Christmas Wrap-up

How was your Christmas? Did you survive? Was it wonderful/stressful/all of the above?

I think this may have been the best Christmas ever for Jack and me. We stretched it out over several days. Anyone else think Christmas should always be a four-day weekend? It was perfect!

We did our little celebration together on the 23rd, then spent the 24th getting doing some last-minute shopping, wrapping presents, and getting ready to host our families. Christmas Eve we had Jack’s daughter and her husband stay with us. They’re vegan, so I had a fun time cooking these yummy stuffed shells for them. Side note: we found out we’re going to be grandparents. (!!!) OK, for me, I’ll just be a step-grandparent, but that still counts! They shared this fun news with everyone over the holiday 🙂

My parents and my sister’s family joined us Christmas afternoon for dunch and presents for my niece and nephew. I put out tons of food from Trader Joe’s, so that kept things much simpler than if I’d cooked. We all hung out and played with the kids. It was nice! That evening, my stepson and his wife came over, along with their best friend. We ordered a Chinese food feast so again, we wouldn’t to cook. This will probably become a tradition 🙂 We did presents with all of them, after which, my stepdaughter and her husband headed home so she could rest (she’s having a rough time with her first trimester). The others spent the night with us, and I will admit that things went way too late for me and got way out of hand. We all enjoyed the hot tub and Jack’s new ping pong table, but I was so ready for bed by midnight. Jack somehow stayed up with them until 3am, god bless him.

The day after Christmas, we cleaned up the mess from the night before. Then I headed over to my parents’ house for yet another Christmas. I made a chocolate pie with my niece while we waited for my brother’s family to arrive – I can’t stress enough how freaking good it was. My mother made lunch for all of us, then we did more gift-giving. 90% of it was for the grandkids, which makes it more fun 🙂

That night, Jack and I were happy to have the house to ourselves. We watched a movie and had some drinks and relaxed. The next day we tried to get up early but slept in til 8:30. After a run, we met Jack’s daughter, her husband, and his son to see the new Star Wars movie. Mixed reviews from the group, but I loved it! We then made it home in time to watch the Falcons beat the no-longer-undefeated Panthers, which sort of made up for Louisville’s two-point loss to Kentucky the day before. Another movie, some hot-tubbing, and we were in bed by 10:00.

So now it’s back to work, for a couple of (chaotic) days. New Year’s Eve is the anniversary of our commitment to each other, so we’re looking forward to another celebration later this week. This one is sort of a milestone – 15 years! I’ve spent a lot of today writing down some of my goals for 2016, what I’d like to work on and what the planning will look like.

Did you have a very Merry Christmas? Are you thinking about your resolutions, or just enjoying the rest of the year?




‘Tis the Season

It’s so almost Christmas, y’all! Of course my workload has been intense, but I feel like maybe (fingers crossed) things are lightening up and I’ll get to enjoy the rest of December. It’s been crazy so far. Jack and I spent a few days in Chicago, eating ALL THE FOOD. We were lucky enough to have great weather – sunny and in the ’50s. I’ll take it! We walked all over and tried to eat at as many great restaurants as possible. The Girl and the Goat absolutely lived up to the hype. If you go, get the cauliflower, or just make it at home. We also ate at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants and got the burger from Au Cheval. Normally when we travel we aren’t such tourists, but since we only had a couple of days, we wanted to hit at least a few of Chicago’s more famous restaurants. And they did not disappoint!

We also got a hot tub! Finally! I cannot even remember how long I’ve wanted our own hot tub. We have rented so many mountain cabins, only to never go hiking and instead spend the weekend in the hot tub. The delivery came at an great time, as we’ve both been dealing with back/neck/hip injuries and this is crazy therapeutic. I know some people hear “hot tub” and think “ew,” but for me, it’s relaxing and comforting and I love that Jack and I just hang out and talk. And maybe have a mimosa 🙂 Much better than vegging out in front of the TV or ignoring each other while we’re on our laptops.

We decorated our new home a little over the top for Christmas. I don’t know how many strands of lights we put up. We also hung ornaments in the bushes, and Jack got a couple of those inflatable things. (Not a fan, but it’s his house too and it’s cute how excited he was about them.) Our TV room is like the coziest room ever. We finally got the fireplace in working condition, and I hung up our new stockings. I even totally dorked out and hung up stockings for the dogs. And did I mention they have their names on them? Barf 😉

We’ve been so busy, meeting our neighbors, doing house projects, exploring our new town, managing my volunteer projects, catching up with old friends, being buried in work. This past weekend was my niece’s 6th birthday party, and this weekend is my Dad’s 73rd, so we’re spending lots of time with family as well. Somehow, we even feel like we’re kind of on top of the Christmas plans too. We sent out our cards and have like 75% of our shopping done. Last year, we took our families to the beach instead of giving gifts, and turns out we really missed gift-giving. Also, this is the first year (in 15 years! crazy!) that Jack’s kids will spend Christmas with us. True, they definitely aren’t kids anymore (they are in their 20s and 30s), but it’s still going to be awesome having everyone spend the night here and be together on Christmas morning. ❤

In other news, my back is doing much better and I’ve been able to do a few short jogs over the past two weeks. I also FINALLY got motivated enough to get back on the diet train, and I’ve lost about 6 pounds so far. Eight more to go – hopefully in the next 5 weeks before we head down to Mexico in late January. So far December has been a much healthier month. I’m eating primarily a vegan diet, and this amazing weather (today’s high is supposed to be 70, with sunny skies) is motivating me to be outside. I’ve done something athletic every day this month but one, and that was the day after we got back from Chicago and I was exhausted and slammed at work.

I’m also continuing to think about my goals for next year and what my resolutions are going to be. So much of what I’m able to accomplish will depend on what my job is like. There are times when it’s 70 hours a week and times when it’s 30. I still haven’t mastered the art of working from home either. I tend to be productive until mid-afternoon, then I hit a wall. In an office setting, I could talk to my co-workers or walk to get coffee or something, but here, I end up playing games on my phone or taking a nap with my computer next to me in bed. Not so good 😦

But for now, I’m going to keep enjoying the holiday season. Jack and I are so damn lucky to have the lives we have, with our families near us, in our cute little house, with our awesome marriage, and with laps full of little dogs. It’s so important to remind ourselves of that when we’re pulling our hair out at work. We are so blessed 🙂

How is your holiday season going? Do you have a love/hate relationship with this time of year? Are you thinking about your goals for 2016, or are you just enjoying what you have right now?