Well, I'm not redecorating! And you know what the funny thing is about that statement? I'd have to have already decorated to be "re"decorating! I've never really done the first phase. Just what was here when I moved into my house... the wall colors, the curtains (both of which I hate now!), and added my own bits here and there. Someday....
So, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to try to blog more. Try to "get my groove on" again. We'll see. It might just be ramblings and randomness, but, wait, isn't that what my blog has always been? :-) For now I'll start with what I've been up to.
For the months of November and December I spent a fair amount of time dipping pretzels. I guess I should say the months of September, October, November and December. It's been four months of dipping, really? Well, I guess that takes up some time. I've been less inclined to grumble about the whole dipping thing this time around. I don't know why, but somehow I enjoyed it more than I usually do. I was more cheerful about it overall and that, my friends, is always a good thing.
Dipping ended, quite literally, on Christmas Eve. I had a biggish order come in on the 23rd, and since it was for a very good friend of mine, I did it. I don't normally do things that close to Christmas, but this was an exception.
I have grand plans every year of making "neighbor gifts" for my friends and neighbors. More like "neighbor treats", I suppose. I like to make a plate of yummies and bring them around to those I love. Most years I end up scrambling around, stressed out and crazy trying to get it done. This year was going to be the exception! I had the best intentions of making the treats on the 23rd and then delivering them in the morning on the 24th. But...between the last minute pretzel orders and trying to sew my kids pajamas for Christmas, I ended up not making any plates to deliver. There were a lucky few people who, if they caught me at home when they dropped by their own goody plates, got a plate of pretzels, caramel corn and caramel pecan bars that I had on hand from my last minute order! So, to all those who've gotten a treat plate from me before and did not this year, please forgive me. It was a very conscious decision to let that one go this year and I even allowed myself to shed all guilt surrounding the issue. And I'm happy about it. And I still love all of you who didn't see me with a plate of treats. (The guilt was eased knowing that most of you, like me, had an abundance of treats to tempt you during the holidays and mine would likely not be missed)
There's always next year.
So, I mentioned that I decided to sew my children PJ's this year. I always get my kids jammies to open on Christmas Eve. Lots of people do this tradition. As a child, my mother always sewed our Christmas Eve pajamas and this year I decided that I would too. I started in plenty of time. I suppose plenty is a relative term... it was plenty of time for me, the great procrastinator. It was a good week and a half before Christmas and THAT is a LOT of time for me! I could only work on them at night after my kids were in bed because my sewing machine is out in the open of our living room/dining room area and I wanted them to be surprised about the fabric they were getting, if not the fact that they were getting homemade pajamas.
Let's just say that what started out as me having lots of time to sew one of the simplest things there is to sew, ended up being one of the more nightmarish projects of my illustrious sewing career. I was up sewing until 3am on the 22nd and until 2am on the 23rd (and more nights than that, but those were the winners for lateness). I'll just say that if you're ever buying flannel to sew on, plan on a LOT of shrinkage... so much that you might have to change the whole layout of the pattern for cutting which might cause you to need more fabric, which the store just might run out of a mere two days after you bought it... which might cause you to have to buy a whole different fabric, which by now you realize you'll need extra fabric for shrinkage, but how much extra might be out of your realm of comprehension and you'll STILL come up short which, by this time, it might be December 23rd at 11:00 at night and you can't get more fabric because the store is closed and the darned PJ's need to be FINISHED, WRAPPED and UNDER the tree by the next evening (but you can't sew when your kids are awake). *big gasp of air* So, you might just have to spend an extra TWO hours adjusting the pattern to make the amount of the !*$#@$ shrunken fabric work for what you've got, which will make you VERY frustrated indeed. Not to mention a myriad of other strange problems you might encounter with the other TWO pajamas you're making. (yes, that story was only about Ella's PJ's... Mac's and Rohan's had their own set of "issues" that were very special and cry-worthy.)
So, yeah. I had a wonderful, nostalgic time sewing PJ's for my kids. (are you sensing the sarcasm? it's hard to pass on through a blog) But the important part is that I made it work, got it done and they LOVE them! Rohan is always so sad if his "monster" jammies are dirty and he can't wear them. And, actually that statement is true for Ella and Mac as well (aside from the "monster" part!).
So, the weeks before Christmas I was exceptionally busy. I can't remember what I was doing aside from dipping and homeschooling... oh, and trying to get all my "shopping" done. I was actually fairly well prepared in that arena this year. I was almost done shopping a good week before Christmas, which is UNHEARD of for me! I was proud of myself for that one. I even got most of the presents wrapped about two weeks (maybe a week and a half!) before Christmas. Usually our tree is barren of presents until about the 23rd or sometimes the 24th. Go me!
I had been up too late for too many nights and pushing myself with the sewing and the dipping and the homeschooling and the whatever-elseing and by the time Christmas Eve rolled around I was exhausted. Regardless, we had a nice quiet Christmas Eve. We went over to my mom's house. I made Thai Noodle Soup, my mom made potato soup and we had little baguettes of bread. It was a simple dinner followed by hot chocolate, shortbread and our tradition of pulling out my mom's nativity set. Each piece is wrapped in cloth and we take turns pulling them out and telling the story each person played in the birth of Jesus Christ. We did this same thing in my growing up years and it's special for me to have my kids experience it too. Especially because it takes the focus off of the commercialism that is ready and waiting to happen the next morning and puts the focus, quietly, simply and sweetly back on the birth of Jesus Christ and the gift that he was and is to the world. It was tender and it completely suited my exhausted but content state of mind and body.
