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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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Greetings from PA!

I flew solo for Christmas again this year. I swallowed my disappointment and choose to feel thankful that my husband is employed and busy with work– two years ago, that wasn’t the case. We still missed him pretty hard, though; me especially.

I had a smooth flight in on Saturday, and enjoyed two days of beautiful weather, shopping, wrapping, and mani-pedis with Mama Butterfly. By “beautiful weather” I mean it was 10-12 degrees warmer here than it was in Houston! It didn’t last long, though, and the “natural order” of weather righted itself by the 24th.

Christmas Eve was our annual family gathering (and my favorite night of the year). My aunt and uncle made a delicious dinner, and we had a lovely time talking, laughing, drinking, playing with dogs, and laughing some more.

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My cousin A1 announced that he and his fiancee just bought a house! They showed us pictures, and it’s adorable. We will have Christmas there next year.

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We also took the annual Christmas picture in front of the tree…I think this year it only took eight tries before we got one with everyone smiling.

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…or not.

My cousin A2 will be coming down to Texas in spring. He’ll only be a few hours from me, so we can visit without resorting to air travel! Yay!

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Christmas day was lovely. We got up early, had cinnamon rolls and coffee and exchanged gifts. We went to my step-brothers house to have breakfast and visit with his wonderful family, then went to my step-sisters new house to see her family. Afterwards we came back to the farmhouse for a quiet afternoon of relaxing and reading, and Mama and I worked on dinner.

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Yesterday after I dropped Mama off at work, I shipped a few things back to Texas then went to the bookstore to find something to read on the flight home. At one point I glanced up and saw snow coming down outside! This was slightly terrifying because I couldn’t tell you the last time I drove in the stuff. I made it home verrrrry carefully, and when I went to take picture of the falling snow it had all but stopped. Of course.

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After Mama finished work we had lunch with my Grandmary and then dinner with a different aunt and cousin. Which brings me today– my last day! I can’t believe how quickly this week flew. Once again I didn’t get to see quite everyone I wanted to see or go everywhere I wanted to go. But I’m thankful for the time I did have here, and all the family members I got to spend time with.

Tonight I’m having dinner with my old friend J, and tommorow morning I’m packing off to the airport. While my visit here was (again) too short, I’m looking forward to being re-united with Craig and celebrating the rest of the holiday with him.

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Happy holidays, everyone!

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Christmas Eve Eve

Two days before Christmas, y’all!

The original plan was that I would fly to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, have a few days to prepare/shop for Christmas with my Mom, and return to Houston two days after Christmas.* Unfortunately, a minor emergency occurred on Wednesday morning and threw a huge wrench into all those plans. Luckily, the emergency was resolved and everything is okay (sort of– one of us is going to need invasive surgery after the holiday, not sure if that still qualifies as “okay”)… but my vacation plans had to be re-tooled. The only flights that were within our price range were on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

While I’d already done all my shopping/wrapping for Craig, I had been holding off on buying gifts for my family members until I got to Pennsylvania. With that no longer an option, I hit the stores Thursday and Friday morning  in search of Christmas presents for my family members. I wish I could have gone Christmas shopping with my mom! Especially since I am not a super gift giver, and she could have helped me pick them out (I think I did all right by myself, though 🙂 ).

Friday was the first official day of “winter” and the darkest night of the year, so that night I went to Long Night, Joyous Light: A Winter Solstice Happening. We wore glow necklaces and carried flashlights and glow-sticks and down the streets of Montrose and around the Menil. We also got to see (and critique) all the different light displays (and we saw a baby owl, too!). It was very fun!

(On Friday I also baked cookies. Lots and lots and lots of cookies.)

Saturday I wrapped Christmas presents:

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This morning I got up early to purchase the last two gifts… and a huge roll of bubble wrap.

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First, I carefully wrapped each present in several layers of bubble wrap. Then, I dragged out my husband’s gigantic Marine Raider duffle bag and began to pack the presents in.

When I say "gigantic" I'm not joking-- I can fit my whole body in this thing.

