Friday, December 31, 2010

The Holidays

I keep waiting for a blog post that doesn't begin with a confession of negligence, but I have no one to blame but myself. However, I don't feel too bad about not writing because I've been celebrating surrounded with family. We started our first married Christmas holiday extravaganza with Sam's family and exchanged gifts with his immediate family. We were reminded just how adorable and verbal our niece has become, and we were fed very well. We had some time with his extended relatives as well as they came into town a day and a half before we headed out to my parents' house.
After reloading the car with a fresh set of presents and clothes, we drove on Christmas Eve to the Metroplex. Our traditional Bailey celebration commenced, with Mexican food and gifts on Christmas Eve, followed by immediate family Christmas the next morning. Sam and I received a TV, so our brains have just about turned to mush since we returned home. We've been thoroughly enjoying our new toy before we go back to school. Christmas lunch was with the Baileys, and it might have been the best I remember. Everything was delicious, and we managed to end the day with True Grit, leftovers, a group game, and the Cowboys.
Early the day after Christmas, we reloaded my mom's SUV and headed west to visit her family and exchange a few more presents. We had a good day in Abilene and headed back to the Metroplex for bedtime. Our last couple days involved taking my youngest cousins to see the latest Narnia film and a little shopping with my mom while Sam visited a dear friend in Denton with my dad.

The holidays have been replete with more joy and blessings than I can type, and thus far we have been able to see both sides of our families for major celebrations. I know that can't continue forever, but I'm grateful that the transition has been made easier by enlarging the family I celebrate with rather than forcing tough decisions. We have extravagant reservations at the Melting Pot tonight, and I'm thrilled to celebrate the New Year with my husband! More on that later. May your holiday memories be as rich!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another Semester Complete

My loving husband pointed out the other day that it has been almost a year since I finished my undergraduate degree. That still seems unreal. Last Christmas is a blur in many ways because I walked across the stage, received a diploma, opened lots of presents, and ate tons of food, then moved all my stuff to a new city to start a new degree program and finish planning a wedding. That sentence is disgustingly long and there are several tense shifts to emphasize how crowded the holiday season was last year.
Sam and I intentionally didn't spend any holidays together before we were married, so all the big events this year are that much more special because they're the first I'm sharing with him. (We celebrated before or after the official days, but we were never together on the calendar events.) We had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and I'm looking forward to his semester ending so that I can monopolize his time for a couple weeks. Naturally, the weeks will be filled with family and festivities, and I'm almost finished Christmas shopping, so there might even be a few presents. But the things I enjoy most about the holidays are the little things like being in an overheated house and the glow I feel because the kitchen and living room are filled with people I love.
I decided I could marry Sam while watching a Christmas movie with his family. (Well, by that time I was pretty much madly in love with him, so I probably would have said yes anyway, but for the purpose of the anecdote, my previous statement stands.) Family is so important to me, and while watching a movie with his immediate family after a meal of Chinese food, I decided we could spend many holidays this way. I could see myself participating in his family's celebrations, and I could see him joining in my traditions.
So, for many reasons, this Christmas season is a special one for me. I've been married for half a year, and I'm halfway through my Master's program. But the things I'm most anticipating are eating peppermint cookies, playing overly competitive board games, and maybe even watching a Christmas movie with people I love. May your holidays be filled with joy and love as you spend time with people you hold dear.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving and Beyond

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We put more than 1,000 miles on my car and saw lots of people we love. Also, one of Sam's many "cousins" gave haircuts in the kitchen, so I got a free style. The food was abundant and delicious. Therefore, we are dieting until Christmas when we expect to be fed well again by different sets of relatives. I have yet to purchase any Christmas presents (other than materials for the ones I made) but I think I've decided what pretty much everyone will receive. Once I turn in my term papers this next week I can begin buying and wrapping.

For now, our home is decorated for the holidays, and Sam and I watched Elf last night and sipped cocoa. Today it's hot again, but last night it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I'm learning to celebrate fall and winter without the weather accompanying the holidays that I had grown accustomed to in Arkansas. Here are some pictures since people like those and I've been negligent lately.

We got this ornament on our honeymoon in Cancun.