Friday, December 9, 2011

Stressless Christmas

My Shutterfly photo books are heeeeeeeeeeeeeere! They arrived yesterday and I am SO HAPPY with them! I actually squealed when the mail guy brought them to my office and spent the whole afternoon all giddy and jittery and failing to restrain myself from flipping through each one for the 42nd time. I talked to opposing counsel in my tax case and I'm sure he thought I was WAY too excited about tax qualifications, but they are just so beautiful (the books, not the tax provisions) and I love the pictures so much! This year I incorporated excerpts from emails and blog posts to capture the kids in various months. Last night, as I was forcing JP to read Claire's Book for the second time, he asked why the letter he was reading was signed, "love, mama" instead of being from both of us. I answered, "because I'm the one who wrote it! I write them letters every once in a while and save them." He looked shocked. A few thousand people have read those letters on the internet and my beloved husband had no idea they exist. But back to the books- I ordered an extra copy of each this year because I realized I wasn't going to part with them until I die, and maybe not even then, so now the kids will have their own set. Oh I love them so.

Along with the photo books came the 125 Christmas cards I also ordered on Shutterfly (with matching address labels because they were pretty and my magical coupon codes made everything so inexpensive I started trying to think of more things I could order with photos on them- until I realized no one needed a large blanket or life-size stand-up photo of my family, not even me), so now I'm happily sticking on my address labels (printed a few days ago on holiday labels I bought at Target) and matching return address labels and humming to the tunes of the Frank Sinatra holiday station on Pandora. Other than the yearly baking of the Swedish sugar cookies (planned for this weekend), Christmas cards are my final holiday task list item and I was getting a little antsy about it. The presents are bought and wrapped, the house is decorated, and the Christmas outfits are hanging in the closet. I've been busy every December I've had at the firm, so I've learned to plan for Christmas in whatever pockets of free time I have in the months preceding- something I can't really help but do anyway.

I know the holidays are supposed to be stressful, but I've always found them to be nothing but wonderful. Maybe I have low expectations, or maybe other people do way more than me, but decorating the house takes about 2 hours, and I can do it after the kids go to bed with Love Actually on TV or Christmas music playing off the CD's I copied from my mom's collection. JP decorates the outside of the house, something he did this year between conference calls the day after Thanksgiving (he worked about 10 hours a day every day that whole week; as it turns out, working in the consumer industry is not so fun around the holidays). I start my Christmas shopping whenever I find something I think the person I'm shopping for will love. This year, I bought my mom's Christmas present in March and it is perfect. My brother's was purchased in May, my sister's in June, and my dad's just last week (he was tougher). I have a covered bin in the coat closet where I add the items, mentally checking off my list. The kids were done a few weeks ago (though a last minute order of new crocs is on its way- they need them and the cyber Monday deal was too good to pass up). Now I just get to go to parties and sing along to Michael Buble and excitedly check the mailbox every day to see holiday cards from friends and family. I LOVE THIS MONTH. Not even the fact that I have three more briefs to write and file before the 25th can mess it up.

new assistant

In other holiday fun, my firm's family Christmas party was yesterday. You might remember that Claire was a bit suspicious over the whole "hey little girl, come take some free candy out of this bucket" thing at Halloween. Well that is nothing compared to the face-crumbling, finger clawing, PANIC that occurred when I tried to sit her next to Santa Claus (in a separate chair, on my lap). Landon sat next to Santa and asked for a jet (a fast one, because seriously, who wants a slow jet plane?), but Claire would have NONE OF IT. She who walks up to strangers in stores with her arms up, begging to be held, and will follow strange families to their cars at parks, would not get within 3 feet of the white-bearded Santa man.

We moved on to decorating gingerbread squares (aka, eating the candy that's supposed to go on the squares), making ornaments, and eating pizza before heading home.

We've also recently attended JP's work party (mine is tonight and then we're done) and it was so nice to finally meet some of his colleagues. They were all so complimentary of JP (and full of awe at how much he eats; yes, it's that noteworthy) and had such great things to say about his work and general self. It's always fun to hear your spouse be properly lauded- especially when he works All The Time. (Also fun: overhearing your spouse's boss say, "man, you married UP").

normal work outfit + red lipstick = work party outfit!

This weekend will be all about cleaning out my last closet for another pre-holiday goodwill run, driving around to look at Christmas lights, making the daycare teacher gifts, and rolling out, cutting, and baking 25,000 Christmas cookies-- and having friends over to help decorate them :). JP will work some, I'll work some, and at night we'll watch our DVR'd shows that we never get to watch during the week because we're (guess what?) working! But the holidays are here and the red lipstick is out and the sugar cookies are coming- life is good.


  1. This post makes me so happy! I am impressed that you're already done Christmas shopping (I haven't even started, I should take a cue from you next year!). Your dress + red lipstick combo are stunning, btw. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. I love this post! OK, now that you have buckets of free time and all that, can you please come over and get me organized too? That bin idea is genius. And please tell me where that dress is from so I can be your California twin.

  3. I love this too!! You just reminded me to click over to Amazon and finalize my cart (aka Santa's Sleigh).

    I also don't get stressed about Christmas. It's too much fun!

  4. You look fantastic in that dress. I love Claire's suspicious look in the Santa picture. And I had to laugh at the "no one needs our portrait on a blanket" -- my parents went crazy one year and got those photo blankets for everybody, including giving a blanket with a huge photo of me, JW and K to my in-laws. My MIL said something like, "I love you guys, but no offense, I don't want your giant faces on display." LOL.

  5. I know you think Clairebear is smart...but I think she's a genius! Who at 18months doesn't like weird old guy with scraggly beard, or random people they don't know giving them free stuff???? Geniuses I tell you.

    That girl's got it figured out! She loves her fellow man, but is very skeptical of all the people she should be.

    Go Biscuit!!!!

  6. I love your dress!!! Do you happen to remember where you found it? It's not really an option for a work outfit for me, but it would be great for dinner out!

  7. Thanks guys! I got the dress at Ann Taylor over the summer when the whole store was 40% off. It was pricey, but I adore it (it has an exposed dark pewter silver zipper going halfway down the back) and I get compliments every time I wear it. I'm starting to wish I'd purchased two!

  8. Re: the "you married UP comment"...Yes, yes are gorgeous, I agree but you can just let JP know that I think he's gorgeous too! Course being the amazing man he is, he'll be all humble and shucks and golly! lol You 2 are a beautiful pair with beautiful children! This is an awesomely fun post! Thank you for continuing to share!