A little bit of holiday

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My two favorite holidays as an adult are Thanksgiving and 4th of July. Both are centered around social gatherings with family and friends and plenty of good food. Unlike Christmas, there isn’t a ton of preparation with a month’s worth of shopping and decorating (I do enjoy the Christmas season as well). As a kid, my 4th of July consisted of watching (or marching in) the local parade in the late morning/early afternoon, a gathering at my parent’s house, and an evening topped off with a private fireworks show in the backyard. Now that Mike and I are married, we’ve merged our 4th of July celebrations to be inclusive of both families – so we spend the late morning/early afternoon at a large town gathering in the park with his family (a longstanding tradition for Mike), and then have dinner and did fireworks with my family. Last year was the last year for the firework show in the backyard, it had gotten quite large and we’ll just say that it rubbed someone nearby the wrong way, so that was the last year of that. Not that I would have been awake for fireworks this year anyway.

With Mike working the entirety of the long weekend, Luke and I were on our own for the day. He took a stellar early morning nap, during which time I was so excited for the rest of the day’s festivities that I laid out our clothes, our back-up clothes, and everything else that we’d need for the day. Since Luke concluded the “4th trimester” as some call it (basically the first three months when a baby sleeps a bunch and doesn’t do much else), I’ve learned that days when we’re off of our usual routine (we’re not on a schedule, but there’s a usual flow to our day) the goal becomes to keep Luke happy on what little napping he’s willingly going to do (my Mother-in-Law correctly labeled him a Party Baby, aka doesn’t want to miss out on the action when lots of people are around). I’d hoped that he’d stay awake long enough to us to make the 1 minute drive to CVS to pick up bug spray that would be safe for him (which we didn’t even end up using hah) and then for him to fall asleep for the rest of the drive to my in-laws.

Luke was out cold by the time we got to CVS (seriously, 1 minute, 2 if there’s traffic) and I carefully held him as we made a bee-line for the bug spray. As expected, he woke up in CVS – but thankfully was back asleep for the next 15 minute leg of our journey. The goal was to then transfer him into his stroller and let him take the rest of his nap at our picnic site. But he was awake by the time we reached the rest of the family. He held out as well as could be expected for a baby who had only taken a fraction of the nap that he would have usually taken, and we lasted long enough to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday with gifts and cake.

After he peed on me (somehow that never happens at home or at my parent’s house… where I actually have clothing readily available – though I thought I’d packed an extra pair of pants for myself, but apparently I just packed shirts) and eventually became quite whiny (we got a solid 2.75 hours in), I decided it was best if we made our exit and went home instead of straight over to my parent’s house. I drove as slow as possible and took a less-than-direct route to ensure as long a car nap as possible (sometimes he’ll stay sleeping after a car ride, and sometimes his eyes will pop open upon reaching our destination). After the 20 minutes that I made it take to get home, Luke stayed asleep for another hour (!!!) and I puttered around my bedroom trying to figure out the parental logic of: if you have two pairs of jeans that currently fit, and your baby has spit up on the first pair (this was before we even left the house) and peed on the second pair, which pair do you wear to your next event? The answer ended up being neither when I noticed that the chocolate ice cream on my sleeve wasn’t coming out (I gave Luke a couple of tiny tastes of ice cream and he wiped his mouth on my sleeve) and I changed into a maxi-dress.

Luke was a bit of a roller coaster the rest of the evening, but that’s par for the course starting around 5pm each night. He ate bananas while the rest of us got to dine on delicious BBQ grilled chicken + sides, and we dipped a cheerio into the BBQ sauce (not spicy) to see what he’d think – after a thoughtful/pensive face at first, he seemed quite okay with it (though that was the only taste of that that he got). As we were leaving my parent’s house I noticed how light it was outside. It felt strange heading home so early (8pm), but honestly, after I put Luke to bed, the tired set in and I doubt I could have made it out and about much longer myself. So after I wrap up this entry, I’m going to go listen to the fireworks from my bed, hope that they don’t bother Luke, and thumb through Martha Stewart Living before falling asleep.

Christmas In the Dining Room

The dining room as got to be my favorite room in our house. Not only am I still head-over-heels for the color that we selected for the walls, but it’s the room where most of the entertaining that we do starts and it’s the room where Mike and I spend our entire Saturday mornings – which during the run of a show is the only time of the week where we have quality just the two of us time.

This past Saturday, we did most of our Christmas decorating. Some of our favorite decorations have found their holiday homes in the dining room:

The MangerThis is our olive wood Creche. This year it’s living on the dresser that we use to hold our table linens and Champagne flutes in the dining room.

I bought this Creche at a large museum’s annual garage sale – where gift shop items that are either defected or overstocked are sold at rock bottom prices. Point-in-case, I found this Creche – regularly priced $220 for $5.

