Monday, December 30, 2013

The 2013 Holiday Haze

At this exact moment, I am sitting in silence.
Which is giving me quite the case of culture shock.
Something I'm not quite sure what to do with.

Today is the first day in nine days where we do not have back-to-back holiday festivities.

Nine days.

Nine days of travel, relatives, last-minute shopping, last-minute wrapping, lunch dates, reunions with out-of-town guests, attending parties, hosting parties, gift-exchanging, non.stop.eating {and drinking}, and averaging a 5-hours-past-my-bedtime bedtime.

It's the annual juxtaposition of endless holiday merriment versus the hazy aftermath that leaves you wiped out and in desperate need of a vacation.

Lucky for me, I don't go back to work until Thursday.
Unlucky for Gabe, he went back to work today.
With zero minutes of easing back into the real world.

But this year and all of its lovely, holiday-spiritied chaos was truly the best. This was the year where it all started to count. Where Lyla didn't quite fully understand the magic of the holidays, yet sure got into the present-opening, the doting from dozens of friends and family, and the otherwise-forbidden sugary treats. This year was such a delight as we were able to experience Christmas through a one year old's eyes.

We kicked things off with my very favorite annual tradition that began as a newlywed couple while living in Dallas. We put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving {and not a day sooner}, hooked up the tv right next to the twinkling lights, blew up the air mattress, and watched Christmas movies all night long.

We partook in a few other before-Christmas traditions, one of which was decorating Christmas cookies. In other words, Gabe and I decorated while Chunkin nibbled. She didn't seem to mind the fact that I accidentally doubled the amount of butter the recipe called for in the icing. Then, Chunkin opened her 2nd annual gift of jammies and a new book. I thought this would be a Christmas Eve tradition, but this year, we decided to get wild and do it a few weeks before Christmas so we could actually enjoy those sweet little flannels more than one day of the year. Finally, we rang in Christmas week by taking a "stroll" on the plaza to check out the Christmas lights. I use the term stroll very loosely as we went to one shop, stopped to take a few pictures, and looked at lights for about 3 minutes. It was a damp 7 degrees.

Then we hit the jackpot on Christmas Eve. Well, actually it started a few days prior. I went in to wake up Lyla one morning and noticed an awful stench. I should have known something wasn't quite right when she was sitting in her crib facing the wall and sucking her thumb {like she was embarrassed}. I walked over to find a pool of vomit in her crib. This unfortunate Christmas cheer was rapidly spread throughout the Green household. Sadly, Gabe had it the worst, and on Christmas Eve for that matter. This is the one day, second to Thanksgiving, that he looks forward to most in terms of gluttonous eating as we feast on shrimp, artisan cheeses, mushroom soup, and Char's famous fudge. Poor Gabe just sat there watching, sweating, and turning various shades of green while we indulged. But he also mustered up the strength to take Chunkin and I to Christmas Eve Service, which was accompanied by live nativity animals and a real-life baby Jesus. Unsurprisingly, we only snapped two pictures that evening.

Thankfully, all of our bellies were happy by Christmas morning. I giddily jumped out of bed before the sun came up, put on my favorite Antrho apron, pumped up the holiday tunes, and got to work in the kitchen. But I could hardly contain my excitement when I heard Lyla stirring. So we immediately went in, scooped her up, brought her to the living room, and let the games begin. Santa brought her a Lyla-size table and chairs and some pretty fabulous accessories in her stocking. And of course in true Lyla fashion, she spent about 10 minutes gingerly opening each present, refusing to haphazardly rip into the paper like her mom toddler counterparts. Then the rest of our family joined us for some brunch favorites, including sausage puffs and peach mimosas.

And then of course we had a nap, time with my parents, and some more present opening {also read more attention to give to the only grandchild of an only daughter}. 

Followed by an evening of {you guessed it} eats & treats, gift-exchanging, and chatting by the fireplace with Gabe's sister and brother-in-law. Now although I am hyper-aware of the fact that Christmas is in no way about gifts, I sure do look forward to my sister and brother in law's gifts every  year. They always outdo themselves with their brilliant knitting handiwork {things that put Etsy to shame}. We've gotten scarves, gloves, hats, drink warmers, and our very favorite - last year's sweater and hat set for Ly. This year, two more hats that of course outdid last year's.

After a spirit-filled day with next to no sleep, we put Lyla to bed. Then the evening progressed into much-looked-forward-to adult conversations. I'm pretty sure we spent two and a half hours diagnosing one another's Myers Briggs personality types and identifying our subsequent strengths and weaknesses. An absolute blast if you ask me. Then, for the fifth night in a row, we hit the sheets at about 1:30 {in the a. to the m.}.

Happy we made the decision to stay the night at Gabe's parents, we were able to be part of a very special moment the next morning for my Mother-in-Law. The results came in from a DNA test that all the kiddos pitched in for for her 60th birthday. The test results were to determine her ethnic background, something she's never known as her own mother was adopted. The multiple-page results of charts, maps, and graphs were fascinating, and now Gabe knows that much of his ancestory comes from an island off the coast of Greece.

To celebrate, the boys decided to have a family brew day. {As if they need a reason...but I don't think I've ever seen Gabe so elated}.

Forgive the fact that our garage screams "Clean and Classy"

Now for those saints who are still reading, and just in case that didn't quite exhaust you like it did me, that was only the first half of our holiday. :)

The four days that followed were a blurry, perpetual stream of visitors, social gatherings, and catching up with old friends who live all over the world. Although I feel like I just swam the Aegean Sea, my heart is so full that I'm quite confident it did in fact burst. {But only to make room for more, of course}.

And because we were on a roll with never-ending fun, I did something completely out of character. I went with my long-time bestie and her husband to a two and a half hour movie at 9:45 on a Sunday night. That means it started 45 minutes past my bedtime. And I didn't yawn once!

You only live once - am I right, or am I right?

Thank you, Holidays of 2013. I'm pretty sure you will go down in history as the very best yet.

*This was taken minutes before we unexpectedly had a house full of nearly 40 people. Many of whom I've been friends with for nearly 25 years. Cheers to lifelong friendships!*


MommyMandy Musings said...

Merry Christmas! Also, I LOVE that tan sweater dress! Where did you get it?

Leigh said...

Oh my goodness, you guys had quite the Christmas! Glad to hear that everyone is feeling better too. The pictures of L with all of the bows in her hair kills me with the cuteness!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

It looks and sounds like you had an amazing holiday season! I don't know how you aren't on ten days of best rest following all of that!