Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting Settled.

Today at work, I poked my head into the cafeteria during lunch. I do this often as an energizing break from work at my computer and also because our students are awesome.*

I noticed a fifth-grader sitting by himself at a table, which is not an unusual midday punishment for a rogue trouble-maker. I asked him why he was sitting alone, expecting an admission of guilt. His answer surprised me.

He said, very matter-of-factly, "I just needed to get settled. I decided to sit here today because I can be quiet and have a clear mind over here. That's all." 

He then proceeded to tell me about his wish list for Santa and how excited he was to to have a sleepover with a friend this weekend. Said friend then joined us to share his opinions about this wish list and the settling had officially ended.

On my way home I had some good music on in the car and inadvertently took a few minutes to clear my mind. This involved belting at the top of my lungs while traveling at a high speed down the highway. But it did the trick.

Then I realized something. Life has been busy lately and this week, Joel and I have been admittedly boring. We've indulged in more ice cream and episodes of Modern Family then I care to admit. I was worrying this was a bad thing but then I realized, this is what we need. This is our version of getting settled. Of recharging.

So tonight? We're taking one more evening of boring, by the fire and glow of the Christmas tree, to get settled. And you know what? I'm okay with that.

So fancy.

*I work at a nonprofit called Positive Tomorrows, a elementary school for homeless students. Our kids live in local homeless shelters and bounce around a lot which makes it difficult for them to learn. We give them a fair shot at an education by stabilizing families and breaking down barriers to learning. Check us out on Facebook.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cookies, Trees and Presents, Oh My.

Last year in all my holiday cookie making, present wrapping and tree decorating haste, I definitely did not post anything related to Christmas. In the spirit of dragging the season out, even though I already have my tree and decorations up for this year, I thought I'd give you a taste of Christmas 2011.

The Tree

We tucked our artificial tree in the corner of the living room. Because I'm kind of OCD, my tree had to match the room. I went with green, Turquoise and silver. I used throw that normally lives on the couch as a tree skirt rather than purchasing one. The pictures can do all the talking.

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011


The Presents

When it came to wrapping presents, I was looking for a cheap alternative to wrapping paper. Enter recycled newspapers from my office and paper grocery bags. Both were free fiddy. I threw in some inexpensive doilies and some touches of color with different ribbons. I grabbed some Christmas stamps from the holiday bin at Michael's and added some Christmas trees and snowflakes for good measure. For such a cheap alternative to traditional to gift wrapping, I'd say they turned out all right.

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

The Cookies

If you know me, then you know I am not the biggest fan of cooking in general. Unless it involves making cookies that I can elaborately decorate. I get a little out of control - all the dough and icing is made from scratch and each cookie is individually painted. It's my thing. It's what i do. As stated above, in line with my OCD, I even like for my cookies to match my tree and my house so last year I kept in line with my turquoise and green and metallic theme through and through.

Thanks to the ease of surfing cookies on Pinterest, I got brave and tried marbling. It. Was. Awesome. Very easy, very pretty. Joel even joined in the fun and decorated some. Another key part of our cookie tradition, however, is also that we must drink beer while we decorate. 

The colorful cookies are sugar cookies, the brown ones are gingerbread. Here you go.

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

This Year

This year we've kept up our tradition of putting our tree of the weekend after Thanksgiving while watching Elf and even created the new tradition of bringing home a real tree. I have sneezed much less with a real tree than I did fluffing the dust-filled artificial trees of yore.

Once I get our presents wrapped and cookies decorated, perhaps I'll post Christmas 2012 on time this year. Until then, I give you Santa's Tree Lot.

Christmas tree? Check.