This may be a little long and rambling, it’s not meant to be an eloquent or witty post… I just wanted to keep some kind of record of what we did this year!
We’ve kind of made it a tradition since we got married to have Christmas morning together in our own home and I would like to keep that alive. I prefer to not have the stress of packing up gifts to take to someone else’s house or choosing who the “lucky” family member is that gets to host us that morning.
We slept in late (7:45 AM, late for me, that’s like I’ve wasted half the day away!) before making our canned cinnamon rolls for breakfast. They tasted pretty good, but I would like to learn how to make a good cinnamon roll from scratch, one that my husband thinks is at least as equally good as the canned one!
We opened gifts and set about getting dinner/lunch/mid-day-Christmas-meal ready. After having a disastrous time making a Christmas Eve duck in the past, we decided to try something new this year… BABY BACK RIBS. We started marinating them the day before, then put them in the oven to roast for a while on Christmas day. After the meat was almost falling off the bones, we slathered them in a homemade barbecue sauce and put them on the grill to char up a little. My husband is the one that made these happen, he found the recipe and did all the work. I think we have a winner… this may have to be our new tradition.
I also made cornbread, maple-roasted sweet potatoes and green salad to go with the meal. The timing was off on the meal and things weren’t ready at the correct times, but it was okay. I think if this had been the case last year I would have really been freaking out… hopefully someday I’ll truly be zen and centered but I’m getting better!
My mom drove to our house for Christmas dinner and brought dessert, something that she and I had chatted over IM about. We were goofing off and talking about how it would be more like a storybook Christmas if we cooked a goose and had figgy pudding or something. Then we both paused and said, “How do you even make figgy pudding?” So when my mom found the dried figs at the store, she sent me a text to ask if we should try… so we had figgy pudding!
I wouldn’t say it was phenomenal, I definitely wouldn’t have been compelled to write a holiday song about it where I demand the dessert and “won’t go until I get some” but it was a fun experiment. My favorite moment was when my mom said it “felt like eating dirt”. I keep teasing her about that, because it is such a funny line. Truthfully she meant that it had an earthy texture from the seeds in the figs, it did have a gritty quality, but the dirt line is more quotable! ;-)
So after that we said, “Well, that was fun to try but probably won’t be a tradition.” But then my mom and I got a little obsessed with looking up recipes and info on figgy pudding. We think we need to try again, this time steaming it and maybe coming up with a rum/caramel sauce to go on it… it seems like the traditional dessert is supposed to have some kind of boozy sauce with it which we were missing. So maybe tradition will become to try variations on figgy pudding until we get it “right”. Once perfected then we can stop!
My mom left to head back home and as the day progressed I started to feel a little sick. I tried doing some yoga and the inversions left me gasping for breathe. By the time evening had arrived, I was definitely sick. Kevin and I spent the night curled up on the couch watching a nice holiday flick… The Hangover. Okay, it’s not a holiday one but it’s hilarious!
We spent a leisurely morning taking care of things around the house before we loaded into the new Subaru to drive to southern Utah to go to my mom’s house. (Yes, she was at my house the day before, then we go to her house… that’s how we roll!) At the same time my brother was making his way to her house from Denver. He just moved back to the US in mid-December, he’s been in South Korea for work, and I am so excited to have him back stateside. I know Denver isn’t super close to Vegas, but it feels so much better having him in the same country as me again.
Getting to see my brother, his wife and their little girl was so awesome. I was a little nervous that his daughter might be a little unsure of who I was, since she’s just 2-years-old and I haven’t had the chance to be around her much, but she didn’t even act like I was at all a stranger to her. She and I had fun walking on my mom’s treadmill together (she stood in front of me and we walked at about 0.7 mph for about 30 seconds at a time before she would say, “All done.”) and I loved watching her take my husband’s hand to have him help her walk past the doggies safely.
After eating dinner with them we got in the car to head to Kevin’s parents house. We were planning on staying at their house during our time in Cedar since they had more room and my mom’s house was about to be even more crowded the next day. (Kevin’s parents retired to the same city where my family lives.)
We had a nice morning chatting with Kevin’s parents… after finally getting out of bed. I had a rough night, couldn’t sleep very well since I couldn’t breathe and the bed was rather small. (We’re used to sleeping in a king-size bed, a full-size is really tight quarters.) The only bad thing was his parents house was a cell-phone dead zone, so I couldn’t surf on my iPhone while laying in bed waiting for Kevin to wake up.
Later in the day we had a big dinner at my mom’s house. My dad came over and my grandparents even drove in from Salt Lake City to see everyone. I needed this so much, it somehow made me feel a little more complete, like my family wasn’t as broken as it has felt for the past several months. My dad baked an apple pie, which shocked and impressed me! (He picked and peeled the apples which came from his father’s tree.)
Kevin, me, my brother, my sister-in-law and my niece all made our way over to my dad’s house to open a few presents and to go out to lunch with him. We all sat around to chat after lunch, while we left my niece to cozy up on the floor with a pillow and blanket while watching some psychotic cartoon on the Cartoon Network. (Seriously, this was one dark and weird cartoon. I think it was called “Flapjack” or something like that.) Eventually a little girl REALLY needed a nap so my brother packed up his family to go back to my mom’s house so she could sleep and Kevin and I hit the road to come home. Kevin had to work early the next morning so it was good to get home at a decent hour.
Each day I was a little sicker and I’m very apologetic to any family members if they catch my cold. But I needed this time with my family, it helped heal a little hole in my heart some. I love all of them so much. As we learn how to operate in this new arrangement, it will be awkward and hard at times but I think in some ways it will bring us closer together too.