Monday, December 27, 2010

Our first country Christmas

Relatively speaking, we didn't have any relatives over Christmas, so it was a fairly quiet one for us. Either that, or I'm just used to our family's noise...

Christmas Eve started with 4:00 Mass with the rest of the greater Nashville area. Although we managed to get 6 seats together, we did have to watch and hear the news of our dear Savior's birth via closed-circuit television.

Afterward, we headed over to P.F. Chang's because as Matty said, "Nothing says Christmas like Chinese food." but in Tennessee on Christmas Eve, you're not getting a whole lot of open dining choices. But it turned out to be a beautiful and delicious meal, and absolutely perfect to be all together enjoying our first Christmas in our new town.

As we were leaving, the rain turned into the most beautiful snow--the frosty beginnings of Nashville's first white Christmas in 17 years.

By this time, Norad (the best website EVER) reported that Santa was in North AMerica and we had just enough time to get cookies ready, The Night Before Christmas read, and the little ones in bed. Not that they stayed there--the girls stayed up after midnight which made it a particularly late evening for the elves. (The upside is that I got Sean addicted to my new television guilty pleasure: Clean House.)

We got up a few minutes later as the kids rustled up at 6, and then the next few hours we leisurely tore open our gifts and enjoyed our day in our p.j.'s. Santa was very good to us--even bringing us a "golf cart," which will have to be renamed since we won't be playing golf in it. Naps by the fire followed by dinner of prime rib, Yorkshire pudding and my first homemade Yule log finished off the day. It snowed and was a perfect Christmas.

It's a good thing we got all of that quiet out of the way, because starting tomorrow, 50 of our Florida friends invade the Volunteer State for some New Year's celebrations.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In case you missed my column today...

Although I don't exactly plan it this way, it seems that I am forever destined to be a last- minute shopper at Christmastime.

Instead of complaining, I've resigned myself to my fate and now look at the glass of eggnog as half-full.

So I share with you the Top 6 Reasons Procrastinating Shoppers Rule:

1.) Camaraderie. There's nothing like bonding with other last-minute folks. Everyone is so joyful on December 23rd, it's like one big CheerFest at the register at Lowe's, we even give each other special waves in the parking lot while searching for a spot. Just yesterday as a kindly old man and I reached for the last Shrek Chia Pet on the shelf, he mumbled something about me being similar to his sainted (and apparently promiscuous) mother. The holidays are all about family.

2.) It's more polite. Gift-giving becomes a kinder, gentler process when you're dealing with limited selections. I don't see Uncle Albert as the 4XL guy he is--I like to look at the inner-Albert and get him that reindeer sweater in a boy’s medium.

3.) Creativity. Anyone can fill a gift list from a major retailer. But it takes an industrious soul to buy presents for the whole family at 7-11. (Those WWE Slurpee cups are refillable and collectible, Grandma. You’re welcome.)

4.) Does every holiday tradition have to be taken so literally? I mean who's to say that figgy pudding isn't a suspicious-looking Snack Pack at the gas station and that among the various meats in Spam Christmas goose isn't one of them?

5.) To keep the balance of the universe in check. While the annoyingly prepared are shopping at 3 am on Black Friday for 98% off the hottest toys of the season, I'm shopping at 11pm on Christmas Eve paying double for the crap no one wanted. It's the circle of life or something like that.

6.) It's more eco-friendly. There is no such thing as a giftbox for your purchase after December 1st since those have long run out. In a pinch I have been known to wrap socks in Frosted Flake boxes and Snuggies in Ziploc bags. It’s my gift to Mother Earth.

To my fellow procrastinators: Merry Christmas. To all those who have finished their shopping and are enjoying this week relaxing before a fire?

Here’s that special parking lot wave.

©2010 Tracey Henry

(And in case you also missed some updates on Whoa Momma.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow Days

We had our first of many last week. On Monday, we got hit with about 4 inches legit of snow. My kids immediately went sledding despite having not much snow, not much hill and not much sled. It was fun nonetheless.

We played in it, and then came inside to hot cocoa and cookie baking. It was really beautiful, cozy and very Norman Rockwell-esque.

Until you had to drive in it.

Now I am a salt-seasoned driver. I learned to drive on the potholed roads of lower Michigan--a slippery, slushy, snowy mess nine months out of the year. You can't get your driver's license there without knowing how to successfully navigate icy roads and scrape your windshield with a cassette cover.

I had this.

Until I realized that the state of Tennessee doesn't own snow plows. Or salt trucks. No, the only tool they have in their snow-removal arsenal is the sun, with the hope it melts the white stuff on the ground by rush hour.

It doesn't.

Tennesseans are quick to tell you that this is out-of-the ordinary weather for them--that it almost NEVER snows here at all, and if it does, it certainly never sticks.

Tennesseans are liars. Because although they are really wimpy about the snow, they were not surprised by it. And the hardware store on the corner sold snow shovels.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I lied

Okay, I suck at plans.

But I have a good excuse. We just finished a week's worth of company and 10 overnight guests for Thanksgiving.

I'm not complaining--you know I love Thanksgiving and I love people around to help ease into this new life, but I won't lie--I'm zausted. And I have yet to find my groove.

But I'm trying.

We actually got a lot of the Christmas decorations up this weekend, which was a little frustrating to unpack more stuff while re-packing up some of the things I just unpacked, but what are you going to do? It's Christmas.

I'm finding that everything takes me twice as long to do. First off, I still don't know where everything is supposed to go, so picking up is a daylong chore. I have a grocery store, but I have to backtrack through the aisles because it isn't laid out the same as my Publix at home. I get lost a lot.

And the stairs are kicking my ass. Firming up my calves, but kicking my ass.

If it sounds like I'm whining, but I'm really not. I'm just still searching for that groove thing and I'm hoping it's not up or downstairs....