Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The End.

You read that right.  This is the end.  Yes, of course it is the end of 2014, but it is also the end of this blog.  This is my final post on Our Sunnyview.

This blog has served me faithfully and well for several years, but lately I just haven't felt that it fits who I am - who my family is - any more, and so I am beginning a new blog at a new location, one that is entirely mine.  It's not perfect yet, since all new things have learning curves and growth periods, but it's up and running, and I'm excited to show it to you.

I hereby introduce to you my new blog: Approximating Adulthood.

Please join me there as we enter 2015 and I continue on this new phase of my life.  I look forward to seeing you there.

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read, either now or whenever you have done in the past.  Your comments and loyalty have made this journey possible.

Happy New Year!

--Sarah

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

These Things Happened Today

1.  A physical therapy patient came into the office today.  He looked at me rather oddly while he was signing in, but he said nothing.  I chalked it up to the fact that I am subbing at a satellite office rather than being at the main office, so I also said nothing.  On the way out, he stopped by the front desk again.

"D'ya live in H'sk'll?"

"Pardon?"

"D'ya live in Haskell?"

"Oh!  No, sure don't, sorry."

"Hrmph. *grunt of acknowledgement* Well, ya gotta twin there."

I now have twins in McAlester and Haskell as well as one that makes appearances at one of the local hospitals.  I'm going to start telling people I'm a clone.

-----

2.  Doodlebug came bounding down the stairs this evening.

"MOM!  MOM!  You've got to see this.  It's SO CUTE!!!"

"What is??"

"Tom.  He's in his hide, and he has his head and one leg sticking out, and it's adorable."

I reflected for a moment that it will only be a matter of time before he stops describing anything without boobs as 'cute' and decided to go see what the lizard was doing.  Glad I went.  The little bugger was, in fact, as cute as advertised.  (Note to Self: Must start taking phone along for these things so I can share the with you all.)

-----

3.  After dinner, Boo decided she wanted to mime instead of talk.  I figured I'd relish the silence for ohhhh, 30 seconds or so.  But no.  She stuck it out for a good 20 minutes.  The fact that her brother joined in did help, I'll admit, especially when they started miming me and Oz and making fun of us while attempting to stifle giggles because, you know, mimes don't make noise.

-----

4.  I unpacked an Amazon box this evening.  Well, OK, I unpacked some of it.  One of the things I had bought was a new sieve/strainer for the kitchen since my old one is falling apart.  As I unpacked it, Oz came into the kitchen to see what I had purchased.  When he saw the strainer, his face puckered.

"Hmmmmm…"

"What?"

"Well… I bought you one of those for Christmas.  But where did I put it?"

He found it, after searching various rooms and his car.  His purchase is nicer than mine.  Now to decide whether to return mine or just have two.  I'll probably double up or give mine to someone.  The debate continues…

-----

Happy End of 2014, y'all!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas this year was quieter than most.  For one thing, we stayed at home so that Doodlebug could cook Christmas dinner for us.  He was very excited about this, and he had planned his menu well in advance:

Roast Duck with Mushroom Gravy
Stuffing
Roasted Red Potatoes
Green Beans
Apple Danish

Everything (except the stuffing, which was good old-fashioned Stovetop) was homemade.  I insisted that he get into the kitchen the day before Christmas to start the danish; really, if I'd been smart and read the recipe myself instead of relying on a 12-year-old to do it, I would have had him start on Tuesday, but I may have been a little TOO trusting of his abilities.  Anyway, I had him start the danish on Christmas Eve day.  Everything else he cooked on Christmas.  I wish I had gotten some photos of him cooking, but I was supervising and stirring the gravy.  He cooked everything himself.  The only part I played, other than stirring gravy, was to help him figure out in what order things needed to be started and subsequently cooked.  It was all delicious, and we still have a little bit of leftover food.  I even took the duck bones (and a chicken carcass that I had previously frozen) and made a whole bunch of poultry stock yesterday evening.  Waste not, want not, right?

