Twas the night AFTER Christmas…

I was hoping to post stuff throughout the excitement of our holiday adventure but there weren’t any quiet times. It was a continual blur of activity. All four girls & their guys along with our 5th pretend adopted daughter were here by 3 PM on Christmas Eve and started pitching in to help finish getting the house & the food ready & ornaments on the tree. Two of the kids had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was a priority on my list. Of course the kids are still sort of kids (if you compare them to an 80 yr-old) so they wanted to open gifts and do Yankee Swap first.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added...it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added…it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it's almost like she's taking a bow to her admirers.

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it’s almost like she’s taking a bow to her admirers.

Our tree's empty space is being 'filled' by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don't own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Our tree’s empty space is being ‘filled’ by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don’t own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.


Gary & the kids got the cool stuff they asked for but more importantly, let’s talk about what I got! I got my winter boots & Cuddleduds but can you believe Santa forgot to bring me snow pants?! I’ve wanted them since last winter and I cannot believe, with all his magic, that he forgot them. I guess he was too busy concentrating on the boots & long underwear. I also got a Tree of Friendship glass ball, a bunch of warm cuddly socks, lots & lots of headbands (I shouldn’t run out for…forever!), a huge bag of pecans, a jar of raw honey, a magnifying glass & along with some DVD’s from the family pile…Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure! (to go along with the classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special that we already own) Gifts from the kids include a big kickass LED TV from daughter #1 (now the lights won’t dim like they did when we turned on the big old ginormous one!), a gift certificate from the delicious Teavana store & a wine accessory kit secretly hidden from burglars inside a pretend wine bottle from #2 & her PoohBear, a Charoite stone & a gift certificate from a goddessey new-age store I adore from #3 & her OsoBear, #4 & her new sweetpea gave me a DVD & a 10 pk outdoor solar light set for when we get around to making the far-far back yard look pretty this summer (*crossing my fingers*). On Christmas day everyone slept in except me because I was determined to make breakfast recipes off my Pinterest boards; Apple Cider Pancakes & Bacon in the shape of hearts (don’t bake them crispy because they break REALLY easy!). They were obviously delicious! Our final adventure before all of the kids were gone for work or significant others’ family celebrations was sledding down the town’s snow hill. (This is where those snow pants would have come in handy) Elizabeth wasn’t too keen on going but Betsy & Tebazilena were already bundling into snow gear so she didn’t have a choice.
Snow Tube 'Island' Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

Snow Tube ‘Island’ Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

It was GREAT FUN!!! We assembled all the tubes into a mass island, hung on to each other’s handles & inched our way to the top of the hill and…….adults just need to do that at least ONCE in their lifetime. It really brings out the kid in you!
Sometimes the 'island' becomes a 'peninsula!' At least we're all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

Sometimes the ‘island’ becomes a ‘peninsula!’ At least we’re all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

It was a great Christmas! We should be relaxing now but #2 & #4 informed us that we need to have a New Year’s Eve party here. Why? Because THEY don’t have anything planned to celebrate. I guess we need to enjoy having the kids spend time back home while we’re all young.

Best Exotic Old People

We watched the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last night. It’s about 7 elderly English people whose lives are seemingly at an impasse and boldly decide to go to India to ‘start over.’  The hotel turns out not to be the romanticized version from the brochure. The dramatic change in culture tests all of them, for the better and the worse. It takes a while to get to know all the characters but eventually you get wrapped up in their issues and look forward to finding out how they’ll work through them. This is the second movie I’ve seen recently (Hope Springs was the other one) that revolves around ‘old’ people (older than me) and I’m finding that they freakishly resonate with me, probably because that time of my life is ‘just around the corner.’ I like that they focus on the fact that being an older person doesn’t mean you go off somewhere to shrivel up. Old age isn’t a disease and it isn’t an end to being a whole person. It’s a new adventure and if you can get past the fear of starting over or starting something different, change, it can make you feel young again, and again, and again. Our minds don’t grow old (I’m 24), just our bodies. I need to be reminded of this at least every decade if not every year. I’m starting over again…and it’s scary. But it’s also opportunity for a great adventure! The movie ended with a peaceful feeling of happiness for me. Let me know what you think of it if you watch it.

 

 

I Love You because You are Unique.

This is the first Christmas in 28 years Gary & I will get to celebrate at home with just our kids! We are giddy with excitement. It’ll be a whole different kind of Christmas. To mark this auspicious event we have cut down a live evergreen tree. Don’t get me wrong, we are tree lovers but we knew the evergreen would have to be removed (boring story, won’t be sharing) and we have since planted new trees to make up for it. We bought live trees the first 5 years we were married and each year the price tag got pricier. That’s when I bought an artificial one. The kids only remember having one live Christmas tree so far. It was the year my parents cut down an evergreen in their yard and we cut 9’ off the top. Note: the top of full grown evergreens do NOT look like the ones in an average person’s living room at Christmas! This was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We have a picture of the 4 girls each standing ‘inside’ the 9’ tree (I wish I knew which box that picture was in). It was our best tree EVER! We laughed & grinned every time we looked at it. It also coincided with the year I got to use my first ever, brand new, last year’s clearance, awesome tree skirt…and got sap dripped ALL OVER IT! (No worries, Gary got it all off with solvent and saved the tree skirt) So, now, Gary has cut 8’ off the tippy top of our beloved evergreen and it’s now in our living room. Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one! It’s missing an entire section…and it’s bendy! I told Gary, “THIS…is the Ugliest Tree EVER!” He started getting all protective & even called me a ‘name’ or two, “This tree is f*cking AWESOME!” Whoa cowboy, settle down. Christmas tree communication is the key to a happy holiday, so I explained: “Just because it’s an ugly tree does NOT mean I don’t want it in our living room. The fact that if we went to a tree lot they would GIVE us this tree because absolutely nobody else would buy it is the reason I love it so much. It’s the reason I helped you drag its sorry looking a** into our living room.” “Putting lights on and decorating it is going to be interesting.” “Yep, and it’s going to be even more awesome when I’m done with it!”

Charlie Brown's tree has got nothing on this one!

Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one!


Daughter #3 came downstairs for a look-see, “Ohhh. my. god!” And then silence. And then laughter. After eyeing up the gaping hole in the back I told her we should hang a big something or other in the huge empty space facing the street…or maybe put a TV back there with Christmas shows playing for the bystanders outside. She’s a sweet tree and we honor her uniqueness. Now it’s time to play dress up!