Holiday Recap

I hope you all had a lovely, peaceful, love filled holiday!! Even if you don’t celebrate anything right now, I hope you enjoyed a break of some kind!

On Friday I had the day off, but Mr. Big was working. I busied myself preparing our Christmas Eve Eve turkey dinner (a new tradition I hope to keep!). I also braved the grocery store, thinking everyone would be working and it would be ok, and learned that every single person in the city was ALSO at the grocery store. It took me 3x as long to get what I needed, but I did run into a few people I haven’t seen in a while so I didn’t mind. This is the first time I’ve tried to cook a full turkey dinner completely alone, and I learned two things…

1) It is SO MUCH WORK to do it all on your own, without a single pair of extra hands. I may or may not have caught Chops licking the cooked turkey when I was trying to drain the potatoes and put in the carrots at the same time. (If I DID catch her, and I’m not saying I did, I would have cut that part off the turkey because I put too much effort into that damn bird to waste it!).

2) Cornstarch is thicker than flour. So when using it to thicken gravy, you should use less than you would flour. Mr. Big and I laughed and laughed while we spread our gravy over our potatoes with a butter knife like it was jam… (it still tasted good, though! LOL).

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On Saturday we got up late and made a big, delicious breakfast. That evening we went to the Christmas Eve service, and then drove over an hour to a local area renowned for it’s Christmas light displays. It was totally worth the drive!

On Sunday we woke up early while it was still dark out and drank our coffee in the glow of the Christmas tree. We had the fire on, and Christmas music playing. This is my MOST FAVOURITE time of the day on Christmas, a secret passed onto me by my Mom, who still gets up early to sip her coffee and sit in the glow of the tree. It gives you a beautiful, uncomplicated moment to reflect on Christmas and enjoy the tree before the busyness of Christmas morning arrives. We opened our presents and were spoiled by our loved ones.

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My most favourite time of day on Christmas – early in the morning, with my coffee, before anyone else is up!

 

Mr. Big and I had decided not to buy each other gifts since we recently purchased a new bed, which was meant to be our Christmas gift. Yet, on Christmas morning he surprised me with a Pandora bracelet and charms, and I surprised him with an ice fishing fish finder (more on this story in another post!). It was deliciously uncomplicated, and wonderful. We called his families to say Merry Christmas and thank them for our presents and I threw a pan of cinnamon buns in the over. We ate our buns and clementines, and then got ready to go to my parents house for brunch. After brunch, my sisters and their kids showed up and the crazy began. We opened presents, played games, and ask the boys to slow down or quiet down at least 10000000000000000000000000000000 times. It was wonderful. We had a delicious turkey dinner after (my Dad makes the best turkey), and then relaxed in the glow of the tree while it settled. We were home and snuggling with our furbabies by 7 pm, cuddled on the couch watching Elf.

It was a wonderful Christmas and while my heart ached for the lack of little ones in my life, I am so grateful for all of the wonderful blessings I do have.

And here we are at Tuesday. It never ceases to amaze me how much preparation goes into Christmas, and then how quickly it is all over!

Happy Holidays everyone!

#Microblog Mondays – Christmas Gifts

Mr. Big asked for a gift this year. He almost never asks for anything…but he mentioned that he really wants an Ice fishing Flasher…more specifically, one that costs $500 (gulp). Not that he wants me to spend $500, but that he knows my talent for finding deals and/or used items in mint condition for way cheaper. And you know me, I love a challenge.

It took just over a month, and some mad heckling skills, and the willingness to drive 2.5 hours in a snow storm – but I got it – in mint condition and for a fraction of the price. It is now nestled happily under the tree in a box way too big for it (so he can’t possibly guess).

I’m super excited to give it to him, because I made sure to convince him I really couldn’t find him one and it was just too expensive (I am SO cheap, so he totally buys this), so he will be so surprised. But there is this little niggling thought in the back of my mind that giving a used gift is somehow less special… (which surprises me because I love to thrift shop)… I am not sure where the idea is coming from but it’s there, plugging away at my happiness over finding Mr. Big the perfect present.

Thoughts? Do you ever give pre-loved gifts?

Advice Needed – Christmas Giving

*Family Drama post….you are forewarned!*

How do you buy for someone you don’t really want to buy for anymore, but feel obligated to do it? I’m looking for gift ideas that are not expensive, but still thoughtful and perhaps an easy way of transitioning into not giving gifts at all. Also, ones that ship well would be super since I spend almost as much on shipping as I do on presents.

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Mr. Big and I have big families – three sets of parents, 9 siblings, 5 nieces/nephews, 8 sets of grandparents. Of those, more than half live far away. Buying for them all has become increasingly expensive – so much so that we have not given gifts to each other in almost 5 years during the holidays because our families are so big and expensive.

