Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Christmas Bliss

It's been a lovely holiday, and today I'm enjoying a day of nothingness. It's been quiet and perfect. We finally got some snow. 4-5 inches of the fluffiest snow I've ever seen fell last night and today, so it is a white Boxing Day rather than a white Christmas, but I'm not complaining... at least it's white!

We had school Monday and Tuesday. I had the read-through of the middle school play on Monday after school so the kids could get their scripts and work on their lines over break. My homework will be blocking the show, among other things. Wednesday was filled with errands, groceries, and general preparation for the festivities.

I cooked and cleaned during the day on Christmas Eve, and I got to the cemetery. I leave 3 carnations at my Grandpa & Grandma Sutherlins' graves. When I was little, Mom, Matt, & I always left 3 carnations for Grandpa. Mom also left a lit cigarette before she quit smoking, so Grandpa could have a smoke for Christmas. I don't feel obligated to continue that tradition because when Mom finally quit, Grandpa had to quit too. In that tradition, I always take my mom a Diet Coke for Christmas. I know that's what she'd like more than anything. I end the route with leaving a box of chocolate covered cherries on my Grandpa & Grandma Nelson's grave. We grandkids always gave Grandpa boxes and boxes of those things. Whenever I see them in the stores at Christmastime, I always think of him.

I had to be ready a little earlier this year because I had to see the Christmas Eve parade. It's always been a tradition in my family, but it was especially important this year because Santa had a very cute British accent. It gives "kissing Santa Claus" a whole new meaning! ;)

The Methodist Church didn't have a late service this year, for the first time in my memory, so I had some choices to make. The Methodist Church is where I always went to church with Mom, Matt, & Grandma on Christmas Eve. We'd get out of church around midnight, and it was always a beautiful time. I still wanted to go, even though the feeling is much different at the early service. I sat with Jason, Suzanne, Emma, Jack, & Jason's mom & stepdad. I'm so glad I went. The church was packed, and it wasn't the same, but that's the place where I feel close to my mom and grandma on Christmas. I needed to be there. It was fun singing all the carols because Suzanne sings soprano, and I sing alto. Emma stood between us, and we made beautiful music together!

A little while after I got home, Matt & Omara arrived from Coralville. Andrew came over, and we had pickled ham, shrimp, chili, brownie sheet cake, and sparkling cider. We visited and had a nice Christmas Eve.

On Christmas morning, I got up and made a breakfast pizza to take to Dad's. It's a recipe from a friend at church (thanks, Jacque!), and it's absolutely delicious. My family loves it.

Breakfast Pizza
1 can crescent rolls
1/2 lb. sausage, cooked (bacon or ham can also be used... we like bacon the best)
1/4 c. frozen hashbrowns (shredded seem to be the best)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk

Press crescent rolls in the bottom of an ungreased 9x13" pan. Layer sausage, hashbrowns, & cheese over crust. Add milk to beaten eggs and pour over the top. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Trust me... you'll love it!

We gathered up all the presents and headed out to Dad's. It was a great Christmas, being together and just enjoying each other's company. Matt and Omara totally surprised me and got me a Wii! I was so excited. It was such a great present. I love it so much. I've had fun playing it today, and I can't wait to get Wii Fit to go along with it. Alice made a fantastic lunch... stuffed pork loin, pasta with meatballs, a big salad, and red velvet cake for dessert.

On Christmas night, I went over to Andrew's, and we exchanged presents. As usual, he finds the perfect gifts for me! Then, we watched To Kill a Mockingbird. I'd read Andrew the book recently, and he'd never seen the movie. Gregory Peck is the best!

All in all, it was a stellar Christmas. I hope you and your families had the same. We have so many blessings in our lives. Family and friends are at the very top of the list.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Back in the Spirit

I'm back in happy land today. Andrew and I went to Iowa City and saw Invictus (AWESOME) and did a little shopping. Tonight I ushered for Deborah Raymond's concert at the Sondheim Center (AWESOME). I'm in a much better frame of mind... back in the holiday spirit. Here's one of my favorites. Nobody sings it like Judy did. Nobody. Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Even if It's Not What I Would Have Chosen for Myself

Contentment is being able to come to terms with where you are and what's going on in your life, even if it's not what you would have chosen for yourself. Nancy Twigg

A friend of mine on Facebook had this as her status today. Contentment. I'm not there today. This time of year isn't always easy. I really miss my mom and my grandma. Some days it feels like I'm hanging by a thread, and this is one of them. I need to come to terms with where I am and what's going on in my life.