Of course we opened gifts on Christmas morning before the boy got in the kitchen.  I did take a few photos of that, but I used Oz's phone as my camera since I wasn't coherent enough to either grab my own phone or my camera before plopping on the couch.  I think both kids were happy with their gifts, and I think Oz was happy with his, too.  I got him a nice new watch since his old one had finally bitten the dust.  Doodlebug got him a Himalayan salt block for grilling, and Boo gave him some jerky made with all kinds of meat - venison, ostrich, alligator, etc.  I received a gray coat, some earrings (one nice pair of crystal and one pair that features Schroedinger's cat(s), a couple of computer games that Oz and I can play together, a candle from Boo, and new placemats, napkins and napkin rings from Doodlebug. I felt like I made out like a bandit.

We didn't get the kids huge gifts this year; Boo got a replacement iPod Touch, since the button on her old one had never worked well and the charger was fraying, but that was the most expensive purchase we made.  We got them a bunch of little things instead, and I think they're just as happy.  Boo has been happily making duct tape crafts, for instance, and Doodlebug asked me to teach him to play Risk today.    Doodlebug is also starting to lobby hard for Xbox Live (mostly so he can play some games via that outlet with his friends), and I have told him that if he can continue to demonstrate positive behavior with regard to electronics, he'll have a good shot at getting that by his birthday.  I may even consider buying him a new game console if he does particularly well.

We've been steadily working out times to visit family and see them for the holiday since Christmas.  The kids are out of school for another week, and while I do have to work, my schedule is light and some days I should get out of the office around 3 or 3:30, so I'll have evenings free to do whatever.

I feel like I should be posting more… but that's another post.  Look for changes over the next week or so.  Thanks for reading.

Hope you all had a joyous holiday, no matter how you celebrated. :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

#managementproblems

The title of this post has become a new buzzword in my house.  I invented it.

I am not, of course, management.  BUT… I have nominal control over my department, and hopefully in time I will at least be the team lead, which would give me at least some semblance of a management position.  I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I'm optimistic.  I make the schedule, other departments (and department heads) come to me with issues, etc.  Anyway, the big news is… drumroll please… last week I went permanent.  I am no longer a temp-to-hire worker employed by a temp agency; I am a full-on staff member at the clinic.  This means I have to remember to clock in and out each morning, afternoon, and at lunch.  The last time I did this was in early 2000, and then it wasn't a big deal because all my coworkers left at the same time I did AND the clock was right by the door where we entered and exited.  Now the clock is way the heck at the end of the clinic, nowhere near where I work (which was particularly fun on Friday when I walked in the door at 7:54 and was greeted with, "SARAH!!!" by three different people who wanted to know the status of a couple of things… clocking in is difficult when you're being greeted by demands), and this afternoon I tried to leave without clocking out.  Thankfully I didn't even make it off the elevator.

I love my team.  Yeah, at some point, especially if I *AM* given the team lead position (again, not a given, not a guarantee, but I'd sure like the gig), I figure they'll start treating me oddly, but they're really really good, nice, driven people.  Honestly I like almost everyone in the clinic.  There will always be a few folks here and there that appeal to me less - that's going to be true no matter where I work - but I love that the drama is kept to a minimum.

I even revel in the fact that while I am not management, I'm being kept busy and given responsibilities.  I cannot even express how much I enjoy those two things.  Boredom and lack of recognition are two things that would drive me crazy anywhere, and those aren't happening.

Hard to believe I only started working in early September.  I feel like I'm at home.

Next post - Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Day Off

So I'm sitting at home today.  I would be at work, but my girly is still sleeping, and I'll be darned if I'm going to wake her.  She needs her rest, and she'll want her mama when she wakes up.  Poor child just wasn't at all well yesterday afternoon/evening; she even missed her last violin lesson of 2014.  

