blonde christmas.

The past several weeks have been a scramble, what with redecorating the entire house, getting ready for work visitors to come down, and getting all the Christmas to-dos out of the way (cards, gifts ordered and wrapped, white elephant things, etc. etc.). I’m glad I did scramble though, because now that the holiday parties have begun and it’s time to catch up with people, I’m truly enjoying it and feeling more present than I probably would if I were all flustered.

My house was featured on Apartment Therapy! You all already know, but it would be weird not to mention it here too. I also took a bunch of photos myself and those are here. I was afraid that the usually modern-centric site’s readers wouldn’t love my more traditional aesthetic, but it seems to have gone over well. I’ve gotten so much inspiration from them over the years that it feels right to participate with my own place. I was asked to do this almost immediately after half the furniture and wallhangings in the house were carted off, so I was thinking “worst! timing!” but I’m actually glad it happened that way. It made it so that I suddenly had a deadline for redecorating, and I spent every spare instant and every comp day combing antique stores and getting stuff framed and up on the walls. But I think it was also good for me to have this specific push for getting it done, because with juggling Morella and everything else, I have no idea when it would have otherwise gotten done. And the house feels more together and happy and comforting, and just more ours than it did with all the empty hooks and corners gaping at us. There are still some more changes to come, but those can happen whenever I feel like tackling them.

One thing I need to do is get rid of the crib, because Morella is now sleeping in a toddler bed. I wasn’t planning on switching her already, but Mom and Dad sent her a bed for Christmas, Lianna helped me put it together, and Morella was immediately enthralled with it. She kept gathering up toys and books and taking them into the bed with her to peruse. After story time, I spontaneously said “Do you want to go night-night in your crib or your big-girl bed?” and she immediately leaned to be put in her bed. She lay down on her pillow and went right to sleep, and that was that. She often amazes me when I’m expecting her to have a hard time with something. Now, she’ll totally wake up in the morning and walk to her bedroom door yelling “HEY! Heyyyyyy!” at it until you come get her. But I’m considering this a win.

In other news, she’s been teething a lot again, and that has been a huge pain. Her hair is getting long and looks cute in pigtails! She loves pizza and pouches with pureed fruit inside, and cake. And raisins. She can count a little, but always starts at 2. She points with her plump little hand and says “TWO…FREE…FOH-WAH…FIE…SIGS………” And she also says some ABCs: “Ah Bay Say Day Eee Me Me.” I do not want her to learn to do it correctly, because then it will not be as cute.

Work is always crazy in general, but for the past few weeks I was also looking at tons of resumes for an open position at the office, and doing face-to-face interviews. This time it was so different from when I did some hiring three years ago, and we got bushels of resumes. And the amount of awesome applicants made it even harder to go through and eliminate some. A good problem to have! We also had an amazing time at the holiday party this year, had a bunch of guests down from NY and a great venue, and Mia took some lovely photos. I can’t imagine what a nightmare this year could have been if it weren’t for my work family and having the most supportive place in the universe to go to every morning.

I contributed a photo to an Art for Advent thing they were doing at church, and got to speak about my “process” (ha!) during a service. I definitely don’t consider myself an artist, not that you have to be super textbook right-brained to be one, but I’m glad I got involved and had the opportunity to share. A bunch of people came up at the artists’ reception and said my words had meant a lot to them, so that redeemed the “what am I doing up here” feeling. Most of the time I go to church to receive, and to partake. I pretty much just show up and enjoy it and feel replenished. This experience made me think about the people who actually run our church and are up there every week, pouring out their entire souls for the rest of us. I’m thankful that they do that. I’m thankful that they keep doing it even if they don’t feel like it sometimes.

Holiday fun is fun. The babies are more into it than they were last year, of course. They LOVED the GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter, so much so that Morella now gets mad if she spies some Christmas lights while we’re in the car and I don’t stop and let her get out and look at them. Probably shouldn’t have taken her to GardenFest to set her expectation level, haha. We went to a Christmas tea at the Jefferson, which was fancy and which Morella summed up with one word: “CAKE.” Our block’s progressive dinner party was a delicious chance to catch up with neighbors and see their houses. Liz and Matt’s party was full of perfect decorations and baby bumps and buddies from high school. At my mom’s cookie exchange party, Morella kept putting half-eaten cookies and grapes into the white elephant gift bags. We did the Williamsburg Market Square illumination last night, and we’ve still got turkeys to eat and IAWL to watch. The week is young.

Single-mothering is still a challenge, and I’m doing my best to give her my best and not just limp along because it’s hard. It’s good to remember that this (us) is all she’s ever known, and that she’s not expecting her family to look a certain way, and that she’s just happy being the apple of Mama’s eye. Limbo and dismissiveness and continuing attacks on her resources don’t help. Love and patience and family and real friends and Christmas lights and taking a deep breath do.

Anyway. I’m trying to remain positive no matter what. I’ll leave you with this heartwarming picture of Morella and Clarabelle as angels in the church pageant. Merry Christmas! Ours really is a wonderful life.

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