Monday, December 19, 2011

In the Spirit of Christmas

Can you believe that Christmas is in just a few days?? Last night, lying in bed, I realized that a week from then would be Christmas night - all the presents would be open, Christmas Eve dinner would be eaten (except for some leftover, hopefully), and it would be another year until Christmas Day again. This month has gone by so quickly, and yet I'm feeling more Christmas spirit than I have in many years.

One reason may be due to having finished my Christmas shopping weeks ago. Steve and I knew that we wouldn't have much time together to do Christmas shopping until after we needed to deliver the presents to their intended receivers, so the weekend before Thanksgiving, we cranked out most of our shopping for our family members - including four people's birthdays! During the next couple weeks, we both finished shopping for each other and managed to wrap all the presents! It's kind of hard to get the presents for people so far in advance because I'm not patient about giving them - I want them to open the presents immediately because I'm so excited! However, it's been heavenly not having to worry about what to buy people and to not have to mess with the stores (too much) and the people milling inside. It's a weight off our shoulders, making my spirits so much lighter!

A bigger part of my Christmas spirit is due to last week. My husband took last week off, so we were able to spend a lot of time together, choosing to do some very Christmas-y activities. Here's a quick run-down of our fun, with pictures when available (not as much as I would have liked).

December 9-11: We drove to Cedar City for my youngest brother's wedding. Technically not "Christmas" but the decorations had a slight Christmas feel and their colors were red, white, and black. Everything was beautiful and what says Christmas more than love? It was great to see my brother marry such a lovely woman, to welcome two great little kids into my heart, to spend time with all my family, and to be reminded of the vows I made to my wonderful husband and to have the love I feel for him strengthened in many small and great ways.

Monday, December 12: Drove home after taking a quick trip to St. George to see my WLS surgeon. All is well and he is so thrilled that I'm doing so well. Me too, doc! When we got home, we curled up on the couch and watched a couple Christmas TV specials that we had recorded, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", and "A Charlie Brown Christmas Special". I love both shows, but I have a special place in my heart for the latter - it really touches me.

Tuesday, December 13: We cleaned all morning, and I mean cleaned! We had been so busy (and sick) lately that our house was not looking too well. Not only did we do the standard cleaning, but we also did some of the nitpicky things that don't get done as often like cleaning base boards and window sills. I had been a little grumpy at the start of the day but when we finished cleaning, my spirit felt refreshed. It really is true that a clean house helps one's least it does mine. Having a clean house helped our very few but precious Christmas decorations and lovely tree really shine. That night, we watched "White Christmas", yet another classic Christmas movie that makes me very happy. Steve hadn't seen it for ages and was amused that I could quote it (but didn't too often to be annoying) and could sing along to all the songs (see last parenthetical note). Is there any greater Christmas movie moment than when the back of the stage opens up to the beautiful snowy Vermont scene while Bing and company sing White Christmas? I get chills every time I watch it.

I love our tree!

Wednesday, December 14: Steve and I went to see the new movie "Arthur Christmas". I knew it had received great reviews, but so had "The Muppets". I really enjoyed "The Muppets" (in large part because I was watching it with many family members, including nieces and nephews) but I didn't LOVE it, just liked it a lot. So, I was skeptical about "Arthur Christmas", really really skeptical. In fact, I had wanted to see "The Descendants" but the time schedule was better for "Arthur Christmas" and it's Christmas time and all, so we went to see it. I LOVED it! I laughed, I teared up, I got excited and anxious, and I felt Christmas. This is a movie I would like to own and watch every year with my own kids, if I ever have any, or with my nieces and nephews if I don't.

Thursday, December 15: At the beginning of the week, while watching tv, we saw a commercial for The Nutcracker. I said, "Oh how fun! I haven't seen that in years and years!" Next thing I know, Steve, my wonderful husband who doesn't love ballet/opera/fancyschmancyplays/etc., had bought us two tickets! So, this evening I put on my second-fanciest dress (having left my new dress for Kevin's wedding in Cedar, frustrating!), glammed up as much as I'm capable of being, and headed off with a very handsome husband to the ballet. I loved walking into Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake, watching the people mill about - especially the little girls who were loving being dressed up almost as much as me, and enjoying my overpriced mint chocolates and chocolate covered raspberries that my husband spoiled me with. The ballet was wonderful! I love the music, the story, the dancing, and especially the costumes. Time flew by, and even Steve enjoyed it more than he thought he would (though he wouldn't use "enjoy" to save his life).

Me before "The Nutcracker".
Not the best picture, but it was the best I could do.