I wasn't looking for a day off - heaven knows they needed me at work, but they'll have to make do.  My Boo is more important.  However if I'm going to have a day off, I'm going to enjoy it!  I don't really have any errands to run (I need to pick up a few gifts for a few people, mostly teachers, between now and Christmas, but it'll happen sooner or later), and I'm sure my wee one won't be up to going anywhere anyway, so I'm doing some of the things that I would be doing if I didn't have a job - namely catching up on reading blogs, cross-stitching, reading, watching TV/movies, and maybe even baking.  Haven't entirely decided on that last one yet.  Since this is the first day I've taken off of work since I started 3+ months ago, it feels completely weird to be sitting on the couch at 8:46 a.m. wearing lounge pants and a hoodie.  Good weird, though, not bad weird.

As I was reading some of the blogs in my roll this morning, I ran across this little gem from Mom to the Screaming Masses.  She'd swiped it out of the back of a magazine, but I thought it was A) a lot better than a lot of the 'surveys' I've filled out in the past and B) a good way to get to know someone.  So I'm doing it.  #waystokilltime

Signature Dish: Jambalaya and pavlova.  Yes, I just combined Cajun/southern food and an Australian dessert.  I cook all over the globe.  It happens.

Worst Thing I Ate This Week: If it has to be eating, then the peppermint bark we made and I ate is probably right up there on the list, but the hot buttered rum I downed last night would be a close second.

Favorite Junk Food: Totino's.  Or mozzarella sticks.

Favorite Board Game: MONOPOLY.  But nobody will play with me.  Wonder why? *innocent face*

Household Chore I Enjoy: Cooking. Baking.   <---I'm stealing this answer from MttSM, because she and I are alike in this regard.  I could spend all day in the kitchen.  Apparently my daughter told her teacher yesterday that I should be running the school kitchens because the teacher said her leftover nachos looked delicious.

My Secret Cleaning Weapon: Essential oils, particularly lemon and lavender.  I haven't purchased a bottle of 409 - or any of its kin - in close to 10 years.  

Etiquette Pet Peeve: People who don't RSVP.  It does not mean, "Hey, lemme know if you wanna come at the last minute when you realize you have nothing better to do."  It means, "I need to know if you are OR IF YOU ARE NOT coming so that I can plan my event/life around you."  In this day of texting and Facebook and 1000 other forms of communication, it will not kill anyone to say yay or nay to an invitation.

I Will Never Care About: your gym exploits.  If you've run a 5K or marathon or something for the first time, by all means post it, but I do not need to know the details of your every workout.  Facebook, I'm looking at you.

The Last Thing I Bought Online Was: Ohhhhh I can't post that here.  Suffice it to say I did some shopping this morning for a birthday or two.   

I Drive: 2012 Ford Explorer, silver.  Her name is Sylvia.

Good Habit: Laundry.  It never piles up because I have a laundry routine - Knits and delicates get washed on Thursdays; knits, denim, towels, and sheets (biweekly) get done on Sundays. 

Bad Habit: Picking my cuticles. I'm trying to stop, honest to God.  <--- I only do this during the winter, but it's horrible.  I wrapped a Band-Aid around my left thumb over the weekend and did fine, but the minute the Band-Aid came off, I started picking again.  Ugh.

Before Company Arrives I: Sweep/vacuum the fur off the floors and wipe the bathrooms down, and depending on who it is, clean the kitchen and dust. 

Cat/Dog/Other: CATS.

Stuff I Can't Live Without: Texting. This from the woman who thought she would never text anyone EVER when she first got her phone.  Unlimited texting is the bomb-diggity.

If I Had An Extra Hour Today, I Would: If I could magically give myself an extra hour, I would tell time to shove it and use the magic to make my daughter feel better.  I'd give up an hour for her, and then some.

