Happy Holidays 2014: December in St. Louis
I’m Letting You In on Our Inside Joke
“Happy Holiday, Happy Holiday… While the merry bells keep ringing, May your every wish come true… “
Can you hear the song in your head. The tune and to a lesser degree the words have become our Christmas mantra. We hum or just hear it in our minds to help us keep our sanity when the holidays are not quite merry, and every wish is definitely not coming true!
And yet we love the holidays, and after spending only one holiday in our life together alone, without extended family, we know that the turmoil and chaos are so worth the magical holiday moments woven into the often overwhelming fabric that makes up holiday celebrations.
December is more than Christmas
We have 2 birthdays in December. Then there’s the usual decorating, cookie making, tree shopping, tree trimming, shopping, gift wrapping. In years past all of that was magnified for us because we have always been ‘on the road’ either in Phoenix or St. Louis. In general we alternate venus.. one year there… the next year here. This year was our first Christmas as residents in St. Louis. We have a home base; we weren’t in a small hotel room.
We got to plan parties where I got to cook in my own kitchen.. and welcome the ones we love into our place. We had time to go Christmas tree shopping with the kids, hang with Brynnie, watch football together.
It was fun.. it was easier.. it felt less hurried.. it was, in general, wonderful.
We also got to spend a couple of days with Brynnie as our house guest. Those moments, when she is all ours, are so very special. This visit, she and I baked cookies together, and of course, we took some photos… and in what has become a ‘holiday tradition’ I caught her toddler germs and fought hard the rest of the month to get well enough to enjoy the holidays.
Brynnie & Sophie Time
Babysitting… wonderful, scary.. exhausting and in general a dream come true for this grandma.
The Holiday Kick-off Event
We kicked off the holiday party season with a birthday party for son David that also included sugar cookie decorating. We kept the menu simple with a yummy honey-baked ham dinner and a very odd, sinking very green angle-food birthday cake. Don’t ask.. I have no idea!
Christmas Eve At The Loft
The tradition in our family for Christmas Eve is to have an appetizer extravaganza and the premier serving of a big platter of Christmas cookies. We hosted the Christmas Eve event and we were so happy that Kirk and Keith could join us. However, we really missed Danielle and Joe who had other commitments and son Mike who had to work.
Gina and the girls came downtown early in the day which gave us lots of time to play with the camera. I love time to play with the camera. In addition, Santa arrived early in downtown St. Louis and we got to have the joy of watching Brynnie get her ‘people house’.
There’s nothing like the joy and delight of a toddler.
Christmas Day started with a wonderful brunch at Mike and Gina’s followed by a delicious prime rib dinner planned and executed by Gina for the whole family. Jenna joined us for a while via FaceTime but we really missed the other branch of the family in Phoenix.
It was a day of watching the kids play with their Christmas toys, meal prep, and family fun. It was a low key day and more relaxing than I could have expected.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
And then… a bittersweet goodbye
After all of the cookies were eaten, the presents unwrapped, the meals cooked, and eaten and cleaned up. After all of the fun and laughter and family time it was time for a difficult goodbye.
Just a few days after Christmas we said good bye to our beloved labrador retriever, Ralph. He was a very good boy. He was faithful and loving and the best dog ever. He enjoyed his last Christmas enormously. He fell in love with Brynnie whole heartedly. As always, he was a wonderful guest at all events and he filled our lives with love and joy. I think we will always miss him.