Monday, November 29, 2021

Another Trip Around the Sun

I just typed this entire post and POOF, it disappeared. I am giving Blogger the middle finger so hard right now.

Anyhoodle, the gist of the post was something like this:

Yesterday was my birthday, and, to say that I was spoiled would be an understatement. Hugh kicked off the spoilage with a gift so cleverly wrapped; I almost missed it...

...yes, yes those are pillows from my couch and one of the cat's blankets, cleverly concealing a new...

...Pioneer Woman Instant Pot. Hugh was quite proud of his wrapping skills and definitely deserves the Most Inventive Use of Home Decor Award.

While I was admiring my new appliance, the Newlyweds stopped by to gift me with a bottle of wine in the cutest wine holder...

...they picked it up in Nashville, where they were spending Thanksgiving with family. 

The Newlyweds stuck around long enough to assist Hugh in freeing my blow molds from their storage under the house, and, you don't really know you have a problem until you see this many blow molds in one space. 

My name is Chelle and I am addicted to nostalgia. Sue me.

Anyhoodle, Hugh's next gift to me was eight hours of climbing on ladders, placing blow molds, engineering the electricity to said blow molds, and generally lighting up my life.

The house is now completely decorated for Christmas and I could not be more happy.

I am also as old as I've ever been and as young as I'll ever be.

But, happy.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Friday Favorites: The Day After Thanksgiving Edition

Coming to you live, from my couch, where I am slowly recovering from a turkey coma, courtesy of yesterday's feast. And, what a feast it was! Although I was cooking for a smaller group than normal, I still made it a point to make everyone's favorites, including the bacon Brussels sprouts that Hugh has come to know and love.

Hugh snapped this picture of them to send to the Cub, who cannot be threatened, bribed, nor begged to eat even so much as one leaf from one sprout. He immediately replied with the puking emoji, as we expected.

I snapped a picture of the sweet potatoes to send to the children as evidence that I finally managed to create the perfect, toasted-not incinerated-marshmallow topping. This is a first for me, and one that I am quite proud of. I am not a lover of sweet potatoes that are sweetened with additional ingredients, so I don't make them; they are traditionally Emily's contribution to the feast. She talked Oscar through the preparation this year and I finished them off in the oven.

Speaking of Oscar and Emily; we were most thankful for having them with us this year. Emily is doing much better and we are grateful.

We are also thankful for the friends and family who could not be with us yesterday; we called and texted with them throughout the day and were grateful for the technology that allows us to do so.

The rest of this long holiday weekend will be spent getting the house ready for Christmas. Hugh is leaving for a wrestling gig in Wyoming later today but will be back by Sunday, when I hope to get the porch and outside decorations done. 

I'll end this post with the photo that the Cub sent a while ago...

...that tassel will be hanging on my Christmas tree come December 20th.

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

What's Up Wednesday: November 2021 Edition


November has certainly flown by, and, it's been a crazy month in many ways. More on that later, because, as always, I am linking up with Sheaffer and Shay to chat about what's been up, lately.

What We're Eating This Week

I haven't done any meal planning for the week, save for the Thanksgiving feast that we will be diving into on Thursday. I've already got the turkey thawing and I have all the ingredients for the stuffing, loaded mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and pumpkin pie. We will also be having sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts. Have I mentioned that I love Thanksgiving?

What I'm Reminiscing About

With Thanksgiving upon us, I can't help but reminisce about the Cub's first year in college, when, knowing how much I missed him; Hugh surprised me by flying him home for the holiday weekend. Hugh is pretty good at surprises, but that one was one of the best. The Cub won't be with us this year, but, with it being his final semester, we've come full circle.

What I'm Loving

Queen B surprised me by coming home on Halloween. We got to spend the first days of November visiting and shopping and thrifting at the local antique stores. Any time that I get to spend with my daughter is time well spent.

What I've Been Up To

I did a family session for one of my employees and I love the shots that we got. I haven't had my camera out as much as I should lately and I was worried that I would be rusty.


What I've Been Working On

I've been in need of a new desk in my office at Not So New Job for quite some time. Prior to this week, I had been utilizing two old, beat-up desks pushed together into a makeshift L configuration. The two didn't exactly match up, so there was an awkward gap between them as well as a sharp ledge that constantly caught my elbow. It wasn't very pretty to look at, either.

My new desk is well constructed, ergonomically superior, and, well, a hell of a lot nicer to look at.

