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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday wrap-up

So I can say that I made it through the Holidays unscathed. It was touch-and-go there for a bit, as my last post not-so-subtly alluded to, but I had an amazing Christmas. I feel the need to admit that a few things from my “list” got dropped. First of all, the cookie thing just did not happen, I simply never made the time, especially after many days of indulging myself on chocolate and homemade cookies courtesy of others. I still have the ingredients to make my planned cookies, so maybe after all of the chocolate that Santa left in our stockings is gone, I’ll think about doing some work in the kitchen. Baking and sharing sweets with others could actually be a welcome respite from the drudgery that is January/February in Minnesota. (Do we not all agree, the worst months ever? Just more cold to look forward too, the holidays are over, and the snow starts to really feel like an inconvenience rather than all magical and cheery. Plus it means the end of all those wonderfully horrible made-for-TV Christmas movies on ABC Family, Lifetime, and The Hallmark Channel. Did anyone else watch Snow 2: Brain Freeze? Certain to be a classic! [Sarcasm.] )

Also getting back to the items on my list that didn’t actually get done… shhhh, I haven’t really cleaned my house yet. I know, I’m terrible. THIS WEEKEND though, I swear!

Our Christmas involved lots and lots of family time, which I can say is usually both wonderful and exhausting. Dan and I still try super hard each year to give every side of the family equal time, but it can be so trying. Believe it or not we actually hit up two separate celebrations on Christmas Eve, plus church, after both working half the day. I don’t know how this is going to continue to work when we have kids, since it’s barely working now. When we first got married it felt like there was nothing to question; of course we’d just cram it all in because neither of us could imagine not seeing our respective families on Christmas Eve. However every year that we do it, the idea of switching off year-to-year between his family and mine sounds more and more appealing. My Christmas season mantra needs to be, “You can’t make everyone happy.”

Just to make you all realize that I am not kidding with the overwhelming-ness of family commitments over Christmas, this was our schedule for those few days. I MUST reiterate that I am not making this list as a complaint, because I love how awesomely large both of our families are, and I love being able to spend time with everyone. What gets to me is how condensed all of this family time is. It constantly feels like we’re running somewhere new, and not able to enjoy the place we’re in.

Night before Christmas Eve:
8:00 – 2:00 Work/commute (and a sneak-out for a bit at lunch to finish my shopping)
3:30 – 9:00 Dinner and presents at Dan’s parents’ house

Christmas Eve:
8:00 – 1:00 Work/commute
4:30 – 5:30 Church
5:45 – 8:45 Dinner and presents at my aunt’s house
9:00 – 11:00 Presents and dessert at Dan’s grandparents' house (his mom’s side)

Christmas Day:
8:00 – 9:00 Open presents at home with Dan and Bella (& COFFEE!)
10:00 – 3:00 Brunch, presents, games at my parent’s house with my immediate family
3:00 – 8:30 45 minute drive to and from Dan’s aunt’s house for his dad’s family
8:30 – 9:30 Stop by at my grandparent’s house for games
10:00 – 12:00 Crash on the couch watching Love Actually

Sunday after Christmas
12:30 – 2:00 Drive to my aunt and uncle’s place up north
2:00 – 6:30 Football, sleigh ride with real reindeer, dinner, coffee, chit-chat
6:30 – 8:00 Drive home.

After making that list, I feel like I should suck it up and shut up, because that is probably what most people’s holidays look like.

As far as gifts go, the holiday has definitely become less and less about the presents. I still LOVE shopping for presents, and wrapping presents, all of that, but for me, I really have no idea what to tell people when they ask what I’d like. It’s not that I am this great person who does not need material things… no I am all about the material things… total Material Girl. I love clothes, love makeup, love shoes, books, iPods, home d├ęcor… basically I love stuff, and love being given it. I just have no idea how to answer that inevitable question, which of course leads to me telling multiple people the same thing almost every year. This year, it was the small point-and-shoot digital camera. I already have a big honking camera that has an incredible zoom and takes great photos, but it is bulky, a bit confusing for some, and quite simply is tough to use for those long arm self-portraits that we ladies love to do. Anyway, so I asked for said small camera from both my mom and my husband without realizing. Of course they each got me one, and I had to admit this to my mom when I opened her gift. I felt like a total ass.

