Saturday, December 28, 2013

the aftermath


Christmas has come and gone once again. I'm more grateful for the gone part.
I never was a big fan of Christmas. It's not only the excessive commercialism;
it's also the unrealistic expectations...finding the perfect gifts, decorating your
house just so, sending out Christmas cards on time (I only sent out a few this
year - one thing I did cut back on), baking all kinds of cookies for neighbors 
and relatives, hoping once again for a Norman Rockwell-like Christmas ~ and
 knowing full well that it's not going to happen. And then there's thinking of those
who have left us ~ my son, my father, my grandfather, my sister-in-law, my
great-aunt and uncle, a dear friend. Not that I don't always think of those people,
but the holidays somehow make your heart ache for them just a little bit more.

Don't get me wrong - I did enjoy the time spent with family. We went out to
dinner on Christmas Eve with Brian's side of the family. And on Christmas
day, the three of us - or, should I say, the six of us because there's the three
kitties that were in the thick of gift opening, too - enjoyed exchanging
gifts and relaxing and talking in the living room.





The best part of Christmas day was later in the afternoon when we had
a small bunch of family at our house. Lots of talking, laughing, eating (look
at all those desserts! My mom is the homemade pie maker), and Wii playing.




Now that it's all over, I've taken down all the decorations (which I still have to pack
up - they're all sitting downstairs on the bar), have deep cleaned, and am trying
to put the house back together. I can never remember how I had things arranged
BC (before Christmas). You'd think that after all these years I would learn my 
lesson. That I'd take pictures of the living room and kitchen BC to remind myself
where all the tchotchkes went. And since the weather isn't frigid right now, I've
been taking daily walks. Even though I don't like winter, I do see the beauty in
the bare branches, the gorgeous sunsets, and the snow blanketing the ground.

  • We're having a heat wave today with temps around 40 and lots of sunshine. It'll be the last day for awhile that I can enjoy the walks outdoors, as the frigid air kicks back in on Sunday night with temps below zero.
  • Tim is going back home today. I loved having my boy back home again, even if just for a short while. 
  • Brian's had some days off, so he's been painting Tim's bedroom and I'm working on  decluttering in the basement. I made a lot of headway yesterday and have six bags of things packed up for donation.
  • I've eaten way too many rich foods and sugary desserts, so it's back to clean eating. I made a pot of turkey noodle soup using the leftover turkey carcass from Christmas for a rich stock as the base, but I don't like turkey! So, I will save some of this soup in the fridge for Brian and send the rest home with Tim today. And then I will make a pot of fennel and carrot soup, which is a vegan recipe that I got from a friend. If it turns out delicious, I will post photos and the recipe later in the week.

30 comments:

  1. I imagine with all that los Christmas is a bit of a sad time for you. Sounds like there was fun and some joy spending time with your families. Happy New Year.

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    1. Thanks, Debby. Happy New Year to you, as well.

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  2. I'm with you. I don't love Christmas. I enjoy making a nice holiday for my husband and children, but my own childhood Christmases were very fraught. I don't have many happy memories. I've moved past it, in large part by choosing to stay away from certain individuals, but it still makes me feel anxious and unsettled every year, thinking about what I didn't get to experience. Anyway...sorry to be a downer. I think your current plans, with the cleaning, healthier eating and exercise, sound wonderful. I'm getting myself back to all of it now too and it feels great.

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    1. You weren't a downer - just honest! Glad you are getting back into the swing of "normalcy", too.

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  3. One of the reasons we took vacations for so many years at Christmas was because sometimes Christmas Day can actually be a let down. When we were on ski trips, we would open all the presents and then hit the slopes for a full day of exercise so I could justify eating all that fudge.

    I don't remember where tchotchkes were either, but that is the fun of redecorating after Christmas - everything looks new in a different spot.

    Have a wonderful New Year's. If you're in the neighborhood, our lane is having the annual New Year's Eve party. We opted to not do a progressive dinner this year and instead have rented a tent and heaters to sit on the beach at the end of the lane. The philosophy on our lane is "the more the merrier". I am making several appetizers and am going to avoid the dessert table.

    Happy New Year

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    1. I can totally understand getting away at Christmas. I'd love to do so myself, if we could ever afford it. Don't know how Tim would feel about that though. Don't think he'd want to go away with his parents! Oh man, don't tempt me with your NY Eve party, lol.

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  4. You and me both. I'm glad it's past. I get depressed around holiday time.
    Brenda

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    1. A lot of people do. So many people I've talked to lately have said the same thing.

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  5. I always start off at the beginning of December being excited about Christmas and then it all goes downhill from there. By afternoon on Christmas day, when we are home and our family festivities are done, all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep. Seeing how exciting and magical Christmas was to my 3 1/2 year old grandson was the highlight of this season for me.

    I haven't taken down any Christmas decorations yet, but there have been years where I couldn't even remember what I had done with my normal tchotchkes, let alone, exactly where they used to be placed.

    Am I the only one excited to get to January 2?

