Tag Archives: holidays

When Families Merge

PictureGrowing up my family had their own set of traditions.   Jeff’s family also has their own traditions.  So, as you can imagine and I’m sure may have experienced yourself, the merging of traditions into your own family can be difficult.  Growing up we decorated the day after thanksgiving (I should add that christmas is my favorite holiday).  I went all out, garland up the banisters and stockings on the mantel.  The tree could light a whole room with all its lights!  I tended to love and take over christmas decorating, except the outside lights.  I am terrified of heights and I am not to be trusted on roofs.  My dad always got chosen as the unlucky victim of putting up the outside lights.   This brings us to the long standing debate of when is christmas really over.
As a kid we took decorations down around the 6th.  My husband Jeff however, thinks that new years day is the best day.   In an effort to merge our traditions I caved to christmas being over on New Years.  I do however decorate for christmas the day after thanksgiving (except for the tree since we now use real trees).  This brings me to merging traditions.  I was intregrarted into my new family while still holding onto my own family’s traditions, I urge you all to remember that love, compromise and communication is key.  Keeping those things most important will get you through the hard times.

Home is where the love is…

     Growing up we spent many vacations in Oklahoma with my grandparents.  I would always look forward to certain things, for instance my dad’s mom makes awesome rum cake.  My mom’s mom she always made us spatzle, which all of my cousins loved.   We would joke that we were going to make her a 50 gallon drum to make enough soup for everyone.  This year I am spending New Year’s  with Jeff’s family and volunteered to make spatzle.  I think that homemade food is made all the better by the memories it brings while cooking.  My chicken in currently getting a spa treatment in my stock pot with his friends the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and black pepper.  My entire house smells like the holidays with my family.
People tend to say “Home is where you’re heart is” well that means that mine is in a lot of pieces.  My heart is with all of my family and not just through the holidays.  Jeff often makes jokes about how food obsessed I am.  Food for me tends to bring back all those wonderful memories of family and all the love we share.


     When I first met my husband he invited me to go home with him to New York for christmas.  We were both currently living in Oklahoma at the time.   When I met his mother she absorbed me into the family immediately, like an ameba making me feel like one of her own.  I suggested to Jeff that we should build a gingerbread house because I had never built one before.  We had so much fun building our first gingerbread house together despite the fact that our roof began to fall down.  Frosty the snowman and Santa had to be placed strategically so the roof did not slide off.
When the next christmas time rolled around we were living in California, as my husband was completing an internship there.  My parents came to visit us around christmas time and I thought lets build a gingerbread house!  My dad being the hunter and outdoorsmen that he is came up with a wonderful hunting theme.  My mom and I spent hours in the kitchen (dad came and went but mostly watched tv and pretended not to play with the cat).  Our plan was to build a cute little village…which ended up having only one house.  This village would have a cute little stream that the hunters would canoe hunt from and a wonderful forest for the deer to hide in.  When we finished this  masterpiece it was so beautiful.  We were so proud.
Now living just outside San Fransisco is expensive for not much room…for two people, two labs and two cats (including the visiting parents adding two more people).  We had created this wonderful village and we put it on the kitchen counter (which was shockingly small).  Meanwhile we had just acquired Jack (still macaroni at the time) only a couple months before and he was very much still a kitten.  Every day I noticed Jack’s increasing interest in this sweet and tasty village.
I was relaxing on our incredibly uncomfortable futon one afternoon when I heard noise coming from the kitchen.  It started with George Cat meowing in distress (she is a tattletale) as she was watching Jack on the kitchen counter.  I walked in just in time to see Jack pick up the gingerbread canoe in his mouth and shake it (all while standing in the forest and stream).  Gingerbread men and deer are flying everywhere and our oh so cute little hunting shack was no match for Catzilla, as he walked on it reducing it to rubble.  Jack completely decimated our little village in a matter of moments.  I truly tried very hard to be mad and upset with him however, watching an oversized orange maniac destroy a gingerbread village was highly entertaining.  We have not made a gingerbread anything since.   Every year we say we will but run out of time.  I have decided I am going to make a gingerbread farm this year so stay tuned for that epic story (since nothing is ever easy in a house with 2 dogs and 3 cats).

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree…lalalala

PictureIt’s that time of year again!  Christmas is my favorite holiday by far and not just because it comes with ham.  Every year we go as a family and cut our trees down together.  When the tractor drops us off at the giant field of charisma’s trees it’s like a christmas wonderland.  We set out into the field smelling and touching trees like a bunch of excited little kids.  The debate of what kind of tree now begins.  Do we get one that has soft fluffy needles, one that smells a particular way, or are we looking for a perfect looking tree.  This year I told Jeff that I was going to wait until I saw a tree that screamed take me home!!  Well funny enough, we both found the same tree separately.  I realized looking at the tree that it had been growing all those years waiting for Jeff and I to take it home and let be the most beautiful christmas tree!  Jeff got down on the ground and started sawing away.  I usually take great delight in shouting timber each year.  I was opening my mouth to remind Jeff that he should warn me so that could call out timber right as the tree fell towards me.  I didn’t get to yell timber and our wonderful labrador who had been sitting so patiently almost got squashed by the tree (she didn’t even move).  We loaded the tree up and drove home to place it in its rightful place…. In the middle of the living room window.  I always wonder what the pets think of us bringing a tree into the house.  George Cat usually lies underneath staring up into the lighted tree in kitty delight.  Jack our big orange cat likes to steals ornaments while Snugglepants (yes we own a cat named Snugglepants) usually tries to live inside the tree.  Sheba our labrador tends to eat the present that just might have something yummy inside.  When we got home Jeff put the tree up once it got dark we set about trimming our tree.  I never understood the term trimming the christmas tree as a kid because we never had real trees.  I love the was that the real trees smell and look.  We out up the lights and all the decorations on the tree and sat in the dark admiring our christmas wonderland.  We hope that all of you are enjoying your holiday traditions this year!


Note the tree skirt all rumpled because jack our cat has been running around the bottom of the tree like a maniac.