Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All is calm, all is bright

Ah, Christmas.  I feel like I'm still basking in the gloriousness of the holiday.  It was a fantastic week, weekend, and day.  And I think that I'm upgrading the week between Christmas and New Year's to one of my favorite weeks of the year.  I love the time to relax after all the hustle and bustle and reflect over the last year.  What a great chance to start things out refreshed and ready to tackle new goals.   But first, let's talk some more about Christmas.

I have to admit, in the days leading up to December 25th there was a little too much hustle and bustle for me.  I don't know if it's my overly emotional state (i.e. I cried at Home Alone and Elf), our tendency to pack too much in to too little time (i.e. morning shopping trip with sister, movie with the family, and Zoolights all in the same day), my diet of fruitcake and bonbons, or the fact that we're doing all of this with a teething, napping, generally high needs little one who has gone to sleep in a pack-n-play or carseat every night for the last week. . . but my whelmage meter was definitely verging on brink of meltdown around Friday night.  Poor Joey had to deal with this very emotional woman who finally reached her limit when the one thing I couldn't handle was plugging my phone into the charger before crashing into bed.  Thankfully, I woke up the next morning further away from the ledge.  The turning point was the message on the front of the cards we delivered to our neighbors with their plates of cookies, "All is calm, all is bright."  It turned out to be a nice little mantra for me over the next 48 hours.  Not only did it remind me to take a deep breath, but it reminded me that the hustle and bustle is supposed to be part of the celebration of "the dawn of redeeming grace." And our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day turned out to be fairly low key and very enjoyable.

Here are some Christmas 2011 highlights:

-Yes, we delivered cookies to our neighbors (as required by the list).  Granted, it wasn't quite the overture I had planned.  I scaled it back from delivering to all 16 houses on our street to just our immediate neighbors.  I whipped up nutmeg logs, no bake cookies, earl grey tea cookies, and some chocolate chips Saturday morning and had them all delivered by 1:00.  It was very fun and I think we'll make it a tradition.
Mid baking break time cuddles.

- Although there wasn't nearly enough snow, we had a fun three days at the cabin with sister Sarah, Padraig and Craig.  Since Sarah and Craig both work the school calendar, it was nice to get some time away with them.

Leavenworth at Christmas? Yes please!
- Zoolights.  Definitely an idea we'll revisit in the future.  Definitely an idea that needed better planning.  With three separate vehicles, two running late (Craig was heading to Enchanted Lights), one tired baby, one toddler that wants OUT of the stroller, one starving pregnant woman, and a whole lot of searching for our group in the dark, we were not set up for success.  It was still fun.

Yaya, Nono and Paddy.

- I love our church's Christmas Eve service: the lighting of the last advent candle, the jubilant singing of carols, the candlelit singing of Silent Night.  It's really lovely, just the right amount of tradition, Truth, and beauty.  

Family Christmas pic.  And yes, I AM wearing leggings and I LOVE them now!

Precious father daughter moments.

Yes, she's missing a shoe.  I don't think you could handle the cuteness otherwise.
The whole family.
 - Every family has traditions.  We open PJ's the night before Christmas and eat Tortellini Soup after church.  We sleep as late as the youngest allow Christmas morning (7:00 AM this year, I know it will only get earlier).  And for our little family unit of 3, we each get four gifts: a want, a need, a wear and a read.


Aurelia's wear was a Panda Hat from Ganesh Himal
- When we have a Pandiani family Christmas, Sarah and I do all the cooking besides the prime rib.  This year we had cinnamon rolls, scones, biscuits, chocolate pudding, eggs, and sausage for breakfast.  Dinner was made up of prime rib, sweet potato and quinoa salad, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, ambrosia, sweet carrots, apple pie and the best pecan pie I've ever made.

- I love giving the perfect gift.  You know when you see something and know that it's just the perfect thing for mom/dad/sister/husband/etc?  I almost don't like getting a gift list 'cause I love doing the search on my own.  We got my dad Blazing Saddles and The Three Amigos to which he exclaimed, "This is the thing!  Is this coming to my house?"  You know it's a good gift when English becomes a second language.  Joey's want: A cocktail shaker.  His need: A bottle of Black Label.  His wear: An ECS membership (it comes with a scarf and a shirt).  And his read: A cocktail book (Disclaimer: Joey's gift has a bit of a distilled theme.  We've been watching a lot of Mad Men recently).  And, well, just one look at Paddy's face shows that Rody was a success.

It was a great, great day.  


vanillafrog said...

Her black and white coat is adorable!

Anna, also known by some as Nong said...

HA! This blog made me smile the whole way through. You painted a joyful picture which I'm glad you shared. Loved "You know it's a great gift when English becomes a second language." Brilliant.

Unknown said...

I love reading about your life! Anonymously yours, Shandra