I say it in italics/parenthesis because I find it humorous that I'm heading home to a place I've never lived before. And on top of that, I'm leaving my parents home (which is what I really consider home) to head "home". And for an extra dose of irony, I'm not heading to the home I actually own in PA. So, yes, you could say things feel a little weird.
It's been an amazing break. And I'll be honest, I needed a break. Those last few weeks in November and December were touch-and-go I tell ya. I'm overdue in sharing some pics from the break (but that's because I've technically still be on break?) so here you go:
Christmas, to sum it up, was a lot of this:
Double mmmm, wine
We have a pretty simple, but special Christmas Eve routine, where we head to a local italian restaurant for drinks and dinner, followed by 10:00pm mass, and then home to open one or two presents. This year was no different (other than the fact I had an extra glass too many at dinner and our favorite priest has since moved on to a new parish so he didn't say our mass. No joke, this guy has been saying our mass for years. I'm sad he's gone.)
Mama H. had the house beautifully decorated (as per usual!) and our little Annie was even in the Christmas spirit.
These small, white, porcelain birds have been on our Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. Mama H. will have to clarify their origins...please Mom, I know they're a family thing, right?
Whatever the case, these are CHRISTMAS to me.
She may look miserable, but don't be fooled. Firstly, she loves dressing up. She's doing her special pout face to be extra cute. Secondly, it was way past her bedtime when I took this picture. Believe it or not, this pup has a strict 10pm bedtime rule and will get very upset if she has to stay up late.
Christmas Day, as always, started with Monkey Bread (triple mmmm) and quiche for breakfast. We're pretty late risers for Christmas Day so it's fairly relaxed and informal. (True story: when we were little kids, my parents used to have to wake up my brother and me on Christmas morning. Fact. But you know what, that's just cause we're insanely smarter than the average kid. Hey, people, in case you haven't figured it out, the presents will still be there whether you're downstairs at 8am or Noon. Just saying.)
And that's pretty much where we put tradition on hold because this year we introduced two new, very radical, elements to Christmas morning.
1. We watched the 2011 Rose Bowl before opening presents and while Mom and I started to get dinner ready. Yes, very untraditional, I know, but if you ever doubted how seriously we love Horned Frog football yall, well there's your answer.
And 2? Well, Mr. B added a new tradition to the mix this year - one that I don't think Mama H. was particuarly too impressed with, but it had Senior and Junior sold.
I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the recycling bin in the living room:
Yes, I can't believe I just posted that picture, but that's real life people. Mr. B gets tired of picking up all the wrapping paper each year. (Hello OCD, if you would just wait till all the presents were opened, then it wouldn't seem such a chore!) So this year, he ran out in to the garage and rolled in the big honkin recycling bin. Promise we're not that trashy all the time. (Pun intended.) It was, of course, empty, but when it started to get full, Junior decided to compress things a little. And when that wasn't working, they made me get in it. Like I said, people, this is real life.
And as quickly as we broke tradition, we were soon back to the normal Christmas Day routine. Presents........and the obligitory holiday game of Trouble.
This is serious people. Highly competitive board gaming on Christmas Day. And Thanksgiving. And just about any other time the whole family is together. Junior and Mr. B take their usual uber-aggressive position, while Senior and I tend to play a little more conseratively. (As in...not screaming / pounding the table / yelling obscenities) However, there can only be one winner and yours truly was yellow this year. See picture above for clarification. Let there be no doubt I was hands down the 2011 Trouble winner. Would you expect anything less?
So there you have it - our Christmas 2011. All in all a complete success. I'm just sad I have to wait another whole year to do it again!