My Handbag Is:  TINY!  I have a little denim one and a little brown/tan woven one that I swap out.  They both desperately need to be washed.  And when I say little, the denim one is barely large enough to hold my wallet (yes, I have a men's wallet), phone, bottle of Aleve, work badge, ink pen, and keys.

On My Bucket List: Go to Germany.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Three-Ring Circus

Today, I would like to update you on my life.  To best illustrate it all, I shall use the metaphor of a three-ring circus.

IN THE FIRST RING:

My kiddos.

The boy has been throwing fits and has been unable to focus again; we're finally down to the last Vyvanse at 20 mg, and so starting this week we're going to go up to 30 mg.  We may go as high as 40 if necessary (given his height and weight, I know the doctor wouldn't object) to get us back to a solid baseline.  The boy needs new coping skills, and he needs to be able to focus to get them right before we "de-medicate" again.  We're also continuing the Intuniv as is.  He's also considering whether or not he wants to remain in public school next year or return home.  He's on the fence.  I'm letting the choice be his this year.  We'll see how it goes.

The girl has been mentally/emotionally okay, but she came down with pneumonia last Thursday.  Well, OK, so really it was a very mild case of pneumonia and we caught it on Friday afternoon, but pneumonia it is (I suspect combined with a virus, but that's neither here nor there) and that means breathing treatments and Mucinex and Tylenol and 'roid rage and grumpy girl who wants to go to school and who DID go to school today because she didn't have a fever but then came home with a fever of exactly 100.0F and a headache.  A breathing treatment and Mucinex helped; she's off to take a bath and put on pajamas now.  Here's hoping she feels better again by morning.

IN THE SECOND RING:

My job.

I really do enjoy my job, but days like today make it difficult to remember why.  I won't get into details on here for many reasons, but suffice it to say that my level of screw-it-all is extremely high right now, and if they fired me tomorrow (which I hope they won't and don't think they will), I don't even know that I would care.  OK, I would care and would probably cry, but OMG STRESS.  I'm supposed to go in and chat with the director of operations about something tomorrow, and I feel like I'm being sent to the principal's office.  I can't imagine that I'm in trouble, but that feeling is still there… and really, it's just more OMG STRESS.

IN THE THIRD RING:

My personal life.

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

OK, seriously, I am working on my cross-stitch project for Doodlebug's room and intend to read a couple of books I picked up at the store this weekend, but other than that, nope.  Allllll the NOPE.  Oz and I have his company holiday party this week; mine is next week.  At some point I need to go visit my mother for a Christmas shopping trip, and I have a couple of people left on my list for whom I need to shop.  The idea of me getting out for ME?  With MY friends or with MY husband?  Not happening.

---

My goals right now are to get everyone healthy/properly medicated, figure out the work stuff, and get through the next few weeks intact.  Then maybe it'll settle down…

Hey, a girl can dream.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

So yesterday was Thanksgiving.  The kids were out of school all week, so I asked them to clean out their closets, which was, in a twisted sort of way, meant to make them grateful for what they have.  And it worked, because they got rid of a few things, some of which had LONG overstayed their welcome, and told me that now all the stuff they have in their closets is stuff they love.  This makes me happy, and it makes them happy, and now I feel like the things I'm getting them for Christmas will have places to live.

On Wednesday Oz brought them up to see Mama at work in the office, so I took them around a little bit and then they hung out in the waiting room until it was time to go home.  (Work is good, still circus-ish, but next week we're training one more new person and then we should be actually fully staffed, and that is a wonderful feeling.  I won't be in the main office on Monday because the girl at the satellite office had a family emergency and is dealing with that, so I'm covering for her, but it should be an easy day.  I digress.)  Then Oz and I changed clothes, took the kids over to my brothers-in-law's (how on EARTH does one make that plural possessive??  Because two of them live there, and they are my brothers-in-law, but should it be brothers-in-laws'???  My brain just exploded) apartment where the kids spent the night with both of the guys as well as my mother-in-law.  It was a crowded place, but they had a great evening/night, and Oz and I went for dinner and then met up with a friend and her new hubby down at a bar where we drank beer and ate sweet potato fries and played darts until my contacts were about to either fall out or adhere themselves to my corneas from sheer fatigue.

