Saturday, December 26, 2009

Great expectations

059I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! It feels like ages since I’ve done a post! I haven’t even been on the computer once since my sicky post Wednesday night. (Thank you all so much by the way!!) It was kind of nice to not be online. But I’m soooo ready to get back!

If you are anything like me, you have grand expectations for certain holidays. My biggie used to be New Years Eve. When I was younger I had these images in my head of attending or throwing fabulous, swank parties. Hubs and I would clink our beautiful champagne glasses as midnight came, and share a perfect kiss as music played, everyone cheered and confetti rained down around us.

(Record scratches…)

Well, there were many years we didn’t do anything. Or we’d go out to dinner or just go hang with friends. There have been many, many fantastic parties. But the champagne is usually served in a plastic cups. ;) And in recent years, we’ll just get together with friends and (SHOCK!) head home before midnight!

And you know what? Now, as long as I’m with my husband, I love whatever we do. As I’ve grown up I’ve learned that’s what’s most important. Good friends and my family. If hubs and I just sat on the sofa next to each other and clinked Pepsi cans, I would be happy.

Well, before this year, nothing had come in the way of my expectations for Christmas Eve. Since the Bub has been born, (and before!) it’s always low key. It usually involves snacking, lounging, making some great food, finishing up wrapping and generally just spending time at home.

This year, I got a lesson in rolling with what comes, even during the holidays. You all know what we’ve dealt with in the past month. I guess that’s why -- more than ever -- I wanted, I expected, our regular routine for the night before Christmas.

Well, it wasn’t that. I will spare you details, but it involved shopping for last minute gifts, getting over sickness, cleaning the house, grocery shopping and other activities. Although we did spend some lovely time with my parents that night, the whole day just didn’t feel like Christmas. It ended with us getting in the door at 9:30 p.m., popping some cookies in the oven for Santa, and after the Bub was down for the night, wrapping gifts till about 1 a.m. (Did I mention we hadn’t wrapped ONE gift?)

Every. single. year. I plan to spend a few evenings in our living room, in front of the tree, just reflecting. Every single year, I lose track of time and don’t get to it. But that night, at 1:30 a.m., I was determined. I turned off all the lights except the tree and just stopped. And breathed. And thought. I was overwhelmed with our month and what we had been dealt.

I took the camera and shot some pictures of the tree with all of the gifts underneath, and then as I looked at the shots I came across pictures from our Fiesta earlier this week. And I cried. I did.

We are SO LUCKY.

For great friends who helped prepare and cook food for hours with my father-in-law:

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For a chance to watch my father-in-law in action:

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FANTASTIC food and drink:

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And amazing family and friends, who throughout this month said, “Let me know what I can do.” And really, really meant it.


That group is TROUBLE right there. ;)

Only hubby’s closest friends and family attended this fiesta. We wanted to keep it small and “old school” – for those his father has cooked for over the past 20 years or so. It was their chance to get together and thank his Dad.

Sitting in front of our tree Christmas Eve, I was overwhelmed by the friendship and love we have felt from everyone we know over this past month, and always. (Including YOU!) We are so fortunate to be surrounded by these lovely people. So THANK YOU, from us:


I love to see my Hubby smile. :)

I do have to say…I am looking forward to the New Year. Whew.

I hope your holidays were all you expected and more!!


  1. Well, I'm not surprised you cried. You were busy the whole time ~ in mind and body; sitting down and taking that breather {and the tears} was probably just what you needed at that point. These are great pictures, Sarah, and it looks like it was a great get together.

    I do know the pictures in our heads that we hope for at the holidays; funny how life straightens that right out! The worst New Years Eve I ever had was when my hubby had to fly down to Florida for the 10th time to see his Dad {after his sister would call and say "I think this is it", every single time} and we were apart. The first holiday we were apart in our 18 years of marriage {at that point}, but which never happened again.

  2. Those are great pictures and looks like a great get together. Sometimes it's nice to just sit for a few minutes and listen to the quietness of the house. We've had quite the whirlwind of things going on the past month (our dog of 13 years died, Father in law had brain tumour removed and Christmas eve, my 9 yr old daughters hamster died), so I can understand the letting go of emotions during a quiet moment; sometimes you just need to. Although loosing a loved one is hard, let me tell you that loosing a family pet (especially one that's been with you for 13 years) really shakes you up too.
    I love the picture of your husband and you: SO HAPPY!
    All the best for a fantastic New Year.

  3. Not quite sure how we managed it but this has been one of the most relaxing Christmases we have ever had! - Despite 3 excited kids, 8 for Christmas dinner, and lots to do.

    The feast your father-in-law cooked up looked amazing.

  4. Wow, that food looks AMAZING!!!!!!
    Glad you had a short moment to breathe!!

  5. I have really enjoyed reading this post, you have captured the real meaning and joy of what Christmas is all about. The way in which you have expressed yourself has spoken to my heart and I understand everything you are saying.
    Your Father-in-law is a wonderful man and looks like quite the cook.
    Thank you for such a fresh perspective on learning to be still.


