Friday, December 28, 2018

Christmas in Cowtown, a Synopsis of the Sparkly

I've planned to write a blog post everyday since last week, but there was champagne and friends and family and fun until the 26th, and then there was a Trumpertantrum over an idiotic $25 billion wall that no one with any knowledge of border security thinks will do any good and that American taxpayers now have to pay for and so the government shut down and my agency ran out of funding and I stopped being paid yesterday and I've never not been paid as an attorney since the day I graduated law school and even though we have some savings and parents who can help me and we are SO MUCH luckier than so many in this awful position at this awful time of year, particularly the government contractors who don't get back pay, and those who have had their leave canceled to be forced to come to work and STILL aren't being paid and who have far more precarious financial situations and I seriously get so mad about this I can't type and that's why I haven't been, and also, even with everything I said, it is so fvcking stressful to me to not be paid that I have basically watched The West Wing for two straight nights in a catatonic state. So I haven't blogged.

My happy mental place

And now we leave for Colorado first thing tomorrow morning to go see my sister and have a mini-Christmas, and then to see my parents and their new house, and THEN the meet friends for a group ski trip we planned back in February when a third shutdown in one year when one party controlled every arm of government never even occurred to me. But here we are. The car is packed, the lift tickets and ski rentals were long since purchased, and we've packed all our food and my Prozac and it's really going to be so fun and I'm only going to check Twitter for legislative updates every hour.

But back we go to December 21st. The last day of school for the kids, it was full of caroling, class parties, and parents reading stories to kids in pajamas. I came to both kids' classes to read, as I do every year, particularly when I realized with a pang that this was Landon's last year! Six years of pajama reading days and this is the last time I'll read him Christmas Delicious in the front of his class.

This is also the first year he didn't wear pajamas, but did stick with the theme with his festive Dinosaur shirt. Claire went all in on the PJ's AND got to bring giant Pua to class and it's possible she was more excited about that than about me coming to read to her! (Except not really, her excitement was exactly equal for both.)

That night was our traditional cookie decorating party at a friend's. Always one of our favorite nights of the year, this year was made even better by another friend bringing her AMAZING homemade Pho for all of us to enjoy. I'm jealous of the me I see in these pictures eating it.

By Sunday, all the Christmas snacks were made, the barre class was taught, and we were very excited about Papa and Gigi and Uncle Eric and his girlfriend coming to visit on Christmas Eve.

So much yum, if I do say so myself

With the house clean and sparkly and ready for guests, we headed out to visit Santa with a five-year-old who was SURE she'd be happy to see him this time.

And she was. "Mommy, isn't it so nice that I like Santa now?"


On Christmas Eve morning I made these delicious cinnamon rolls one of you recommended in the comments to my Christmas cooking post from last year.

My family arrived in the afternoon and we got to meet my brother's girlfriend who we LOVE and have adopted. We played, went on a walk, and inflated the queen air bed in the TV room to fit 9 people into our 3-bedroom house. We got dressed for church and enjoyed a beautiful service near TCU.

We got back to a tasty dinner for which I used both the "Delay Start" AND "Cook Time" buttons on my oven for the first time ever! After dinner was PJs and more snacks and wine and cookies and presents! Staying up late with family to open gifts and eat snacks when it's dark outside and cozy inside is the VERY BEST THING.

Except seeing Landon's face when he opened the Nintendo Switch he never believed he'd get (and nearly didn't because I've so enjoyed our video-game-free lifestyle). That might have been even better.

The other big hits this year were: Cora getting her own big giant Pua from Uncle Eric, Claire getting the hair and makeup doll of her dreams, and all the kids getting two years of Photobooks because I'm ALL CAUGHT UP.

Those books are such a pain in my arse, but I adore them when they're finished, and it's worth every carpal-tunnel-inducing-hour I spend on them because they love them too. Landon has read his cover to cover at least three times and Claire was snuggled on the couch reading hers when I got home from yoga today. They are very special to all of us.

Gifts done (we all got sweet and thoughtful things, more on mine below), we tucked the kids in bed, cleared off the couch for Santa to come, and toddled off to bed ourselves.

Christmas morning was the bleary-eyed delight it always is. We told the kids 7:30 and 7:30 is PRECISELY when they knocked on our door. Landon got his Fort Builder set; Claire a new bike (her legs have grown so many inches in the last year!), and Cora a fairy play set.

There was brunch and games, both indoor and out, and lots of really great, really relaxed family time. And also a walk, completely with much overhead drone flying thanks to James and Eric's gifts from Papa and Gigi.

My parents managed to beat us all at corn hole and we've demanded a rematch in the snow when we get to Colorado. James and I had never been beat before. Mostly because of my graceful, one-leg-up form.

(Little time out for the ladies to get a picture. My brother's girlfriend is from Brazil and she brought us a traditional chocolate chip Christmas bread and is the sweetest and the kids love her and we enjoyed her so much.)

One of my favorite moments was in the early afternoon when we were all playing yard games in the front yard and Cora would leave my brother alone (she ADORES him) and then he put her in his truck bed and closed the top for a (brief!) break and she thought it was hilarious and climbed out and onto his feet and yelled "Mom, Uncle Eric is my BEST FRIEND" and I couldn't stop laughing.

After a delicious early dinner (mostly because I bought six kinds of cheeses to go with it), my brother and girlfriend headed home (he had to work at 6 a.m. the next morning) and the rest of us headed out to see Marry Poppins Returns! We totally loved it, mostly because Emily Blunt can carry off anything, and it was a great way to end the day.

And now I need to go to bed because we begin our road trip in precisely 8 hours, but I most make note of my most special present this year. You see, two years ago I told James I would love to one day do the 200-hour yoga teacher training, but I knew with the expense and time commitment I'd need to wait a while before making that particular dream a reality.

But a year later, and without me knowing, he started saving a painful little extra from his swim school profits every month. And on Christmas Eve this year I opened an envelope of cash, money that had been carefully tucked away every month for twelve months, along with a note to follow my dreams.

And while that money may well go to pay our bills in the short term while the government refuses to pay me for my real job, the ability to one day follow the job of my heart is the most precious and thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. I can't even put into words how much it meant to me. And while I'm currently waging an internal war between feeling stressed and yelling at myself for feeling stressed because we don't need to be stressed yet and other people have it so much more stressful, I'm taking a little break to feel pure gratitude to my thoughtful husband who worked so diligently to help me pursue my passion (and who has wanted to invest in a new swim product idea for the last year and I now realize why he didn't) just as he has said I enable him to pursue his. It'll be a little while before I can work the training into our schedule, but I simply can't wait to be a student again and begin.


  1. The present from James made me literally cry. That’s amazing.

  2. The teacher training present was so thoughtful. Hope you guys continue having a wonderful Christmas season :)

  3. The present made me cry too!! Solidarity - on furlough too!

  4. What an amazing gift!! YTT was one of the most amazing things I ever did. I hope its just as wonderful for you!

  5. I'm crying, too! What an amazing gift! Also, I love that the lamp is lined up over James so that it looks like only the crown of his head is getting a 1960's blowdry.

  6. The teacher certification is something I've always wanted to do. Such a sweet gift!

  7. That is one of the most thoughtful gifts ever - the thought of him saving some money every month makes me completely teary!