On Boxing Day -- youngest daughter and I were 'debriefing' Christmas and I said that I was surprised that all the noise and people and stress hadn't gotten to me.... She agreed with me and asked innocently enough if I had taken a 'pill' to stay calm. I laughed and said I had not taken anything !! I was just that laid back!! Then I think we kinda tested my calmness by packing up on the 28th and heading off to eldest daughter's home for a 'sleep over' with the lil one. (not that the eldest would test my calmness -- that came out wrong! -- but that these two days would mean I had been social and around people steadily for almost a week!!) We all had an amazing time!! There was much laughter and love and hugs ....... just the way it's supposed to be between families at the holidays (in my humble opinion) The lil one had such fun playing Barbies with her new Auntie -- and reading with her new Uncle. She was so delighted with reading all the new books that she read to Willow (one of my eldest's dogs)
We all had a delicious dinner with CANDLES (the lil one announced)
And after the lil one was in bed we adults played some board games -- such an old fashioned sort of Christmas ...... We had a lazy breakfast the next morning -- and just after noon we left and drove the lil one to her mom's for the week. (interesting side note on that -- but am saving that for another day's post - so I don't ruin the peaceful tone of this entry) Now Sir Steve and I are tucked in for the next 3 days -- it's so bloody cold (still got the Polar Vortex swirling around with temps at -22) so our plans involve lots of binge TV watching -- lots of sex -- and maybe even some play....... AND that is a great way to end off the year .........
It's early o'clock -- the world is sleeping under a blanket of frozen -- it's more than cold here -- they say it's a Polar Vortex -- whatever the hell that means -- to me it is bloody cold. And the world sleeps on ......... but sleep evades me -- too many voices nattering in my head -- mostly good voices -- mostly loving voices -- mostly grateful voices. So much to be grateful for...... a Christmas to remember -- a man who loves me -- a child who has opened her world to me and shares the wonders of imagination....... a settled life (some might say routine/boring -- I say mostly drama free -- definitely loving -- definitely supportive -- definitely healing -- and I needed that !!)
The world is sleeping and quiet and I am sitting here basking in the knowledge that I am accepted as I am -- for who I am -- and am loved because of it -- or maybe despite of it. And that is a very good thing!
What a magical Christmas it was !! From start to finish.......... The start was Christmas Eve when we had our traditional family dinner cooked and packed up and trekked down to youngest daughter's complete with games and loads of presents...........
Sir Steve had dinner with us and then went off to pick up the lil one.........and it worked out perfectly ! I couldn't have planned it better -- dinner at 5 -- dessert and games lasted almost right up to the time that Sir Steve returned with the lil one for the opening of presents. The lil one was spoiled rotten with a Barbie doll complete with "shoes and more shoes!" and books and unicorn slipper socks!! Into bed by just after 9 and slept through till 7 when it was time for Santa's gifts and the other family gifts. The lil one was so very delighted with her BIG bed from Daddy and the bed in a bag from Santa -- Shimmer and Shine and lego and more books and dresses and pjs and ...and... and... more than she even thought of........
Sir Steve and I just sat snuggled up watching the magic of it all unfold through her eyes ......... The rest of the family arrived late on Christmas Day for turkey dinner and another round of gifts. The lil one (much to my surprise) got more presents from the far distant nothing-to-do-with-me family.
and -- psssst -- wanna know what Sir Steve gave me? huh? huh? do ya??? He gave me a lotus flower ring........... it is SO very me !!
We came home yesterday and the lil one got to see her big bed for the first time --
and after the sheets and bedding were washed she and I and Daddy pulled the bed together.......
It was as close to a Norman Rockwell picture perfect Christmas as anyone could get -- even I was calm and didn't stress over anything -- including the personalities that were there. (and that was a Christmas miracle!!)
We have a busy day today -- we are 'making over' the lil one's bedroom. She has been in a Jake's pirate bed .. a great toddler's bed
but she's a BIG girl now and wanted / needed a big girl's bed. We suggested she ask Santa for a big girl's bed and a new comforter and accessories. Sir Steve bought her a sweet captain's bed with shelves and drawers (to increase the storage space in her room)
AND Santa is bringing her her new pink and purple butterfly comforter....... (plus a pile of other toys she wants -- she's gonna be one spoiled lil one)
We are transforming the room today -- so when she comes home on the 26th her new bedroom will be ready! Honestly I can't wait to see her face....... she has grown up so much since September! I know she will be delighted...... and I feel so lucky to be included in the transition!