We got home safely, took showers, and crashed, but then Oz and I both got up around 5:30 to start the meat for Thanksgiving.  He took charge of the brisket on the grill - I had put on the dry rub on Tuesday evening, so it'd been soaking up the flavor for about 36 hours - and I handled the giant leg of pork that was going in the oven.  I used this recipe, and OH MY WORD it was the bomb dot com.  We threw the meat in their respective cooking places and went back to bed for another 45-50 minutes… and then we adjusted the heat and did it again.  Around 7:30 or so we both actually decided it was time to get up for good, so Oz started the coffee and we began the process of cleaning the house for our guests while letting the parade play in the background.  For the record, I never thought I'd prefer Matt Lauer and Al Roker as hosts, but they would've been preferable to the folks on CBS.  That was painful.

By 10:30 the house was mostly ready, which was good because my mom showed up about that time and I know I wouldn't have been able to do much cleaning after that... besides anything else, my mom never arrives without looking like she's moving in, and this time was no exception.  She had a box of fabric scraps for Boo, a box of needlework books and shirts for me to browse through, as well as a pie and the non-liquored-up version of something called Apple Pie Moonshine.  We added the booze shortly after she got here, and it is just as delicious as the web site promises.  Dangerous stuff.

My kids and in-laws arrived not too long after my mother, and from there on out, it was Party Time.  There were people cooking, people talking and laughing, and just everything Thanksgiving should've been.  One thing that was different for us this year was that I had sent out an open invitation via Facebook for anyone who needed/wanted a place to come and celebrate Thanksgiving with friends, and I had a couple of folks take me up on the offer.  I was so glad they came, and I hope - I think - they had a good time.  We all stuffed ourselves to the point of pure indigestion, I do know that!!

A few people left early, but most of the family and a few friends hung around into the early evening hours.  My mom got to play with a baby, and my kids were good with the older ones, so there were no incidents that I'm aware of.  My husband and his brothers wandered down to the fire pit for a while and had some bro time, and I just enjoyed talking with everyone and catching up.  It doesn't happen often enough.

In addition to all that, I scored a beautiful ring.  When my grandmother had moved into an assisted living facility a few years ago, she had handed me the ring that had belonged to her when she married my grandfather.  The stone was amazingly beautiful, but the setting was dated and far too large for my finger.  Oz and I had briefly discussed getting the stone re-set at some point in the future, but that date had never been determined.  When he and I were struggling with our relationship issues earlier this year, I figured it would never happen.  Then he and I had our come-to-Jesus, honest-to-goodness, heart-to-heart about everything, and we turned a corner.  A month or so ago, I told him I would wear a ring again if he A) got the stone put into a ring that was MINE and mine alone and B) took me on a few successful dates and re-proposed to me.

Oz and I had discussed rings off and on since then - I'd sent him pictures I'd found on Pinterest or Etsy of custom rings that I liked, and he'd found a local jeweler who does custom work, and I'd even gone in and met the guy and had my ring size determined (5 1/4, in case you're curious, which is an odd size) - but I did NOT know that the ring design had been both finalized and finished, and I certainly did not know that Oz had picked it up.

So when he re-proposed to me in front of almost all his family and mine… well, what else could I do?

I said yes.



I'm thankful for my family (and friends!) each and every day.  They make my world wonderful.  Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving, if you're in the USA, and if you live elsewhere in the world, that you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving and Other Stuff

Time for my somewhat-regular, useless, narcissistic information dump, I think.  I'm sitting on the couch with a mug of lemon-honey tea next to me.  My neck is wrapped in a heated rice bag.  These things are 'necessary' because I have both a sore throat and a sore neck.  Note to husband: I need a new pillow for the bed.  I seem to have killed this one, and I suspect that is the cause of my sore neck.  The sore throat I'm chalking up to a combination of hormones and winter.

