Friday, December 31, 2010

goodbye Christmas

It's around this time that the tree and I develop a love/hate relationship. Yesterday, I dragged her to the curb and left her there. I felt guilty as I looked out the window a dozen times to see if she was still sitting there. I secretly hoped someone would come steal her to sink her into a fishing hole somewhere so she could continue to bring joy to someone!

I have a ritual for deChristmasing. I go around the house and collect anything holiday related and put it on the dining room table. My eyes boggle at the sight of my loot. I felt a bit like a pirate that revels in the sight of their treasure. So many pretties! I have to admit, I was proud. But then, the next day, when it's all still sitting there, I hate it. I want it to go away. I begin wondering why I do this to myself every year. I begin putting my once prized Christmas treasures into the "Garage Sale" rubbermaid  bin that sits dustily in the basement.

 After the packing, the cleaning begins. This goes on for hours. I happen to really enjoy cleaning, so this is the best part for me. Then I like to sit on the sofa for about an hour and look at design books to get ideas of how to put it all back together. Various snacks are enjoyed during this time as well. Then, after I've dragged this process out all day and I'm still sitting in my pajamas and I realize that my husband will be home from work in an hour, I go through the house like a white tornado and put everything away (exactly like it looked before Christmas) and quickly get showered and dressed in actual clothes. As I finish winding up the cord on the vacuum cleaner, I hear hubby's keys rattling as he opens the door. The house looks glorious, I feel accomplished, and overall, the makings for a perfect evening are in the works.

Christmas is fun for a time, but the feeling of renewal that comes afterward is the real gift. I think God definately intended it to be that way. Whether it be a healthier diet, stronger relationships, cleaner living, or just a happier you in general, I hope everyone is able to take advantage of the calm that comes after the Christmas storm. I like the day after. When you're sitting in a quiet, clean house and you realize that life is good. And you have the whole year ahead of you. And all you have to do is be ready for what adventures are coming your way.

Cheers to 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

be back soon

 I hope you enjoy your time with friends and family. My in-laws are on the way now and I'll be taking a little break.

I plan on sitting here:

And here:

And cooking this:

And doing a little of this:

And best of all, lots of hanging out with this sweet man, who has not had a day off since November 15.

Be back soon. Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010


People have been asking me since they found out that I'm expecting (not "pregnant"; my mom says that sounds vulgar), if I've been getting any cravings. Oh yeah.

I've never really been that into food. I ate when I was hungry, but never really cared what I ate. I could easily eat cereal for dinner every night and be fine. Being married to a total foodie, we've had many arguments discussions about food and the importance of branching out, savoring flavors, experiencing exotic ingredients and imaginative combinations. Truth be told, I really don't care. I grew up eating a derivative of about ten meals. Some of which included sauer kraut and weenies, macaroni noodles with tomato sauce, and complete meals made with nothing but garden vegetables. My New Orleans husband, not so much. He was eating artichoke hearts and sweet breads at age eight. So, needless to say, we've both had to adjust to the other's food preferences.

But back to the cravings. Oh the cravings. It started out real healthy, like whole jars of organic apple sauce, anything citrus: satsumas, clementines, oranges, grapefruits. But lately, it's taken a turn for the worse. For example, yesterday, I wanted nothing but crock-pot cheese dip. You know, the old Velveeta kind with the Rotel in it. I couldn't think about anything else until it was bubbling away in our kitchen yesterday evening. That's what we ate for dinner, Velveeta cheese dip.

On Friday, we went to one of our favorite party places for fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. They weren't making them that night. I was so sad. It almost ruined the night. So this morning, after making a late run to the grocery store yesterday for bananas, I put that craving to rest. I chowed down on crispy goodness with peanut butter blobs on both corners of my mouth. It was glorious.

I don't know if I'd call them cravings or slight obsessions, but when I get an idea of a certain food in my head, I CAN NOT let it go. Does that count as a craving?

Hopefully our child will get a little bit of both of our food sense in them. They'll be the only one of their friends who knows what wine you pair with sauer kraut and weenies.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


This year, I committed myself to converting to Catholicism for my future family. Last January, as I made my resolutions, it seemed easy enough: learn to cook, check; call in-laws more often, check; become Catholic, check. Ha. It is so. Not. That. Easy.

I called up the lady in the church bulletin the first week of January. "Hello. I was just calling up to sign up for the RCIA classes to become Catholic, thanks." "Honey, call back in August. That's when the classes start for the next round of confirmations." Huh? I was so disappointed not to be able to cross it off my list of things to do that week.

