Saturday, December 29, 2012

christmas smorgasbord!

i am not someone who prays.  i am reflective, meditative, questioning... a wonderer, but as i have alluded to on this blog before, i am not necessarily in a place where i have a particular tie to a particular religion, and i don't really pray in the traditional sense.  i can, however, get behind the idea of putting my thoughts into words, a plea or a request.  maybe someone is listening.  maybe no one is.  maybe just putting it out there, like in a diary, is helpful in that it allows for an expression of thought and emotion.

today is not a good day.  i think i have the flu.  or had the flu and am trying to fight it.  either way, it was a long and sleepless night on the floor of the bathroom.  i had certain work commitments today that could not be canceled or postponed, so 8:00 a.m. saw me at my desk wearing a red blazer, trying to put on a good face.  i received a decision in a case i recently tried that was not what i or my client wanted.  i feel defeated.  i feel emotionally drained.  i had a doctor's appointment today, and i was instructed to rest and relax to avoid labor progression.  i agree - but R & R is made considerably more difficult when you are a trial lawyer.  a trial lawyer who tried to pack a lot of litigating into the last few months before maternity leave. 

i don't like whining.  i don't like admitting i need to sit down.  i don't like admitting i can't do something, that i lost, or that i am dependent on others.  why is that so hard?  why does it make me feel so out of control and vulnerable to admit that i am not a mountain and that i need others to HELP ME?  i am more than happy to lend an ear or a baked good or baby-sitting services to friends.  i am happy to take care of my husband and pamper him when he's sick (even when i know he's milking it), so why does it seem so incomprehensible that i am just like everyone else

oh god, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change
the courage to change the things i can
and the wisdom to know the difference

like i said, i'm not a prayerful person - but i can get behind the foregoing.  and i'm going to.  i'm going to stop this pity party/whiny rant and reflect on the holidays and advent.  join me, will you?

advent adventures: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

day 23 was kicking off the holiday with family.  we had my sister and my mom over for a little brunch.  i didn't get pictures, but we did try a new french toast casserole that knocked our socks off and was, in my opinion, THE BEST BREAKFAST CASSEROLE RECIPE EVER.  i am not joking.  it was sooo light and fluffy and delicious.  try it!  you won't be sorry!

day 24 required us to do something kind for a stranger.  a little backstory.  last year, in addition to our regular christmas eve festivities, we started a tradition of giving back to others in the community.  everyone was really eager to do that again this year and besides, it was an advent calendar requirement!  this year, my family gathered at our house christmas eve afternoon.  we shared drinks and appetizers, and then everyone wrote down ideas of what they'd like to do for the giving tradition.  when everyone had contributed several options, we read them aloud and decided on the ones we wanted to accomplish.  then, at the bequest of the male members of the family, we had a mini-"draft" to decide who would go with whom to execute the activities.  my mom, sister jess, brother chris, jack and i made up one team, and my dad, john and brothers marty and chris made up the other. 

we spent the next few hours as teams of christmas elves ("ELBES!" as jack would say, after watching disney's prep & landing nearly EVERY DAY for the past month...) spreading a little holiday magic throughout our fair city.  we surprised some waitresses with envelopes full of extra tips, anonymously paid for  pizza orders at dominoes, paid for patron's gas, handed out christmas cheer (the financial kind) to employees laboring away on christmas eve, and paid for the meals of some people at IHOP.  as we continued on our giving adventure that night, it was touching to see my poor college student brothers and sisters adding to the pot with their own hard-earned cash because of the genuine joy they took from giving to others.  i think this tradition is one of the best ways to highlight the whole you get more by giving idea.  everyone was already plotting for next year, or maybe a "christmas in july" edition. 

i don't have pictures of the actual giving, but the warm & fuzzy feelings you get last the whole year, i'll tell you that.  and hearing my big burly hockey player brothers discuss it later is also pretty heartwarming.  my sister remarked that she can't wait until jack can really start participating in the giving... and i feel the same way.  

day 25 - CHRISTMAS - required us to partake in a fueger family favorite - chinese food on christmas day! my mother-in-law (or the father in a christmas story) is the genius behind this little family favorite.  when her boys were little, she decided to cut out the need to make a fancy meal.  afterall, you miss some of those magical christmas moments with your little ones if you're trying to whip up complicated delicacies... so the family always got chinese food (served on christmas china, of course!) to enjoy.  we spent christmas home, just the three of us in our pajama's, and we got chinese take-out for dinner.  it was lovely.  what's better than new toys, crabmeat rangoons and time spent snuggling with your favorite people?  it was blissful.  

so, there you have it - all 25 advent adventures.  i must admit... it's been sad to let go of the daily activities.  we had so much fun opening the envelopes and completing all of them.  maybe a maternity leave adventures calendar is on the horizon?!  

a few other holiday tidbits:

my favorite gift was one received by jack.  my dad gave him one of those books that you can record yourself reading.  it's curious george, and it is SO PRECIOUS.  i tear up everytime i hear it.  i just love the joy jack takes from books.  so heartwarming.

 see that exuberance?  he just realized it's a book!

 during our gift exchange.

 deciding whether to keep his gift or steal another...
lots of hockey hair on that couch!
while i'm bustling around with christmas preparations, my husband keeps things light upstairs.

and the stockings were hung by the tv with care... 
 waiting to go downstairs and see if santa came...
 jack, discovering PEZ for the first time!

 jack's new fire station.  worth the carpal tunnel from putting it together?  i suppose.  he loves it so!

 new robe from santa!

baby bump on christmas!  

so, that was our christmas!  i hope your holiday celebrations have been full of delicious food, precious moments with family and some good old fashioned rest and relaxation!  we're going to take advantage of all the snow today at grandma and grandpa's... have a great weekend!

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