Friday, December 16: Realizing that our budget was pretty much shot this month but still trying to be somewhat fiscally responsible, we decided to have a money-free date night. We ate a lovely homemade dinner of Swedish meatballs (first time every making them!), and then went to the Christmas Village in Ogden. It's one of our family traditions - second year! - and one I really enjoy. This year wasn't nearly as cold as last year, but it was still really nippy! I love the lights all around the park, the trees dressed in different colors, the houses with beautiful, whimsical scenes, and all the people and kids to provide great watching opportunities. I love walking around hand-in-hand with Steve. Back at home, we drank hot chocolate while bundled up on the couch, snuggled together, watching "Scrooged". What a funny, irreverent, heart-warming movie! I hadn't seen it before last year when Steve introduced it to me. It's another family tradition.

Saturday, December 17: We found out that Steve ended up having to work a few hours this day, right during the time we had planned to go to Salt Lake to see some of my family, go ice skating, and see the lights on Temple Square. Instead, my wonderful family came up to our house so that Steve could still be apart of our day together, though missing a few hours of it. It was my wonderful mom's birthday, so before they arrived, Steve and I bought a cake and some decorations and had everything ready for when Mom walked through the door. It was fun to see her surprise and happiness with the decorations (I forgot to take a picture at the time, but below is a incomplete re-creation).

There was also a German Chocolate cake and a few presents. It was fun!

We had lunch, she opened her presents, we played some games, Steve left for work, Cassie came, we did a little shopping at Hobby Lobby (love it!), then we bundled up and headed to the Christmas Village in Ogden. We started with Santa. Robbie was really excited to see him, and we thought it best to wait in line before it got too cold (it was already dark). I was impressed with how well Robbie did with Santa. Some kids end up getting scared, but not him. He said "Hi Santa!", climbed up on his lap, told Santa what he wants for Christmas, and then wished Santa a "Merry Christmas!". It was so cute! Then, because I'm a big kid at heart and wanted a candy cane that I hadn't stolen (yes, I stole a couple candy canes - I gave one to my mom), I sat on Santa's lap. I asked for another dog, a greyhound. I haven't decided for sure that I want another greyhound (though we're pretty sure we're going to get another dog next Spring), but it was all I could think of with such short notice.

Look at my cutie-patootie nephew! And isn't this a great-looking Santa?!

Dear Santa, please see my last blog post to see what I want for Christmas.

After Santa, we rode the little train in the middle of the Christmas village. It was only 50 cents per person and adults could ride it too (it was a really small train!). Being a kid at heart, I loved it! So did Robbie, who was the real reason we rode the train. I wish we had pictures of this! Oh well. We walked around the village, and I really got a kick out of how interested Robbie was in all the houses and their inner scenes. I thought he wouldn't be because he couldn't go inside, but he loved looking at them. He's such a cutie! Even though this was my second time seeing it in as many days, it was a different experience with my family. It was a lot of fun! I just with all my brothers and their families could have been there.

If you look closely, you can see Robbie at the igloo's door.

Cassie and Mom standing with a really big moose.

When we all got too cold, we headed to a nearby Italian restaurant. Luckily, Steve got off work a little early and was able to meet us there before we got seated. I was so happy to see him! Everyone parted ways after dinner, so Steve and I headed home alone. Again, we cuddled on the couch with mugs of hot chocolate and watched tv (we're loving season 1 of Raising Hope).

Sunday, December 18: Nothing. We didn't do a darn thing! I didn't even leave the house! (Steve was sweet enough to take the dog for her walks by himself so I wouldn't have to go out in the cold.) I read and read and read. It felt wonderful. I couldn't be this lazy every day, but after a few weeks of being busy (and sick), it was nice to be this lazy one day.

It was a really wonderful week with lots of Christmas fun, family, and spending time with Steve. This week he's back at work, so it will be less exciting, but I'm really looking forward to this weekend. We have some fun things planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (opening presents!!!).

I hope that you're all getting into the spirit of Christmas, that you're able to spend time with the marvelous people in your lives, and that with all the hustle and bustle of the season you're still able to feel the true meaning of the holiday...the perfect love of our Father and His Son and the hope and peace that this love brings to all of our lives.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Billy said...

How fun! Hope you continue with your Merry Christmas! Love ya, Billy

Framed said...

Great post. Stacey, Jordan and I watched White Christmas last weekend also. My teary-eyed moment is always when the general walks in and everyone stands at attention. (sniff).

Cassie said...

Man I haven't really watched any classic Christmas movies this year. Just a couple of those ION tv ones. It was so much fun hanging out with your family. Thanks for letting me join in. I'm excited to see you tomorrow night!!

Anonymous said...

Yea! Pictures! Fun!! And thanks for sharing about your holiday adventures.

I think Christmas is sneaking up on me. I mean, I've done some Christmas-y stuff here and there, and I've decorated, and such, but I think I'm waiting for time off from work before I really get into it! :)

Cardine said...

This was a quality post! I almost feel like I've celebrated Christmas with you!