What I'm Dreading

I am dreading anything and everything that could possibly go wrong for our trip to Hawaii next month. I know it's unproductive to fret, but I can't help it. I'll feel 100% better when we are sitting on the beach in Kaneohe.

What I Am Excited About

When I'm not dreading the things that could go wrong; I am silently squealing with excitement over the trip. I just reserved a sunset cruise for goodness sake. So excited!

I've been missing these two!

What We're Watching

Yellowstone is back, y'all, and it's off to a great start. 

Hallmark is also off to a great start with its' holiday line-up. I'm not saying I've been watching them a lot, but...I've been watching them a lot. Yep, Basic Bitch, table for one.

What I'm Reading

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone was released yesterday and I am so excited! I pre-ordered the digital version a year ago and I am stoked to rejoin Clan Fraser. That being said; I am planning to hold off on actually reading the book until I am on our flight to Hawaii. I figure it will make the seven hour flight just fly by. Ha! See what I did there? 

What I'm Listening To

I have had Mariah Carey's Christmas album on repeat in the car, and have been playing my holiday albums on the record player when I am home. I have searched in vain for the Hallmark channel on my Sirius XM, but, so far, no luck. I wonder if Hugh changed our subscription. Hmmm, I should ask.

What I'm Wearing

I have worn dress pants all week thus far, not because I have felt the need to be particularly dressy, but because I was saving my stretchy pants for Thursday through Sunday. And that, my friends, is the most intentional things that I have done for Thanksgiving.

What We're Doing This Weekend

Since it's going to be a long weekend, I am hoping to get my Christmas decorating finished, which, at this point, consists of the tree, the houselights and the front porch. I really am not doing as much as I usually do, so it should be easily accomplished, plus, my birthday is on Sunday and helping with the decorating is the only gift I've requested from my husband. I am an incredibly cheap date (don't let word get out).

Looking Forward to Next Month

I may have mentioned that little trip that we have coming up, so I will spare you yet another mention. I'm also really looking forward to spending Christmas at Mom's, with Hugh and the kids, as well as both of my sisters and their kids. It's been a lot of years since we were all together and it's going to be wonderful.

What Else is New

I have an appointment for a bikini waxing a few days before we leave for Hawaii. I have never had a bikini waxing before and I am slightly freaked out. Determined. But freaked out.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

I Will Not Stress, I Will Not Stress, I Will Not Stress...

Life, y'all. It's a bitch, sometimes.

Emily had a set-back in her recovery and ended up back in the emergency room, where she was stabilized and the discussion regarding an imminent pacemaker surgery was had. 

Oscar, who has had back problems for years, is suffering from what his doctor believes is bone spurs that have formed since his last surgery, so, he will have to go under the knife yet again to have them dealt with.

Mom, while doing so, so much better, is also less recovered than I know she would like to be at this point, two months post-Covid, plus, my Aunt Pat's memorial service has been scheduled for December 17th.

All of which is to say; none of the grandparents will be able to join us in Hawaii after all.

The Cub totally understands and is more concerned for his grandparent's well-being than in having them present when he graduates, but it's still a bummer, for sure.

The airlines have been very accommodating, refunding Hugh for the flights, as well as allowing us to upgrade Mikey's ticket to first class so the three of us will be together. So, it's all fine.

It's fine, it's fine, it's fine (also: First World Problems, I get it)

Queen B will be working in Las Vegas at the National Finals Rodeo for the week before she and the Rodeo Princess fly out; the logistics of which cause me no slight bit of angst, but I'm sure it will be fine.

Fine, fine, fine.

And, we all have to have Covid tests done no more than 72 hours before we depart for Hawaii. But, the results have to be available before we get to the airport, so, the timing of the test will be interesting, since our local approved testing site can't guarantee results within a certain time frame. But, I'm sure it will be (say it with me) fine.

Am I also terrified that one of us will come down with Covid between now and December 10th? Have we met? Of course I am.

It'll be fine. It'll be fine. It'll be fine.

As an insurance policy, if you are the praying kind, could you please say a prayer that it does turn out fine? Because, while I know it's just a silly trip, I also know that I am thisclose to snapping if I don't get some relaxation away from all the stress that life has thrown at us, and, ain't nobody wants to see that.

It'll be fine, it'll be fine, it'll be fine...

