Thankful for Traditions

This is our fourth Christmas in our house (which is hard to believe), and when I think about our Christmas Traditions it’s usually in the context of, “When we have a family, every Christmas we should…”

What I fail to realize when I look to the future instead of focusing on the present, is that organically over the past four years we’ve started some family traditions of our own. Like how at the end of every year we SWEAR we’re going to get rid of our worn out, dog attacked artificial tree and get a new one. But every year that tree ends up back in storage only to make another appearance next Christmas. And every year we put it up, decorate the hell out of it, and sit on our couch to proudly admire our handy work proclaiming that, “Ya know, that tree isn’t so bad after all.”

And when it comes to our outside lights, well that’s a whole other production. Every year it seems our tradition involves Joey picking the coldest night of the season to date, and heading out to the shed in an outfit that’s entirely inappropriate for the weather and/or yard work to rummage around for last year’s lights only to determine that several strands don’t work anymore. What follows is a late night trip to Ace Hardware, a dinner that will need to be reheated later, and me laughing as I sit on the couch watching girly tv shows while the dogs run from the downstairs windows to the upstairs ones desperately trying to figure out what Daddy’s doing outside. A couple of hours later, Joey comes in with a proud look on his face, I fake annoyance at having to bundle up for a trip outside when I’m perfectly content (and warm) inside, and then I get walked borderline execution style down our front path to the street where I count to three before turning around for a Clark Griswald style reveal.

Naturally, our outdoor lights end up looking awesomely ridiculous, we declare ourselves the unofficial blue ribbon winners of the non-existent neighborhood light competition, and then we call it a night.

I do love our little traditions.

Act 3 Scene 1: Xmas Morning

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Christmastime for us  means a lot of shuffling around between families. We want to see everyone, be with everyone, celebrate with everyone, but sometimes it feels like the second we settle in to a place, it’s time to get to the next location. Four Christmases, baby. We’re just a modern American family. 

I love the hustle and bustle though. I feel blessed we’re so loved. But it’s also good when it’s balanced out with ‘home’ time. Christmas morning is reserved for our little family of four. 

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The dogs get stocking stuffers of course. New bones. Which they ate in all of 10 seconds. But how about this next picture, Riggo is totally smiling, right?!

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It’s a little creepy. Mostly funny though.

Oh, and I got to buy my first ever “For my Husband” card 🙂 It was a Little Big Moment. I pretty much loved it.

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And while this is our 10 billionth Christmas together, it was our first one as a married couple and it felt special. It’s fun after all these years to feel like we’re starting a new chapter in the Book of Us. We’re thinking more about traditions and the things we’ll want to carry on and pass down to our future children. Christmas Morning Waffle Breakfast??

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We’ll see if that one sticks. We’re awfully fond of those homemade cinnamon buns too though 😉

The Christmas Card on the other hand — that one’s sticking.

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Hey NYCathy, see that bowl peeking out from behind our card? I freaking love it. We’ve had it on display for weeks.

That picture only took 17 takes with the self-timer. And we got the dogs to look at the camera by placing a frozen greenbean in front of the lens. True story.

The back of the card is a little more… us.

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Here’s hoping your holiday season was bright. Now on to 2012…

Ho Ho Holy Moly It’s Almost Xmas!

How are we 11 days away from Christmas 2011?!?! It’s officially time to buckle down and get this holiday in the bag. I have an ambitious weekend planned in my head that involves starting and finishing all holiday shopping, wrapping gifts and taking a family photo for Christmas cards (inspiration above) that I’m determined to get ordered and in the mail before Dec. 25. Channeling the Inner Badass.

Yeah, it’s entirely possible that my inner lazy-person will prevail, and I’ll actually spend the weekend on the couch watching HBO On Demand and eating leftover wedding cake. But hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

 

The Big Reveal

Time for the BIG REVEAL: Joey’s big gift this year from me came in the form of a photo album. Here’s what it looked like inside….

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Then the following page had all the trip details (much of which I’ve blurred out, but you get the drift) and a map of where our hotel is in relation to the NYC hot spots…

It’s a trip we’ve talked about taking together for years, but it always seems to fall to the wayside. Needless to say, we’re both excited about finally making it happen. O, and I got exactly the reaction I was hoping for…

Thanks NYCathy for being my hotel guru and thanks to Pam101 for introducing me to Mesa Grill and Eataly which I’m sure I’ll be going back to in March. Since Joey won’t care too much about shopping, I’m fairly certain we’ll be doing A LOT of eating that weekend.