And during or after the bedroom make over I will be preparing the food to take to youngest daughter's tomorrow where I will do our traditional Christmas Eve supper. The lil one will miss the dinner and the games (cause she's at her mom's) but she'll be back in time to open some gifts with the family .......... (can you tell I will miss her?!)
We will be away till after Christmas -- but for those of you who will find time to wander around blogland -- I have posts ready to go up ..............
It's Friday -- I have spent the whole week baking cookies -- and decorating cookies - and packing cookies........ if I never see another cookie again it will be too soon (well until my cookie monsters polish these off)
Chocolate Crinkle cookies
Raspberry Almond cookies
Gingerbread boys -- it's not Christmas without Gingerbread boys!
and the family traditional Christmas Sandwich cookies.....
Last night I realized I had not bought the ingredients for cole slaw -- or the Brie for baked Brie -- for Christmas Eve supper at youngest daughters. So I have to venture out today and fight the madding crowds and pick up the last few things.... AND then come home and bake my butterscotch and peanut butter squares (which I kinda forgot about too)
But it's all worth it when I see the look on Sir Steve's face as he samples each new batch -- when the lil one saw the gingerbread boys yesterday she exclaimed "They're AWESOME!! " Yup it's worth the hours in the kitchen and the sore back .... definitely worth it.
Life is good when you feel appreciated and loved !!
My absolute favourite Christmas story is 'The Grinch' ....... the message blatantly hits you over the head...... Christmas is NOT about things -- but about the people in your life -- about the love
For me the most joyous part of the holiday season is decorating with magic -- twinkling lights -- bits of red among the green -- soft jingling bells -- baking treats (no matter how bitchy it can make me from time to time - grinning)
It's about trying so very hard to make the season special for the one I love -- and my memories on that score aren't so bright and merry. My memories are whiny crabby 'scrooges' who "bah humbugged" their way through the 4 weeks of advent....complaining they never got what they wanted. Some thought they were being 'funny; -- they didn't see how much they were hurting me -- and all the glittery gifts for me on the 25th couldn't make up for the hurt caused during the 4 weeks leading up to that one day!
The years I was alone -- believe it or not -- were my best Christmases. I could sit in the dark and lose myself in the sparkling lights on the tree.... let the soothing scents of Christmas candles refresh my soul -- I could wrap myself up in a snuggly blanket and rejoice in the joys of the season....... with no one 'bah humbugging'
This year I didn't know what to expect to be honest. Sir Steve openly admitted Christmas hadn't been his favourite holiday for a long time. But I didn't need to worry -- not once have I heard Sir Steve say "bah humbug" or even act "bah humbug". He has happily found umpteen seasonal activities for us all the way through the month of December..... he has turned to me so many times I have lost count and said "This is gonna be such an amazing Christmas"......... and on the days he comes home from work and I am pooped -- after dinner he has told me to go and sit down he would clean up from dinner -- god he makes me feel like his princess!! I don't remember anyone ever telling me to go sit down and they'd finish up!! What a gift!!
For all the "ghosts of Christmas past" who pop by here to read -- my Christmas wish for you is may you one day realize...............
I'm down to 5 days till we leave for Christmas -- until Christmas actually!
I have been baking this week -- 4 batches of about 4 dozen cookies in each batch, all done! I am waiting for the 4th batch to cool so I can glaze them........ I have laundry going .... and I have a headache...... a BIG headache.
It has to be gone before the lil one comes back from school -- she needs to wrap up a couple of Christmas presents -- sort out the ones she bought at Winter Wonderland -- and a couple more Christmas cards to make -- all under my watchful eye. This headache really has to be gone!! I don't DO headaches -- I especially don't do them this close to Christmas!!
I have taken a handful of Tylenol........ and am gonna lay down for a bit while the laundry washes and the cookies cool............
Thought a little Christmas 'funny' might be a nice addition to today's blog.......
Nothing very Christmasy happened this weekend -- nothing at all BDSMy happened this weekend -- then it was a little unnerving when I realized yesterday there were exactly 7 days till Christmas.
We spent the weekend just doing routine chores -- we did have lunch out on Saturday -- but that was the high point to the weekend.
