Thursday, December 05, 2013

Clawing My Way Through the Holidays

Oh dear blog readers,  I. AM. EXHAUSTED. I've been going CRA-ZY for a couple of weeks now, and I think as of tonight, I've hit a wall. My back aches, my neck hurts, I feel a cold coming on. My eyelids are drooooooopy. And, I ran out of scotch tape.

I know it's not flattering to complain, but sometimes a girl just needs to complain! Remember when I mentioned feeling daunted by the task of buying or making 40 Chanukah/Christmas gifts this year? (That's also a lot of wrapping you guys. LET.ME.TELL.YOU.)  Well, my brother decided to go  and get married to his girlfriend of 8 months, whom we had not yet met, and then didn't tell us he was married, (SO WE HAD TO HEAR IT ON FACEBOOK! ) and now I have two, new sweet sounding step-nephews, and the gift count is up to 42.  I'm trying to keep up, but crawling my way to the finish line. 
(Also, I'm basically gutted by the impulsive decisions that my brother has made in the past five years, so this latest news, has also helped to contribute to my freaking exhaustion/crying/annoyed BREAKDOWN!)

WOW! Look guys! I'm being all snarky and gossipy on the blog for once. I  actually kind of like it! 

So yeah, it's been like this....running around like crazy buying things, (I hate buying things.) making stuff, wrapping stuff, freaking out because holidays = family and I can't handle family. Going out of town and freaking out some more because I hate leaving my house. And then all of the other bajillions of things that usually go on anyway when it's not that stupid Thankschanukah thing.

And even more exhausting, in the next few weeks, we have a SOCIAL EVENT every single weekend, like a baby shower, a luncheon, a bar/bat mitzvah. If you know me, you know I'm already stressing out and bemoaning the potential for endless small talk. I hate small talk. SMALL TALK! Ugh! 

You know, maybe at the baby shower, when somebody asks me stuff like: "How old is your son?" I can just say: "No small talk. Let's discuss our  opposing views on organized religion." Then I would actually find social events bearable. 

My God, I'm such a whiner tonight! Ok, I'd better stop. I have sixteen more labels to hand stamp and attach tiny wreaths to, and then tie them to ball jars with precious red and white baker's string. 
(WHY I am I doing this !???)

The good news is, I'll be done! Waaaay before Christmas! And then, I can relax! Maybe! Ok, who am I kidding?

I will leave you with the below post that I began five days ago, but have been too distracted to complete. Since this time, I've also had my hair done, which I will write about soon, and other more fun and festive things!


It's December! My beloved fall is over. (Well, if you subscribe to my belief that autumn is just a neat, little package of Sept-Oct-Nov.) So now it's winter, and it will be until March 1st. when it will become spring. In my mind at least. Fall was great, I'm so sad to see it go, but winter is my second favorite, and I'll make do. 

One of the very first winter duties of course are the holiday decorations. I spoke about them in the last post, but here is just one more picture of some paper decorations that I made for the preschool kids who walk past our front windows.  This came out a little sillier than I intended, but I don't have time for a redo. I still need to make a few more things for this window. More presents? An igloo? Some elves?

The theme of the other window if you don't remember is "Holiday Treats".  Well, actually, I just made that up right now, but it's an accurate description........
And yes. That IS a FIGGY PUDDING! Is that's what it's called? What's a figgy pudding?

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was a three-day stress fest, but at least the food was amazing! And, it was really great to see my ex-stepmother, whom I haven't see for a long time. I got to see my youngest brother too, and met some super nice people. We drove four hours north to Harbor Springs, MI. It's a resort town on Little Traverse bay on Lake Michigan. I was like: "Over the river and through the woods to ex-step-Grandmother's house we go!" She and my brother live in Los Angeles now, but they keep a vacation home in Harbor Springs, so we all went, including my father, to her house.

Here are our three feeble attempts at a family portrait. I kind of like that our faces or feet are cut off in all of them. So artsy!

I felt the pressure to dress "North Woodsy". This is what I came up with. Turns out that when it's SIX degrees up north and there's a foot of snow, "North Woodsy" does not cut it. My father kept mentioning over and over that we weren't dressed appropriately, and that in such harsh conditions, only "technical wear" will do. Whatever the hell that means......

Here is my Dad on the balcony of the teeny tiny, most adorable cottage ever that I have ever in my whole life been in, in the world forever more. I seriously can't express how cute this little place was. It was great staying there.