In August, I called back. I got all the paperwork in order: baptism certificates, marriage certificates, my husband's confirmation certificate, registration for the classes and a schedule. You would have thought I was registering for law school. My eyes about bogged out of my head when I saw there were classes every Wednesday night from August until the following May. Nine months?! My husband agreed to be my sponsor and go to every class with me. I was shocked by his enthusiasm. He was actually looking forward to it. For once, I think he felt he was going to be totally in his element with me in a church setting. No more "rock and roll Sundays" as he called them at our nondenominational church. He was going back to his roots, and I was coming with him, and he was thrilled.

So, to make a long story short, we are in our 17th week of classes. We haven't missed a single one. We have both learned so much, and have begun to see each other, our marriage, our place in the world together in a whole new way. It has strengthened our relationship like you wouldn't believe. We discuss Jesus and the miracles he performed and what he continues to do all around us. We say our prayers at night. We look forward to the quiet time sitting in the pew on Sundays together. The only time during the whole week when we sit that close for that long without speaking.

And so this Christmas, we talked the other night and agreed that this Christmas just doesn't seem as "big of a deal" as ones past. And I mean that in a good way. We downsized our decorations. We give thanks for the real gifts in life and haven't obsessed over a single purchased present. We have attended fewer Christmas parties with silly dress-up themes. It's been wonderful. This Christmas doesn't seem as built-up because we've learned to appreciate the remaining 364 days of the year when Jesus is just as important. When the Blessed Mother is just as holy. That's been the real joy of this whole year: being happy and healthy and in love and working and surrounded by dear friends and family, and realizing it. It's been one of the happiest of my life.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

five Christmases

My husband and I spent our first Christmas together in 2005 in our first little house that we had moved into a week earlier. That was such a fun Christmas! We would just sit in the living room with the only light coming from the tree. Just sit in the quiet and sip and gaze at the tree. Our little tree wasn't much to look at. It was full of homemade childhood ornaments and gifts from my classroom kids. Look at that tree skirt! Oy! My mom made those bows because she thought your eye needed "a place to rest."

The second Christmas we actually had gifts under the tree, luckily to hide that flashy tree skirt! Reminds me of the one that Bernice wore on Designing Women. We spent that Christmas in New Orleans. We had a wonderful time with my husband's entire family, but I was sad to leave our little house and tree on Christmas Eve.

By the third Christmas, we had moved two streets over next to the mean neighbor. That Christmas, my in-laws drove in and spent the holiday with us. It was my first time having a real "family Christmas" at my own house. I worked so hard to make sure it was classic and perfect. By this time, my MawMaw had given me a slew of beautiful ornaments from Pottery Barn. Long gone are the teacher ornaments and hand-me-downs from mothers. Kinda sad when you think about it like that. We spent that Christmas morning sipping coffee and gazing out the window at my neighbor as she furiously put up a fence in her front yard on the property line between us. Such an angel she was.

This was the first Christmas in our "new" 75 year old house. It was also our first real tree. I feel like you need a real tree in an old house. I also finally upgraded to a prettier tree skirt. This one looks more vintage with pearls. Because we got a real tree and I came from a faux tree family, I was terrifiied of it spontaneously combusting into flames. (My dad always used that as an excuse for not having one.) So I got the LED lights for it that you can leave on for hours and they never get hot. They're great for peace of mind, but they look kinda blue. I'm not a fan. This might be the last year I use them. You can't beat the golden glow of the old kind. This was also the year I converted to the "mesh." You know the stuff I'm talking about. It's everywhere. I felt real classy having some on the tree.

This Christmas tale remains to be told. We are quite sentimental this year, because it's our last one just the two of us. We are expecting a baby in June, and are so excited about it. We are ready for velveteen Christmas dresses and black patent shoes and Santa Claus. I'm thankful for these five Christmases. I've loved curling up with my sweet husband as we exhange gifts, and play loud holiday music, and sip champagne. But there is something missing. We are looking forward to completing the picture with a little one and teaching them the Christmas story and tip-toeing up and down the stairs on Christmas Eve.

Pray for our little June bug and have a wonderful week before Christmas!

A little something special for ya...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

future child

Yeah, they're both cute. But who are we kidding? The redhead is totally the star. As my friend put it, the other one is just back there doing the freddie.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

it's that time of year

Yes, it's December! And it's 31 degrees outside! And there are 2 1/2 weeks of school left before my long winter's nap! Still getting my Christmas decorations in order-pictures to come.
Have a great Thursday!