Saturday, December 17, 2011

4:00 a.m.

It's 4:20 a.m. I've been awake for the past forty-five minutes. In that time, I've drank some chocolate milk, checked my bank account, ordered last minute Christmas gifts and whined about how I can't get back to sleep. After going to bed at 10:00 on a Friday night (yeah, pathetic, I know), I found myself awake at 1:30 and so incredibly thirsty. I went to my fridge, poured a glass of iced tea, drank it as quickly as possible and stumbled back to my bed. What I forgot was that this week, I accidentally bought died iced tea rather than the diet decaf iced tea that my cardiologist insists upon. After weeks of being nearly without caffeine at all, you realize that one glass of iced tea can indeed wake you up and keep you up at 4:23 in the morning. Who knew.

So I suppose you could say that this blog post is sponsored by iced tea, out of season strawberries and Florence + the Machine on Pandora.

I've spent the last few weeks complaining about how busy I've been and how I just simply haven't had time for my camera, this blog or much of anything. The real truth is that my life hasn't been that chaotic minus lots of catering parties, a thirty-five page marketing project, a rewritten management paper and two finals. Really, I've been laying on my boyfriends bed drinking Sleepytime tea, doing the little homework I've had, snuggling Buddy and watching Chelsea Lately. And on special occasions? Well, Trevor makes me midnight pancakes. With vanilla. And cinnamon. And a whole lot of butter. It's sort of my favorite new winter tradition.

But now, now it's Christmas vacation and I'm determined to do something interesting with my five weeks off. I'm going to pick up my camera, a lot. I'm going to blog regularly (I hope). I'm going to learn to crochet (really). I'm going to bake cookies with friends. I'm going to go to the Aquarium. I'm going to eat good food. And, I'm going to open gifts on Christmas morning while wearing tacky pajamas and trying to keep an eighty-pound, pushy, pit bull from tearing his stocking apart, damn it. And better yet? I'm going to enjoy it all. I'm also taking two online winter term classes... but I can't promise to enjoy either of those.

It's hard to believe I haven't bothered to blog since Thanksgiving (forgive me?). I can't even claim that I haven't had much to say. It's been a fast paced, event filled month.

I've never been a huge fan of Christmas. I would tell you that my family faces a December curse, but that's a morbid story you'd never believe so I won't bother trying to persuade you. Instead, I'll tell you that my mother despises the holiday and so it's never been an extravagant celebration at home. I suppose it's part of that "I live on my own now!" phase but this year, I found myself drawn to the holiday. I wanted to decorate. I wanted to shop for everyone. I wanted my boyfriend to bake cookies with me (he's a pastry chef, you know). And I've been accomplishing those goals slowly but surely:

Exhibit A: The Christmas Tree

The first step was to find a tree, of course. While I wanted a cute miniature live tree from Giant (with the cute price tag of $21.99), my genius of a six-year-old brother insisted that I get an artificial tree. His reasoning? No needles to clean and it's more economically friendly if you keep it for at least two years. Thank you, Aiden.

We easily spent an hour just wandering amongst the boxes of artificial trees; debating which size would be just perfect, deciding whether to buy a pre-lit tree. Aiden strongly urged for a seven-foot artificial fir which while beautiful, would simply never find a home in my three room apartment. Then he advocated for one which spins. No thanks. Eventually we settled for a little three or four foot tree. A tree that fits comfortably in my strangely designed living room window. At night you can see its lights from Route 30. (But honestly, I usually forget to plug it in).

After a second hour of arguing over ornament colors, whether I needed to hang a sparkly church on my tree and sneaking ugly ornaments out of my cart and back on to the shelves, we headed home to decorate. That is, until the lady at the check out counter told us that they were sold out of ornament hangers. Then, it was off to the Dollar Tree for 300 wire hangers and more ornaments, too. It's really quite amazing that we managed to fit them all on such a tiny tree.

But eventually, hours later, the tree was decorated, our names were carefully ironed on to our stockings and Pandora Christmas radio was played. (And for the record, I hate that star. But it was an ugly light up star or a crying six year old in the Christmas aisles of Walmart. & in that case? I'll take the star any day.)

Exhibit B: Breakfast with Santa

Somehow, I missed the annual tree lighting at Wellsville. It's still hard to believe that last year's lighting celebration was the first event I ever photographed.  It's even harder to believe the difference in my photos from less than a year of experience. To be honest though, looking back through blog posts of December 2010, the hardest thing to believe is how much my life has changed since then. But, that's a story for New Years, huh?

Back to breakfast. (Let me say at this point, it's 5:20 and I could really go for some of Trevor's pancakes. And, no wonder I don't blog more often. It's already 5:20?!)

For the past four years, we've made it a point to attend the Wellsville Fire Company's Breakfast with Santa. A five dollar donation gets you plenty of pancakes, hash browns and chocolate milk followed by a photo with Santa and the chance to make a refrigerator frame for it. Oh, and a fabulous tree ornament, too. Last year's was the best yet.


This year didn't disappoint though.
After all, Aiden has finally learned how to smile for posed pictures. Especially the kind with Santa.

Please ignore my mom's creepy hand. (Sorry mom.) I just find Aiden's expression too humorous not to share.

Breakfast served as a good reminder of just how much I love someone else cooking me breakfast, how easily it is to amuse elementary-aged little ones with foam sticker crafts and what a ham Aiden has become over the last few months.

Exhibit C: the Annual Goofy Candy Cane Photo

Out of accident, or maybe purposefully orchestrated by Aiden, each year I seem to take at least one goofy Candy Cane related photo. The first? He was two and tried to use Candy Canes as Reindeer Antlers. Instead, he looked like a goofy striped bug. This year? Something different. A posed series.

His impression of a fish on a hook. Clever.

It's hard to believe that only a week lies between us and Christmas. Over those seven days, I plan to squeeze in plenty of hot cocoa, helping my boyfriend chose and wrap his gifts for the year, walking through Rocky Ridge's Christmas lights and perhaps building a gingerbread house, too.

What are your plans and traditions?
Whatever they may be, I hope you have a great weekend.
(And that you have all the luck in the world with that last minute shopping.)

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