Work is good.  I really feel like I'm part of the team now, and I've been handed a couple of small but important extra responsibilities.  I am pleased.  Today was a completely exhausting day, the kind of nonstop day we haven't had for several weeks, and I'm proud to say that while we were all thoroughly worn out by the end of it, we made it through intact.  Somehow it all got done… and done well, I think.  We'll see.

We had our office Thanksgiving lunch today.  I brought pear pie.  I hadn't made it in quite a while, and I'm proud to say it was delicious.  Or so I've been told.  I don't want to brag.  I did enjoy eating a slice of it myself, but my opinion is biased, so I'd prefer to go off of the thoughts of others.  I'll make another one soon for a coworker who specifically requested one and even offered to pay for it.  Yes, I will be the office pie maker.  I am okay with this.

Thanksgiving here at the house next week should be fun.  In addition to my mom and sister and my in-laws, we've invited some friends over as well, ones who don't have any family local or who don't have a place to crash where they can be surrounded by folks they know.  I'm going to fix a fresh ham (need to get that picked up ASAP) and a brisket and let everyone else bring sides or desserts.  I may also let the kids make some cookies or brownies.  We'll see.

We had our first snow here over the weekend.  It wasn't much - a little less than an inch, I'd say - but it was the first real snow we've had in a while and certainly the first *November* snow I can remember in even longer.  It didn't mess up the roads, either, so that was a major bonus.  A family friend of Oz's is visiting from Sydney this week, so he came for lunch. Oz fixed chili, and I made cornbread muffins.  Everyone went back for seconds.  'Tis the season for much eating!

Tomorrow is Boo's violin recital, and next week the kids are out of school.  Oz is going to work from home and I'm hopeful that he'll be able to bring them to the office one day to see Mama in her new environment.  Then they have three weeks of school and then it's Christmas break.  I need to work something out for childcare for those two weeks, I guess, since I don't exactly have time off and won't be able to get it at this point, anyway… between a coworker who took the week of Christmas off as part of her hiring terms and covering for a satellite office the week of New Year's, it won't happen.

I've started ordering Christmas gifts for the kiddos (and Oz) and stashing them away.  Hard to believe that'll be here in a little more than a month.  Nobody's getting anything big or expensive this year.  Nobody has asked; nobody shall receive.  It's just working like that this time around.

And on that bombshell, I need to go do dishes, and then I'm going to go wash my nasty hair, reheat this rice bag, and read in pajama pants until I fall asleep.  Night!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Purging & Productivity

I did not intend to be productive this weekend.  In fact, when I woke up on Saturday morning, it was with the intention of staying in bed for the entire day because I lacked both the motivation and the energy to move.  I had been sliding up and down (mostly down) the depression scale for more than a week, and it seemed that it had gotten the better of me again, to the point where I could no longer move.

However, spending the morning in bed may have been exactly what the doctor ordered.

I emerged about noon.  And then I got busy.  Very, very busy.  I made cinnamon rolls and fish & chips.  I made a menu for the week, devised a grocery list and went to the store with Doodlebug (and even stocked up on stuff for a few extra meals in case the weather turns sour later this week… having a few extra meals on hand is not a bad idea this time of year).  I cleaned a few things, tidied up some others, and generally put things in order.  Before the kids went to bed, we played a couple of family games of Uno, and after they went to bed, I spent quite a while discussing tattoo designs with Oz.  I hit the sack late, but it felt good.  *I* felt good.

The productivity continued today.  I had promised the kids I would spend some time with them, and despite Doodlebug's protests that he wanted to do something indoors (i.e. laser tag), I told them that this was going to be one of the last beautiful fall days and that I would only agree to an outdoor activity.  So they put on their skates, and Oz and I walked behind them as they skated down one of the trails of a major park system.  It was a beautiful 2-mile adventure.