Of those families, we have very little contact with most of them. We are close with my family, and with Mr. Big’s dad, stepmom and younger brother  – but otherwise, we hardly see or hear from the others (I’ll call them the “Flakey Side”, which includes his Mom and her husband, and their children). Mr. Big and his Dad/Stepmom inform me that that is just how the Flakey side of the family is, but I just cannot understand or be OK with it. They don’t bother to call Mr. Big on his birthday (I’m not sure they even remember), even though he always calls them, and they are flakey about commitment (they constantly plan trips to visit us, and then cancel at the last minute and text a week or two later to say they’re going to Mexico for a week and will call when they get back (and then never call)…). I know some people are just like that, but I just cannot and won’t understand it. I have been very blessed in my family, and Mr. Big’s Dad and Stepmom (who raised him) are truly a blessing for him and probably the only reason he grew up to be such a great man.

Anyway…the one thing that the flakey side of Mr. Big’s family does is Christmas. They don’t do birthdays or anniversaries or weddings or babies – but they always do Christmas. They expect gifts to be bought, and then shipped (which costs as much as the presents), out to them each year – and they do send some things in return. But it’s so expensive and I can’t help but think we’re spending all this money on people who mostly pretend Mr. Big doesn’t exist (unless they need something from him). We used to comply because his brothers were teenagers, but now every one is in their 20s. I feel like it’s time to ease off on the Christmas spending.

In my family, we only give handmade presents to each other (baking, scarves, etc) and spend all our money on the little boys instead. We also go to a Christmas show every year together. I want to swing into that kind of giving with Mr. Big’s side, but it’s hard when they’re all mostly male. #1) they don’t appreciate handmade gifts, and #2) their wish list is always “Money, I need money”…

Any ideas for thoughtful but inexpensive ways to show we’re thinking of them, but not make us poor?? Am I being the cheapest person ever for wanting to cut back?

** I also want to point out – his one brother with two kids is not expected to give gifts (or call to say thank you for his gifts) because he has children and is therefore excused from life. Can’t wait until I am in THAT club!! **

Death – Never Gets Old

I will never adjust to the idea of death (although, I imagine we are not supposed to). Each and every time I learn of the passing of someone in my life, whether it’s expected or not, it is both shocking and sad. The older I get, the older the people in my life get, and the more we hear about the passing of people we love. This is something I never understood, or realized, when I was a kid and dreaming of all the freedom that adulthood would bring. I remember my parents going to funerals, but it never occurred to me that they may have loved the person they are going to say goodbye too. I thought grief was reserved for immediate family, but now – as an adult – I see it comes in many forms and on many levels.

Yesterday I learned of the sudden passing of a woman who I have not seen in 5 years, but who had a very big impact on my younger self. I think of her every so often, and it is always with good feelings towards her. She came into my life at a very delicate time, and she was so kind and generous. Throughout the years she has remained the kindest and most generous person I know – she spent most of her free time and money giving to people in need all over the world. She shared her generosity and inspired others. I am so sad for her family and friends, who should have had many more years with her. I am also sad for the world, who benefited so much from her time here. She truly made a good, solid imprint on the world.

While she was not a close friend or family, she has always and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Monday Musings – Smart Phones

Does anyone else think Smart Phones are getting TOO smart? They’re almost replacing the need for common sense…and they certainly have revolutionized the way we do things. You don’t go a whole work day without talking to your spouse/family, you don’t carry an address book or quarter for the payphone, and reunions are rarely surprises because you’ve seen everything on FB already. Oh, and when was the last time you had to go more than a couple hours wondering about if Penguins have knees? Or whether that lump on your tongue is normal? Or if Bran.gelia is really getting a divorce? Because – let’s be honest – we just goog.le that shit as soon as it pops into our heads.

So recently I had an experience that made me wonder how much my smart phone REALLY knows about me…

I saw a thing on FB that said to type in “This Christmas, I want a …” and select the middle suggestion. I decided to try it, fully thinking it would say puppy or goats or watermelon cake or coffee or Taylor Kin.ney (goo.gle him, it’s worth it) since that is what I am always texting about and I believed it was based on your most texted words.

This is what I got, instead:

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I was torn between surprise, and then sadness and then embarrassment because, really, how awkward if I were to post it and get all the questions (or worse, radio silence). For real, though, I hardly use that word on my cell phone so why did it pick THAT word? There were thousands to select and it picked that ONE word. These random moments where I am having a good time, and then infertility comes up and slaps me in the face still bring me to my knees.

I recovered quickly though, and selected “Dog” instead (because no one will know anyway) and then enjoyed the comments of exasperation from my friends and family that the LAST thing I need for Christmas is a dog since I already have three and a bunch of other pets. (But, for reals, there is no such thing as TOO MANY dogs. There just isn’t.).