Whew! Three weeks of hectic holidays is a bit much! But we are blessed with lots of family nearby and a month full of celebration. And so the season tends to go on . . . and on . . . and on for us.

I have tried to write this holiday recap so many times. But for some reason, I just can’t quite get my brain organized. I think it’s a victim of too much holiday cheer.

And so I must rely on the old standby: A LIST. I’ll try to make this an abridged version, but let’s be honest: I don’t do short. So sit back, get comfy and take a tour of our crazy Christmas! (And then, please, tell me all about yours, too!)

  1. Visiting Iowa for my brother’s Christmas program. We also got to spend the night with Chelley (and meet her kitty, Dinah) and hang out with Triple and Cory. The trip was too short, but the good news is we headed north after the state was hit with a blizzard.
  2. My 31st birthday fell on a Friday this year, which if you know me at all, you know that means perfect timing for a wild and crazy night on the town. Unfortunately, I’m a little old for that. Mark helped Annalyn learn to say, “Happy birthday, Mommy.” Then Smitty and I went to dinner, walked around Barnes & Noble and realized that we are too old for anything wild or crazy.

    The following night, Mark and I enjoyed way more cheese, garlic and bread than we really needed, thanks to an Olive Garden gift card from my parents.

  3. You may recall that I auditioned for a solo at church a while back. It turns out I was part of our Christmas program, and it went great. Well, I don’t know for sure. Because I forgot to have Mark bring the video camera. But lots of people said it was good, so I’m going to just go with that. Plus I got the chance to wear my super cute, found it in less than 30 minutes, got in for less than $30 on sale new dress.
  4. Christmas Eve was spent with my parents, and the most exciting part of the night was when they gave Annalyn fuzzy pink slippers. You’d have thought they were Cinderella’s glass slippers! That girl LOVES her slippers!

  5. Santa didn’t bring too much for Annalyn this year (trying to stick to the budget and all that), but our sweet girl loved each and every present. From her Minnie Mouse bowl and plate to her new sweater and jeans to a new Veggie Tales video to the Laugh ‘N Learn Playhouse she decided is actually Mickey Mouse’s clubhouse, she was thrilled with them all.

    Aside from the playhouse, though, I think she enjoyed watching Mark shovel the driveway most of all. (Based on the two days of heating pad and Aleve that followed, I don’t think that was the highlight of Mark’s morning.)

  6. On the Saturday after Christmas, we had the chance to visit with our friends, John and Katie. Since they moved across the country three years ago, we only see each other about once a year. And that is not nearly often enough! Thanks to the snow, our short visit was even shorter, but we were so thankful for the time we got to spend with our dear friends. I’m not sure what the boys talked about, but Katie and I covered potty training, discipline, whining, jobs, church and in-laws in short order. I’m really hoping we can see them for more than an hour or so later this year.
  7. For months now, Smitty, Mark and I have been looking forward to The Big Day. While you might think I’m referring to Christmas – and while that would be nice of us – I’m actually talking about the release of Sherlock Holmes. We were bummed out that it didn’t come out until after my birthday, but it worked out after all, because I got movie passes for that birthday! So, the day after Christmas, Mark’s brother was kind enough to watch Annalyn so the three of us could head to the theater. The movie was great, and the company was the best. It was one great night.
  8. As I mentioned yesterday, New Year’s Eve was a quiet affair. During a heated game of Taboo, I got “sweltering” after just a word or two from Smitty. We were on fire! (Ha. Get it? Heated . . . sweltering . . . on fire?! I know. This may be why my New Year’s Eve party was a small one.)
  9. On New Year’s Day, we hung out at my parents’ house. My brother and sister-in-law couldn’t make it down on actual Christmas Day, so we moved our celebration back a week. There was a delicious glazed pork loin, some au gratin potatoes from a box that were much tastier than they should have been, presents (Yyay for new rugs! And a George Foreman grill! And a play kitchen for Annalyn!), board games, snacks and sandwiches. And then, even though I wasn’t sure the day could get better, my parents generously let me talk them into keeping Annalyn for the night.

    Which allowed Mark and me to do one of the things young parents crave most: take a quiet, leisurely trip to Target.

  10. Mark’s birthday landed on a Tuesday this year, so it wasn’t quite as exciting as mine. But one Outback Steakhouse lunch, one bacon shirt and one Jim Gaffigan DVD later, I’m pretty sure he was as happy as anyone going to work on his birthday can be.

Okay, I’m stopping at 10. But honorable mentions definitely go to Christmas at Grandma’s (with green punch and a cousin for Annalyn to play with/fight with), Christmas with Mark’s family (with delicious Pioneer Woman lasagna and Blissfully Domestic bread – yum!), and Christmas with my extended family (with a jam session, three kinds of corn and my cousin’s husband Chad sitting on Mark’s lap and calling him Santa).

And did I mention our most exciting gifts: big girl panties and a Mizzou Snuggie?!

This list that lasted longer than the actual Christmas season will be linked to OhAmanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.


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