I did not do a great job documenting the holidays. There are no pictures of anyone opening presents, no shots of the Christmas Eve ham or the butterscotch pie that took two hours to make (20 minutes of which was sorting vanilla Annie’s bunnies from the chocolate ones in the mixed box). We did not take a family portrait. And the only photos of the tree were posted weeks ago.
Like everything else with this new step-mom thing, the lack of documentation makes me feel a bit like a loser, like I’m not on the ball enough to capture the perfect image of the kid unwrapping her monogrammed Land of Nod penguin sleeping bag with the built-in pillow pet. Joel (and everyone else) says I’m being too hard on myself, but that’s kind of the way I roll. I’m used to being good at things or not doing them at all, which isn’t really an option here.
The holidays went something like this: Discuss how Claire has too many toys she never plays with, so buy her non-toy stuff. A padded mat for her acrobatics. The sleeping bag. A planetary mobile for her room. The entire set of Harry Potter movies on blu ray. At the last minute, worry she will be disappointed there are no toys. Go to Target on the 23rd to buy a game, My Little Pony dolls, and a stack of books. Make spiced nuts, worry that although they are perfect for me, they will be overdone for everyone else. Cook all day on the 24th. Butterscotch pie, chocolate cake with peppermint frosting, ham, whipped sweet potatoes with bananas and honey, corn pudding. Worry all through dinner that the sides are too heavy or sweet and try not to notice that Joel is forcing Claire to eat hers because she doesn’t like the concept of eggs with her corn or nuts on her potatoes. Open gifts. Despite our attempts to cut down this year, Claire ends up with 17 different things. Worry it’s too many, especially when she goes into unwrap-toss aside-get new gift-unwrap-toss aside mode. Try to remember that unwrapping is 70% of the fun when you’re a kid. Eat dessert. Everyone has pie – it’s a really great pie – and no one has cake but me and Claire. What will we do with all that cake? How will we fit all the leftovers in our freakishly small, but supposedly full-sized fridge? Run the first of two loads of dishes in the dishwasher. How can four adults and one kid use so many dishes? Go to bed.
Yesterday we did a whole lot of nothing. Corn pudding with ham for brunch, followed by cake, like you do when there is an entire cake in your fridge. Hung out in bed with both dogs watching Lilyhammer on Netflix, and then watched the entire first season before bed. Watched Joel install his new Nest thermometer. Stood at the kitchen counter eating cold ham out of tupperware around 9:30PM, then ate the rest of the pie out of tupperware on the couch at 10PM. In bed at 11:30.
Lest we forget, Cooper had knee surgery last week, and has thus spent the entire holiday limping around on three legs and drugged out of his gourd. He’s recovering nicely. Most of the bruising is gone and the stitches aren’t angry red anymore. He has decided that he is already healed and wants to go play in the yard every time Huck goes out, which makes everyone sad because he cannot.
Obviously, the holiday wasn’t all [cue sad music]. My best friend came to visit over the weekend, and we did all our favorite things – like sitting around in stretchy pants doing puzzles while listening to the *NSYNC Pandora station and watching multiple episodes of The X-Files and going vintage shopping. We all went to Macy’s Santaland, which was slightly disturbing and awesome at the same time, the result of old-timey animatronics. I got two great winter coats from Joel, and a gorgeous bracelet that belonged to his grandmother from his parents. Joel loves his Nest. LOVES IT. Claire got really excited over a sweatshirt tunic, which is a major win. Joel’s brother and his girlfriend were lovely dinner companions. Sure, Cooper had surgery, but by all accounts it went well. Toby came out of the basement to play with wrapping paper. That pie was great!
And we did take a handful of pictures. Here’s proof.