December 30, 2011

The Year that I Lived

As I've spent some time reflecting on this past year, I've been aware of how many glorious moments it contained. A lot of my life has been lived small or just in survival mode. But, it's been evident that a lot of this year was lived in more freedom and joy and abandon than ever before. As I look back, it feels like there are a lot of highlights.

This year, I....

Got a new car.
Played in the "snow."
Changed the name of my blog.
Started seeing a new therapist for my eating disorder.
Celebrated my Grammy's 75th and my dad's 50th birthdays.
Got my third tattoo.
Stopped hating myself.
Turned 30 and had the best party of my life.
Played with my son.
Saw my favorite musical - West Side Story.
Let God in to the closed off places in my heart.
Purchased the best Steve Madden sandals in the entire world.
Put Tommy into daycare once a week so I could work more.
Went to Michigan and attended the training for My Journey Continues.
Slayed a dragon.
Danced - really danced - for the first time in my entire life.
Enjoyed a season of celebration.
Came alive to my longings for another baby.
Made new friends in old and familiar faces from my past.
Said goodbye to my sister-in-law.
Got a tan.
Bought and wore my first pair of shorts in 4 years.
Celebrated one year at my job.
Wore a fun dress.
Became members of our church.
Asked questions I never thought I would ask.
Entered into a desert. But with God by my side.
Visited with my Auntie and said goodbye again.
Threw the best 2 year old party for Tommy.
Reached out and asked for help.
Put Tommy in a big-boy bed and put the crib away.
Stuck my toes in the sand at the beach.
Welcomed my best friend's new baby into the world.
Said goodbye to Hunter and welcomed him back home again.
Endured a horrible drought and wildfires very close to home.
Rejoiced over Gramma's successful stint surgery.
Missed my mom.
Decided to put the shovel down.
Discovered Pinterest.
Started hosting a Red Tent dinner.
Said goodbye to dear friends and pushed into that loss.
Led a Grace Group at a new church.
Tried new recipes.
Found my new hobby - wreath making.
Enjoyed Friday mornings rituals of waffles and Sesame Street with Tommy.
Got butterflies.
Took action on places I felt convicted by God.
Practiced "agape" kind of love.
Was honest.
Stopped trying to understand.
Was filled with peace.
Potty-trained my son.
Celebrated Halloween.
Carved a super awesome pumpkin.
Set new boundaries.
Built my first blanket fort with Tommy.
Baked my first real apple pie.
Had the most wonderful Thanksgiving ever.
Stopped being angry at God.
Was humbled.
Got a cute short haircut.
Took a carriage ride in downtown San Antonio.
Baked cookies with Tommy.
Was honest with myself.

2011 wasn't the year that I got pregnant or paid off all of our debt or went on a fabulous vacation or lost all the weight I wanted to...
But it was the year that I lived.

And if you haven't had enough of my year, I made a silly little slideshow to watch. Please forgive the lame music. The website I used didn't allow for much creativity on the music front! But I wanted some kind of fun montage of 2011.

My hope for the year ahead is that the pattern will continue. That I will continue to make the choice to live. To be be kind to myself and others. To fight, to dance, to laugh, to grieve, to feel, and to walk closely with my Savior who is the One who has freed me to live.

Happy New Year.

December 29, 2011

Beginning again

There is a quote I often remember when I think about Aaron. It's from the movie French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. Kate, Meg Ryan's character, is talking about how she doesn't think she will ever get over her first love Charlie. It hurts too bad and there is just no way she can get over the loss of him leaving her for another woman.

In the movie, Luc tells Kate something important about what moving on might look like for her:

"You say that now but after a time you would forget. First you would forget his chin and then his nose and after a while you would struggle to remember the exact color of his eyes and one day you wake up and he's gone. His voice, his smell, his face. He will have left you and then you can begin again."

In the end, Kate is able to let go of Charlie and like any great chick-flick she ends up with Luc, who was the kind of man she never saw herself with. They were complete opposites and he pushed her buttons and sometimes drove her crazy, but somehow they just fit.

It's been similar for me. A long time ago I let go of the pictures I did have so I don't remember exactly what Aaron looked like. It took a long time, but one day I woke up and he was gone. And I did begin again.

Not everyone gets the chance to fall in love twice, but I did. I fell in love with a man I never would have imagined for myself. We are so opposite of each other and sometimes he pushes my buttons and drives me crazy (and the same could be said for how Todd experiences me!)...but somehow we just fit.