There are three wise men that are not seen in this photo. That’s because Mike puts them further away from the manger until Christmas – and then they’re slowly allowed to advance closer to come visit the Baby Jesus. Speaking of the Baby Jesus, he’s also not in this photo. He won’t make his debut appearance until Christmas Eve. Each year we make sure to remind ourselves out loud where we’re stashing the baby until Christmas Eve lest we forget and end up losing him! This year he’s hanging out in a small crystal bowl that my Aunt gave us (note to self, if we forget where Baby Jesus has been stored – I can reference this blog entry).

Nut CrackerSpeaking of the wise men, here they are hanging out next to Mike’s Tin Man Nutcracker. While we were finding a home for him (also on the dresser in the dining room) Mike explained his significance.

When he was a kid, there were some Wizard of Oz holiday decorations at his house. Each of his siblings took ‘ownership’ of a character – his was the Tin Man. Several holidays later, when his sister moved out, his mom gave her all of the Wizard of Oz decorations, since they were technically hers. Mike was bummed because he’d always thought that the Tin Man was his.

To make it up to him, his mom bought Mike a new Tin Man Christmas decoration that he could take with him when he moved out of their house. Ergo, the Tin Man Nutcracker pictured here.

Reindeer CollectionWhen I was a young teenager of mall shopping age, I took a liking to shopping in the home stores. Two of my favorites were (and still are) Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn. I loved walking through those stores when all of their holiday merchandise came onto display. My all-time favorite holiday line was Pottery Barn’s Reindeer line of dishes and serve-ware. I bought a set of 8 glass coasters from that holiday line sometime during my teenage years (currently part of our living room decorations).

Upon getting engaged, I started collecting the rest of that holiday line. For Christmas last year, my in-laws bought me the tiered cookie plates (as seen here) and the appetizer plates. When a PB gift card came our way from one of my best friends, Louis, we used it to purchase the Reindeer mugs.

Underneath the tiered plate is our new holiday table runner. Something I never thought that Mike and I would get into was table linens. Conversely, we’ve both been known to change up what’s on the dining room table based on the time of year – rarely is our table without linens on it. Since our current table is on the smaller side, we like to buy larger table cloths and fold them in half – so if we ever decide to upgrade our table, we won’t need to get rid of all of the table cloths and runners that we love.

I’m envisioning many warms mugs of hot chocolate being consumed while enjoying our festive dining room 🙂

Christmas is probably next week at this point

Earlier this week I realized that I needed all of my pre-Christmas Etsy orders to come in before December 10th in order to get them delivered before the holiday (for International orders I need them by December 1st!) At that point December 10th was a mere 13 days away. Then I looked at my gift-buying list and only saw a few people completed, and by a few, I mean one actually finished. After that I looked around at the semi-unpacked Christmas decorations filling the living room and the ready-to-be packed Fall & Thanksgiving decorations covering the dining room table. I felt so behind and December hadn’t even started yet. I know that I’m going to blink and it’s going to be Christmas week.

When did December go from being a long month filled with anticipation, to a month that feels akin to walking up the down side of an escalator? Saturday trips to the mall have been replaced with checking Amazon between design projects. Christmas crafts have become pins on my holiday Pinterest board – never really coming to fruition. The smell of holiday baking is coming from a candle rather than the oven. How do two busy adults who are always working, and only see each other twice a week, find the time to get into the Christmas spirit? Normally this would be where I launch into another paragraph describing how we plan to be festive. But I don’t have the answer to that right now – and may not have an answer for that at all this holiday season.

Halloween, Christmas’ next casualty

I took this photo on Monday, October 29th. And really, it was only a matter of time before Macy’s exterior decorations went up since their interiors were already ready for the holidays a few weeks prior. I understand that Halloween might not be the most exciting holiday for adults, especially those without kids who have left their years of donning questionable costumes and bar hopping behind them – but that’s no reason to completely blow off Halloween and Thanksgiving to promote Christmas in-store.

And it’s not just Macy’s. Most of the major home-stores have already brought out their holiday lines. Nothing gets me in the Halloween spirit like a dose of Christmas cheer. Don’t the retailers know that perhaps if they withheld the Christmas decorations from us until after Thanksgiving, and flooded us with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations – telling us subtly that we had to have them, they might make even more money on us, as we’d be purchasing for three holidays instead of blowing off two holidays and still not shopping for Christmas until late November. On that note, who are these people who are shopping for Christmas decorations in October? Do they hate Thanksgiving and fun? There must be a sizable amount of them if it’s worth busting out the red and green while people are still in the mindset of orange and black.

The internet is a different story, it’s like a vast superstore where you can find anything at any time of year. That’s how I’m going to justify the release of my holiday card line on Etsy prior to Halloween 😉

If you enjoyed this yuletide rant, just wait for my thoughts and feelings on the extended hours of Black Friday…