Poor Sir Steve has some mystery bug that involves a choking cough that starts around 10pm and goes till about 2:00am. So he has been flip flopping between stretching out on the sofa and trying to sleep in the bed. Broken sleep makes for a quiet Sir Steve (see my sad face?)
I had originally scheduled this week to be a baking week -- chocolate krinkle cookies -- sandwich cookies - almond thumb print cookies - gingerbread cookies - and chocolate peanut butter squares. BUT I never got around to getting my hair cut last week -- so that HAS to be done this week. This morning our toaster gave up the ghost so I need to run out and find one (a cheap one thank you very much!!) and of course all the regular chores like laundry.
So this weekend was truly the calm before the storm of activity -- 6 days to get everything done for Christmas !!
We had 'Christmas snow' last night -- pretty soft flakes floating down covering my world in white..... and it made my heart sing.
I wrapped 'Santa' gifts yesterday -- taking every precaution to make them different from the mounds of other gifts...... special wrapping paper .. different gift tags -- right down to hand printing the tags so that my distinctive hand writing wouldn't be recognized.
I realized I was smiling ...... for no reason other than the pretty packages and imagining the looks on the lil one's face when she sees them -- imagining Sir Steve's look when he sees the surprises..... imagining my own children's faces/happiness. Being with family -- seeing the looks on their faces -- hearing their laughter -- feeling the hugs and kisses -- all so magical and special.
This year wrapping gifts wasn't a chore -- a task to complete in time -- it was fun -- it was Christmasy -- it was magical. That's what happens when you are lucky enough to be sharing your life with someone you love -- with someone who loves you back - muchly!
AND -- I couldn't forget the smallest members of our family -- there are gifts for Lady the dog and Missy the cat....... and dear god! I even bought Christmas 'outfits' for them. Lady was thrilled to play the dress up game..... right down to the reindeer ears... Missy is used to getting dressed up for Christmas and she treated the whole experience with the same disdain she always has.......
BUT it wasn't for long -- just long enough for me to take a couple of pictures (for posterity) just so they were included in the holiday spirit............
Lady posing (actually waiting for the treat I had in my hand )
And Missy being as disdainful as always (she has NO interest in treats)
We went to the lil one's Winter Wonderland last evening. Got there at 5 (when it opened) and got the very last parking space!! The school was packed. Every classroom had some organised fun Christmas activity... from gingerbread houses to paper Christmas trees, reindeer cookies, snowman faces, candy cane reindeers and so much more!! There was a shopping room for the lil ones to buy presents for family and friends (no parents allowed in) and it was run by donation only. The lil one had such fun shopping for Daddy and Mommy and Sheila (I felt very special!!)
Then Sir Steve and the lil one lined up for face painting...... took 20 minutes but she was thrilled. We spent an hour and a half at the Winter Wonderland.. and still didn't do it all -- but the rooms were closing down as the event ended in 30 minutes and they had had a much bigger attendance than last year....... We wearily made our way out to the car and came home for a quick supper of hot dogs.
When all was quiet - lil one tucked into bed, the animals curled up snoring.... I told Sir Steve that I was getting TOO old for this much Christmas excitement !! well at least two nights back to back ........
I awoke alone in the bed this morning -- Sir Steve was on the sofa -- OMG!! I figured I had been restless -- or slapped him silly again (I do that from time to time) but it turns out Sir Steve is coming down with a cold -- or mystery bug. I am not that surprised. He has been working outside for the last two days (in sub zero temps) .... fingers crossed he'll be able to come home early and nap.
I wrapped up the last of the Christmas presents this morning and hid them away. And now I intend to binge watch some Netflix and rest...... we're down to one week till Christmas and I know how busy it's gonna be next week -- and can only imagine the excitement the lil one will be exuding.......
Christmas is coming -- with magic galore -- and that is a very good thing !
Yesterday Sir Steve hoped to get home from work early and we would all go to see Santa and get the lil one's picture taken. He didn't tell the lil one - wanting to surprise her and because with his work there's never any guarantee that he will be able to finish on time.
So when the lil one got home from school I asked if she wanted to play 'hair dresser' and we could practice curling her hair for Christmas. She loved the idea -- any game that involves "let's pretend" is a favourite!! So while she watched her afternoon TV show and ate her snack I brought out the curling iron and curled the waist long hair. Actually I was surprised how well it worked ....... and she LOVED the curls.