When I say “gigantic” I’m not joking– I can fit my whole body in this thing.

So, that bag is packed, my carry-on is packed, I need to double-check my suitcase and then I will be ready to leave the house at 7:00 tomorrow morning. The stockings are filled, Craig’s present’s are wrapped and under the tree (by “under” I really mean “propped up against,” but whatever), and there is enough home-cooked food and baked goods in this place to keep him busy for a few days.

Time to finish packing. Then I’ll pour some wine, turn on some Christmas music, and enjoy the rest of Christmas Eve Eve with my husband. Merry Christmas to all!

*I’m traveling solo again this year– Craig has to work. 😦 I made him promise to come to PA next year!

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Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Momma and I have watched this every year for as long as I can remember (and probably as long as she can remember, too!).

Bob Rivers’ Twisted Christmas. I can sing along to every song on that album by now.

John Dever and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. Ditto.

The Night Before Christmas. My mother recites this every year at Christmas Eve. When she thought I wouldn’t be able to come to PA for Christmas, she made me a recordable storybook of it. I got teary.

MST3K’s Santa Claus. Particularly this song:

Merry Christmas to all…and to all a good night!

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Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Mele Kalikimaka!

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It has been a wonderful week here in beautiful northeast Pennsylvania. I arrived on Tuesday after a flawless flight (and my bag was the first one off the carousel– a Christmas miracle!). The rest of the week was a flurry of shopping, baking, cleaning, visitng family and helping my Momma. Here are some highlights:

– I got to meet my Aunt’s new puppy, Jag. He’s a beagle/pug/chihuahua mix, is absolutely adorable and slightly more hyper than Robin Williams after an espresso bender. I love him!

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– On Thursday we visited my Grammy, then came home and decorated the Christmas tree. We always play Christmas music when we decorate the Christmas tree; and just as my mother was setting the Angel in place the song played “…put an Angel on top of the tree…” We laughed! And then we watched Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.

– And then I got sick during the night (food borne). Mercifully, it was all over by the end of Friday morning (thank you God)…and Momma, Auntie and I went out for much-deserved pedicures.

– Did my holiday baking with freshly-laid eggs from my mother’s hens (I made Oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies, candied walnuts, and crock-pot candy).

– My favorite part of the entire year is Christmas Eve with my mother’s family. This was the first year we didn’t go to church together, so Momma had me read the story from the book of Luke before we began our gift exchange. We always have so much fun– and I think it’s even more fun now that all of us kids are grown up (only the “baby” is still in school). One of the traditions is trying to get a picture of all the “kids” together– which is easier said than done. It’s like trying to take a group picture where everyone in the group is Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. By the time we went home, our faces hurt from laughing.

– We had a nice, relaxing Christmas day. It was just me, Momma, and my stepfather. We exchanged gifts, visted with my step-father’s family members, and got to relax all afternoon long (which was nice, after the hustle-and-bustle of the last few days). We had a delicious dinner and a very nice evening with Step-dad’s family. I may not need to eat again for several days.

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The only thing missing? My husband. It is our first Christmas as a married couple, and we aren’t together. I couldn’t stop thinking about my husband, home alone with no-one to put presents under the tree or make him cinnamon rolls and tea on Christmas morning. For all intents and purposes, the lady of the house is the REAL Santa Claus– and Santa wasn’t there for my husband today. That was sad. Sure, he has his buddies, and they’re hanging out and drinking beer and watching football and doing Guy Stuff. But, when it comes down to it: Would you rather have a couple of single guys with you on Christmas Day, or your woman?

… yeah, that’s what I thought.

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That said, our…financial situation…being what it is, I felt like I learned a lot more about (cue the violins!) the true meaning of Christmas. Sure, I couldn’t afford to buy presents; so I made do with homemade (or home-baked) gifts. I didn’t even really expect to recieve anything, but was all the more grateful when I did. What was really important to me was the people– seeing and spending time with my family members and the people I love. And that’s better than all the iPads in the world.

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