  6. I just did a post about getting to bed at 3 am--I'm still tired.

    You needed that deep breath.


  7. Finally caught up on sleep last night- slept from 9:30 pm- 7am. And I'm only just a teeny bit tired. ;) Glad you are able to finally slow down and that you made some great memories!

  8. How beautiful Sarah!

    The fiesta looked fun and delish! Yum. I'm half Mexican myself and love the food. ;)

    You and your hubby look wonderful!

  9. Sarah,
    I am so glad you are feeling better! You are right. I can tell you are blessed with loving friends and family. Your father-in-law looks so adorable in those pictures. I just want to hug him! My grandfather used to wear suspenders every day. I love them. I will continue to lift your family up to the Lord in prayer.
    I pray you have a wonderful new year,

  10. I love that you took that time to stop and breathe! This year has been so hard, with my brother-in-law's death and my inlaw's having health issues. I was worried about how I'd handle the holidays. Somehow, Jamie's spirit made me focus even more on what is most important. We are so blessed, aren't we?

  11. What a beautiful post. And great pictures - you will remember this Christmas forever.

  12. Thank you Sara for putting into words what we so often all overlook. I cried too. I love the bittersweetness that is this time of year. Life is hard and it doesn't stop for holidays does it? I love that you don't take things for granted my dear. It is I believe, a treasured quality and some many lack it. I am so happy that I found your blog a couple of months ago, you are a blessing with your U-MAZE-ING tips and ideas but your heart makes it so much more. Happy New Year to you and yours.


  13. What wonderful pictures and that is quite a spread! I'm sure it was sad celebrating Christmas after such a loss in your family, but it looks like you enjoyed the family you have and made new memories. Best wishes!

  14. I love this post! Your father-in-law is too cute. I love the action photos. The food looks awesome! I'm sure it was hard to celebrate after your recent loss but also I'm sure it made you more thankful for your family and friends. I'm glad you guys had a nice Christmas.

  15. You needed a moment to just breathe...and I'm glad you took it.

    We have had a difficult couple of years, but nothing like what you and yours have been dealing with, and so close together.

    Know you all are still in our prayers (and btw, you and your DH are sooo cute together!).

  16. Sarah, eliquently you stated what most of us "moms" were feeling on Christmas Eve. We grow up with these "visions" in our heads of what the "perfect" day would be like, and as hard as we never quite turns out like we've planned...however, it usually turns out "BETTER" than we planned because the unplanned always stops us in our tracks and allows us to focus on what "really" matters...our family, our friends, and our time spent together. I rushed for weeks trying to get things "just right" and let's just say...I felt I had fallen short. But, after seeing the tears in my oldest daughters eyes because she had received the one gift (a bracelet to replace one she had WORN out-with sayings such as Family, Love, Trust, Faith, Etc), I knew all the rest didn't matter. For she had found the true meaning of Christmas! I'm so thankful you and your hubby had the opportunity to spend the day with his dad creating the annual Fiesta! No one will EVER be able to take those memories away from you!!

  17. Ah... bittersweet for sure. I'm hoping time will work it's magic for you and heal what ails sooner than later.

    The food spread looks amazing.

    Hey, and despite how sick you felt and such, you had one killer looking house, no? :D


  18. You are so right.... I was just thinking this morning how the term "madness" is so heavily associated with this time of year and how we should all try to stop, relax, and reflect everyday but especially during the holiday season. Thanks for the reminder of what is truly important!!

    And so glad you and Bubs are feeling better!!

  19. I wish I were invited! All those pictures of that Mexican food is making me hungry!!!

  20. I loved this post, Sarah. :) We share some of the same expectations. I always plan to sit by the tree and just "be," but I let so many other things get in the way.

    The first year I was a mom, my oldest was only a few weeks old when New Years rolled around. I was in WM buying diapers around 8 pm, and I didn't even know it was New Years Eve! I cried a little bit. :s

    Not sure what we're doing this year. :)

    So glad you had a great Christmas!

  21. What a wonderful Christmas with your father-in-law. I love that you took so many photos of him cooking and all his friends gathered around.

    You have had a rough month and then got sick on top of that. You did fine with pulling it all together even though it was Christmas Eve. You have to roll with the punches during different times in your life.

    I know that I have had to do that the last 6 months. It is a long story but we were transfered up north from Florida and it has been one thing after another. I am thankful that my husband, son & I are together and healthy no matter what we have had to go through.

    I wish you the best in the next coming months. It will be hard but you have friends to lean on and blog friends that will listen. Your husband will need support the most. You will be there for him. I have to say you too are as cute as can be.

    Happy New Year. Enjoy that couch time and pepsis together.

  22. It's almost midnight & your post made me hungry. All that food looks great. Looks like you guys had a great time & cherished every second of the fiesta.
    Hang in there & know you have a great support system praying for you & your family.

