Happy New Year!

They say that what you do on New Year’s Day sets the tone for the whole year.  If that holds true, then we are in for an entire year of being Pajama Slugs, with a side order of fried eggs and several cups of heavily-creamed coffee, because RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU EVEN SHOWERED TODAY.

That’s what I thought.

Everyone else did, except me.

I embraced New Year’s Eve with a migraine the size of Saturn.  My friend, Katie, hosted a shampoo party, because Pampered Chef and Tupperware are so YESTERDAY, and also OVER WITH.  This, apparently, is the new thing… organic shampoo that is life changing.  To prove it, our adorable friend, Christa, who is a former-hair-stylist-turned-homeschooling-and-ranching-mama-who-now-sells-shampoo-on-the-side promised to wash everyone’s hair at Katie’s house with this shampoo, condition it, blow dry us, curl us, and send us out for a very merry New Year’s Eve party, full of glamour and cocktail dresses and CAN I HAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBERS?, whether or not we even decided to buy her line of hair care products.  Plus, Christa baked homemade snickerdoodle cookies, because there’s nothing she can’t do, from changing tires on horse trailers to teaching her kids intricate algebra problems to giving a haircut that would make Julia Roberts stand up and slow clap for.

I went to the shampoo party, ready to embrace the upcoming new year with VOLUME and LIFTED ROOTS and CURLS FOR DAYS.

And then a migraine hit, right before it was my turn for the shampoo, which sent me straight home to bed.  I have some dignity, and I didn’t want to dump a belly full of snickerdoodle cookies straight into the shampoo bowl.  Katie, in her instinctual way to take care of people and nurture them, offered me everything from hot tea to Advil to essential oils aimed at easing headaches, but nothing was going to help, short of my bed.

And it was there… in bed… that I stayed… until this morning.  I welcomed in the new year with a cup of coffee today at 6:30.  It was the lifestyle that just made twenty year olds cringe, as they turned to their boyfriends and said, “Promise me you’ll never let me grow so old that I can’t overcome a migraine and dance the night away on New Year’s Eve.”

Today was spent, gloriously migraine-free, but in my pajamas.  And lest you think it was only me leading a lifestyle that screamed out, “I AM THE STEREOTYPICAL ADULT, WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE LIVING IN MY PARENTS’ BASEMENT AND PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ALL DAY,” please note that Hubs downloaded a game app to his phone this morning, over his cup of coffee, that is the current version of the old PC game we played in the 4th grade, The Oregon Trail, where everyone died of dysentery before they reached the fertile soil of present-day Portland.  (Or perhaps it was only ME who was perfectly terrible at leading a wagon train of expectant digital characters halfway across the continent, and ended up in shallow, unmarked graves in present-day South Dakota.)  Hubs played this game so long this morning, his phone battery died DEAD.

Exactly like the dysentery intended for it to do.

Meanwhile, I read a book and remained productive by frying eggs for breakfast, doing two loads of laundry, reading some more of my book, and… eventually… putting a roast and carrots in the oven, because LET’S EAT DECENTLY ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, SHALL WE?

Help us.  We fell into a rut of DOING NOTHING today, and we can’t seem to get back up.

Anyway.

Our Christmas vacation has been a blur of days exactly like this one.  I’ve had to stop and ask myself more times than twice, “What day of the week is it?”  And let me tell you, THAT is a glorious thing.  After so much BUSY… BUSY… BUSY, it has been wonderful to know that, after Thing 2 wakes us up at 5:00 in the morning (Because heaven forbid that we should oversleep on break!), we really have nowhere to be, except in the kitchen for coffee.

By Christmas Eve morning, our tree was so incredibly dry, it’s a miracle the fire department hadn’t slapped us with a fire violation sticker on our front door.  Hubs and I decided to take the crunchy, seven-foot-tall piece of tinder down, right then, on December 24th, because all the pine needles on the floor were about to cause me to suffer from a mental breakdown.  Both of the boys protested this idea VOCALLY, with volume and tears and WHERE WILL SANTA LEAVE OUR STUFF TONIGHT?  So, in the name of being UN-Grinch-like, we let the tree stay for another twenty-four hours in the house.

Hubs and I always have Sister and her family, and Mam and Pa, over for dinner on Christmas Eve, and we always go to the candlelight service at church.  It’s honestly my favorite service of the year, because ain’t NOTHIN’ can compare to being in a darkened church, at night, with our candles lifted high to sing Silent Night and marvel over the fact that Jesus decided He’d go through with it all, by starting out as a little baby boy in a stable manger.

