching Trolls with my niece and nephew.  I may have been way too into that soundtrack.

I will think of the hedgehog-shaped mittens Sharon bought Kyla, Javaiah and I just before Thanksgiving and how I could feel her there with us, even if just in spirit.

Mostly, I will think of that amplified feeling of love that was all around.

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