Friday, December 20, 2019

The Week Before Christmas

Hello there!

The weekend before the weekend before Christmas was a fun and busy one! So busy that Cora had a meltdown at a party, which left me so surprised/stressed/flabbergasted that I had a meltdown, that made Dan have a meltdown, that made us get in a fight, that made Ina write a prayer request for her parents to stop fighting, that led us all to take a step back for the next few days, quite possibly the next few years. But we aren't going to dwell on that here, because there are other, good things to talk about that are easier to say right now. Writing about self reflection and life adjusting are for 2020 Racheal. She can handle it.


(PJ Day at school!)

The weekend started with my aunt, uncle, and cousins arriving from Texas on Thursday night. They made a grand entrance with many gifts, which the girls promptly surrounded themselves with for the next 48 hours. At one point Mira was sitting on one, with her feet propped up on another. Then she made a ring of stuffed animals and firmly told them they could NOT open their presents.


Friday night they kept the girls and took Ina to basketball practice while Dan and I went to my part time job's Christmas party.


My friend Chessa and I have the same part time job, which of course made the Christmas party extra fun. My only regret was not getting a picture of Dan, who chose to wear a flamingo shirt and shorts to this otherwise business-ish party. I am sure it won't be too hard for you to picture that.

Saturday morning I woke up to make cinnamon rolls and drink coffee with my aunt, which will always be one of my favorite things.

We then watched the girls open presents and gave my family their presents. They immediately changed into their very adorable new clothes.



Mira was particularly enthralled with her Moana figurines and Elsa and Ana dolls. I don't think she could have been more pleased. Ina played with her Legos and art set all weekend. Cora has not put her baby Marie down. (When we were on the cruise, Cora agonized over which baby Disney stuffed animal she should pick with her allotted spending money- Lady or Marie. She stood there forever, holding both of them and not wanting to leave the store with just one, but finally decided on Lady. Imagine her surprise when my cousin Ashley sent her Marie for Christmas. She literally squealed, "Its Marie! Now her and Lady can be together again!")

After we were full of presents, cinnamon rolls, and then pizza that Dan ordered, we headed to my brother and sister-in-law's house to celebrate my nephew's birthday with ice cream and cake. The kids loved playing with their cousins and I sat down and talked to my sister for a few hours.

Looking back, it probably wasn't the best idea to take my highly sugared and low on sleep children to a very fancy and full Christmas party that our dear friends were throwing.

But we did, and things went downhill fast and hit rock bottom when I tried to get a family picture. But not before Cora answered the door to Santa and Mrs. Claus.



We regrouped by watching (and thoroughly enjoying) The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. 

Sunday morning the snow started and didn't stop until dark, but we didn't let that spoil our plans! Ina went to "big church" with us to watch her little sisters sing and then a few good friends get baptized!


Then we drove to The Champs house for chili and a sock gift exchange.





School was snowed out on Monday and Tuesday, but work was not, so the girls went to Nonnie's house while I worked from home. I realize how blessed I am that both options are available to me and am reminded of how thankful I am for my current place in life.



After work, the snow called for lots of round of snow fights, snow angels, and a less than enthusiastic attempt at snowman building before we gave up and went inside for hot chocolate, which Mira calls, "chocolate coffee tea."


Wednesday was Ina's dance team Christmas party, where she exchanged presents with her dance buddies. One of the teachers told me that she wished she could watch Ina open presents all day long because she has the best and most enthusiastic reactions to every single one.


Today was my last day of work for this year and I have a mostly fun and stress free few weeks ahead.

On the fun schedule:
- Helping some friends move
- Celebrating Chessa's birthday
-Meeting a dear friend for coffee
-Going to Grandma Frankie's house for Christmas Eve
- Going to my sister's house for Christmas.

On the to-do list:
- Wrap presents. Like, all of them.
- Buy stocking stuffers. Why do I always put this off until the last minute?
- Purge the toy room.
- Organize my office to pave the way for a successful 2020!

Recipes to share:

The best cinnamon rolls we made last week would be great for Christmas morning.

Curried Cabbage (added ground beef and it was delicious)


That chicken - with the hash and added roasted sweet potatoes. Make this now. Trust me, you need some kale in your life this week. Expect to see this every other week for most of 2020.

Easy cranberry margaritas. I am going to go ahead and say, you're welcome.

Just in case you were wondering what I am bringing for my Christmas contributions:

Cuban sandwiches (just go ahead and make the rolls too...you won't regret it)

My (and the internet's) favorite salted shortbread chocolate chunk cookies

Marinated cheese (trying a new recipe)

...and my favorite kale salad - using 1/2 kale, 1/2 lettuce, Parmesan cheese, roasted garbonzo beans using this method, and this Cesar dressing. The best.

I hope you have a ridiculously Merry Christmas!

xxoo

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