Thing 2 and his five-year-old cousin, Little H, sat together in our row of seats, where they proceeded to fold and refold and FOLD AGAIN thirty-seven tithe envelopes.  In reality, it probably didn’t make that much noise, but when you’re sitting right smack beside two overzealous paper folders… IN CHURCH… it sounded exactly like this:

Lord, bless the lovely folks around us, with our nonstop folding of all the paper and the envelopes and the asking, out loud in the middle of the service, for stamps with which to send off our “mail.

The boy and Thing 2 even managed to clutch their candles without setting the entire church building on fire, which we chalked up as a Christmas miracle.  This has everything to do with the fact that Thing 2 decided to WAVE HIS LIT CANDLE, back and forth like a cigarette lighter at a Grateful Dead concert, because, “LOOK, MA!!  THE FLAME IS MOVING!!!”

This is Thing 2 and one of his closest little buddies.  They were both so hopped up on Christmas excitement after the candlelight service on Christmas Eve, they could barely stand it!  I could barely stand how incredibly cute they both are!

After church, we came home to a pot of taco soup in the crockpot.

God has placed us in a “time such as this,” and my time, thankfully, involves the crockpot and Germ-X in a pump bottle.  Thing 2 expressed his utter dislike of ALL THINGS TACO SOUP-LIKE, until he was told, “Oh, that’s fine.  You don’t have to eat, but remember… there are no presents for little boys who do not eat their dinners.”

He ate an entire, heaping bowl of taco soup, in record time.

And then the cousins made reindeer food.  They’ve always done this together, over the years.  They’ve mixed and stirred and talked about what to put in it, to lure the reindeer straight to our house, before they take it and dump it outside for Dancer and Prancer and Rudolph to find.  I’ve never been able to break it to them that the wild turkeys and whitetail deer have pounced on that dessert scattered all over the driveway before they even close the door behind them, when they go back inside.

This year, I hauled everything out for the MAKING OF THE REINDEER FOOD, and was met with two teenagers and a pre-teen, who all said, “Pass.”

Pass.

On the reindeer food.

And this is where I sit down and sob out my grief of HOW ARE THESE CHILDREN GROWING UP SO QUICKLY?!

Thankfully, we still have Thing 2 and Cousin H, who are bonafide reindeer food chefs.  They discussed the recipe for a bit.  Do reindeer like flour?  Powdered sugar?  Colored sprinkles?  Is Donner allergic to gluten?  Can Vixen have dairy?

And then the chefs got down to business, like they were on a Food Network cook-off, under time restraints.  They measured and they mixed.  They stirred and they whisked.  They asked to borrow the Kitchenaide mixer and were shot down with an emphatic NO.

Do you see my island counter right there?  Yes?  The floor held 3,000% MORE oatmeal and flour and sugar.

Afterwards… when Thing 2’s belly held more blue cookie sprinkles than the red bowl did… those two tots took their finished snack outside and flung it all over my driveway.  There are no pictures of this, because it was all done and over with in exactly 0.008 seconds, because PRESENTS!!  PRESENTS WERE NEXT!

Hubs and I always get the kids a Christmas Eve gift, and they all know it’s coming, right after the reindeer food has been scattered.  I threatened to cut the three big kids off from these gifts this year, because they took no part in the recipe-making, but… in the spirit of Christmas… I gave in.

We gave fourteen-year-old Cousin L a little tiny disco ball.  She immediately fired that battery-operated contraption up, so that it flashed colors all over our living room, like a 1978 rollerskating rink.  Half the adults in the room found themselves in danger of a light-induced seizure.

Bedtime was a breeze on Christmas Eve, because we simply told Thing 2, “Santa doesn’t come when little boys don’t stay in bed and go right to sleep.”

And that’s how Hubs and I celebrated our first night in months, when we didn’t have to deal with shouting, “Get back into bed!” and “Go to sleep… NOW!” three thousand times.  That, in itself, was Christmas present enough for me.

Afterward, we made sure that the lights on our tree were OFF, OFF, OFF, so that there would be no house fires in the middle of the night, and we all went to bed.  We all knew that the kindergarten kid we live with was going to make it an early morning…

Happy New Year’s Day, y’all!

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