Every December I still think about Aaron and what we shared.
Sometimes he is only a daydream away. If I close my eyes, I can remember a thousand kisses and tender touches and memories that still break my heart to think upon. This was the day that he was killed eleven years ago. One year and one day after my mom passed away.

Last night I decided to take care of myself. I drew a hot bath, lit some candles and put on my favorite sad bubble-bath music. (Old school Sarah McLachlan to be exact.) I sat there, steam rising, sad melodies playing and just cried. I stayed there until my fingers and toes were perfectly pruny and then got out. I tucked my little boy into bed and I was about to start a sad movie when I checked my Facebook. I had posted a status about my plans for the night and how I needed a good cry.

My step-mom Robin said, "Just so you know, my sofa is still here and I can hold you while you cry...I love you."

After sitting there for ten minutes in tears about whether or not I should go, I went over with wet hair and pajamas and did just that. I cried, she hugged me and ran her fingers through my hair, we talked, and it was wonderful and redeeming and everything that I needed. I cried about mom and about Aaron and about life. She talked and listened and cried with me and gave me good words.

I went home and watched part of a girly movie and then went to bed.

And this morning I woke up. The sun was shining and the air was crisp and there was life right outside my door waiting to be lived.

Grief and remembrance are part of life. And because of hope and healing, they don't consume me like they used to. I'm dealing with them with things like bubble-baths and conversations rather than ice-cream or potato chips. I am learning to embrace the relationships I have in my life rather than live out of bitterness for the ones that I don't.

"You can begin again."

Every day has that invitation. And today I am reminded of the glorious places that God has given me to begin again.

December 28, 2011

Journey Back #3 - Twelve Years

Christmas Eve was the last night I ever saw my mother alive.

She gave me these ugly wooden cat book-ends as a gift that year. She thought I could use them at school to hold my books up or something. They were lame and I made sure she knew that I thought so. Her gift made me angry. She didn't know me. She didn't even care to know me. She didn't know I hadn't liked anything to do with cats since I was eleven.

I was eighteen now and all grown up. Had she missed that? Probably. She had missed a lot the last two years.

My mom smelled like a bar that night. I had grown to hate that smell and I had grown to hate her too. It was evident that she was trying to act cool. She wore this fancy black dress that hung loosely on her thinning frame. She was trying to pretend that she was okay and that she was really happy with her boyfriend and that it wasn't awkward that we were all there together.

Days later, I was with my sister over at my Gramma's house for a visit. I was between semesters studying vocal performance at school. Christmas was over and I was finding things to do until I was able to get back on campus again. Being back in San Antonio felt painful and hard. It reminded me of how sick my mom was and how miserable I felt. Going away to school felt like the greatest thing that had happened to me in my entire life. College was where I could forget about the realities of what had happened to my home. It was where I could just have fun and sing and be me. I was anxious to get back.

Robin was supposed to pick us up that day, but she came to get us early. When I got into the truck, I could tell by the look on her face that something was wrong. But I shrugged it off figuring that she was just in a bad mood. The ride home was quiet. My little sister babbled on about things, and my step-brother was still and looking out the window. I sat there wondering why things felt weird and tense and started making checklists of all that I needed to do before heading back to school the following week.

When we got home, my dad's truck was in the driveway. He had gotten off early as well. It crossed my mind that perhaps we were all going to do something fun together. Maybe we were even going to take a trip or go see a movie.

But my dad had a look on face too that told me something was wrong.

He asked me to follow him into his bedroom and closed the door behind us. We stood there in the dark. Deep green curtains covered the windows and very little December sun poked through. I could see that whatever he had to say was difficult. I felt scared and wanting for light.

"What daddy? What's the matter?" I asked.

"Mommy died today." He started crying and pulled me in to give me a hug. Or maybe it was him that needed the embrace.

I started crying too. But only because I thought he said 'Poppy.' I was confused about what could have happened to my Grandfather and was distraught at such a sudden news. I was about to ask him a question, but he continued -

"She died in her sleep. Mike went in to wake her up and she didn't move. Her heart just stopped."

That's when I realized he didn't say Poppy. He must have said 'mommy.' A million different thoughts and feelings went through me in that moment - one of them being gratefulness that Poppy was still alive. Another of them was wondering why my dad had said 'mommy' instead of 'mom.' My brain felt like it was running a million miles a minute with thoughts and questions. I tried to access more tears but they felt difficult to produce.

