It feels a little dumb to do a Christmas recap on January the 5th...clearly one of my resolutions was not to "be a better blogger." I don't actually ever really make resolutions, anyway. To me, they are just some lame goal I get inspired to keep up with for like 2 weeks (ok, 1...), and then by the middle of January I feel like an epic failure at life, so why put myself through that torture, right? I do, however, have a solid GOAL I am working towards - more on that later.
Christmas was fucking crazy this year, and I can hear people going, "crazier than last year? Because MY Christmas is always just a shit show!" and I have to say, usually our holiday season isn't that nuts. It's busy, sure, but it's generally the same routine year after year, with the occasional addition of a niece. This year, though, with Saul's dad being a full-on radiation/chemo cancer patient, things were a bit different.
First, he asked that all his siblings and their kids come into town to celebrate with us. He asked after Thanksgiving, so it was pretty late notice for some of them. His rationale for this was, simply stated, "I don't want the next time we all get together to be at my funeral," which, ok morbid, but makes complete sense.
Second, as of December 17, he was still in the hospital, and we weren't 100% sure when he would be getting out. He ended up actually being released that evening, but trying to make Christmas plans around hospital visiting hours really sucks the Christmas spirit out of everyone, y'know? He's now home and doing well, so Christmas was very merry.
Third, as we got closer to Christmas, shit on my side of the family starting blowing up like fucking fireworks. An uncle in the hospital, a cousin in serious trouble, my parents possibly leaving like, Christmas Eve to go to California, and my brother wasn't coming home - boo hoo.
But, as we've done through all the other shit 2011 has thrown at us, we forged ahead.
Saul's family being in town was something we were all totally looking forward to. His cousins stayed with us which was basically a 9-day party at our house (die liver, die!) , and seeing the aunts and uncles was awesome. It did wonderful things for my father-in-law's spirits, too. He requested we all go to church together on Christmas Eve, which Saul and I haven't done in years, so that was nice.
Christmas Eve church threw a few of my family's plans out of wack, though. Nothing that couldn't be shuffled around, but that was part of what made the holiday scheduling wonky. Every year on Christmas Eve, my mom makes a Japanese dinner. My g-ma has done it ever since I can remember and it's one of my favorite things about the holiday season. Sesame noodles, fried rice, sushi, tempura shrimp, and Gyoza - basically, Japanese tacos. YUM. It's also pretty much a giant drink-fest at my parent's house. We planned to do the big dinner on Dec 23, and we invited the cousins to come with.
The 22nd, I started to get super sad that little bro wasn't coming home. More sad at the thought of him spending the holiday ALONE in Oklahoma - seriously, are there worse places?? - than sad for myself, but sad nonetheless. I sent him some pretty bleak texts the morning of the 23rd and he reassured me that he was fine and was sad too, but that we'd be able to see each other soon and that we could Skype later that night. My dad got a call from him that evening and I pulled my laptop out to set up a Skype session. People had been coming over all day - our friends always drop in to say hi and eat - so when the door opened, I didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until I heard my dad yell, "NO WAY!" that I turned around.
LITTLE BROTHER WAS HOME!!!!
I immediately started bawling and was just a fucking mess for like 10 minutes. My mom had known he was sneaking in, but kept it a secret from everyone else. I was so, so, SO happy that he had made it for Christmas and beyond thrilled that he wouldn't be sitting in his apartment, totally alone on Christmas morning. My Christmas became amazing in that moment. And then we all got very drunk.
Christmas Eve church was great - there were 20 of us and we took up 4 pews. Early Christmas morning was spent at Saul's parent's house, watching the nieces open their mounds of gifts. The giant family gift exchange came next. At about 2, we took off to meet my parents and brother at our house, which was awesome because we've never done a big holiday at our house before. We opened gifts and drank A LOT of wine and ate chicken tacos, a new Christmas tradition. The cousins came back and we watched some Christmas movies (too toasted to remember which, at that point) and then passed out.
It was definitely an untraditional, but very merry Christmas ;)
Next up, NYE in the frozen tundra...