Daddy didn't make it home early -- but when he did get home he said "let's go". I thought the lil one was gonna jump out of her skin she was SO excited! She put on her red Christmas dress and white tights and we put a green ribbon in the freshly curled hair. (even I thought she looked pretty damn cute)
Oh the magic of a little girl standing in line watching Santa talk to other girls and boys!! She bounced -- she actually bounced and vibrated. And when it was her turn to see Santa he said something about her dress and asked her if she would spin for him.... and spin she did!! Then she snuggled up on his lap and told him she wanted a big bed for Christmas and a new big comforter and Shimmer and Shine and books! Santa told her (so we were informed) that he had a magic ball that let him watch all the children and check on their behaviours ...... and she was mesmerized!
The photographer got a good pic of them snuggling......
Then we went to MacDonalds for a special treat......
And then home to bed. I'm not sure who was more excited - the lil one or me!
Tonite we are off to Winter Wonderland at the lil one's school where she will get to shop for presents for her family -- do crafts -- have hot chocolate and god only knows what else! (it's my first time)
I had a light bulb moment the other day..... in the midst of the nonsense about Christmas. I was sitting on the sofa -- Sir Steve sitting in his chair. We weren't talking and my stomach was in knots and my heart was pounding.
Suddenly what I wanted more than anything was for him to make love to me.
A short time later we were walking past each other and just kinda fell into a tight hug... and Sir Steve kissed me - passionately -- and I said "tonite make love to me -- please?" And he nodded and said 'it's exactly what I was thinking and what we need".
I realized that we both react to stressful situations in the exact same way -- we shut up........... and scowl. It had felt like we were mad at each other -- BUT we weren't!! We were pissed at the situation -- and the sh*t we have to deal with all the time... but not at each other.
We made sweet love and stroked and held each other .... and whispered in the dark wrapped in each other's arms.
Yesterday I sent emails to both my girls and their spouses -- and made a suggestion that would allow most of my dreams for a magical Christmas Eve to come true. Just a little pinch here and a tuck there -- et voila it's all going to work!!
Life is good when you work things through together --
The magic of Christmas is found in the wonder of a small child -- and that magic can re-awaken the joy of Christmas in the older folks.
Thanks to the lil one I had found the magic of Christmas again -- like when I was little -- like when my girls were little -- and to some extent... like when I was teaching all my lil ones.
we share custody and I had sorta forgotten that. Well not really -- but mother has the lil one from Friday till Sunday afternoon every weekend (at least when she's home) The mother and her family celebrate Christmas on the 24th (that is the Sunday this year) ...... I figured ... I planned.. I counted on us having her late in the afternoon of the 24th and was excited to have her with us at my youngest daughter's with all the children. I do Christmas Eve dinner and 'entertainment'. I planned a fun game for all ages.. I had visions of reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to them all..... My eldest daughter was excited to be around when the lil one opened her gifts on Christmas Eve (eldest daughter is only going to be there on the 24th -- and has absolutely SPOILED the lil one this year -- I think she found some Christmas magic in her heart too )
BUT the mother threw a fit ......... not only does she want the lil one till late evening on the 24th she wants to pick her up around noon on the 25th........ AND she called Sir Steve controlling and manipulative because he wouldn't agree to all of it. (He did agree to Christmas eve till 7:00 but that's it!!)
and in an instant - POOF - there went my Christmas magic. I have cried a river.
Once a very long time ago -- I was considering taking in foster children. I was advised not to.. I was not a good candidate because I get too close to 'my' children. I never believed them till now. I DO get too close to my lil ones -- all of my lil ones. And it hurts...... physically hurts ya know.
This is one of those days when it feels like my head is going to explode..... too many thoughts rolling round and round -- too many voices whispering in my ear..........
woke up early (way too early) with tears on my cheeks and a bad dream I couldn't shake......
read something on facebook that brought home to me once again -- I am too thinned skin -- or just don't get people's sense of humour.... sometimes when people think they're being funny I just get butt hurt....... probably too thinned skinned...
took my coffee outside to drink while I had a smoke -- and the kids across the street were 'into it' again -- lots of swearing and yelling and a couple of punches were thrown.........
And all I can think is 'it's Christmas none of this -- none of it -- should be happening'
When I was little Christmas was the best time of the year. My father (and mother) made it a very special holiday. It was the one time of the year that my father let his hair down a little bit -- he was warm and snuggly and funny. I loved that part of my father ...... Christmas was his favourite time of the year...... and he epitomized the magic of the season.
