Hello, blog peeps. It is I, Carpool Queen, crawling out from under the mounds of boxes and wrapping paper to say it has been a most excellent Christmas season. The last few days have been spent lounging, sleeping, eating chocolate candy for breakfast, and listening to the blissful quiet of kids engaged with new toys.
Except for the bugle.
It’s not so blissfully quiet.
I don’t know what Santa was thinking.
I was a wee bit behind in making the magic happen this year so blogging went to the back burner so Mama could get her act together; today’s Five will hit the highlights of the season (and warm your coffee because this post is epically long).
1. I met Angie and Shannon for a tamale-making morning that was so much fun I’m sure it is to become an annual tradition.
I’m positive many a Central American grandmother never starts the process without a little fortification so I brought fuel for my friends and we chatted and messed up every dish in Angie’s kitchen getting them assembled.
And then we had to wait for an hour while they steamed but we passed the time by making and eating caramel popcorn which was delicious
but I forgot to take a picture of it.
And then we ate the hot tamales and we were happy.
2. We had a big party at our house for all the folks from Craig’s office. It was the first time we’ve had them over to the house since we moved in and I went into OCD mode trying to make everything just so because nothing brings out my neuroses like hosting a shindig. And it was oh, so relaxing to get everything company ready while the entire contents of my bedroom closet were scattered in several rooms while the ceiling was being repaired. Of course, while the repairman was here, I decided to shelve out the hall coat closet for extra storage space and that meant that everything I’d crammed in there was on the dining room table and the kitchen bar and so I did my party prep in about one square foot of available counter space and prayed they’d be done by the time everyone showed up.
The pantry closet was finished in time (hallelujah!) so I was able to clear the counters but the bedroom wasn’t so I chunked all the clothes we had draped over every available couch onto our bed at the last minute before the guests showed and just shut the door and no one was the wiser.
The party was great fun and I was happy with how the food turned out with the one exception of the Brie that didn’t stay contained while it baked and it flowed all over the pan and therefore didn’t look very pretty but we just rolled with it because what are you going to do? and when it was all over Craig said “Let’s do this again next year!” so I’m already on the lookout for new appetizer recipes to test.
3. Christmas Eve was my 43rd birthday and it was a most special celebration. Craig took me out for an early birthday dinner date and he made the mistake of letting me pick the restaurant and the second I got a gleam in my eye, he shook his head because he knew where we were going.
Oh, yes, I did.
I’ve been asking him for SIXTEEN YEARS to take me to the cafeteria and he has resisted me all the way. Dug his heels in. Moaned. Groaned. Rolled his eyes. Honestly, the drama. All day long he kept throwing out alternative ideas for our dinner – fancy places, the hole in the wall Salvadoran place, the Indian place, the Thai joint he hates - he was getting desperate. But I stood my ground and off we went.
That’s the look of resignation.
We were the youngest ones there by a long shot and had a little giggle at the thought of this being us in thirty years.
Craig made it past the jello aisle (filler! filler!) but I had to grab some Watergate salad because my love for fluff knows no end and we were sufficiently loaded down by the time we got to the end of the line.
And I was happy and Craig had to eat his words because the food was all that and a slice of pie and he said we could go back any time.
On my actual birthday, we celebrated in similar lowbrow fashion by heading out to Waffle House for breakfast where my menu selection never changes – I always get the cheesy eggs and raisin toast and add a side of hash browns, scattered and smothered, extra crispy, please, and Craig usually orders the cheeseburger plate, regardless of the time of day or meal.
Tommy and JJ took advantage of the fact that they were sitting alone and out of earshot and ordered the voraciously hungry teenager plates.
Travis ordered the waffle and eggs and then proceeded to eat all of that plus everything else on my plate.
Then we came home and opened presents and I got the sweetest card from the boys that came with some comfy new yoga pants (because all that candy and tamales has to be contained somehow) and my husband waited until I was good and emotional over the notes they wrote in the card before presenting me with his gift which was tickets to go home to see my family ALONE in a couple of weeks.
And you cannot imagine the tears that I cried at how sweet a gift that was because I have been missing my family something fierce over the holidays and I think he knew I needed a little time with them to recharge the batteries and I love him all the more for such a thoughtful surprise.
4. The boys were old enough to serve at our church’s Love Feast on Christmas Eve. It was their job to hand out the napkins, cinnamon buns, and warm cider to all the parishioners and I was so proud of what a great job they did. They were polite and respectful and
I think didn’t spill anything on anybody seemed to enjoy finally being part of the older crew that they’ve looked up to for many years.
5. For the second year in a row, we woke up before the kids did on Christmas morning. I have to say, I do enjoy no longer getting up at 4:30 in the morning and Craig and I had time to sip a cup of coffee and enjoy the tree lights before they came rolling downstairs.
JJ read the Christmas story for us (no – he didn’t get an iPad – that’s where my Bible is kept these days) and then the unwrapping and the cinnamon roll eating began. It was a sweet day of family time with the boys shooting each other with their fresh arsenal of Nerf weaponry and I was happy to see everyone else happy.
Even if it means that today I’m Windexing suction dart marks of the front door windows.
I hope your holidays were equally delightful.
Have a nice day.