Friday, December 28, 2018

A December to Remember

We didn't do any traveling, but I feel like this was our busiest December yet. 

1. We hosted a Christmas party for Tim's officers and their families, and it was a success! This was something I found daunting, as my hostessing skills are kind of untried, to tell the truth. It didn't help that for months, Tim would keep reminding me it was coming up and I'd better be making lists..🙄Well, it came together beautifully. I had souvenir ornaments made for everyone as a parting gift, and I tried to up my game when it came to decorating. Tim put those meatballs that Annie and I had worked so hard on, into a big pot, along with sausage, to simmer all day in his delicious sauce. We put on some Christmas music, and right before everyone was due to start arriving, I had a glass of wine, which did wonders for my nerves.

When I stopped to think about what we're trying to accomplish when we invite everyone to our home for a Christmas party -- to make everyone feel welcome and at home, for us to get to know each other, to celebrate the season -- it became pretty simple. Then there's the fact that Tim has been throwing his heart and soul into leading this battalion, and I want to be able to support him in that. When I thought about that, I stopped trying to get everything perfect, and stressing because I couldn't. 

We'll definitely do this again next year.
2. A few days later, Tim's parents flew into town and we got glammed up and went to the Ball in Greenville, NC. We stayed overnight, what a luxury. We had a great time.
3. We watched Delaney play clarinet in her first band concert. Unfortunately, we were too far away to take a good picture.

Later, Tim emailed her this:

Hi Delaney!

I know I said this last night but your mother and I are SO-SO-SO very proud of you!! You did such an amazing job at your concert. We watched you over the last couple months work so hard at learning how to play and it was so great to see. I know I give you a hard time about not picking up your room or making your bed, but you are a great kid growing into such an amazing person.

Keep up your hard work, and keep being YOU!!

Daddy and Mama
4. We celebrated the third birthday of a very special little boy. Joseph Daniel, we love you so.

5. We made Italian Christmas cookies -- a half batch one day; and when we realized that wouldn't be enough, another half batch the next.

6. Joey had his first preschool Christmas program (there are no good pictures of him gaggling around with the other two- and three-year-olds and not singing). The highlight turned out to be when Ms. Susan called Delaney onstage with other alumni of that preschool, to sing a song. Imagine her delight!
7. The boys got horrible haircuts again. After Tim brought Timmy home again, looking like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber, I ranted and raved. I said, "Please make it stop! I'd rather see a messy mop on their heads than to see them get HACKED again and again. There's nothing worse than seeing handsome boys with bad haircuts. Next time give me the $10, and I'll light it on fire! Just buzz him, I'm serious. Buzz him!" At least the bad haircuts our mothers gave us were free. Why is it so impossible to get these boys a decent haircut? The barbers around here are plentiful, but really only know how to do one kind of haircut, and they're guaranteed lots of business. Tim doesn't want them to look like little Marines, but I'd like that a whole lot better than this! (I can't seem to find a picture of Joey's hair.)
8. We had a peaceful and happy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, just us.
Aunt Jayne's Rice Krispy wreath arrived while we were at Mass. Impeccable timing!

Joey put the star on the Jesse Tree on Christmas morning. Happy birthday to Jesus!
Joey's biggest present was a hit with everyone.

Mom and Grace gave Tim this world map that has hearts on Cincinnati, Grafton, MA, New Bern, NC and Parris Island, SC. There are pins for all the other places that he or we have gone.
Christmas morning: a whirlwind of activity and me collecting trash.
Tim and the kids were Skyping with Tim Sr. and Carolyn later in the morning, and I was walking around the house trying to clean up, when I heard them discussing boxes they'd sent, and presents that the kids should have gotten. I was like, "Wait a minute.." and I dashed off to our bathroom closet, where two boxes of their presents were still sitting there! Oops, haha. I'm pretty sure I assured them both before they left that I would remember to get out all the presents. Well, I did, eventually. Among them was the most lovely surprise -- this Willow Tree nativity! I love it. I've been wanting one of these for awhile. I kept trying to take the perfect picture of it.
I'm not sure which of Delaney's presents is HER favorite, but I can tell you which one of hers is my favorite, and that's this bean bag chair. Inside it are all her stuffed animals, and now she's got a comfy place to read her Warriors books.
Annie put together this 'knot-a-quilt' in record time. She said it was easier than other ones she's tried, because of slits that were cut into the fringes.
Willow is six months old. Still kind of crazy, but very sweet when she's tired.
There's so much more I could say, and so many more pictures I could include. I should do this more often. I love going back through the old posts and counting my many blessings.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Catching up

If you find yourself needing to make 175 meatballs in an afternoon, you need to have an Annie around.
I was lamenting the other day that I have no time for this blog anymore, and I wish I did. Tim said, "You have the time." I looked at him like he was crazy, but it might be that I actually have the time, just not the mental energy and focus. The margins of my day are getting fewer and shorter. I've been getting the house ready for a party on Friday, I've been Christmas shopping (mostly from home, but still), finishing up my two copyediting classes, and just trying not to let this household descend into chaos. Once the kids go to bed, it's Netflix, a beer and foot rubs on the couch, and sometimes I can barely keep my eyes open. I finally got Willow sorted out and she no longer pees anywhere in the house, and then a couple days before Thanksgiving, Joey decided he couldn't be bothered to use the potty anymore. Nor could he be bothered to keep a diaper on. I spent a few days just rushing up and down the stairs, cleaning up messes and doing so many loads of laundry. Now, with the help of Tim this past weekend and some good incentives, I think we've got him sorted out now. MY NERVES CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE.

Now we have the party this Friday, and then a few days after that the Ball, and I'm not used to life being so eventful, or eventfilled. But once the Ball is done, we enjoy the rest of Tim's parents' visit and then have a quiet Christmas here at home to look forward to once the kids' last week of school is done.

Joey's just gone to the potty and I'm buying myself a few minutes with him on a Kindle and Willow with a rawhide chew. I'll see if I can't share a few pictures I've taken in the last month or two.
Here's Joey looking through our favorite Hallmark recordable storybook we've had for a few years. It's read by Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Karen and Juliana. Joey looked through it again and again when I got it out. Then a day after I took this picture, it stopped working. I put in new batteries and it still doesn't work.😭
"I want those pillows fluffed, and I want them plumped!" I know everyone's seen this YouTube video a thousand times, but it's always good for a laugh. It might be mistaken for actual footage of me on Friday afternoon.