Thursday, December 26, 2013

Til the Season Comes Around Again

Well, it's over.  :-(

I am having trouble finding the words to even describe it.  We spent Christmas Eve pretty much as I said we would.  I felt like I worked myself like a dog up until the very last minute.  I won't do that next year.  It made the few days leading up to Christmas completely draining and it was hard to want to do much more than curl up and let it all pass.  But I knew that wasn't an option and I didn't want to anyway.  I just felt like I needed an extra day or two.  This was especially true when the spice cake I always bake for Christmas day decided it was going to stick to the pan and break in two.  There was no salvaging it in cake form and I'll be damned if I was baking one more friggin' thing.  So I was forced to make cake balls.  Do you know how NOT FUN that is to do when you're already at the end of your patience rope?  I made up new curse words.

Dirty ones.

Ones that would make sailors blush.

Then like some sadist, I decided to make Frosty Hats which aren't hard but cripes man, did I really need to serve another dessert the family would think was wicked awesome and give me that look that says "make these every year!"  (They loved them, of course.  I made it VERY clear never to expect cake balls again and Frosty Hats were a maybe but only if there was time.)

We got ready for my mom to come over and we were done just in time for the festivities to begin after a long day already.  I made up our appetizer spread and we enjoyed picking the things we wanted and gabbing at the table.  We opened presents and mom seemed to like everything we got her.  One of those things was a 1966 edition of Tiddly Winks she had as a kid.

We must've played that for at least an hour.  It was really fun, I forgot how much I loved playing that.  I'll have to see if I can find us a box from our childhood as well.  I got a lot of new tops from Old Navy that, as I look at my sodium bloated, doughy gut-line tell me with some hard work I *might* be able to fit into them by spring.  I got a Cuisinart personal blender system to replace our waning Magic Bullet.  It's been good to us but it's time and I'm glad it wasn't money out of my pocket.  That's what wish lists are for!  ;-)

It was also a time to be updated on what else dementia is stealing from my grandma and while I held it together in front of my mom and the Mr, inside I was dying a little.  As I looked at the lights of our tree, all I could think of was her and her teaching me that tinsel was to put on tree branches one strand at a time for a beautiful, uniform look.  I do two to four strands at a time just to speed things along but never without thinking of her.  Or remembering the special spot on her tree for her ornament with her name written in glitter like it hung on her parents Christmas tree.  I looked over at the gumdrop tree of hers that they gave me last year and wondered how it all was coming down to memories, as life often does the older we get.  Memories, she no longer has.  Ones I have to keep alive for her.  The Mr and I snuggled on the couch and took a little nap in lieu of heading upstairs.  Because going to bed would mean the night would be shortened and I wanted it to last just a little bit longer, even if I was asleep for it.  When we went upstairs at 12:15am, I managed to find a yule log on TV and the Mr laughed when he saw it.

"You always find the yule log," he said.

I do.

Note yule log

When we woke up that morning to the last of the previous day's dusting on the ground still hanging on, we said the phrase we say every year from Home Alone 2..."it's Christmas mornin' man."  As the Mr went to the bathroom before heading down, I readied his take under the tree with a special gift tucked in our angel pup's stocking.  (Yes, we still hang it.)  I plugged in the trees, started our Christmas music and he brought down my gifts.  We opened our stockings and presents.  The good thing about shopping so early is everything is a surprise all over again even if you knew a few of the things you might be getting.  I asked him what was in our dog's stocking and he opened up a box wrapped in Santa paper with a jingle bell tag from Santa.  It was the 1979 Lamborghini Countach model he spotted at an antique mall a few weeks ago.

Santa must've remembered!  It was good to see him smile like a child for that minute when his knee wiggled back and forth, his tell tale sign that he's pleased.  (Kind of like he's doing now playing his new zombie video game.  Lucky me to get this black death to listen to Christmas night.)