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    1. I think Christmas will be fun again when I ever have a grandchild, so I know what you mean. And no, you're definitely not the only one excited to get to January 2nd!

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  6. I love that dessert table, it is making me crave sweets, as if I haven't had enough! I saw most of these pictures on FB but I loved seeing Tim and the other kids having fun. I think that's why I love Christmas so much...children having fun is contagious. I know you have a lot of things going on with family, so I don't blame you for wanting to get through it unscathed and then packing it up. I'm sure not looking forward to that job!

    I sneaked out of bed, I am so tired of it. Can you believe the pain pills give me a headache? I hope to do a post tomorrow morning and then go back to bed. It's good to be visiting people right now though.

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. I would gladly give all the cookies to you if I could, Jane! They're in my freezer but I'm sending a bag with Brian to work tomorrow. I can't even stand to look at them anymore.

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  7. Here I am eating breakfast and reading blogs and now I am craving pumpkin pie...oh that dessert table looks so darn good. And LOL as I went around cleaning up after Christmas that next day I was thinking "The Aftermath" while doing it : )

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    1. The pumpkin pie was amazingly delicious! My mom makes the best homemade pies. Homemade whipped cream, too.

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  8. FELIZ ANO NOVO PARA TODOS DE SUA FAMÍLIA MELANIE.
    SEJAS MUITO FELIZ
    ABRAÇOS DA ELODI

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  9. I wrote a post one year about the truth that there is no 'perfect' Christmas. I wanted it to be, especially when I was young. But that was never the case. And with age has come acceptance. I think Don and I are fortunate in that we are rather far away from our families. Not that I wouldn't love to see them, but that distance allows us to celebrate the holiday in a relaxed manner. With no expectations. My immediate family stopped exchanging presents several years ago so that pressure is gone.

    Like you, I miss those who have passed away: all my aunts and uncles, all of my grandparents, my brother, my father-in-law, my beloved dogs, and cherished friends. So Christmas can be rather bittersweet. Nevertheless, I love it and I'm keeping the decorations up until after the New Year.

    xo
    Claudia

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    1. My immediate family doesn't exchange gifts anymore either. Whew. I never was a huge Christmas fan though. I've always taken down the decorations the day after Christmas. After all, it's over! And I get so tired of looking at that decor.

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  10. I'm so sorry that you don't have that spirit of Christmas my friend. I feel it in my heart all year long, the love and joy that was bestowed upon us makes my heart sing! I wish you peace with the losses you've suffered. I cannot imagine losing one of our sons. Wishing you joy and health in the new year!

    Leann

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  11. Melanie, I hope you are feeling better now that things have settled down a little. It looks like you had some really good family time, in spite of the holiday doldrums. I love Christmas, but I do not like the rush and pressures that sometimes go along with it. Sometimes the true meaning gets a bit covered up by the commercialism, so I find the more I get done, shopping and otherwise, ahead of time the better things seem to go. My down times come after the new year begins, perhaps because of less sunshine, etc. Hope your New Year will be blessed and happy!

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  12. Melanie,
    Look at all those pies - one looks like pecan pie to me, which is a favorite. I put all the decorations away too, and I have to say that it feels good to clean up a bit. It's nice that you got to spend time with your family. I love the picture of the girls giggling.

    Happy New Year, and thank you for your prayer. I appreciate it so much.

    ~Sheri

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    1. You are absolutely right, Sheri - you do see a pecan pie. That's my husband's favorite. The picture of the girls giggling...those are my nieces. My second cousin who is sitting next to them, had them cracking up. You're very welcome for the prayers. I hope your brother-in-law is doing better.

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  13. Sounds like you had a lovely day, Melanie, with your family. After taking down the Christmas stuff, I find January a very difficult month for decorating. So I'm right there with you wondering what to put where!!
    Happy New Year,
    Mary Alice

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    1. I know you will come up with beautiful decorating, no matter what - your home is beautiful!

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  14. Melanie, how wonderful your cozy Christmas sounds! And those pies...my goodness, your mother is certainly a talented baker!

    You know about my own feelings of homesickness this year, for my daughter and my family and my hometown, so I can totally understand and sympathize with you with respect to your own heartache, especially missing your son and close family members. It must be very difficult. The older I get, the more I have a great need to simplify EVERYTHING and all aspects of my life, and Christmas, is no exception, especially where overspending on gifts no one really needs and going overboard with decorating, is concerned.

    Re: the tchotchkes and placing them back where they were BC, do you have pics of them on your blog?!! I got in the habit of snapping pics before playing around with new vignettes, just in case I wasn't impressed, but more so because the memory is not what it used to be! Just a thought...

    Melanie, may 2014 be a wonderful year for you and your family! I wish you the very best!

    xo
    Poppy

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    1. That's a fantastic idea, Poppy, to go back over my blog and look at the pictures! Though I do change things around all the time, but it might at least give me some ideas. ;-) Happy New Year to you, also. Thanks for being such a wonderful friend.

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  15. LOVE those sweet kitty cat dessert plates! :)

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    1. Aren't those cute?! Guess where I found them...lol.

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