What a busy and wonderful time we’ve had around the table this past week! While Christmas was pretty much slapped together last minute and not at all up to past standards, with shopping right up until the last minute and wrapping gifts until 2 a.m., I think I would be lying if I didn’t say it was one of the best Christmases ever! Most of the decorations stayed in storage, with the exception of our elves and our vintage tinsel tree. We had to have a place to hang our newest ornament after all.
I will admit I felt a growing guilt over not decorating and getting the cookies and candies made. I felt like I was cheating my youngest two kids from their traditional Christmas at home, when they had so few Christmases left at home. But they didn’t seem to have the will or energy to do all of that either. It seemed that relaxing and enjoying each others company was enough for all of us, and why shouldn’t it be.
As it turns out, we had everything we needed, because we had each other. We celebrated with family on Christmas Eve, we celebrated with family Christmas day and we celebrated a 3rd time with our kids and grandkids on Saturday with our Christmas 2.0. My table was full as was my heart, and THAT was all I needed.
We did manage one perfect gift. I was able to create a family cookbook for all of my kids. A collection of recipes, some going back as far as my great grandmother and grandmother. I combined 2 cookbooks that I did 20 years ago for family and added favorites our family has collected since then. It was a labor of love and perhaps my most favorite gift given. It is not only full of our favorite recipes, but our family history and wonderful stories of our past, our cooking flubs and our food heritage. I promise to write an entire post on this very soon.
So, now we find ourselves at the end of the year 2013. I can’t say that this is a year I will hate to see pass by, as much of this year has been a struggle, but there were good moments. There was the birth of our third grandchild and The Girl got her driver’s license! Though the latter is going to make for a more expensive 2014!
While our beloved city is still working it’s way through the rebuilding process, I still must reflect on the good that has come from going through the tornado. That no more than 2 lives were lost in those 10 minutes is a miracle. The wake-up call that has caused many of us to get more prepared for any emergency has been a blessing. Watching our community come together and support and lift one another up has been nothing less than inspiring. The scars still show and they will for a long, long time and my heart will still hurt, but I will try to focus on these things in the coming year.
We have one last celebration for this year past. Since the very early days of parenting we’ve always had a family New Years Eve celebration. I once heard it said that whatever you are doing when the New Year is rung in, that is what will set the tone for the year ahead, so we always plan a celebration with all of our favorite things. So, we have a buffet of our favorite foods, we play our favorite games, we watch our favorite movies, we start a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle and we sleep together in the living room floor… though bad backs and longer bodied children have given way to retiring to our beds after midnight! We also talk about the year past and talk about what we hope to accomplish in the new year, but we make no resolutions. Many memories have been made through these New Year activities and I look forward to doing this activity this year especially. This year can’t be put behind me soon enough.
One thing that will not change in the new year will be menus. As I’ve said before, menus are life savers for us. Knowing what will be served on a given day will help us to make sure something lands on that table in a relatively stress-free manor. It’s not a perfect solution, and sometimes we have to shuffle the meals or cut one out all together, but more often than not, it works out just right. So, here’s what’s on Momma T’s table as we enter the new year ahead:
Sunday: Pie. Yes, pie. Leftover from Christmas 2.0. Given that we didn’t wake up until almost noon, we felt pie was a fair choice for this meal. What? It’s like a danish, or a doughnut, isn’t it?
Wednesday: Ham and fresh eggs. (The kids have been taking care of a friend’s chickens over the holidays and we’ve got a lot of beautiful fresh eggs!)
Sunday: Pie…see Breakfast above
Tuesday: Turkey Sandwiches
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese Buffet
Sunday: Leftover Chili, Chips and Rice
Monday: Turkey Dinner Casserole
Tuesday: NYE Buffet – Chex Mix, Shrimp Ring, M&M’s, Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites, Chicken Wings, Pop Corn
Wednesday: Shepherd’s Pie
Thursday: Spinach Pesto Pasta (provided The Boy does not try to burn down the kitchen again.) LOL!
Friday: The Man has asked me out for dinner at the C-Note Pub and a movie! Kids, you’re on your own!
Saturday: 7-Layer Burgers and a Salad
Nothing magical will happen when we flip the calendar page this month. We will not suddenly have greater wealth or health and the problems that plague us now will still be here tomorrow, for these things require us to act upon them in order to change them. However, changing over to a new year does provide an opportunity for us to wipe clean the slate of past mistakes and create a fresh start in our lives. It’s a chance to re-boot mentally, to reflect on the things of the past year and decide what we will do with our circumstances in the new one. I wish you all the wonderful things you wish for in your life, and that God will grant you the peace and love you desire. May the new year around your table be blessed with peace and strength and love! Happy New Year!