We got home, and I tidied up some more and had the kids start cleaning out the game room.  This had needed to be done for a long, long time, but today I found the motivation to figure out what furniture needs to go where and how it all needs to work together.  They got everything cleaned out in a little more than an hour and a half, and Oz helped get rid of some extra furniture.  Then we moved the computer and desk from the guest room into the game room.  Eventually we'll move the chaise lounge and ottoman from the game room into the guest room and get a couch for the game room, but that hasn't happened yet.  I ordered a lamp for the guest room as well, and I'm going to have Oz hang a painting in there.  I need to get a new trash can for that room as well, but one thing at a time.

In the meantime, I started some Guinness beef stew for dinner (it's getting close to being done as I type this) and cleaned out the desk drawer.  I also ordered a few Christmas gifts for the munchkins and started officially planning the giant Thanksgiving that we're going to host here this year.

Next weekend I intend to clean out the attic while the kids clean out their bedrooms.  They'll hate me, but if it can get done before the holidays, I'll be a very happy camper.

I may clean out the bathroom cabinets tonight.  That needs to happen, too, and I figure I should get it done while I have the energy!

Because tomorrow, it's back to work.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Christmas Plans

It's time for my annual Grinchy post about Christmas.  I love Halloween.  I can tolerate Thanksgiving.  But I loathe Christmas.

OK, that's not quite correct.  I love Christmas with my husband and kiddos.  I love making it magical for the kids, even though they don't technically believe in Santa any more, and I enjoy getting them gifts and seeing their faces on Christmas Day.

What I loathe is the level of expectation.  It starts in September.  SEPTEMBER, for Pete's sake, before I've even begun to think about my son's birthday or Halloween or Thanksgiving or any of the stuff that has to happen before the blessed holiday is upon us.  It varies from year to year as to who the person is, but someone inevitably mentions Christmas in September… and usually throws in an expectation along with it.  "You'll be at my house this year, right?" "Are you doing X again this year?" "What are your plans for Christmas?"

I hate it.

And it only ramps up from there.

By the time December, let alone Christmas itself, rolls around, I'm exhausted.  It's all I can do to keep up with the kids and their holiday stuff - which is the stuff I *want* to do - let alone manage all the stuff that I'm supposed to do.

And every year, I wind up loathing Christmas.  It has taken on a year-round aspect at this point.

I know some people love the holiday.  I wish I could be one of them.  But I am not.

So.

Because this year has been a year of many revelations and changes for me and I am finally making me a priority, I am going to do things differently.  The following changes are now in effect:

1.  I will NOT be going anywhere on Christmas Day.  My children have already requested to stay home; my son wants to plan a menu and cook Christmas dinner for us.  I want to let him do this.  So I will be staying home on Christmas Day.

2.  I do not intend to purchase gifts for anyone over the age of 12.  If you are old enough to have your own income, expect either A) nothing or B) a gift card.  My sister and I have already cleared this with each other, and I am hoping to follow suit with both my parents at some point soon.  It's quite freeing to not have to worry about so many bills and wonder whether or not you've purchased the perfect gift for somewhere between 12 and 20 people, not including anyone who lives in this house.

3.  I do not want any gifts myself (again, unless you live in this house, and that's only because I can't really stop them).  I have what I need.  I do not want extra stuff.  Just send me a card to know that I'm thought of.  I enjoy those!

If I'm perfectly honest, I'd love to give up celebrating Christmas altogether and just celebrate Yule/the solstice.  I'll conform to the societal norms for form's sake, mostly because my mom, dad, and some of my in-laws are strong Christians (and I live in a town that threw such a huge fit over having a 'holiday' parade that for several years they had two parades just so the people who wanted a 'Christmas' parade would be happy), but I'd be perfectly content to follow my own pagan path and celebrate my way.

Maybe next year.

Because I really don't want to hate Christmas.