I would love to say “rap up” but let’s face it, that would be terrifying on many many levels. That doesn’t stop the fact I’m feeling wordy! This is a wrap up of our Christmas festivities. I’m of the believer that Christmas is more about giving, eating and enjoying family. While we do gifts we keep it rather minimal and I really love it.
This year was hands down my favorite Christmas I can remember, especially since my parents divorced about five years ago. When you both have parents who are divorced holidays can be difficult if only to decide where to go. This year it was like a cake walk and I loved it. We did Thanksgiving with my Dad, and knowing he would be up to Maine in January we decided to do Christmas with him then. The weekend before Christmas we went to Andy’s mom’s house in the mountains with all the kids, Christmas Eve evening we saw my Mom on her way north, and Christmas Day we spent with Andy’s Dad and all the kids again. I never thought Christmas could feel “normal” again (in a different way) but let me tell you it can. Not only can it, it can be better. Making our own traditions has proved to be awesome. Amazing, right?!
First up – the mountains. These photos are all from my iPhone. As I mentioned in this post one of the things I’ve been slowly moving towards in the last few months, and am finally getting balance with, is disconnecting and being more present in the moment. While I took some photos over the weekend and checked my personal Facebook account, I pretty much just hung out and enjoyed being in the moment with family.
As we drove into the mountains the clouds got a little thicker and you could feel snow in the air. The rain became drizzle and then soon after one quick change in elevation we were in a beautiful winter wonderland. It’s scenes like this that make my heart smile inside and love living in Maine. This isn’t my mother-in-laws house, but I will forever love the look of a farmhouse in the snow.
Once we got to my mother-in-laws it was clear they had already had a slew of snow, if the above photo wasn’t any indication. The photo below honestly doesn’t do any justice. It was well up to the guys knees, all of which are close to six feet, or over six feet.
As we walked in it immediately felt like Christmas. The snow was falling in heavy flakes, the music was going, the wood stove was roaring with walnuts roasting on top and the mantel was decorated. Hellooooo cozy Christmas celebration.
Oh, and did I mention my sister-in-law has a fantastic lab/pointer mix named Champ? Him and Primrose pretty much looked like this the entire time playing rough. It takes a lot of dog to tire Rosie out, and by the end of the night she was exhausted.
We had a wonderful time in the mountains and after a fun night filled with pie, traditional french pie (tourtiere), turkey, and a bunch of other delicious food, we got up early the next morning and exchanged gifts. Later that day we all headed home.
Christmas Eve I was suppose to work a half day, but the battery in my car kept dying whenever I shut it off. Instead of getting caught at work with a dead battery on Christmas Eve I called in. This allowed Andy to get a new battery and install it in my car, and that meant I was able to spend more time at home prepping for Christmas Day.
We didn’t get a tree this year but after a weekend in the mountains where I found the Christmas spirit, I decided to take Christmas Eve and decorate the house just a little bit. I changed up some of the photos on the mantel above the wood stove, hung stockings, put a few santas out, and wrapped a string of lights around the openings into the addition. Pretty cute if I do say so myself. Winnie certainly enjoyed the roaring fire. It was as charming as it sounds. I don’t often say that because country life is rather dirty sometimes, but this time around it was nothing less than perfectly true.
If you’ve never experienced it before, pre-snow weather has a very distinct “feel” to it; it’s a crisp coolness to the air with a smell that’s like no other. I saw the sky and stepped outside and thought it seemed like snow but it wasn’t in any forecast I saw so I was a little confused. Then I put on the Christmas music. Minutes after I put it on Andy looked at me and said “look outside, it’s snowing”. Sure enough it was spitting snow and I may or may not have (definitely) danced and jumped up and down super excited. I didn’t know if it was going to last for a few minutes or an hour but to my surprise it lasted all day long. We had a real white Christmas!
Our Christmas Day dinner was suppose to consist of smoked turkey sandwiches, but in turn it pretty much ended up being Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas. We couldn’t stop cooking. This included some tasty treats like beans on the wood stove, homemade cranberry sauce, sausage stuffing, green bean casserole and more.
When you’re mid-renovation and you don’t have a table for everyone to sit at, what do you do? You take two sawhorses, a piece of plywood and a table cloth and call it good. Who said you can’t use fancy Martha Stewart cloth napkins when you’re renovating? It’s just another extension of the thing we like to call “renovation chic“.
The seven of us sat down (my father-in-law and his friend, my sister-in-law and her husband, Andy and I, and my brother-in-law Casey, also known as Tom Cruise on this blog) and enjoyed an immense amount of food, homemade beer, homemade wine from my uncle and great company.
We didn’t have Thanksgiving with Andy’s Dad this year, so this was a very nice two-in-one holiday in a way. One of our big family traditions is directly in regards to food and exercise. After a big meal dessert isn’t served right away. This essentially means you have two choices: either clean, or go for big walk. No one is allowed to crash out on the couch and watch TV or sleep. It’s an awesome tradition that helps keep you from feeling sluggish and gets your digestion going. Sometimes the walk is a wiffle ball game, sledding or the like but mostly it’s a walk. This year’s walk was something we don’t want to repeat annually – Champ getting quilled. While I didn’t get a photo of his face, it was a lot less cute than his normal adorable face.
Champ isn’t quite two years old and is so adorable, and wonderful and curious. Champ, despite spending more hours in the woods with his Dad and Mom than most dogs do in their lives, had never encountered a porcupine until Christmas evening. Needless to say, the rest of our evening was spent pulling quills at the house, knocking on neighbors doors for benadryl and being incredibly impressed with Champ for living up to his name. Not once did he make a peep as people pulled quills. He had to get a couple harder ones pulled the next day by the vet, which we couldn’t get, but he truly was a champ. While we waited for the benadryl to kick in, and as we gave him breaks in between pulling, we decided we should eat the peach pie my sister-in-law beautifully made and monkey bread. Champ got some smoked turkey.
Christmas night Rosie was in rare form and decided she needed to cuddle with me. It was a true Christmas miracle! She loves being near us at all times, but Winnie is the super snuggler. When Rosie wants to snuggle I take it every single time.
Overall it was an incredible Christmas weekend and day and I loved every moment. I feel truly blessed for my family. This holiday season I had a friend (and their two year old son) lose her 32 year old husband to stage four colon cancer just a few days before Christmas. It not only makes you put your life in perspective, it makes you so incredibly thankful for every little moment you’re given with the ones you love, and there was a lot of love this holiday season.
Enjoy every moment this new year brings you. In the mean time, we’ll be here enjoying a real Maine winter, breathing in the snow laden air and playing in this snow.
I hope you all received everything you wished for. Not material items, but emotional. I hope you had love, laughter, good food and open hearts. There is nothing more important in life than family. Whether it’s family you are born into, family you marry into, adopted family, or family you choose as an adult.
Much Love and Very Happy Wishes!