Part of me felt relieved. And the other part felt nothing. I wasn't sure what to do with myself. At that moment I just wanted to run away.

How the rest of the day unfolded feels like I blur. I remember sitting next to my dad as he tried to explain my mom's death to my five year old sister. I remember her cries because all she knew was that she couldn't see mommy ever again. I remember Robin's tears and her telling me the next day that she thought I would hate her now since I didn't have my mom anymore. I remember going back over to my Gramma's house and seeing her tears. I remember later that night escaping the house and going to see my friend Courtney - needing to get out and breathe. We went to Sonic and got mozzarella sticks and chocolate shakes. The food kept me numb and unfeeling.

And I couldn't cry. My mom was dead and I had no tears.


Sometimes it feels like the memory of her isn't real. As if I made her up or she was an imaginary friend of some kind. Who she was often feels like a distant dream. And I know she is a part of my story, but some things feel harder to remember than others. Pieces of my childhood with her in it are fragmented and I can access feelings more easily than actual memories.

My Grandparents recently cleaned out their shed and found dozens of pictures of my mom. And of me when I was a toddler. There were several of my brother also when he was sick and in the hospital as a baby. Looking through them still evoked much feeling. I felt anger and resentment and discarded the pictures easily. They were hard to look at because it had always felt like she had loved him more.

I found myself almost ravaging through them hoping to find something of my mom and me. I just wanted to find something I had never seen before - maybe some kind of proof that she had loved me. I'm 30 years old and I still want proof of her love. Maybe it's because I still don't believe that she ever really did. Or maybe it's just the ache of wishing my mother were alive and was never an alcoholic and I would know that I was loved. Either way, I was hoping to find some magical picture of the two of us that would make me feel better.

The photo I really want, I've never seen. Her holding me as a baby right after I was born. If it exists, I've never seen it.

It's both beautiful and sad how I still have the same questions and the same tears as I did as a child. I just wanted her love and attention and affection. And it's okay that I wanted it - I was supposed to have it. Needing a mom to love you as they were designed to, is good and normal and natural. God made it so that we were born to need that.
Apparently, it's time to invest in a scanner because I've taken pictures of pictures before and had them turn out fine. These however, are blurry. Though it somehow feels fitting. I can't remember these moments. They are before the age that my memory begins.
I've never seen these photos before. And they are already precious to me. They are snapshots of moments that happened in real time where my mother played with me. I have one real memory of a day when she played with me, but to have pictures as proof of where she was spending time with just me - enjoying me, swinging with me, holding on to me - it does something for my motherless heart.
This one is my favorite. Even though you can't see either of our faces. I'm pretty sure she was helping me walk, but it also looks as though she was dancing with me too. This picture makes my heart ache. Oh I wish I could remember being this small with my mother's hands in mine. To hear her voice and what her words might have been.

Maybe it feels silly to say this, but these new handful of photos of mine, kind of feels like a gift from her. A reminder from heaven that she really did love me. She did enjoy me and play with me and treasure me. Maybe a little bit of the proof I've been searching for.

It's been twelve years.
And it still hurts.

It's been twelve years.
And I'm still searching for proof.

It's been twelve years.
And I still miss her and what we never got to have.

December 27, 2011

Late December

The days that follow Christmas are my least favorite days of the entire year. I find myself somber and serious. And weepy. And any disappointment feels amplified.

Maybe it's because Christmas usually feels anti-clamactic. Like all of the Christmas fun is had before the actual day itself. Then it finally arrives and it's over and life goes back to the non-Christmasy normal and suddenly I'm hating that my house feels so cluttered with ornaments and snowmen and greenery and I just want everything to feel clean and in it's place again. It's like the merrying has to stop cold-turkey and now it's just a regular Tuesday. Not a carriage-riding, cookie-baking, carol-singing Tuesday.

Yesterday, I was kind to myself and let the decorations stay and did things like laundry and toilet scrubbing instead. This Christmas season has been so wonderful and full and I didn't want my typical after-Christmas mood to spoil the beauty that was still left to be had this last week too. The decorations can remain - just one more week.

A cloud settles in over me this time every year. I should stop feeling surprised that it still comes.

Tomorrow marks twelve years that my mom died. And the day after that is eleven years that Aaron died too. Both of their deaths were so long ago, yet so much in my heart feels sad and full of grief. Even with all the time that has past, my heart still remembers them. They are hard days. There still seems to be pain to cry over. I wonder if I will always be like this. Where every late December will be tear-filled and quiet and sad. Maybe it will. And maybe that's okay - I just have to learn how to better care for my heart this time of year.

