We had an excellent Christmas. Hope you did, too, for those who celebrate it. I hope everyone enjoyed their time off! I know I sure did. I didn't feel like I was really ready, but Christmas seemed to come anyway! LOL I never got a single sweet dessert or snack baked, but we somehow muddled through just fine without them. (That's not to say we didn't have sweets, they just weren't homemade). We also had to get "emergency stockings" this year, since the banner we've used the past few years succumbed to tragedy sometime during this past year (and if I find out which cat did it, they may not see next Christmas!!). Still, not bad, even if it did take 5 different Target stores to get the 6 letters we needed. I also think my snowman wreath turned out super cute (thank you, Pinterest!).
The halls were as decked as they were going to get, so let's get this show on the road. Family started rolling in Friday night. Mom and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday either cooking meals or shopping, since neither of us had much in the way of gifts for my husband. I have one of the rare men in my life who actually *likes* ties, and he hadn't had many new ones in the last couple of years, so we got several new shirt-and-tie pairings for him. One tie, however, proved particularly elusive. We had a gorgeous store brand shirt, but that store had zero ties that matched it. Took another 3 or 4 stores (I've lost count now) to find a suitable candidate, but we eventually managed. (It also means I need to create a new shirt/tie/pants matrix for him. Why are you laughing?)
Saturday afternoon, we received a call from my grandfather's care facility that he had an upper respiratory infection and asking if my parents were willing to pay for one of the medications that was not covered by his insurance. They authorized the purchase, and we thought that was our "hiccup" for the holiday (there always seems to be one when they are out of town for more than a day or two), but we were not so fortunate. They called again Sunday evening to say that he was not eating or drinking, nor was he improving on the meds. Did they want us to send him to the hospital for fluids and assessment, since the flu was going around (which antibiotics would not help, since the flu is a virus)? The problem is that he cannot be left alone in the hospital, or he will rip out his IVs. He's not doing it to be mean, he just can't remember from one minute to the next what they are for or why they are there, so his first instinct is to pull them out. If you are not seriously watching him every minute (or tuned into listen for the sounds of him picking at the tape while you are trying to sleep, a skill my father has unfortunately acquired in the last few years), then he either has to be sedated or restrained, neither of which is good for him at his age and in his condition. My parents decided to send him to the hospital and see what the doctor said, and my father got going on the 6 hour trip back down south. We agreed he would stop 1-2 hours down the road and call to see what the doctor's assessment showed and determine next steps. Pa-Paw's chest x-ray was clear, and his flu test was negative, so they sent him back to his care facility. That was the best outcome we could hope for at this point. It was late, and Dad was a couple of hours away by then, so he just stayed the night at a hotel and headed back to Atlanta Monday morning.
It was a race to see who would arrive first on Christmas Eve, my father or my brother. Mom and I did our traditional trip to the DeKalb Farmer's Market while we waited. I think Jacob beat Dad by about 15 minutes! Mom and I had lunch well on the way by then, so we sat down to eat within 30 minutes of their arrival. Then I took Mom and Jacob to Trader Joe's for the first time, and we spent a whole bunch of money! I'd say we were about 50/50 with our choices for what was really good and what was not so much. Nothing was inedible, but a few things were (or will be) tossed without finishing them off. There were some really good selections, though. The major winners were the frozen Chicken Pot Pie bites, the cookie butter (similar to Biscoff spread; still working on the perfect thing to eat it on/with, besides a spoon! LOL), the vanilla mini cupcakes (Luke really liked those), and the chocolate covered raisins. And even though we didn't buy any, I will recommend the Peppermint Jo-Jo's (store brand Oreos). We received a free sample, and they tasted *just* like a Girl Scout Thin Mint! The texture was wrong due to the creamy filling, but the flavor was spot on. However, far and away THE find of the weekend was the Kirkland brand Milk Chocolate Almond Toffee (from Costco), better than anything we tried from Trader Joe's. It is crunchy but not hard, crisp and flaky but not sticky, and just the right balance of sweet chocolate and salt from the butter (I find some toffee far too sweet to counter the chocolate, but this was perfect). YUMMY!!!
Luke had been given strict instructions not to get up before 7 AM Christmas morning. At 6:59, he walked into the den (his clock is a minute or two fast). We spent the next 3 hours opening gifts, which is about par for the course. (Anyone else remember when he was shorter than our small tree? ::sigh:: I mean, I know he's about a foot or so closer to the camera than the tree is, but still. And those pajamas make him look WAY too grown up.)
It takes a while for 6 people to take turns and ooo and aah appropriately over everything, plus there were a couple of breaks to check on the traditional breakfast Christmas Cake.
Some of the highlights for me were a beautiful new Pashmina, some great nail polish, Star Trek Next Gen Season 2 on Blu-ray, and a matching set of "nesting doll" kitchen items (measuring cups, measuring spoons, storage containers, timer, and salt and pepper shaker; all completely adorable!). And this beautiful glass tealight holder.
Mom and Jacob sure seemed to enjoy the ornaments that Luke made for them. He put on 100% of the blue sequins on Jacob's ornament (I added the snowflakes and ribbon), and he did over 80% of Mom's, but we just ran out of time, so I finished it for him. I think they turned out really well!!
DH got a slew of new shirts and ties, several DVDs (Big Bang Theory seasons 1-5, Ken Burns Baseball documentary series, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and maybe 1-2 others), and he now has the complete collection of stuffed Star Wars Angry Birds. (Luke also got a Luke bird, and I got a Han bird.)
Luke, of course, racked up with Skylanders Giants and Legendaries, plus some Skylanders Megabloks, a Pokemon 3DS game, the Beyblades he has been
We ate our traditional Christmas spaghetti lunch (had already cooked the meat, so just threw it in the crock pot that morning), napped while Luke watched Tron Legacy (one of his gifts) all the way through for the first time, and nibbled on leftovers the rest of the day. We finished off the evening with a few hands of canasta after Luke went to bed, without ever having gotten out of our pajamas. Sounds like a perfect Christmas to me!
Wishing you all the happiest and healthiest of new years!!!
Currently feeling: full of the Christmas spirit