Every year we rotate hosting our family Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange and this year it was my brother, Brooks' turn. He and my sister-in-law outdid themselves. Everything was wonderful...so much delicious food....wines and sparkling cider.
It has become a recent tradition for us to have an italian feast and we all bring our favorite entrees--ours is lasagna--Bruce makes a killer pan of lasagna.
This is Balto, the tired party animal at the end of the night, after all the food and gift opening was complete.


Christmas Day was good.
Very good.
It was a rainy cold Christmas morning--my favorite kind of San Diego Christmas.

I slept in later and we enjoyed our morning coffee in front of a wonderful warm fire (thanks to my thoughtful hubby, Bruce) and we exchanged our goodies filled stockings. We brought our gifts in from under the tree and enjoyed seeing the other open their gifts. Bruce was happily surprised with his Ruger M77 rifle (thank you again Dad!!) and is now looking forward to shopping for a scope and case.

By 2:00 our home was filled with the delicious aromas of Christmas food warming in the oven, and the voices of (most of) our kids and family and friends. More gift opening and laughter and love. We sat down to dinner at around 5:00 and afterwards we all pushed away from the table full and made our way into the living room and kept warm by the fire while we watched some Christmas TV specials. Later we had coffee, cocoa and pie (and candy from the overflowing candy dish on our coffee table).

I am looking forward to seeing my youngest son, T, who is driving down from Oregon today and will spend the week with us. He spent his first week of his leave with his dad for Christmas and will be returning to JAX next weekend. It's going to be so good to spend some time with him! I sure miss that boy!

Today we are sitting around in our jammies, relaxing and have a very quiet day together...ahhhh, so nice.

Oh yeah, I've been scoping out some more ideas and plans for our move...which has been slated now for May 1st. That is the day we plan to roll out of our driveway and head east.



This is my first run at Not Me, Monday...If you'd like to see what this is all about and the rules to play this game (and read the Not me dirt on everyone else who is brave enough) then you should run, don't walk over to McKMama's blog (the founder and honest matriarch of Not Me Monday) and enjoy her admissions with your morning coffee or tea or whatever. I won't hold you in suspense any longer.... here are mine:

I did NOT stop at 7-11 on my way out to finish my Christmas shopping and buy chocolate covered Hostess Donettes and a Big Gulp Pepsi for breakfast. Not me, I believe in eating a nutritious breakfast and I would never do something like that.

While Christmas shopping, I was NOT tempted to do some shopping for myself as well. I am much too unselfish to entertain the thought of trying on clothes and snapping up great bargains for me when I am supposed to completing my Christmas shopping.

I did NOT come home from shopping late in the afternoon, make dinner, wrap gifts, watch TV, blog surf on the computer and finally at 11:30 pm, fall into bed without taking a shower! Nope, not me. I always shower every day.

Hope your Monday is a good one!



I went out today to finish up my Christmas shopping. The traffic was light and overall it went pretty smooth given it was the last weekend day before Christmas.

I was happy that I did not have to spend much time searching for parking places or waiting in long lines. (I suppose that everyone else was either already done or they decided to go to the mountains to play in the snow). But not me. After sprinting around town, in and out of several stores and sliding my debit card a few times, I loaded the loot in the back of the Jeep and headed home.

Tonight we are sipping homemade hot cocoa (milk, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla extract) topped with whipped cream in front of a nice hot fire in our fireplace.

We finally have wrapped gifts under our tree and it's beginning to feel like Christmas to me.



I promised a report on my shopping excursion yesterday. I was quite surprised that it was not nearly as crazy at the mall as I had imagined it would be. We were able to find parking spots close enough to the mall entrance we chose and our waits in lines were not too awfully bad. We did the "dodge a shopper" dance a few times to avoid a collision with other shoppers, but everyone seemed to be in the holiday spirit and we had a pleasant shopping day. We got most of our shopping completed and were home by mid-afternoon.

However, despite all of this, I am feeling a bit Scroogey and try as I might, I am having a tough time with Christmas this year. I love the whole shopping and gift wrapping, baking, decorating my home events, but this year most of it feels like a chore. And I hate feeling like this.

I'm hoping that by the time the predicted (and promised) winter rainstorm blows in with precipitation and wind and cold temperatures (and snow in our mountains!) and once Bruce and I have completed our traditional drive to see all the Christmas lights in our favorite neighborhoods, that the Scroogey part of me will have been exorcised.

I think I need a Christmas crafty project to help me....I love Christmas crafty projects.



I watched A & K pull out of our driveway Tuesday afternoon, their truck bed loaded down with a maple chest, beautiful handmade cradle, and lots of things we had set aside for them. Inside the cab were the baby shower gifts, and their luggage. It was hard to watch them pull away from the house, but I knew it would only be another 7 weeks before I joined them and my new grandbaby in Utah for a visit. That kept the tears from falling.

I am adjusting to getting back to work, and the break at home spending time with Bruce and my daughter and son-in-law was just what I needed. I feel energized and refreshed.

And even better, today is Friday and the weekend awaits me. We are headed to the mall tomorrow to do some Christmas shopping. Our weather is changing to cold and rainy for the weekend and that will surely put me in the Christmas shopping mood. I have such a hard time shopping for Christmas gifts when the weather is hot.

I have already done some online shopping (my favorite way to shop). I mean really, how can you beat shopping from the sofa in your jammies? I do have to get out at least once to the mall to scurry about and feel the excitement (and terror) of shopping at this time of year.

We plan to get up early tomorrow morning, have a cup of coffee here at the house and head down to the mall as soon as they open. We should be done by midday and stop for lunch somewhere before we head back home.

I can't wait to dive into the craziness at the mall tomorrow. (Did I really write that? I think I really need my head examined...) Check back in with me tomorrow for a full report.



Thought I'd check in and let y'all know I haven't forgotten to post...

After a seriously busy week that culiminated for me on Thursday, tearing through my house and cleaning and getting the guest room and bath all ready. My daughter A and her hubby, K arrived for their highly anticipated visit. I get 5 days with them!

A is now 33 weeks along in her pregnancy and looks so beautiful! This is the first time I have seen her in person since her pregnancy. The last time I saw her over Mother's Day (for our girls' weekend to Vegas), she suspects that she was pregnant, but did not know at that time.

We are having a wonderful visit. Last night was the couples baby shower that her best friend and I put together. It was so much fun and they got to visit with friends and family that they had not seen in awhile. I stressed and stressed about it...wanting it to be perfect and a good turnout for them...and it was both!

Today is a quiet day. A & K were both feeling kinda icky, scratchy sore throat, and congested when they pulled in from their trip on Thursday night, and now A seems worse today...poor girl. Not much she can take for it and it's hard to see her feeling so yucky.

The weather is overcast and chilly (by San Diego standards) and so we have been snuggled under blankets on the couch with steaming mugs of hot tea. Nice way to spend the day anyhow....at least for me.