My Holiday Cheer Needs a Brighter Bulb

This is the time of the year, I panic.

Not only do I have zero Christmas gifts, but I have zero ideas.

Then there is the sheer exhaustion from working until six in the evening ,taking the commute home, and eating dinner. By the time I could go out, it’s later, colder, and darker. I don’t wanna.

Period.

On the weekends, I have more time. BUT, there are more crowds. Me + crowds = run, run far away.

Then there is the alternative. Surfing the web. I’m no good at shopping online. There are just too many choices.

And this whole vicious circle leads me to be depressed.

I get depressed, and all the sudden, I don’t like anything about myself. The way I look, what I write, the photos I take, my decisions, my actions…..etc, etc, etc. The list is long, and it’s ugly.

It is sooo silly. I know this.

And I am missing the whole point of Christmas, and the incredible gift that it is. The holy, and the beautiful.

Which makes me MORE depressed, because well, I must be a bad person to get depressed at Christmas.

!!!

So I stop the madness, and I appreciate the small things.

My amazing husband put up the Christmas tree. It is in a spot that I love because I can see the lights reflecting in every glass I walk by. From the living room to the kitchen to the back door to the front door – little twinkling lights in every window surface.

I love that.

He, also, hung with care our engagement ornament my sister made us. It has the date we got engaged.

What happy memories it brings….of our engagement….of our moment.

December 18, 2009

Every ornament tells a story.

I love that.

And I do love Christmas.

I just need to drop the stress, stop the worry, and embrace the love that surrounds us.

A little brighter bulb won’t hurt either.

How do you handle the holidays?

The Not So Nuclear Family’s Christmas Tradition

A new family tradition was born this past weekend in a very simple situational formula. Because if you take a nuclear family, split the Adam (and Eve), blend, divide, and add a little sugar and sprinkles. You would have our “new” family tradition.

Baking cookies with the ex-wife, all the girls, cousins, and some of the in-laws (or ex-in-laws depending on who you are) including mom-in-law fresh out of the hospital.

It started with a suggestion by Jason’s ex-wife; aka, the girls mom, to begin (try) a new family tradition at Christmas. A baking tradition. I was open to it.

Why?

Well, the cookies of course the kids of course.

Actually, the cousins are very close and it would be nice to gather and bake (or man the oven if you don’t bake-just sayin’) while everyone has fun doing their thing (like the oven) (or taking pictures). Hey, I am not a baker. I am a burner. I am shocked I was in charge of the oven. More shocked that I could work the ovens. Ahem. Only one parchment paper got singed in the making of these cookies. Heh.

The cookies – all three? four? five? dozen(s) – turned out YUM-a-licious. Thanks to the baking and rolling and stirring skills of others. My reward for loaning my kitchen and hosting the Olympic cookie baking event. COOKIES. Yeah!!

I missed a lot of stuff growing up when my mom and dad divorced; like baking cookies with cousins on my dad’s side. I, also, gained a lot by celebrating holidays with my sister and brother’s grandma and dad, who were not blood related to me, but accepted the new extended family (me and my brother from my mom’s second marriage) with open arms.

Maybe, I have taken the best and worst of divorce from my life as a child to help formulate this new branch of togetherness. I like “new” traditions. I like being open to change. To advance and grow as families just as the world changes, advances, and grows.

Blended. Mixed. Extended. Kindred. We are all in this together…..for life! I don’t think it ends at eighteen. These children graduate from college, marry, and have children of their own. It goes on and on. Might as well make the best of it. We can make the best of it.

Salem, Brownie, and Anna dressed and ready to par-tay.

Once every guest was greeted with raised paws and a nose in the proper place. The furry welcoming committee was sent out of the kitchen. Well, except for one fur friend who found a pretty sweet spot in Grandma’s wheelchair and did not MOVE for hours.

Meet Brownie, the cuddle buddy, renamed BrownieSue.

Syd and Aunt Tricia making magic happen.
The makings of a great tradition
A little black & white editing fun.
Yum!
The New Nuclear Family of Today.
I never said NORMAL. Look closely there are issues. HA.

After the chaos of atom bomb sprinkle explosions and gel icing shots. The hazemat team cleared the kitchen. The dogs undressed (some of them). All was quiet. We had the remains of DOZENS of cookies, a grandma and her grand dog still on her lap. A four-year old with her extended/blended/kindred family pet.

Sue and BrownieSue

Cookie bake until you drop, then crawl.

All parties have deemed this day tradition worthy and we can’t wait for next year.

Well…maybe Salem can wait. She looks pretty patient.

What you do think? Should we redefine family relationships? Or let it alone?

Our Participation: The Levity Project

First let me explain where this idea comes from. It comes from Katie of THE LEVITY PROJECT.

Here is what her post said,

On November 7th, at 12:00 CT, will you laugh in a public place with us? Grab a friend, your iPOD, a good book and sit somewhere in a public place and laugh for 5 minutes. Just start by saying “Ha Ha Ha” or humming ha ha ha to yourself. Then keep getting louder and louder. I like to envision a bubble of laughter in my belly and chuckle quietly as I imagine it rising up in me through my chest, throat and out through my mouth. By the time it escapes my mouth, I let out a big laugh in celebration. Do this for 5 minutes (it will feel like a workout!).

That is all I am asking you to do. Go somewhere in public and laugh. And then, watch what happens around you. Sure, there will be the people that look at you oddly and like you may have a problem. But there will also be the people that look you in the eyes and start to smile. And even the few that start to laugh with you. After 5 minutes, notice how you feel. Do you feel a little lighter? Do you feel a like the outlook for the day is brighter? Enjoy making the ripple effect in the world around you.

Katie- The Levity Project

I thought this was a great idea and decided to take part. The more laughter the better. I recruited my daughter Sydney to laugh with me, trust me, she has the BEST laugh. Since this was decided last minute, my other recruits did not have the ability to join us. I’m sure they will want to have some WICKED fun with us next time.

I decided to go to The Parks Mall in Arlington. It’s probably the most crowded place I know. Jason opted to film the event. Thank goodness too! His height and steady hand was spectacular!

I have to admit, you feel a bit like a mad hatter, walking around laughing your head off. But it’s also very freeing. Just let go, laugh, and have a ball.

Without further ado, here is how it turned out.

Angelia: I think it turned out great! We had a lot of funny looks but some people smiled and waved.

Sydney: It was great seeing their faces. They couldn’t figure out what we were doing.

Angelia: I think my favorite part was knowing I was participating in an event going on in other parts of United States. We were all spreading laughter together.

Sydney: My favorite part was Santa waving and pointing – I mean smiling.

Angelia: I will definitely do it again. Maybe wear a smiley face shirt, hold a sign, or wear a silly hat. It was great fun!

Sydney: I’ll do it again, just to see everyone’s surprise. I wonder what we will come up with next, and if the cops will shut us down again. HA!

 

Carry laughter with you wherever you go. ~Hugh Sidey