I found out two things tonight in reading the Fairfield Ledger. Two pretty sucky things.

1. The Methodist Church isn't having a late Christmas Eve service. Since my parents got divorced in 1979, I think I have missed this service once or twice in my life, both times when Grandma was sick and in the hospital. It just isn't Christmas to me without it. I know it sounds weird, but Mom and Grandma are there then. I feel them there. I feel my family around me. I need that so much for Christmas to be happy and not be a lonely pit of despair. I don't know what I'm going to do now. I could go to the early service, but honestly, it's a different feel. I don't know if I'll get to that place with 40 billion people there. I could also go to my own church, but it's not really Christmas to me. There's no music. There's no tradition. Christmas Eve is being with my mom. I never went to my dad's until Christmas Day. HER church is my Christmas Eve tradition. Sigh.

2. The school board has requested our first day of classes to be on August 18 of next year. That means my first day will probably be August 13. This is one freaking day after the State Fair starts. I won't get to go at all now, let alone hope for the good old days of Dad having the camper up there for the whole Fair. Tracy and I always go to the Fair. Sigh.

I just feel like my life isn't mine right now... like I'm watching it slip away... every dream and tradition and joy I've had for myself. Going, going, gone. I know it's the holidays. I always get emotional this time of year.

I have many blessings in my life, and I need to focus on those... even if it's not what I would have chosen for myself. Even if it's not what I would have chosen for myself. Even if it's not what I would have chosen for myself. Contentment. Coming to terms. Even if it's not what I would have chosen for myself.

OK. Pity Party over. Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Morning Smiles

This could possibly be the cutest thing I've ever seen. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Cannot Wait!

Last weekend, Andrew and I saw The Blind Side. It was sensational... a great movie. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the previews, and one of the previews that night was for a movie called Invictus. I was tearing up just watching the preview. It is going to be amazing. Morgan Freeman was meant to play Nelson Mandela. It looks so inspiring... I can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days!

We're having our second snow day today. We probably could have at least started the day yesterday, but today is another story. The wind is crazy today, and even the main roads in Fairfield have some drifting. I can't imagine what it's like out in the country.

Last night when the snow was really coming down, Andrew and I walked around the square. It's just beautiful right now with all the lights and decorations covered in snow.

Yesterday, during Snow Day #1, Suzanne and I got the majority of our holiday baking and candy making done. We made peanut clusters, rolo treats (pretzels with a slightly melted rolo on top and m & m's pressed in), Whopper cookies (a new recipe... they were OK, but I probably won't make them again), spritz cookies, and about a million dipped pretzels. We like using the rod shaped pretzels. They look really nice and taste delicious. We felt like we accomplished a lot. Plus, since it wasn't too bad yet, the roads weren't treacherous out to Suzanne's house. Today, I don't know if I'd feel comfortable driving all the way out there.

I want to to work on Christmas cards today and get the rest of my decorations up. I also want to just snuggle in and watch some movies. I have a full weekend, so there definitely won't be much relaxing going on. I need to take advantage of these two days!

I'm especially grateful today for my nice warm house. I hope you all are staying warm and safe in this blizzard!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Ulcer, My Heart

Dear Fairfield Arts and Convention Center,

I have never been the same since you entered my life. I was greatly honored to serve on your board, even if it left me with an ulcer and the knowledge that I could never ever survive in the business world. I have been overwhelmed at your multitude of performances, especially Pasek & Paul's Edges, which touched me in a way that theatre hasn't touched me in years. I spent my first date with my dear Andrew at a piano concert within your space. I've joined my entire district faculty in staff development in your seats. I've passed out programs and seated hundreds of patrons in the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. I have cheered my students' History Day projects in your meeting rooms. I have surveyed rocks and gems, been blessed by Mother Meara, examined quilts, and danced the night away within your walls. I have made lifetime friends under your roof. I've shared your stage with one of my stage idols, Liz Callaway. I've been overwhelmed by the love of performing in your spotlight.

I know it's a long, hard road. I know you battle hurt feelings, ignorance, debt, and growing pains. But I am very, very glad you're here.

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