I got a new Leslie Sansone workout video (yes Shannon, that one!  Finally!) and we did it before it was time to go.  I will do the other workout and do a formal review but when you're pressed for time, it was a good burn at 515 cals for 30 minutes.  Then it was time to rush around wondering where the hell the morning went and grab everything to head over to my aunt's place.  My grandparents were there and she was having a good day.  She was conversational (for her, these days) and even a little sassy.  What a gift from God.  We cherish those days more than ever before.  She had on a little blinky necklace her friend got her and I was glad to hear that she stopped by.  They were such good friends before and I don't know that since this happened she's been by much.  Funny how that happens.  Her meds have given her quite the appetite and she is SO funny to watch now.  I made my cheeseball and the Mr went to get some and grandpa asked if she wanted some and she said yes so the Mr made her five crackers on a plate.  When my other aunt got there and brought pumpkin pie, Grandma said "I want THAT!" and her eyes lit up.  My aunt (the host) said "for dessert?" and she looked at her like "hand it over, woman."  She said "now."  We all laughed and she said, "how about I save this piece back for dessert?" and she agreed.  When we went in to eat and my uncle was fixing her plate, he asked which meat she wanted, ham or beef roast.  I walked in behind her and to egg her on, I said "or both?" and she smiled and said "BOTH!"  We all cracked up as my aunt cringed a little.  Hey, life is both Grandma...we don't mind.

We decided to take family pictures of each branch of the family tree and I pulled Grandma and Grandpa in on ours because I couldn't help but wonder if this picture would look different next year.  Would she still be here?  Would he?  Dementia takes just as much toll on the caregiver and when that caregiver is a stubborn, proud man in his 80's that relied on her to do everything, it's not the best situation.  I had to leave the room when we were done, I was tearing up and had to just distance myself a little while everyone else took their pics.  We got some nice gifts that our parents all helped pick out from our wish lists and we stayed until the conversation well ran dry.  (Note to self:  bring board games or something next year.)

We stopped by my mom's house so the Mr could take in her presents and this song came on the playlist and I lost it.  I bawled halfway home.

Today, I'm going to relax a bit before we have to clean up the gift bombs that went off in here over the past few days before I entertain for the last time for the season tomorrow.

Every year I say I'm doing it different next year and I rarely do.  I need to refer to this post to remind myself of how much self imposed stress I put on myself as it gets closer and make a real effort to not repeat it.  But we'll see how it goes because it's a nice thought til the season comes around again.

How was your holiday?

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  1. Great post. It is always so hard to get to the end of the day and realize that everything you've waited for has passed by. Maybe we need to find something we can do, just the two of us, Christmas night that becomes a tradition that we can look forward to even after all the other stuff is done. It was a great Christmas though and I am very thankful for being a part of it all with you.

  2. Christmas always seemed to be so stressful for me and I'm so happy it isn't anymore. Family, especially aging family, can be so difficult and I feel your pain. It's a process but I try to enjoy and focus on the good times. I'm not sure what else I can do. We put a lot of pressure on this time of year and I just don't buy into it any more. Moving 5 states away from my family helps in that because I can choose where I want to go and what I want to do. This year for Christmas Eve I went to a friends who has a wood stove oven outside and we made pizza and enjoyed it with a bunch of new and old friends. Yesterday I cleaned and cooked for myself and had a great dinner. Low key and relaxing...just wish I would have done some type of workout. Anyway, it seems like you had a good holiday overall and will likely make some changes for next year, so will I. It's a process. Now we get to look forward to New Years, that's one that I dig almost more than Christmas. Have a great rest of your week!

  3. Great idea, Mr. ^^^

    We had a quiet Christmas, since we didn't get to go to the town where all my kids and grandkids live. It was just the two of us, and one reason I'm posting here is to say, cherish those Christmases with family. I'd be totally bummed about this Christmas if my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter (2 1/2) weren't flying in tonight for a visit. Zoey's gifts are still under the tree, and it will be so much fun to watch her open them. Her mom and dad are getting cash, since it costs extra money to check bags these days, and I'm sure they won't have room for anything else after stuffing Zoey's 18-inch tall Minion that I crocheted for her into the one they're bringing.