I know I need people. But it feels easier to be alone. It feels like I'm supposed to isolate and cry my tears by myself. It feels hard to invite anyone in. Maybe because it feels foolish to cry eleven and twelve year old tears.

The year is coming to an end. I find myself more introverted and closed. Reflecting on the year behind me - where it's been glorious and where it's been hard. And wondering what the next year might hold too. Like every year past, I wonder if this will finally be the year that I can break through this damn weight demon and be healthy and normal.

It's late December and I feel winter's chill and what death has taken from me. I am seeing how I've dealt with it and what it has cost me.

December 26, 2011

2011- Christmas Highlights

Christmas has it's bright and shining moments. Laughter, fun, and togetherness are tangible and real this time of year. These are just a few photos of the highlights this year.

Aunt "Tippy" came home.
We saw Gramma.
There was fun and yummy food.
Christmas Eve with Todd's parents.
Todd's present from Tiffany completely wrapped in duct tape.
Best friends reuniting.
The BEST present ever. (A calendar of us, with silly daily reminders that only the two of us would ever even "get.")
Tommy's 1st stocking.
Tommy's guitar from Papa. He didn't put it down all day.
Hot Wheel central. Aka - our house.
Family gatherings.
My beautiful sister.
Sparkly dress gifts.
Real, true, lasting love.

Hope your Christmas was wonderful!

December 22, 2011

Christmas agenda

I have very important things on my to-do list the next several days.....

Go see Mission Impossible with my honey.

Get Christmas fixin's at the grocery store.

Bake some egg-nog bread.

Visit Sarah.

Make homemade nutter-butters with my sister.


Listen to Christmas music.

Hug Tiffany - because she will be home.

Talk with her for hours.

Sleep in.

Wear snowflake pajama pants. As long as I want to.


Watch Elf. And The Muppets: A Christmas Carol.

Pray that my last pre-ordered gift for someone gets here by Christmas Eve. Please!?

Kiss Todd under the mistletoe.

Hug my Gramma.

Enjoy Christmas Eve with the in-laws at our house.

Read Tommy "The Night Before Christmas."

Look out my window just to see if it snowed, even though the forecast says our high is 68. Because you never know - it's Christmas!

Make breakfast on Christmas morning.

Read Luke 2.


Watch Tommy open gifts.

Play with him all morning long.

Enjoy a more slow-paced day.

Spend time with my family.

Laugh, sing, and eat yummy food.


Enjoy. Play. Celebrate. Relax. Smile.

I'll be so busy, there won't be much time for writing here.

To all who come here and read my little blog, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you be filled with the hope of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who is the source of all joy and peace.

With Love,

December 21, 2011

Sugar-filled Memories

It used to be me, standing up on a dining room chair at the counter ready to help my mom with the Christmas baking.
It used to be me that would stick the cookie cutter right in the middle of the dough rather than starting at the edges. It used to be me that would eat cookie dough and exclaim how amazing it tasted.
It used to be me that helped make the messes of flour and dough stuck to rolling pins.
It used to be me that glopped runny icing on to cookies and would find it later on my elbows. It used to be me that covered cookies in mounds of sprinkles and stole red hots when no one was looking.
And now it's him. It's us together. It's one of the many things I absolutely love about getting to be a mom.
It's the things that I used to do as a kid that I get to watch Tommy do and experience. These are the things in life that as they happen and unfold around me, I find myself soaking them in and wanting to remember.

And these are simply sweet, sugar-filled, beautifully messy memories that I want to treasure in my heart for always.

December 20, 2011

Thy leaves are so unchanging

When I was a little girl, the most magical part of Christmas was the tree. When it went up in our living room, something changed in our home. It's one of those things that feels hard to describe, yet I remember how it felt. I remember sitting on the couch or even on the floor staring up at the lights and all of the different ornaments on it.

I had my favorites to hang on it each year. I'm still that way as an adult with my own set of ornaments. Like the little S'more people Todd and I have collected since we've been together. The guitars, the duck dressed as a hunter and holding a shotgun, and the engagement ring given to us by Darin and Bethany for our first Christmas together. The new Belle ornament I found over the weekend is a new favorite too. Most of them mean something or say something about our little family. I love ornaments that tell a story.

