Sigh. 4 blissful days sleeping in, relaxing and spending all-too-precious quality time with hubby have, sadly, come to an end. They were wonderful while they lasted.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and enjoyed time spent with family eating turkey (or in some cases, Roast Pork). I was grateful that I did not have to cook a turkey, bake a pie or clean up any dishes since we went the Cracker Barrel route. We just relaxed that morning and talked to our families back in NJ who were preparing for Thanksgiving dinner.
I really didn’t expect Cracker Barrel to be as crowded as it was. We got there around 2 and there were people waiting outside. Since there were only two of us, we were seated right away. We feasted on ham, turkey, stuffing, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie with pecans for the low price of $8.69 each! The food was ah-mazing and they gave us so much of it. We were stuffed by the time we left. Suffice it to say, I think we’ve started a new Thanksgiving tradition.
That night we didn’t do much of anything. I perused some of my favorite blogs and started spaghetti & meatballs around 6, which neither one of us ate a whole lot of since we were still full. We watched Spiderman 2 on television and fell asleep in each other’s arms on the couch. At 10:30, we dragged ourselves off to bed and got up the next morning around 8. We decided to go Christmas shopping, but didn’t get out the door until after 11 when all the sales were already over. We also missed all the crowds, so that was good.
Our plan this year was to try and cut our spending on gifts in half. In previous years, the spending on Christmas would just get out of control. It was insane, running here and there trying to find the perfect gift for everyone. We decided to combine couples, with the exception of our parents, and opted not to buy our nieces and nephews each a toy that would cost at least $20. We got Jeff and Liz (BIL & SIL) stuff for the baby they’re expecting in May, so that was like three gifts in one.
So we made our list, checked it twice, and headed out on our shopping excursion. I’ve found that searching for Christmas gifts can test the will and resolve of any good couple, not unlike the Amazing Race. Each year, it’s a challenge to stay focused when you’re tired and you don’t seem to be making headway. After getting off to a rather sluggish start and turning up empty handed at Sam’s Club where we only bought wrapping paper and pine logs for the fireplace, we were a little deflated but pressed on. 20 stores later, we had gotten everyone on our list except for Gregg’s mom, who’s always the hardest to shop for. It was a big thrill crossing off each name as we got back in the car.
When we got home, we put the gifts away in the spare bedroom closet and tallied up the damage. We actually almost met our goal of spending half, but we still have MIL and each other to buy for yet. We heated up leftovers from the night before for dinner and even though it was 60 degrees outside, Gregg made a fire in our fireplace. It made our living room very cozy. For dessert, I warmed up the piece of pie I had saved from our Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving and we wrapped up the night by watching Bruce Almighty.
Saturday we set out to get our Christmas tree. I have to say, it was really odd to pick out a tree in short sleeves and sandals. There were no tree farms around, either, which was a new concept to us. It seemed the only places selling them were Walmart or Home Depot and the trees got increasingly expensive the taller they got. In New Jersey we always got our tree at Max is Back and it was $24.99, whatever size you wanted. So after going to a couple of home improvement stores, we found that Lowe’s had the better selection. After hemming and hawing a bit, we picked out an 8 foot Douglas fir and threw it in the back of Gregg’s pickup.
We got it safely home and Gregg sawed off a little of the trunk before we put it in the tree stand. Our dog, for some reason, was afraid to go near it. I suddenly had this image of a chipmunk or other critter jumping out of the tree and Tess tearing through the house after it, like in Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. We happened to get a really uptight tree that was taking an unforgivably slow time to loosen its branches, so we decided to leave it to decorate for the next day and went out to the movies. We saw Deck the Halls, which had its funny moments, but for the most part was a disappointment.
Since Gregg wasn’t working on Sunday- and it was recommended by Pastor Dan that if you take off on a Sunday, you just don’t attend church there that day- we chose to go to a moderately sized Baptist church down the road. We enjoyed actually getting to worship together and found the service very uplifting.
We had a quick lunch when we got home and started taking out all the boxes of ornaments. I opened the boxes and got down some Christmas decorations while Gregg strung the lights on the tree. Then I lit a cranberry scented Yankee candle, put on some Christmas tunes and went to work trimming the tree. Gregg started another fire in the fireplace to complete the atmosphere. When we were done hanging the ornaments, I decorated the rest of the house with holiday stuff. Gregg made us pancakes for dinner and we ate in front of tv with the tree all lit up and the fire glowing & crackling. It was so romantic and the perfect end to the weekend.
And now it’s back to the daily grind. I kinda let the house go while we were on “vacation” so I have to play catch up with the chores. Yippee, I can’t wait to tackle that pile of laundry in our bedroom and get to scrubbing the bathroom! Yeah.
I’m now officially in the Christmas spirit at least: our tree is up, the halls are decked, and my favorite radio station is playing Christmas songs 24-7, which I’m sure I’ll be absolutely sick of by December 25. I’ve already begun thinking of the meal I’m making for Christmas Day, for just the two of us. This year’s holiday will be radically different from all the ones that we’re used to-we won’t be participating in any of the usual festivities with Gregg’s family, the weather will certainly be a lot warmer, and we won’t see any of that white stuff either. Now that we don’t live anywhere close to family, we’ll just have to start our own traditions.