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Monthly Musings: Holiday Preview 2021

Today I am linking up with Holly and Patty for Monthly Musings. I am really enjoying this link-up and look forward to it each month! So, on to the prompts!

 Share your favorite holiday traditions

Tradition is such an important part of my parenting style; I feel like I may slightly over-do it. But, I haven't had any complaints from my children, in fact,; now that they are older, they are the ones pushing to keep our traditions alive, so, I guess I've done something right. 

Anyhoodle, one of my favorite traditions is sending our holiday cards. I have always tried to create, how shall we say it...untraditional cards, and, each year they have gotten more irreverent than the year before. Last year's card probably set a new low bar, but hey! It was 2020.

Cards from years past...

Another favorite tradition is the holiday hot cocoa bar that makes its' appearance on Thanksgiving day. Since my children are now of legal drinking age; the bar features some extra flavors, if you get my drift.

Each year, we decorate gingerbread houses. This tradition started as soon as the kids were strong enough to squeeze icing from a piping bag and, each year the houses have gotten more and more fancy. We're bougie like that.

 Do you see holiday lights? Driving tour on your own? Attend a park or festival?

When the kids were little, Hugh and I would throw them in the car, pajamas and all, for a driving tour of whatever lights were available in our area. As they grew up, so did the displays in our neighboring city, until, they were so amazing that it would be a shame not to enjoy them. Last year, neither of the kids were home early enough to join us, but, Mom was in town, so we threw her in the car. For the record, we did not make her wear her pajamas.

 Favorite holiday recipe

I would have to say, my cut sugar cookies are the recipe that I get asked for the most, and, I can't blame folks for that. They are soft, sweet, but not too sweet (that's what the frosting is for!) and they are a lot of fun to cut out and decorate.

Last year's decorations: an ode to the pandemic...

Must have holiday fashion staples

Well, this is a little out of the box, I am no fashionista, so I'm going to write about staples of a different type..., recently, I have been collecting vintage blow molds. So, for me, I would say they have become a staple of my holiday decor'. Hugh even built a stable for my Holy Family.

Old fashioned popcorn balls are also a holiday staple, as well as being a tradition that I forgot to mention above. The recipe has been handed down through generations and, last year, Mom taught the kids how to make the syrup. My dad was the best popcorn ball maker in the world; his popcorn balls were always the perfect size and consistency. None of us has reached his level of mastery and it is another thing that we miss most about him; especially at Christmastime.

Any special or extra festive plans this year?

This is going to be an interesting year. My son (affectionately known as the Man-Cub) is graduating from college on the 11th of December. In Hawaii. Sooooo, we will be in the tropics for a large portion of the month (so sad, amiright?). We will be back in Colorado just in time to travel to Mayberry to spend Christmas with Mom, but will miss out on the annual Parade of Lights in Petticoat Junction, as well as some other events that we would normally attend. I'm not complaining! I am 100% invested in experiencing all that Hawaii has to offer for the season. Mele Kalikimaka, y'all!

    Best holiday planning tip

I have always been a list-maker, and I find that helps make the season go more smoothly, but, the best tip I can offer is: recognize the fact that even the best-laid plans can go sideways; embrace the chaos.

Favorite holiday movie

I am a sucker for the old school Rankin Bass holiday specials of my youth. Santa Claus is Coming to Town is my absolute favorite, followed by Rudolph.

I would have to say that my family's favorite, however, will forever be Christmas Vacation. Hugh recites practically every line while we watch it. Not annoying at all...(it is Christmas and I will not kill my husband, it is Christmas and I will not kill my husband....)

 Die Hard-Christmas movie or not?

No. No. No. A hundred times, no.

Tree/decorations before or after Thanksgiving 

Traditionally, I start decorating the tree on Thanksgiving day, once the dinner has been eaten and the dishes have been done. This year, since we will be out of town for the majority of December, I am decorating earlier and far less extravagantly.

Do you celebrate other holidays on December?

We don't. Hugh was raised by Jewish parents who didn't practice, so he and his siblings were exposed to the more commercial aspects of Christmas (think: no baby Jesus and lots of tinsel). I was raised in a huge (or, as Hugh describes it: yooooooge) Catholic family, so we chose to raise the kids as Catholics (of which, I admit, I did a piss poor job).

Well, this has been fun! I can't wait to read everyone else's posts; there's just something fun about peeking into other people's lives. In a non-stalkery way, I mean, obviously.