    The other reason I'm answering is because the Mr.'s Lamborghini tickled me. I asked my hubby what he wanted under the tree, and his reply was, "A Bugatti Veyron". No problem, it's only $1.5 million, Babe, lol. So I found a little 1:36 die-cast metal Veyron on eBay. After a little back and forth because the expected delivery date was Jan. 7, I gave up and decided I'd give it to him for his January birthday, but it miraculously showed up in the mail on Christmas Eve. I swear he was even happier with that toy than he was with the Craftsman tool I got him (also at his request)! Oh, and BTW? He'll be 62 next month. Boys and their toys, gotta love 'em. I told him we'd have to work up to the full-sized one. I'm already planning to get him a remote-controlled one next year.

  4. Ad you mentioned, so much stress...trying to do too much...trying to do everything....trying to make it just perfect. Every year I say I'm not going to work so hard, and then I do it all over again. This year, I'm particularly aware of how fragile everything is and how it all hinges on the presence of my wonderful husband. I also find myself wondering what next Christmas will bring and that scares me, so I'm trying to grab hold of everything that is here...NOW...and appreciate it, because it is indeed, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!" I'm so happy Grandma enjoyed her holiday so much. That is a great gift right there!

  5. I think that Christmas is such a stressful time for some, and maybe it just shouldn't be. If you cut back on allllllll that effort, I'm sure you would still have a wonderful time!

  6. I'm so glad you had such great family celebrations--on many levels! And yippee on the DVD!! I laughed out loud when I read that. Mine was very nice on Christmas Eve. We went to mom's in the suburbs and spent the day with her and my uncle. The dogs were happy as could be and it was a very relaxed day. We exchanged presents and my uncle really liked the memory board we did for him with pictures of him from the monthly newsletters and a couple of family shots as well. The hubs found a burlap memory board at Hobby Lobby and it turned out so good! We spent Christmas as home and sad as it sounds, I did laundry and cleaned up all the wrapping/boxes and put them away for next year. Managed to get a bag of donating items too since I already had the bins opened--made some room, which is an extra bonus. We wanted to go to the festival of lights, but it started to snow pretty heavily so we'll try that this weekend. Inside I was very tense because I knew I was going back to work today and I was stressing. I didn't sleep a wink last night and was quite irritable today. But the hubs had the day off and took the dogs to his work to run around the warehouse and play catch, so I knew they were having a good time. Overall, I'd say it was a good holiday and I thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone open there presents--it was a good year for that and I knew there'd be some good surprises in there!

  7. We had a great Christmas. My folks came down to spend it with us, and after the gifts and breakfast and all, we drove a little ways out of town and went for a walk. Not a particularly beautiful spot, but it was nice because we were all there together. I cherish that because I do know that it could be gone in a heartbeat.

    Now they boy and I are at my folks' house b/c he has an eye doctor appointment tomorrow and then I'll go home on Saturday and he'll stay here through the 1st. I'll miss him, but it's good that he gets to spend time with his grandparents.

    Maybe you and the Mr. need to start a Boxing Day tradition for just the two of you. Something low key and quiet and private. That way you can stretch the season one more day, and finish on a calm note.

  8. This has been a very tough year for us. My husband was laid off on Nov. 15 and still hasn't found a job. It's the first time since he was in high school (he is 57) that he hasn't had a job and it's wearing him down just a bit. We had to cancel our trip to Florida to see our grandson because of this. Then on Monday we had to say goodbye to our dog Toby, who had been with us for 11 years. We bought gifts for our children and nieces/nephews but did not exchange any gifts ourselves. But with all of this it was still a pretty good Christmas. We had family over on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. We Skyped with our son and his family in Florida and the gifts we did purchase were a great success. I wound up have the whole week off this week and don't go back until the 2nd. I am taking a few days to pull together one more donation for the Vietnam Vets this year and get things organized so I start the new year off on the right foot.


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