    And have a wonderful NYE however you decide to celebrate. I for one & good with a low-key quiet night.

  23. Beautiful post - it warmed my heart. Family and good friends are such an important blessing. I'm glad you are enjoying your holiday season, even amongst all the chaos! Oh, and your tree is beautiful!

  24. Your Christmas sounds similar to mine, except ours wasn't sad. I like to stop and look at the tree too, but it usually has to wait until Christmas night, which is probably why it is up until mid-Jan. Usually, I'm amazed it all gets done, but somehow it does. I hope Jan. will go more smoothly.

  25. You have been through so much this month and I am so sorry you did not get your traditional Christmas eve. The pictures of the fiesta are great ~ what a feast ~ and the smiles say everything. Happy New Year Sarah ~ whether it is with Pepsi or champagne I hope you have a great one!

  26. This was a good post. I was so sorry to hear that your family had to deal with sorrow this year. But I love your spirit! And I still think you can have great expectations for the coming year.
    love to you and your's, nancy

  27. The older I get the more I realize that we all have expectations of events, but unless we are truly present in the moment and appreciate, we miss it because we're busy looking towards more future expectations.
    Grandson helps me with this. I just watch him being a 2 yr old and my heart nearly busts. No future, no past, just fully in the moment.
    I'd like to take your example of looking at the tree & breathing each and every day. Just finding something, everything, anything, to fully appreciate - and breathe.
    Happy New Year, Sarah.

  28. Sarah, Thank you for such a heartwarming post and pictures, which brought me to tears. Cherish all the gathering with your family, we dont have that too much any more since I've lost both my parents the family has really drifted apart. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  29. Sarah,
    That was a beautiful family has also gone through some major crap over the last few months...It makes you appreciate the true meaning of Christmas and the blessing of just stopping and taking that breath....I pray you have a wonderful year!

  30. What a beautiful post Sarah!
    Looks like a wonderful gathering!

    Happy New Year!!
    I love that picture of you and your hubby!


  31. Holy cow, that looks amazing!
    I'm glad you're better.
    And I'm glad you cried. :)
    I'm glad that you're YOU!

    Happy New year to you!

  32. Glad you had a wonderful Christmas, your recent tweets (re. Wii) made me laugh and have enjoyed your blog since finding it this past year. Here's to a great 2010!

  33. What a beautiful Christmas. Just found your blog today.

  34. Just found your blog today and i love all your pictures and the food looks fantastic. Actually the hole meal thing looks like something I will be dreaming of for a long time. That unfortunally not the kind of food we make here in Denmark. Funny how food is the thing that makes me want to travel the world and taste all kinds of thing.

  35. I love the final picture of you and your hubby -- it's great.
    You are blessed with family and friends. . .and they are blessed to have you in their lives too!!
    Thank you for the photography tips before Christmas this year. I used so many of them and have some *great* shots that I otherwise would not have had it not been for you taking the time to tutor us!!!
    Many 2010 blessings to you and yours. . .

  36. Sarah, you are allowed to cry..I am allowed to cry, we all cleanses the have been through a lot, and have handled it with grace and style my dear..and still managed to put together a wonderful family Christmas..your pictures are wonderful and the one of you and your hubby is priceless..the best pictures are those spontaneous ones I swear.
    We too have had a rough time, lots of health issues, but then I am an oldster. We have moved 5 times in 6 years, been here since June and will NOT be leaving ever..or for a few years lol. It's physically, emotionally and financially wearing..a good cry helps! Bless you, hubs and the bub for the new year..we sit on the sofa and usually fall asleep 'way before midnight lol!

  37. You look exactly like my Sister in law (WHICH I LOVE so very much). I'm glad you got a chance to reconect, we all need this from time to time. We are going thru a difficult time, not quite like yours but difficult the same. We are homeless and all the plans we had for Christmas, all the things I wanted to do changed so quickly. However I got a chance to learn whats really important. We spent the time away in NYC and even though it took us FOREVER to get there I'm glad we did. I am sending you a warm hug.

  38. Your father-in-law is adorable, love his suspenders. Talk about a fiesta. I'm drooling over the pico de gallo and guac. Your hub has one of those smiles that's infectious... can't help smiling to myself. You two are cute together. :) ~Jil~

    p.s. I love your blog. All of your ideas and inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing. <3

  39. What a sweet post! God bless you all this season.

  40. Wow, wow! That food looks incredible! Send him over to my house to cook. I am craving some fresh good food like that now. LOVED the pics of it too.

  41. Your tree = beautiful. Your spread of food = delicious. The picture of you and your Hubby = ADORABLE!!! Merry Christmas and a Happy, Clutter Free New Year to you Missy!!! ox

    P.S. Champagne is always just as fun out of plastic cups. I should know ;) I drink it like that almost EVERY year! oxox

  42. Great photos, it looks like you had a wonderful time! Christmas Eve didn't feel right for me either this year. No music, no family visiting, no snow. Glad you all had a great fiesta!


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