Tag Archives: christmas

Epiphany and 2018 Resolutions

Nope, not “epiphany” but “Epiphany”. So (sadly) I have not had either a major breakthrough nor a dramatic insight. However it *is* the time when we (us Christian-folks) stop celebrating the birth of Jesus and on the date (ahem, cough cough) that the 3 Kings came and acknowledged Baby Jesus in person, we start recognizing Jesus as The Son of God, and so appreciate all His sacrifice for our salvation.

In other words, we stop partying and start praying.

AKA: We gotta take those Christmas decorations down (sob).

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Good bye Christmas Emma Bridgewater….

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Hello everyday Emma!

In fact, US-peeps may not know that for us UK-folks, Epiphany (or 12th night) is often considered the date by which all our Christmas decorations must be down or WE SHALL BE FOREVER CURSED. Or at least, if not exactly forever cursed, we will have bad luck for the year… and weirdly, for a repressed group of folks such as us Brits, we do often adhere to this superstition. Feeling like I have had enough “bad luck” recently (thanks 2017), all my decorations are indeed down now (sob, again), although due to my slight tardiness I decided to adhere to something I read on a pottery board* this week (always a good place to get religious and / or metaphysical advice…) and chose midday on Epiphany as the final cut-point rather than the night before Epiphany. (And should anyone care to know, this involved me running outside in my PJs, glasses, and bedhead into freezing cold Houston at 11.45 am this morning and hastily taking down my outside decorations… nice mental image for you there).

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And a magnificent tree it was… much maligned by our naughty elf indeed

If, like me, you don’t really recognize NYE due to all the post Christmas booze and cheese muddling your brain a healthy recognition that progress should be a constant process free from the constraints of artificial checkpoints, Epiphany is also a time when it is hard to avoid looking back. And let’s face it, 2017 sucked for me. Like, here is a real, actual screenshot of Webster’s Dictionary:

A really, bad, awful year:

noun   a.real.ly.bad.aw.ful.year   /Lekki in 2017/

  1. The year you nearly destroy your hard-won career trying to save your marriage only to find out your husband probably never liked being married to you, lied to you for 3 years about his earnings, stole $4K of tax money from the family, committed identify theft in your name, officially accused you of domestic abuse in a document to court, officially accused you of child abuse in a document to court, lied in court, smuggled drugs into Texas to sell using a credit card in your name, requested the court keep you from seeing your kids at all for two years, requested the court evaluate you for “the mental defect that makes you so abusive” and – possibly worst of all – spent the last 6 months you were together (and trying to save your marriage remember) setting you up and both secretly and not so secretly filming you to document you as violent and abusive so he could ensure when he left you, he got the house, child support and alimony. All while you were still in love with the guy who, OK, was a pot head and lazy, but was funny and laid back and good at things you are not (like building fences) and was, after all, your husband.

And the illustrated version has a picture of my “2017 best 9” from Instagram. Its an awfully specific definition, but I swear it’s there. And, I’m not saying this actually happened to me (denial is more than just a river in Egypt my friends), I am just saying this that would be a really, really bad year. And that I had a really, really bad year.

However, what amazes me is that the kids and I had the most amazingly, perfect advent season! (And I swear this is not the anti depressants talking!). We managed to hone our weekends to be busy, but fun, with lots of kiddo-mummy time, and we managed to check every Christmas box that either I, or they, felt needed to be checked…

And we did have a gloriously perfect, drunken (me), magical (them), spoiled (all of us) batsh*t crazy (also all of us), Christmas Day.

Such that, (and I swear this isn’t the barbital talking) when someone asked me what my 2018 resolutions were, despite thinking super hard, I couldn’t come up with anything I would change (nothing I have the power to reasonably change anyway…). I think I have figured out our finances, I have figured out how have some luxuries on a shoestring and stash a little away, how to have amazing weekends with the kids, how to stay on top of all those life things like car repairs and tax returns and changing air filters and de-fleaing the dogs… the house is kept clean (passably), and I cook a variety of healthy foods most nights (but we also visit Mickey D’s a fair bit because… academia people).