An observation that we make every Christmas Eve is the fact that the children start telling the PARENTS it's time to go home. We usually have to pull teeth to get our children to leave my mom's house. They never want to go. But Christmas Eve, they were putting their shoes on and telling Dustin and I that it was time to go home. And we, of course, obliged them. Home we went!
Upon arrival, all three of them ran in to brush their teeth as quickly as they could. (again, a once a year occurrence.) They forgot, in their haste to reach their beds, to open one special present (homemade with much love and sacrifice!). I reminded them and they came and ripped open their special Christmas Eve presents. They oooohed and ahhhed appropriately and I felt very good about my efforts and all the metaphorical hair I lost during the sewing ordeal. (I never ACTUALLY pulled my hair out in frustration, but I wanted to. A lot.)
Mac loved his dartboard jammies, Ella loved her big dots (that was NOT my first choice in fabrics, but by the time I had to buy replacement fabric, it was slim pickins!), and, strangely, Rohan threw a fit about his monster jammies. He didn't like them and he didn't want to put them on. After a little coaxing, he finally did and then he was upset (as was I) because the elastic was too big and the pants were falling off. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I measured both of the boys' waistlines while they were asleep. It worked on Mac, but not my skinny little Rohan.
Never fear! I have a seam ripper and my sewing machine was still out. So, in about 5 minutes I had the seam opened, elastic adjusted and sewn in place, the seam sewn shut again and a happy little boy. Suddenly his monster jammies were cool (his fabric was my favorite by far!) and he ran off to go to bed!
We tucked in our little munchkins and got to work doing the things parents do on Christmas Eve after their children are nestled.... which, in this case, involved watching the new Harry Potter. ☺ Really we were worried that the kids would be awake for a while and so we sat down for a bit and killed time with the DVD player. It only took about 15 minutes before the three little ones had visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads and we got to work.
And, amazingly enough, I was in bed before midnight. That's NEVER happened on Christmas Eve.
I woke in the morning to the sound of the shower. Dustin had been awake for a long time and decided to take a shower hoping that the kids wouldn't wake up while he was in there. Of course, that slight shift in the noises of the house must have woken the kids because within minutes they were upstairs surrounding my groggy-I-wish-I-could-sleep-more self. We made them wait, as parents do, in our room while I went and turned the tree lights on. We made them brush their hair... well, Ella and I did anyway... and we gathered and said a prayer and talked for a minute about the why of it all- Jesus Christ's birth. It was neat.
Rohan, Mac and Ella waiting to go see if Santa did, indeed, come!
Then, the wonderful madness that is Christmas morning ensued. It was very fun. We had a wonderful, magical, toy-filled time and I felt gratitude for my little growing family and the amazing people I'm blessed to have in my home. And here are a few little pics for the picture hungry!
Dustin was very irritated with the people who package children's toys. They make them iron-clad stuck in those packages!!! :) Isn't he cute? It became a personal vendetta for him to get this toy opened completely before we could proceed with unwrapping presents! I ♥ Dustin.
Those cute little monkeys in their new jammies.
Don't you love Mac's face? It's so Christmas morning! Ella is so sweet.
Rohan LOVED his remote control car. In fact he still loves it and he's actually a really good little RC driver! (And look at his extra cute PJ's! The child will NOT wear a shirt to bed. Somehow he's decided that's the way it is and once he's decided, he's not easily swayed. So, he is shirtless. Saved me having to sew a top, so I won't complain! ☺)
At Dustin's company work party we had a white elephant gift exchange. We ended up with these goofy-yet-cute sock monkey slippers. We weren't sure what we'd do with them, so we wrapped them and gave them to Mac. He thought they were the coolest and Rohan and Ella were quite jealous. They both inquired why THEY didn't get sock monkey slippers. Anyone know where to buy these silly things?
We acquired a gigantic box Legos from a friend of mine. It's HUGE. My kids (and I!) love Legos more than any toy and were SO excited to see this massive collection unveiled with the tearing of the wrapping paper!
I even made Dustin take a few pictures of me, since last year there was not a single shot of the mother of the family in the family archives. So, I remedied that this year. See? Don't I look all sorts of Christmas-morningy?
We went to my mom's house later in the day... about 4:00 and we ate snacky food and opened a few more presents. It was relaxing and wonderful to have nothing to do but be together.
And I will end my Christmas Chronicle at this point because I am going to bed now. I'll tell more later. (It's really not as late as the time stamp shows... I'm publishing this later so it will be "tomorrow" when it posts, because it makes me feel better. It's really only 10:30pm and I am treating myself to my bed and my pillow and some rest! Just FYI, if ever the time stamp says 12:08am, it was a scheduled post. I always set posts that I want to publish later to come at 12:08am. Don't ask me why it's 12:08am... just one of those quirks.☺)