better than Santa—someone’s coming home for Christmas!!

This is me

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Particularly around the holidays & when I’m not traveling & at home…I know, I know…rather immature & pitiful, but that can be me, sometimes.  It’s great Danny evens me out by not having moods…he’s the same easy going guy whether he’s over the top happy, frustrated or mad…he’s the same on the outside no matter how he feels.  I do know the holidays can be so difficult & painful for so many…I have much to be grateful for even if no one was coming home this year. But, when I learned that Sara, Kevin, Claire & Emma were coming home for Christmas (actually two days after Christmas—but close enough!) I was over the moon happy!  And, there is a possibility, Luke will pop in too!

So, I bounced right into Happy Mood—then Planning & List Mode—then Productive Mode.  This is the way I tick.  I’m big on lists & efficient processes…kind of funny for someone who doesn’t work.

I made out a Christmas present list (which takes me a long time or many insomniac nights) because I think hard about each gift we give.  We don’t give a lot of gifts or expensive gifts, but ones we think each person would enjoy.  We’ve tried to give more ‘experience’ gifts to our adult children in the past few years…the boys are minimalist & Sara just buys what she wants.

I’m trying to go with the '1 toy, 1 book, 1 piece of clothing’ for the girls, so that was my starting point this year, but I slipped over that a bit.

I decided I wanted to make a “Touchy Feely” book for Emma.  It was kind of fun to design & make & was able to go through a bunch of my random craft supplies to use.  It turned out cute & I hope she really has fun with it!

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The next thing to make on my list was a “Wonky Donkey”.  There’s a viral video going around showing a Scottish Grandmother reading this book to her young grandchild…but totally cracking up while she reads—it’s hysterical & either awesome or the best marketing trick ever.  I’d checked out the book from the library, then bought a copy & read it to Claire.  She thought it was funny too.  You’d think with the popularity of this book, there would be a stuffed Wonky Donkey on Amazon or somewhere, but I got it into my mind to buy Claire her own copy of the book & make the donkey.  When I tried to find patterns or design my own donkey, I ran into a creative & lack-of-skill wall!  So, I bought a small tiny Jellycat (my favorite brand of stuffed animals) & decided to start from there.  This took awhile of thinking & trial & error.  In the book the Donkey is followed by a yellow bird, so I made that first.  I purchased a tiny cowboy hat, which he also wears in the book (he’s a Honky Tonky Donkey).  So, I attached the hat then sewed the bird on the hat.  He’s also a one eyed Donkey (he’s a Winky Wonky Honky Tonky Donkey), so on went an eyepatch.  I made a collar with a bow tie (he’s a Spunky Winky Honky Tonky Donkey). But the most difficult, is that he only has three legs, which is what makes him Wonky.  Wow….so crazy, but it was hard to cut off that donkey’s leg!  (telling myself, ‘it’s only a stuffed toy, it’s only a stuffed toy’) & then figuring out how to make a prosthetic leg.Yikes! Why do I do these things!  But, figure it out I did & am pretty happy with the outcome.  Im always so grateful I dont have any perfectionist DNA in meI can so easily live with its good enough!

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Amid all the sewing & creating, I was able to go to a couple of Christmas events.  Id love to go to parties all the time, but that must not be the circle we run in.  And, while Id like to attend festivities, Im not into going to all the trouble to have one myself.  

This is the first year Ive been a member of Sisters On The Flythe largest womens outdoor camping group in the country.  They had a Christmas party in Wichita (an icky town in the state…I live by the coolest one…the only cool one…ok…I digress & shouldn’t get started on the topic of my most-uncool-state).  It’s way too cold to camp, so we stayed in an old but remodeled super nice hotel downtown.  It was only for the weekend, but it was fun, I made new friends & laughed a lot.

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My other event, an annual one, is SantaCon.  This is super fun pub crawl & fundraiser I go to every year (if I’m in town) & a bunch of my friends go too!  This year was perfect weather & a good time was had by all!

I wore my Santa with a Tree costume that I wore 4 years ago.  I added a few more ornaments to the tree this year…because usually as I make my way from pub to pub, I always lose a few!

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Danny went & bought our live tree while I was partying in Wichita…his contribution to the festivities!  No one I know likes to decorate their tree these days…it was super fun when the kids were little, but way less so now.  In years when no one comes home for holidays, we don’t put up a real tree (ha…my mood would dive down fast & hard if I had to handle all those sweet little kid ornaments without the benefit of seeing any of those sweet kids themselves!).  I have a “Winter Tree” I built from sticks a few years ago, which always goes up around the 1st of December until mid February.  It’s no reminder of Christmas, but I love the twinkly lights on it, & little felt redbirds that dot the funky little ‘tree’.  Danny got down the decorations & I decorated the tree & the house.