Perhaps the Christmas tree is my most favorite symbol of the season. I've heard various stories about their origin and I've heard sermons where you can weave spiritual lessons into different parts of the tree. But at the end of the day, I love the tree because it's a source of memories that are carefully tucked away in my heart. The pieces of my childhood that felt good and glorious are often from Christmastime. And I see my childhood trees when I think back on those days.

This season, I've taken many pictures of trees. They are still magical and they still captivate something childlike inside of my heart.

I've never paid much attention to the lyrics to the familiar tune O Christmas tree before. I went to read them and they feel fitting to go with all of the pictures that I've taken of trees this season....

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thy leaves are so unchanging. Not only green when summer's here, but also when 'tis cold and drear. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thy leaves are so unchanging.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Much pleasure thou can'st give me. How often has the Christmas tree, afforded me the greatest glee! O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Much pleasure thou can'st give me.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thy candles shine so brightly. From base to summit, gay and bright, there's only splendor for the sight. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thy candles shine so brightly.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! How richly God has decked thee! Though bidst us true and faithful be, and trust in God unchangingly. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! How richly God has decked thee.
For me, Christmas just wouldn't feel like Christmas without a tree.

~May you also find pleasure, glee and blessings in the unchanging leaves of your own tree that remind us of the unchanging goodness of God this season.~

December 19, 2011


This Christmas season has felt especially full. There have been so many activities and fun things to do. I'll admit, I've gotten a little caught up in the festivities and merry-making that I haven't taken much time for rest or reflection.

Our weekend was jam packed. As I'm looking at all of my uploaded pictures and dozens of little memories made together, I am also aware that I'm ready to breathe and let the next week unfold much more slowly.

Saturday we had a pre-Christmas celebration with Todd's brother and his family as we won't be seeing them on Christmas day this year. Tommy opened his present from them, which were two super fun books. He proceeded to toss them to the side and then asked, "Where's da chocolate?"

*sigh* My silly boy. Though it is a completely logical question.
We tried to make a trip to Bass Pro Shops to see Santa, but he was booked! Instead, Tommy rode the merry-go-round with Opa and Daddy.
But more importantly, he got to drive a boat. And I'm pretty sure he would have rather done that than see Santa anyway!
We took a family photo with Frosty instead.
Since we finally had a break from the rain, Todd and I headed downtown late Sunday afternoon to catch some of San Antonio in all of it's Christmasy glory.
This year, the trees on the Riverwalk were wrapped with LED lights rather than having them dangling from the branches. They were breathtakingly beautiful!
After the Riverwalk, we strolled through the streets, and passed a man playing Christmas music on his saxophone. For a moment, life just felt like something right out of a movie. Between the lights and the music and the cool air and my husband's hand holding on to mine, I felt overwhelmed with the beauty of the moment and it actually brought me to tears. It was one of those moments I wish I could have paused and made last a zillion times longer just to sit in how wonderful it felt.
Todd treated me to a Christmasy carriage ride - something I've always wanted to do with him.
And as if that wasn't enough, we came home last night and built our first gingerbread house together.
This week I am looking forward to a much slower pace. Hot meals cooked in the crock-pot. Cookie baking, movie watching, pajama wearing, relaxing.
Rest and reflecting on much beauty enjoyed this Christmas season.

December 16, 2011

Barrel of monkeys

Unfortunately for us, it rained last night. And walking around downtown San Antonio in the outdoors on a rainy night seemed like it might suck all the fun out of date night. So the Riverwalk was put on hold. *sigh*

Instead, we did some Christmas shopping and went out to eat.

And because we are just kind of big kids, we got into a mini-snowball fight with leftover tortillas. Because this is how South Texan's do snow. This is called making lemonade out of lemons or something like that.
We made the best out of not being able to enjoy the Riverwalk and just had fun indoors instead.
We perused Walmart. Because when a date night goes wrong we somehow end up there. Though I love that I'm married to a guy that can throw tortillas at me and walk around Walmart and that's as much fun as anything else might be.

I found some awesome antlers that I'll be totally sporting on Christmas Day. They light up and everything.
We ended the night with a game I grew up playing and had to get for Tommy's stocking - Barrel of Monkeys. Todd had never played it before, nor had he ever even heard of it. How is this possible?
And I can still master the game - I got all the monkeys to hook together. Whoop!
It wasn't the date night I had expected. But when flying tortillas and a barrel of anything gets involved, it's sure to be a good time.