And cosy too.

And they had to peel my fingers off the faucet one by one to get me to leave the kitchen when it was time to go home.

This was Noah's room. It's just a little beach cottage, one block from the bay!

This is my Dad. He's a women's shoe designer. Bless this man, he splits his time between fridgid Harbor Springs wearing "technical wear" and LA wearing lords knows what. I love my Dad, but I'm not used to spending time with family. We were never a close family, so holidays stress me out, and for this holiday, we actually spent DAYS, not hours together.
It worked out ok though. And, Noah LOVES my Dad because his motto is : "THE ONLY RULE IS THAT THERE ARE NO RULES!"  Great.

Noah had the most fabulous time shoveling, for like, two days. It was intense.

And it was really nice that my Dad was able to take Noah on a sled ride. It was sweet.

The walk was GORGEOUS! When I was younger, my Mother and Stepfather also had a vacation home right up here on the bluff above town and the bay. It always was, and always will be my happy place.

See why? Look at that view!!!!

Oh! This was our old place. Over the years the bushes were allowed to grow up over the windows and front porch. It was kind of sad, but it looks like now somebody is renovating it, so I feel happy for the little house. We spend a lot of time here in the summer, and then many many weekends in the winter. I was always at the beach or in town or riding bikes or skiing or snowboarding. Those were some of the best years of my life! I would bet that if my parents had kept the house, I might have moved up here at some point. It's very peaceful and serene.

We would always ski at a resort called Boyne Highlands, but once in a while, like on a Sunday when we'd be heading home to Detroit, but not for a bit, my stepdad would drive us up the road and drop my brother and I off at Kiwanis Park. It was a little sledding and ski hill, that had an ancient but FREE tow rope and the cutest warming hut at the top that sold cups of hot chocolate.

We took Noah to Kiwanis to sled on Thanksgiving. I was sad to see that the old tow rope had gone....

One morning when we woke up, it was six degrees out, but we heard that there was a really cool fog rolling in over the bay, so we had to go look.

Strange, right?

These pictures are from Thanksgiving. My stepmother is an amazing cook. Everything was delicious, and when I say everything, she made, like, EVERYTHING! Dish after dish. Even a kugel and adorable gingerbread muffins shaped like tiny houses. And the deserts...oh, it was incredible!

This is my special place, my Harbor Springs. My parents have been taking me since I was a baby. I spent my childhood roaming these streets. It was always so great. In the summertime, the place is packed with vacationers. The fall is quiet except for visitors coming to see the gorgeous fall colors. Winter is slow, but loads of skiers come into town to eat. Spring, spring is just freezing and muddy.

Every year, in the middle of Main Street, they put a giant Christmas tree. I wish I had a picture of it all lit up, but that didn't happen until after we went home.

Because the only rule is no rules, Grandpa bought Noah a  totally hazardous swinging wrecking ball of a toy diabolo or aka "Chinese Yo-Yo". Noah's school received a grant and they were able to bring in a traveling show of amazing Chinese acrobats last week. He saw some of them doing incredible tricks with the yo-yo and so when Gramps took him to a toy store and they just happened to have one.....
Diablo-ing all over town. (And near breakable things all over my house.)

And you know, while it was nice to see my Dad, see gorgeous Harbor Springs, eat an incredible Thanksgiving meal with great company, in the end, nothing felt as good as coming home to this guy and his sister.

P.S. I promise next time, LESS whining! ;)


Loulou said...

You are wonderful and I love to read your long rambling posts. This one was great, especially that little clip of a laughing boy taking a toboggan ride.

My bro also suddenly married a woman after knowing her a short time. And moved to Texas where she lived. I didn't even meet her for over a year after they had married, and then a mere 2 months before they separated. Sheesh. I hope things fare better for your brother.

Lauren said...

Hi Loulou!

Oh my gosh, your brother suddenly married too! Maybe it's a trend. ;)

Thank you for the nice comment. I'm sorry about your brother and his marriage ending. I do hope things work out for my brother as they have four children 5 and under between them. If you can believe it!
It's difficult to feel close with my brother anymore though, it's been a bumpy five years or so with him.

Hey, doesn't tobogganing sound like fun right now? I'd expect Toronto has some snow. Detroit just got a bit!

Thanks for always cheering me! :)