Friday, December 25, 2009

An I.O.U. Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, as always. I hope your day has been filled with good friends, close family, and warmth. As I listen to the wind roar outside, I am grateful that I am not in the states that were hit with such a violent snowstorm or those that are stranded in airports. I will take my cozy house anytime.

It has been such an odd Christmas at our house. After a tough year, my work is really picking up. I am actually at a point where if someone else asks me to do a project for them in January, unless it's great money, the answer will probably be no because I can't fit it in. It has been a long, long time since I've been able to say that. It's another thing I am grateful for right now.

However, due to strange timing of checks, banks, holidays and karma, money just was not available like it should have been for Christmas shopping. When we did get some in, we used it to buy gifts for those far away because those presents had to be packaged up and sent to other parts of the country. After we did that, paid for the postage costs, and bought groceries, little was left. Coryn got his new computer tower--his Christmas money from Grandma and Elsie made that possible. Caspian got a full weight lifting set and bench--again, thanks to the holiday money from Grandma and Elsie. Nicole was able to go out and buy presents for her siblings, parents and boyfriend with that same money. Other than that, however, pretty much ZIP. When it came time to wrap, I had virtually nothing to do. The tree looked bare. As the mom and the breadwinner, I felt guilty. REALLY guilty. Rotten, depressed, awful guilty. I decorated the tree with envelopes full of I.O.Us for when the checks arrive next week. I apologized to everyone, with tears.

Guess what? No one cared. The day was still special. Everyone was still happy. At the risk of sounding like the narrator describing the enduring spirit of the Whos down in Whoville, not having lots of gifts did not matter. They know that next week I will run out and take advantage of checks cashed and post holiday sales and get them some treasures. Moreoever, they know that they are loved and maybe that is the best gift I could give them.

It was a lovely day despite the lack of presents. Jon spent it with us and made it even nicer with great gifts for each of us (Starbuck's will be seeing a great deal of us now!) and appreciating what we gave him. Joseph and I took a 90 minute nap in the middle of the day--a definite rare treat. I am refusing to do any work until tomorrow, another treat. People were missed, of course. Our eldest, who we haven't heard from since spring, was missed and we are hoping she had a wonderful holiday with her hubby and friends. My parents who LOVED Christmas were missed. I always got such a kick out of calling them and listening as they opened what I sent. I miss their laughs.

It is slowly getting dark outside but I know that each day now, the daylight will last a little longer and the night a little less and that means summer is returning. That is always a reassuring thought in the depth of winter.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas. May it bring you what you want. Mine already has.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Update Time

I was online this morning bemoaning people's blogs that hadn't been updated and then I felt hypocritical as I haven't updated in several weeks. So, here I am, although not with any terribly exciting news, events or announcements.

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving. Joseph and I did all of the cooking together (a first) and instead of turkey (which takes a lot of effort and no one is all that crazy about it), we made his incredibly delicious pot roast (which is ridiculously easy to make but tastes amazing). We also made steamed cauliflower with cheese, nutty brussel sprouts, rosemary potatoes and rolls. Jon brought pie for dessert. It was the six of us and we laughed and talked and as my husband says, "We were happy". I can't think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving.

I've been busy and getting busier. Work continues to pile in and my next three months are full of projects that will keep me "out of the bars" and in my computer chair. If my right wrist and my two eyes can just hang in there and not betray me, all will be well!

The kids are doing great. Nicole and Jon have been together for almost 11 months now--hard to believe! He has become a part of the family to the extent we can text him and ask him to bring toilet paper and ice (not to be used together in any way, mind you!) on his way to our house. Nicole is trying to get an application into the Police Cadets Program. . . . it is the most complicated application we've ever dealt with (19 pages and requiring transcripts and fingerprinting. . . ) She is also looking into a job with an all female construction team. I still enjoy spending time with her so much, I can't begin to tell you. I have deeper conversations and laugh more with her than with anyone else I know.

The boys are getting bigger all the time. Caspian is suddenly into exercising and using hand weights and hanging out with his father as much as possible. Coryn is developing an even more wicked sense of humor and last night we went to another play together and I was astonished at what good company my son can be. He was witty and smart and funny and just plain fun.

I am getting ready to do my annual Christmas newsletter, complete with pictures. Some of you reading this will certainly be getting a copy in the mail within the next couple of weeks. If you don't get a copy and would like one, you can always ask for one . . . . It is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season because I get to recap the year at the Orr House and share it with people I care about!

So, off to get that first morning cup of coffee (usually my only cup of coffee) which contains a small amount of coffee and copious amounts of chocolate and then to work all day. I plan to do it sitting in the living room with the family, probably watching a movie and appreciating both.