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One of our traditions when opening gifts is that one gift will involve a treasure hunt, one will be challenging to open, one will have a dorky little poem to read out loud, & one will be a mystery gift.  It takes me awhile to figure all of that out, but it’s part of what I love about the holidays.  

The treasure hunt came from my childhood Christmas times…my Mom usually did this.  Christmas was always HUGE FUN at our house! (Most holidays were!  We had crepe paper hung from the ceiling most of the time…just trailing from one special day to the next!)  It was also always kind of weird…it was about the only time I would see my parents together.  As soon as I’d get up (sometimes too early & would be sent back to my room—6am was good, but 5am was too early), my Mom would put coffee on & call my Dad.  He’d show up & sit a drink a cup or two, have a cinnamon roll or whatever we were munching on, then leave.  I’m sure he felt like it was ‘obligation’ on his part…he never seem to feel joyful about it.  For whatever people think about divorce, (& it was still looked down on in the late 1950’s), I was lucky my parents went their separate ways.  And, I am so grateful that my Mom was who she was & I was raised by her.  Always, always, grateful for that.  Her traditions & joy seeped into my very being & I’ve always tried to pass that on to my children, & now to Emma & Claire.  I will forever miss my wonderful Mom.

Another tradition I do every year, is bake cookies.  I always send some to whomever is not coming home, then will make another batch closer to the holidays for us & friends.  This year Pete, Leia & Luke (no one knows exactly where he’ll be on Christmas) got their cookies mailed.  I’m always keeping my fingers crossed they get there in a reasonable time…you never know with the post office or any other delivery service (except Amazon…they always get their stuff there!  I wish I could ship my cookies through them.)

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With all the creating done, the decorating finished & the gifts wrapped, I moved on to….

Birthday Mode!

I didn’t only have to think about Christmas, but three birthdays too.  While Claire is here, we’re going to throw her a birthday party.  She turns 4 on January 3rd & since we won’t be in Florida for it, she gets to celebrate early.  I made my lists & got busy.  I have pink party decor that will go up the night before the party & a funky little headband & “4” shirt for her to wear.  Claire has requested a pink Minnie Mouse birthday cake…she & I will bake it together the day before the party.  Fun, Fun & more Fun!

Pete’s girlfriend, Leia also has a birthday in January & since I will be out of town (more on that later), I needed to get all the goodies for that to mail before I fly away.

And, Emma’s birthday is February 6th.  I can’t believe she’ll turn ONE already!  Danny & I will be in Florida for her birthday YAY!!.  But since I’m leaving shortly after Christmas, I bought all of her gifts to take down with me.

So once all that was done, I went back into….

Christmas Mode!

Food.  Yuck.  Danny & I both hate to think about it, discuss it, shop & buy it, but its a necessary thing in life (& I knowfirst world problems, right?)  But, when you have a bunch of people at your house (which we are sooooo super happy about!), you need food. Its hard to take groups out to eat & we live ruralso not that close to good restaurants.  Its much better to have the food here, where its easy & casual.  Then you can go out if you choose, but you dont have to.  We hope Sara & Kevin will take sometime to themselves & enjoy a night out & some of our great Lawrence restaurants, but food has to be ready in the meantime.  I hate to cook, but super hate it if Im missing any fun thats happening in the house.  So, I go into detailed prep mode for festivities like thismenus, food shopping list, cooking timeline, etc.  Its over the top detailed, but its efficient & works for me.

So, while Im updating Tripscribbles right now, I have Mexican chicken in the crock pot, refried beans & taco meat cooking on the stove & a turkey in the oven.  Once cooled, it will all go in the freezer& it continues like that.

Christmas Day will be quiet.Dannys Mom will be here, so the three of us will have an early dinner.  Im baking the next batches of cookies & doing more prep cooking later that day.  Danny & I dont exchange gifts, so we will wait to give Phyllis hers until we celebrate with Saras family on Thursday afternoon (Im soooo excited!  I cant wait!  Claire asked to get the Treasure Hunt gift.  On the tag & in the subsequent boxes she finds, are pictures of the next place shell find her treasure & on & on until it leads to the last boxthe present.  Im smiling huge right now, just thinking about how much fun were going to have!)

I have a long list of fun stuff to do with Claire & Emma.  Im keeping my fingers crossed the weather gods will smile down on us & give us sunshine & warm weather or at least not crappy, super cold & treacherous-driving weather.

We are also planning a Friends & Family party for Sunday evening; no one in the family has met Emma yet & they've only seen Claire a couple of times.

On the travel side of life (YAY!) Ive got a couple of trips lined up for 2019but more about that later.

I hope you have the holidays you wish for, with love, laughter & fun generously sprinkled on top!

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Happy Christmas & a super awesome magnificent New Year!


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