I can remember (and I know I have told this story before) one night just before Christmas .... having finished the dinner dishes ... I went looking for my father and my eldest daughter who was maybe 4? They were lying under the Christmas tree (and I do mean UNDER) and he was pointing out the Christmas fairies dancing in the tree. You see the tinsel would move gently with the air currents and he was spinning a wonderful story about the fairies dancing in the tree. To this day I can't look at a tree with silver dangly tinsel without seeing Christmas fairies dancing in the branches.
For all my adult life -- my husband and then partners -- were Grinches. They hated Christmas. I would be excited all by myself. I would dream up my own Christmas magic ... and hold the joy of the season to myself -- not sharing with deaf ears -- finding my own happiness -- alone.
I remember when Sir Steve and I were first talkng - negotiating?? -- whatever you want to call it.... I asked him "Do you like Christmas or are you a GRINCH???" (see I had made my mind up ... that Christmas was too important to me to saddle myself with yet another Grinch)
He said "I used to love Christmas -- but not so much in the last few years" ...... I declared we will find your Christmas Spirit again -- and we will have a magical Christmas.
He has been super about finding Christmas adventures to take the lil one on... from the lighting of the City's Christmas tree - to going to Alight at Night ..... and helping decorate the house... and actually buying presents for the lil one BEFORE the 24th!! He / we are going to take the lil one to Winter Wonderland at her school next week -- and he is taking me back to my old school -- the one I taught in for 20+ years tomorrow for their Christmas Craft Sale.
BUT the best part of it all -- last night he said to me... as we were standing out on the front deck quietly in the dark of the night - with the cold winter winds caressing our cheeks -- that it was exactly 2 1/2 weeks till Christmas..... I didn't even realize that!! -- and he sounded happy about it.....
Christmas Magic is back in my life -- shared Christmas Magic -- and that is a VERY good thing !
When I was younger and had kids I used to spend weeks baking for Christmas. Then the kids grew up -- I was on my own -- and truthfully I never much enjoyed my own baking -- so the baking went from batches and batches of different cookies to one or two family favourites (like the damn sandwich cookies that are in HUGE demand and take FOREVER to make) And usually my youngest bakes for weeks before Christmas and bringing my homemade cookies to her is a bit like taking 'coals to Newcastle' .....
BUT since I moved in with Sir Steve I have returned to the kitchen and baking because I live with 2 cookie monsters!! Honestly I can't keep up with the demand for cookies around here. A couple of weeks ago I thought about Christmas baking... and decided to make a mess of Christmas cookies. My girls put in their order for 'mom's sandwich cookies' (though I am not making 12 dozen of them like I did last year when I got a little carried away)
AND truthfully I didn't much feel like making all the old family recipes this year. It's a new year... a new start/life -- so it seemed appropriate to find new Christmas cookies. I have been searching the internet for cookies that could possibly be yummy and meet all the diet restrictions of a family who suffers from every food allergy imaginable!
Then the other thing that always seems to overwhelm me is the baking of huge numbers of different cookies just before Christmas -- there's always so much else to do last minute. This year I decided to make all the batters and freeze them till the week before Christmas and then have a massive couple of days of baking and decorating. And produce fresh cookies without killing myself in the kitchen. (well that's my hope)
Yesterday was the 'make the batter' day. Took most of the morning .... made the sugar cookie (sandwich cookie) batter, thumb print cookie batter, chocolate crinkle cookie batter and an almost forgotten recipe for gingerbread boys.
Now this morning I am roaming blogland and discover that there is a "Great Cookie Exchange" going on. You can find the information/directions here on 'A Reluctant Bitch' blog. I am going to share the one cookie I am most looking forward to making and tasting
Raspberry Almond Thumb Print Cookie
cup butter, softened
cup white sugar
teaspoon almond extract
cups all-purpose flour
cup seedless raspberry jam
cup confectioners' sugar
teaspoon almond extract
oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
a medium bowl, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2
teaspoon almond extract. Mix in flour until dough comes together. Roll dough
into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a small hole
in the center of each ball, using your thumb and finger, and fill the hole with
for 14 to 18 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Let cool 1
minute on the cookie sheet.
a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar, 3/4 teaspoon almond
extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies.
Baking for Christmas when you have cookie monsters to feed is a very good thing!!