December 14, 2011

Warm Fuzzies and Miracles

Sometimes I wish life were like a Hallmark Christmas movie. In which there are trials and horribly difficult things and then some person or maybe even a whole town rushes in to save the day. A miracle happens for someone (whose name is almost always Holly or Eve or Carol). And not only do they get what they were needing, but they get the extra little something too. The dashingly handsome man, or the winning lottery ticket or the positive pregnancy test.

And snow - always snow - on Christmas Eve. That's how Hallmark Christmas movies work you know.

This is why I watch them. Because they're full of warm fuzzies and they're not much like real life. I suppose if they were I might not watch them as religiously as I do this time of year. In December, I find myself needing an abundance of the warm fuzzies.In these movies, I get lost in the happy stories and beautiful places of redemption. For two hours, I can forget my own longings and desires and dreams about life and watch something miraculous unfold for a fictional character.

Maybe I'm feeling like I'm in a place of needing of my own miracle.

Tonight though, I do get to go out with a dashingly handsome man. And I doubt there will be any snow or positive pregnancy tests or winning lottery tickets. But there will be hand holding and San Antonio Riverwalk style twinkle lights and some Christmas shopping and a yummy dinner with a man I deeply love.

Though it is Christmastime. It's the season of hope and magic and wonder and glory. Maybe there's still a miracle to be had yet.....

December 13, 2011

Tuesday Mornings

Back in November, the woman who kept Tommy at the home daycare we sent him to had to let him go. It was something about her homeowner's insurance going up and not being able to keep her part-time kids in her program anymore.

In all honesty, it worked out great for us. My boss was gracious enough to let me change my schedule yet again, my mother-in-law moved her days around to watch Tommy, and we no longer have to pay for childcare even though it was only once a week. Though I think Tommy is sad about not getting to go there. He tells me sometimes, "I don't have friends anymore. They all gone."

Poor baby.

But here I am on a Tuesday morning, sitting in my house wearing pajamas and having wet hair and a small stack of work that needs to be completed at some point today.

It's foggy outside today and my mind feels a lot like that. Muddled, foggy, confused. Some things feel hard to see maybe.

I'm thinking about last night's topic at dinner about beauty.

I'm thinking about friendships. Real, true, deep, lasting friendships. And two people I am especially missing right now.

I'm thinking about the words we give to one another. How deep words go into our hearts and where they send us and how ultimately, it's our choice to decide what to do with those words.

I'm thinking about God and why His "help" doesn't always feel helpful. I feel desperate for Him to rescue me in this certain place or to just give me whatever it is I need to do what I need to do.....He especially feels foggy to me today.

I have work to do. But I have some space to breathe and wear pajamas and run a load of clothes and play with my boy and spend some time talking to God about the things my heart is containing. I'm home. And I'm thankful that it's Tuesday morning.

December 12, 2011

Plays and Parties

All I have to say is - what a weekend!

It started Thursday night at my sister's play. She was fabulous. And I was highly impressed because she cried and everything in the role she played.
On an unrelated acting note, she wins the "Hardest to find a Christmas present for" award this year. I told her this yesterday via text and she explained that it was because she's a woman now.

And then Friday night there was my Fa-la-la-la party. Including Tommy, there ended up being 23 people in my house. I was told the turn out may have had something to do with there being wine present. And also the best sangria I've ever had in my life.
We had an ornament exchange White Elephant style. Of course, the stealing is half the fun. I love how the opportunity to take something that someone else has, makes semi-vicious women out of those who are ordinarily sweet and polite and quiet.
And then there was the clean up. *sigh* The down side to any party.
I Fa-la-la-la'd until 2:00am Saturday morning. Which just means that myself and two other gals stayed up talking for hours and then realized it was 2:00am and we should probably go to bed.

Saturday was a blur. Though I made it to Target and to my niece Isabelle's birthday party and managed to wrap the few presents we've purchased so far.
And there was silliness. Of course.
Last night, I had my friend and her husband over to celebrate her 30th birthday. The only picture I took though was of the INSANELY delicious chocolate cobbler. A recipe that I found on Pinterest (duh) and it was pretty much the best chocolate dessert ever.
And the week is full of even more activity. Even though I'm tired and my eyes still hurt and my plate is full again this week - it's kind of worth it.

I love this time of year and all of the fun and merry-making to be had. It's fun to celebrate and be with people and just have fun.

Bring it on December.