This is becoming very rambly, so I think I’ll bring it to a close. All-in-all, a great Christmas, but I’ve come out of it on the other side a very very tired girl. Tonight is New Year’s Eve at Liz’s place, and I can’t wait to see all my friends and commiserate over our shared exhaustion. Cheers! Be safe tonight!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

T'is the season... to freak out

Do you ever have those mornings where it feels like your life is just in shambles? Well, that’s a really dramatic way to put it, but lately I just feel like I can’t get my act together and get out the door in a reasonable amount of time. And I know it’s because I am so unorganized at home, I work long hours, get home, make dinner, and just poop out on the couch. It doesn’t help that my house is sooooo cold, that the minute I get home I feel like I need to either get under a blanket or change into long underwear. Anyway, the point is, I am so lazy on weeknights and end up wasting them away, even when there is SO MUCH TO DO! Like right now. Right smack in the middle of the holiday season… there is so much that I just keep putting off, and it really is having a terrible affect on the rest of my life. This morning, a direct result of my laziness with laundry and inability to get out of bed at a reasonable time (and I suppose my unwillingness to forgo my morning run), I missed the first half of a really important meeting. With really important people. People who can make or break my career advancement at this company. I am stupid.

The list of things I have been forgoing each night for a glass of wine and my DVR is a mile long, and I’m going to publish it here in hopes that my acknowledgement of the list will encourage me to tackle it.

1. Christmas cards. I FINALLY ordered photo cards from Costco yesterday. After a month of looking online at cute designs and going back and forth as to which picture of Dan and me over the year to use, I finally just had to go with cheap and fast. They should be ready for pickup today at 4:00. Obviously, step two is to get them in the freaking mail. This will also involve going to the post office for stamps. Damn, I totally forgot about that stupid little errand. I hate the post office and usually prefer to order my stamps online, but of course… procrastination rears its ugly head and we do not have time for that.

2. Finish Christmas shopping. We’re doing ok here, only a few people left. Of course I have a WHOLE separate list for Christmas gifts, but this definitely needs to be included here. Now I’ve sort of got a nice matrix-list thing going on. See List 2 appendix i, column G.

3. Make cookies! I know this could totally be dropped from the list, but the holiday season just is not complete without a few baking-induced arguments in our messy little kitchen. You see, Dan and I are not always the best team when it comes to cooking. I like to boss and obviously my way is always the right way, and he does not like being told what to do. Trust me. We both become horrible versions of ourselves when we try to accomplish anything together in the kitchen. Snide comments, check. Silent treatment, check. Taking it out on our dog who is constantly under-foot causing us to trip all over ourselves, check. And what better way to honor Jesus’s birthday? (Also, I am craving like you wouldn’t believe those candy oatmeal cookies that we made last year, sooo… yea.)

4. Finish gift-wrapping. See List 2 appendix ix, column B.

5. Put away the laundry/shoes that are all over the guest bedroom, our living room, our laundry room, etc. Oh, and the clothes that are just spewed all over the two bedrooms upstairs as a result of multiple outfit crisises (crisi?). Also, organize the thousand pairs of tights I have accumulated that are hanging out of their overstuffed and disheveled dresser drawer.

6. Wash all those clothes that need “special care” that have been hanging in our laundry room for possibly two decades. I have so much cute stuff down there that I haven’t worn in ages because I avoid the laundry room like the plague. That’s Dan’s room, he handles the laundry. However rightfully so, he refuses to deal with any of my clothes that have special instructions.

7. Clean the bathroom, vacuum the first floor, scrub the kitchen, remove dog hair from furniture, make our house look less hobo.

8. Bring grandma’s gifts (for us, which we bought for ourselves) to her house, so she can wrap them. Seems wrong, yes, but I am getting an adorable kelly green peacoat with big black buttons and a round collar that makes me look skinny instead of puffy. And if it saves her a few holiday shopping freak-outs, than everyone is happy I say.

9. Do the grocery shopping for my friend Holly’s holiday party on Sunday. We’re supposed to bring a dish to share, and I’m making this dip. Holy yum. Also, we need to find and wrap two crappy things we have lying around in our house for the white elephant gift exchange they’re doing.

10. My OCD side wants this list to be an even 10 but I can’t think of an actual substantial final item to add to this list. There are thousands of little things that I’m not going to bore the internet with (hasn’t this list already bored (boreded, bore, boren?) you enough?), but those are all going on List 3 of my List Matrix, which I still need to compile from the dozens of post-its littering my office. Got it! The tenth item on this list will be to compile List 3. Genius!

So there you have it. Operation get my life on track has commenced!