[Also, in the interests of honesty, the kids don’t actually eat those foods, but throw a chicken dinosaur or two in front of them and be quick or you’ll draw back a nub… but hey, I’m eating like a queen… Witness a wee sample of the beautiful meals my children have refused to eat

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For now, I actually do just want to be able to keep doing what I am doing for a while… and there is nothing I want to improve…

In the end I came up with “seeing a new movie, and trying a new food” each month for my resolutions. Maybe I’ll do that… I don’t care if I don’t, but maybe I will 🙂

Happy 2018.

*Ummm… yes I did just admit to hanging out on pottery boards.

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Samuel’s take on Christmas in Texas

Baby goats are awesome:

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Donkey rides are pretty good:

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Tractor rides are so good, they warrant clapping:

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Chasing ducks? The best! Can’t get enough of it.

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And Santa? Santa is NOT AWESOME.

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Even with Mummy, Santa is not at all awesome.

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Happy Christmas.

Happy Advent

Christmascard2013_4 Ah Christmas time, always my favorite time of year. My ex-officemate Claire was at a work lunch many moons ago, when she mentioned my name. “Hmmmmm” said a guy I have never met “Is that the girl who is crazy about Christmas?”. Yup. That’s me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Basically I love the baking, the decorating, the crafts, the lights, the tackiness. The crazy excitement, the movies. I love it all. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But at Ecclesia (our beloved church home) 2 weeks ago, I saw this video which moved me deeply:

(It actually moved me to tears, but I seem to have a broken my tear switch when pregnant and never quite mended it).

Look, I am not going to stop sending cards, stop getting presents, or do anything drastic. Yet. But this video was the first time that I really sat and thought about what Christmas should be to a Christian. The celebration of the birth of Christ. To me, that used to be about going to church throughout advent, going to Midnight Mass, and remembering why we have this festival (unless you are Wiccan or Pagan… totally different reasons then).

Loved coordinating this nativity in 2008

Slowly (and I can be slow) I am realising that it is about more than that. It is about celebrating the birth of Christ. Which surely can mean nothing less than enacting what he stood for: love, charity, selfless giving, equality. I am not ready, nor willing, to make drastic changes to my celebrations (which I suspect I should do), but I have promised that this advent there will be some small changes:

No debt. No debt at all. We celebrate Christmas within our means. No excuses.

Charity work. Active serving of others. Active giving to others. Enough serving of and giving to others that it is inconvenient to me. That it is at my expense.

Christmas celebrations must not get in the way of more important things: serving others, friends, family. That means: no stress! I will build Christmas traditions that enhance my family. Other Christmas traditions: shopping / baking / whatever, happen with my son, or with my friends. Most of them should only happen if they are actively enhancing my family and friendships and bringing love, positivity and peace to them. At the very least, none of them may occur at the expense of them (so no: “Wes, can you take Sam, I have to do such-and-such”).

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I am looking forward to this season! I think this is what Christmas has to be about. Unless you are not a Christian: when you get to enjoy it without these thoughts, just for the party. Awesome 🙂

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Christmas 2012

In the style of last year’s post, here is the blow-by-slow account of the Frazier-Wood Christmas day!

The day started when Sam woke at 1 am for his feed. Wes offered to go and ‘rock him back to sleep’, and although I was fairly sure this would be ineffective, I did not want to be overbearing, so I watched Wes go. At 1,38 Sam was bought back into our room as Wes realized he was hungry. Wes confessed that he really wanted to wake up with the 2 of us, and so suggested Sam slept in our bed. This was a treat and Christmas Day had begun!

