Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An early Little Texas Christmas

We celebrated this weekend! Quite a lot of things actually, a graduation, a wedding, Christmas, and my family being able to spend time together. Brian and I went to Sugar Land this weekend and had a wonderful time. In typical York fashion, we brought the camera but didn't use it much. First because we forgot and then because the battery wasn't charged. Here's how it went.

Friday was an early release day for my kids. I stuck around till about 2:00 entering grades. No one showed me how to use the online grade book to its full potential so I spent quite a lot of time averaging things by hand and by calculator. Teachers had it pretty rough before the advent of computers, huh? Everyone passed except a couple who had to try really really hard to fail. I headed home, loaded up the car and the dogs, some sandwiches and drove into Austin to pick up my love from work. That drive was a little ridiculous because Brian built an Adirondack style love seat for my parents for Christmas. He had already loaded it in the Tahoe before work and tied it in. There was plenty of space for Sandy in the back, but she's kind of a nervous rider and got herself wedged between the bench and the door. There wasn't a whole lot I could do for her while driving along I35 so I mostly tried to reassure here while she whined the whole way and Eddie bounced from the front seat to the back, teasing her, no doubt. Once we picked up the hubs he helped her get situated and we continued on toward Houston. We got there around 8:00 and relaxed for a while and gave my parents the bench (we couldn't exactly hide it all weekend) which they loved. Then we went over to my friend's house for a graduation party for his girlfriend.

This party certainly felt like college throwback to me. Not only because I've been to his house dozens of times and still couldn't remember exactly which one it was (the lights were throwing me off). There were great guy and girlfriends there who I hadn't seen since the wedding and hadn't really hung out with since much longer. One is finally back from Iraq for good. And a couple others have just been really loyal and good friends to me and I haven't always been the best back, neglecting to keep in touch like I should. On top of that, we partied college style, with a keg, jello shots, and beer pong. I thought those days were over for me seeing how most of the parties I've attended recently have guest lists that largely represent the under 1 year set. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves though and got beat at a couple rounds of beer pong.

On Saturday I realized there's a pretty good reason why I don't party like that anymore and spent most of the day running on about 50%. My mom and hubby were compassionate for me though and let me relax and watch movies while they did some shopping, went to lunch and ran errands together. I'm so glad they get along so well. Around the time we had to start getting ready for the wedding I was feeling much better. My whole family got gussied up and we headed to our home parish to attend the wedding of Adam and Melissa. Adam is a long-time friend and the brother of one of my best friends growing up, Elaine. She was house party in my wedding and a bridesmaid in her brothers. Come to find out she and her boyfriend got engaged the day before and we'll be celebrating another wedding next summer. I couldn't be more excited for her. But Saturday night was for her brother and his bride. They were absolutely radiant! The Mass was very special because Fr. Drew (the priest who married Brian and me) knew them so well and had a great message for the couple. The thing I'll remember the most though, is the music. They are both incredibly gifted musically, Adam is a band director, and Melissa is a wonderful singer. Her choir friends, along with two very talented music directors from the church, provided the music for the Mass and it was breathtaking. After the ceremony we headed over the the reception for delicious hors d'oeuvres, cake and Sprite (for me, everyone else had wine and beer). Everyone had a great time! There was tons of dancing and great conversation and we headed home around midnight, very tired.

Since we had already been to Mass, we spent Sunday as a family day. It was long overdue and very fun. Even though I see my parents pretty often, it is almost always way too short, only one night or two, and driven by an agenda or outside goals. That's why it was so nice to have this whole day all to ourselves. We started out with a dog walk. I'm sure we were a sight, four adults and three dogs (including their dog, Maggie) trapsing all over the neighborhood and beyond. After that we cleaned up and went to the movies. I hadn't been to a matinee in a very long time, this one started at 10:20. We saw The Blind Side and absolutely loved it! Brian and I had tried to see it a couple times previously but it was sold out each time. I'm convinced that the only reason it didn't do better with the critics was political reasons. Everyone I know that has seen it enjoyed it so much! My dad is a pretty huge Sandra Bullock fan anyway and about 10 minutes into the movie when she hadn't shown up yet he whispered too loudly, "I thought this was a Sandra Bullock film, where's Sandra?" We laughed. There's really something to be said for going to the movie early. All four of us went for only $20, we easily found great seats and we still had a whole day when we got out! Once we got back home we spent some time outside and enjoyed the incredible weather we were having. I'm very sorry to all of you caught in that awful blizzard. The weather here is delightful and I plan to go outside after I finish this story.

We got our supper started and then opened gifts. Brian and I gave my parents the bench, of course, and also matching travel coffee cups, they're very particular about them. My mom got a Vera Bradley lunch kit that she had asked for and my dad got a leather wallet. Brian and I received 2 place settings of our wedding china, a board game Like Minds, a puzzle that has sailboats on it, and a very hefty check. I also got a pair of jeans and the most beautiful handmade Hungarian table linens and apron I've ever seen with little green flowers embroidered on them and scalloped edge. Brian also got some kakhis that he asked for, some very handsome cologne, a new Guy Harvey t-shirt (I'm going to try to sneak away one of his worn out old ones) and a Jack Russell Terrier calendar. We felt very blessed and very spoiled. I'll make a separate post about how Brian and I will do gifts for each other.

My dad also opened a gift from my Aunt Nancy (she drew his name). It was bocce so we all went into the greenbelt behind our house to play. I had never played this game until September at my Aunt Cindy's house in New York. It was so fun! You can pretty much have as many or as few players as you want and anyone can do it. I have absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever and I even made a few great shots. Now we have a set, my parents do, and one other member of my family is getting one for Christmas. You throw a small ball out onto the field (ours was a pretty rough terrain this time but it made it even more fun). Then players on two teams take turns throwing larger balls to get them as close as they can to the small one. You can knock each other out of place but whichever team is closest to the small ball after they've all been thrown gets points for that round. That's the jist of it but look it up to really learn to play. You'll love it! When we were done with that we finished preparing supper and ate. It was delicious! We had prime rib (way too much), mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, the salad I posted about yesterday, and wine. As a family, we're not real big on dessert, but that's fine because we wouldn't have had room for it anyway. We did have ice cream with root beer topping (not the same as a float) much later while we were playing our new board game.

We left Monday morning, there's not a whole lot to say about that. I will miss seeing my parents on Christmas. It stinks that my dad has to work, but having spent this relaxed and family-centered weekend with them, I feel much better about it. I hope that you get to spend such quality time with the ones you love this week. I'll say it again, but have a Merry little Christmas!


Allison said...

my mom said she and aud saw brian and your mamma at the mall ha! I was hoping yall were going to be there thru xmas but i guess not :( sadness! Also, I can just see yall walking the dogs down dulles haha such good memories!
and by the way-- i have been playing bocchi ball since I was tiny- that was mine and grandmother and daddy's favorite game to play at the beach. ours is SOO old, it is funny to see it catching on and everyone else getting them now too! so much fun!! have a merry christmas! will miss u bunches!
ps omg elaine is getting married too! i hope not on july 10th~ hahaha

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