Bottom line, this was a much better idea than the electric toothbrush!

Now who’s available to watch one crazy adorable, ill well behaved, yellow lab?

What Could It Be?

I’m super stoked about the gift I got for Joey this year. After having no clue what to get him for the longest time (I was seriously considering an electric toothbrush, that’s how bad it was!),  I finally got my act together and think I’ll be scoring major awesome GF points come Christmas day.

In all honesty, I could probably tell you now what it is. I’m fairly certain Joey  never reads my blog, he’s all – “What’s the address again? I can never remember.” (If you know my ‘Joey’ voice I was totally using it right there.) BUT I’m going to err on the side of caution and instead let you stare at a lovely orange question mark. All will be revealed in due time.

That Christmas Magic

Growing up, Christmas Eve meant going to Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house with ALL the cousins (check out those stockings!), getting to open the first of our presents and then waiting for Santa to come by on a firetruck and give us a gift out of his big red sack. All these years later, I never really question how the whole firetruck thing worked, because even now the memory of it reminds me of the magic that is Christmastime.

The tradition started to change after 1995. My Mom Mom passed away, slowly families moved, and of course kids grew up. But I still remember those Christmas Eves like they were yesterday. I remember getting a stuffed dog where you opened up its tummy and found puppies (my cousin’s dog had more puppies than mine, I was totally jealous!), I remember we used to get about $10 in our stockings and back then it felt like all the money in the world. But more than the gifts are the memories of jumping on the upstairs beds with my cousins, making Mom Mom spin us in the chair and sing “here we go round the mulberry bush…”, or waiting on the screened in porch listening so hard for the sound of firetruck sirens.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the shopping and the wish lists, stressing over traffic at the mall and all the to-do lists. And I bet if you think back real hard, to your fondest Christmas memory, it probably has very little to do with something you unwrapped. There’s more love in these photos than in anything I’ll ever find under the tree. And THAT, my friends, is the true magic of Christmas.

Big Apple Adventure

The Big Apple Adventure with Pam101 was a huge success. We calculated that from start to finish, we were one hour shy of being up for an entire 24 hours – 4 a.m. Saturday wake up call to catch the 5:30 a.m. train, and we were back in DC with our heads hitting our pillows at about 3 a.m. Sunday. (I don’t get full credit for staying up all that time since I passed out like a drunk college kid on the train home, thanks for not drawing on my face with a sharpie Pam!)

Highlights include:

  • Being giddy little school girls on the morning train ride
  • Tree at Rockefeller & Light Show at night
  • Teuscher Champagne Truffles
  • Mesa Grill Brunch complete with Spicy Bloody Marys and incredible Jalapeno biscuits
  • Shopping on 5th Avenue & in the Flatiron District – although no leopard print scarf was to be found
  • Eataly – pistachio gelato was heaven!
  • Looking into houses as we walked around the West Village & visiting Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone
  • Pastis for dinner – we did a lot of eating!
  • Getting to introduce Pam101 and NYCathy!!!

The store windows were amazing too, and we all wondered about the lucky, super-creative people who are tasked with designing and executing the designs each year. Pam and I tried to take model, jumping shots outside of a Bergdorf Goodman window to minor success – and by minor I mean we just looked like big, dorky tourists but it cracked us up so that’s all that mattered.

Final thing to share would be the uppity, fur clad woman at Tiffany’s who blatantly shut an elevator door in the face of a couple with their two small children – “Well they just got off, and they shouldn’t be using this back elevator anyways,” she said to the rest of us who just stood there wide-eyed. She seemed like a true New Yorker to me!

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Check out Pam101 for photos and more recap!

Strike One

My first attempt at a Moose Christmas card was unsuccessful. Exhibit A above. I was looking for antlers or a santa hat, but all the store had was Christmas outfits for dogs. On top of that, the only thing they had in a large size was candy cane stripped doggie pajamas with a santa-esqe hood. Needless to say – it was no where near big enough for Moose! I could get it over his head but the buck stopped there. Strike One.