In a very poor-parenting maneuver, Sam can basically feed himself if I lie on my side in bed and position him in a certain way. I usually do this from about 6 am to buy myself some extra shut eye, but must have done it when he came in, as the next thing I knew it was 8.30 am, and Sam and I were waking up. A 7 hours sleep = a Christmas miracle I was happy to take! I went down and put part of the breakfast on (Peaches and Cream French toast I had made the night before):

Peaches and Cream French toast

Peaches and Cream French toast

Luckily Santa has been (I think he was still around 😉 ):

Itlian Greyhound Father Christmas costume

Walter Claus

And we opened our stockings while the french toast cooked:

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Wes got tools, belts, boy stuff, and I got hair bands, craft paint and nail polish: girl stuff 😉 Sam was pretty instrumental in helping me open mine:

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The we poured mimosas and made the rest of breakfast. I whipped up my first ever, from scratch, biscuits and some bacon. Wes made eggs:

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I chatted to my parents on Skype and we slowly opened presents throughout the day (last one was at 5 pm). I loved my sewing machine, baby food cook book and craft stuff, and a kindle and some earring from my parents.

Then I gaily went to prep the turkey before realizing…. I had zero idea how to prep a turkey. What was one to do? I took the wrapping off and called Wes to ask what the heck was this big red thing sticking out of the turkey. He removed the ‘nose’ (giggle giggle) and I declared the turkey ‘ready’. In response to Wes’ doubtful face I threw some butter in the cavity, and some salt in the cavity and on the skin and added pepper, garlic powder and poultry seasoning. I covered it in tin foil and popped it in the oven, poured myself another mimosa and we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation. After 2 hours I went to put the potatoes in to cook, and realized that in spectacular fashion, the oven was not on (!) But the oven light was. Whoops. So, I actually put the oven on, started to actually cook the turkey and hurredly made a lunch out of breakfast leftovers. Oh well, this gave us time to open more presents! What I wanted to do was open Sam’s presents, but he spend most of the day like this:

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and I am big fan of the adage ‘never wake a sleeping a baby’ (the advice to wake him after 3 hours of sleep never quite seemed advisable to me, and luckily not to my pediatrician either). So, Wes and I opened our presents without little Sam.

Then I prepared lunch; given that the last 7 weeks had been a little hectic, and that I had clearly never made Christmas lunch before, and had a newborn to care for, we kept it simple. Turkey, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes and orange glazed carrots followed by apple streusal pie and red velvet cake.

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It was all surprisingly delicious and seeing as we did not eat until 6 pm (I also read the chart wrong and mistimes the turkey by about 2 hours, so that took longer…) Sam joined us:

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Then we got to open his presents (woo!… video to follow).

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For only the second time in his little life, Sam was not down at 7 and for the first time, he was not down at 9. In fact, he chose the grand old time of 11 pm to go to sleep, although he didn’t cry or whine, just sat up and cooed and played, and periodically looked very sleepy:

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As can happen with a baby, the day flew by and not as much got done as I would have thought. Nevertheless, it was a perfect Christmas 🙂

A cheeky post on the importance of hobbies

My hobbies? Hiking, playing piano, painting my nails, doing my hair and make-up, reading, crafts of any type, sewing, cooking, baking, decorating cupcakes, making cake pops, dressing Sam, running, camping, taking long baths, dining out, visiting new cities, bicycling (when my bike isn’t stolen… grrrr…), Liverpool FC, listening to new music, growing orchids, growing veggies, weight-lifting, shoes.

And more.

My Christmas presents?

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Wes’ hobbies? Alabama football, guns and Diablo 3.

His Christmas presents?

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There is a lesson here 😉

Even Sam did better as he has one more to come from us:

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People SAY it is not about the presents… but they are the people with no… er… hobbies… 😉

What have you asked for for the holiday?

Christmas 2011

45 mins left of one of the best Christmases in a while. One of my favorite blogs is Healthy Tipping Point (a point Amy Layne helped me reach a while back and the subject of a different blog post, yet to come) and HTP suggested we write up Christmas in the style of ‘A Day in the Life’. I kinda liked that – so here we go.

Chocolate-covered pecan toffee

12.01 am Technically we wished in Christmas the night before. I gave Wesley his first present – some homemade English-style pecan toffee while we watched ‘Bad Teacher’ snuggled under blankets on separate sofas. I refused a present, desperate to save all of mine for the ‘real’ Christmas day.

12.02 am. Somewhere about this time, despite being utterly sober and really enjoying the film I passed out into a deep coma. Too much excitement.

7am. Alarm goes off! Very excite! Wes hits snooze and I peer at him anxiously until

7.10. Wes hits snooze and I continue my excited peering

7.20 Wes hits snooze. I peer some more.

7.21 Wes slowly cracks open one eye and asks if, perhaps, just maybe it might be time to open our stockings. Yes! How did he know?

7.25 I walk into the front room and Wes has all the stockings down and we take turn opening gifts. Santa lucked out and got us both the same number of gifts… Lots of Alabama memorabilia, PJs and socks for Wes; candles, bath and hair stuff for me. Score!

8 am it is time to get ready for the family breakfast and I suggest to Wes that we open the animals’ stockings later. He says OK, and then stared sadly at the stockings… And stares… And asks if we can open just one present, which leads to…

Treats for Earnest.

8.03 absolute pandemonium as 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 animals humans tear into bones, catnip, treats and throw toys. Earnest chows down on any food while a very excited Walter gathers up all the soft toys – his and others’ – and hordes them off onto his pillow happily. We get ready and make a fairly long drive to Alabaster for…

9.38 Family breakfast. I walk in and Traci is cooking up the biggest pile of ultra fluffy pancakes while Sid makes mounds and mounds of eggs, bacon and sausage. Wes and Traci’s Mums come and there is an awesome feast, lots of amazing presents and good company. I get the biggest spa package from Wes’s Mum including a hand embroidered spa robe which I am looking forward to swanning around in at home. We cannot believe it when

This was an enormous package to receive

12.34 comes so quickly and we have to go so I can get back in time to speak to my parents! At

1.18 we stop off at the Allison’s to play Santa to the children which is awesome, as I LOVE seeing kids on Christmas day 🙂 Then home and time for

Me in my Halloween PJs after being unable to relocate my Christmas PJs

1.45 a spot of lunch (fresh bread, cheeses, meats and olives) and a present. We try to spread our presents throughout the day so you can appreciate them and the day ‘lasts’ but waiting for my parents to get on Skype takes a while so we sneak in another pressie. Or at least, I do. Wes starts to get into his when

2.00 the parents call from Switzerland. My present had arrived but they had not been in to collect it 😦 I am looking forward to them opening a gorgeous handmade wooden weather house tomorrow! We opened our gifts on video camera with them, and Wes got an engraved beer tankard, I got a 50s style cardigan and a Radley handbag (so excited) and my Mum had made us a beautiful book of all our wedding photos! Perfect. The parents were having a great time skiing and doing their thing and we chanted until about

2.45 so… Time now just to open presents slowly, drink some wine, chat with my dear friend Holly, and then at

6 put on dinner and I get my first stab at watching a movie ALL Americans seems obsessed with; A Christmas Story. It was actually awesome. Very laid back and cute. I’ll confess to being a little shocked at the racisms… but it was elsewise pretty funny in places. Not much of a story line per se, but a nice thing to sit back and let wash over you. We ate our Christmas dinner: flank steak stuffed with blue cheese and daulphinoise potatoes. Very lazy (all predone by whole foods), very delicious and then, at

8.30 The games began. My 3-straight winning streak at Connect 4 somehow ended in a 5-all draw. But I made up for it by taking the Jenga crown.

And that was it. There was more wine, Panetonne and presents than I have given credence too. And despite careful planning – no running! Terrible! Back on the fitness plan for Boxing Day, and the diet plan?? Soon… 🙂

So tired after such an exciting day