Saturday, January 29, 2011

the christmas story.

after great anticipation all year long christmas weekend had finally arrived!  this year christmas fell on a saturday so we had an instant 3-day weekend without even trying.  with all the running around and work that richard and i had been doing we hadnt had a lot of time to do the few traditions we had started the year before.  we also hadnt been able to spend much uninterrupted time together either.  so we decided to squish everything we could into the weekend. 

we started by sleeping in friday morning, that alone is an amazing start to any 3-day weekend.  richard had told me the night before that he a had a last minute thing or 2 he had to pick up that morning.  while i giggled a lot-last year he had waited until christmas eve to buy all of his gifts-i decided i would get up and go for a run that morning then.  feeling very accomplished when i returned i decided to reward myself by registering for my next 1/2 marathon in nashville, tn!

richard hadnt gotten back quite yet and i needed to run over to the grocery store to pick up our 2 last minute things for breakfast the next morning.  as i headed out to the store i called my mom to see if she needed anything since she was cooking the next day, bad idea.  30 minutes and $25 later i returned home to spend the rest of the day with my love. 

later that evening we made the trek to the las vegas' north pole at the speedway for the gift of lights.  we had both gone for the 1st time the previous year and totally fell in love, definitely making it a tradition for us.  this year there was no line, hooray, so we drove through right away.  it was beautiful.  not nearly as good as the year before at sunset park, but it was fun to just be together with the 2 of us.
we headed back into town towards the conservatory inside the bellagio, one of my absolutely favorite places on the planet.  i still had not seen tiffany to give her, her christmas gift and we were trying to make it happen that night.  we ended up meeting in a del taco parking lot because we couldnt figure out anywhere else, weird i know.  after getting back on the road and getting closer to the bellagio, we accidentally picked the wrong lane and got boxed out of turning in.  of course it took forever to turn back around and make it through all the lights, by now which richard was getting pretty frustrated.  we made our way into the garage and it literally took almost a 1/2 hour to find a parking spot!  just as we were about to give up, one opened for us finally.  and of course it was worth every minute of wait...

 by this time it was darn near 830p and i had originally planned to cook that night once we got home.  fully prepared to go home and make fajitas, richard kept hinting he didnt want to wait that long.  so we did the most logical thing instead...pick up raisin canes.  its not richards favorite place, so anytime he wants to go i am so on board.  we made our way home to watch one of my all time favorite christmas movies, the family stone.  i had finally convinced richard to watch it with me.  we sat down to watch and before i even knew what happened richard is yelling and damn near throwing his food out the window, asking me if i like the canes sauce.  apparently he didnt see that it came on the sandwhich and he likes his things super plain, not even ketchup.  he stormed off into the kitchen after i told him no, not knowing, to turn on the oven to make something else.  i kept saying that i would eat the the sandwich with the sauce, i just put ketchup on top anyway and he kept saying you said you didnt like the sauce.   finally he slowed down long enough to listen and let me take the sandwich he didnt like and let him have my strips.  between the traffic and the order mess up it was not going well, it was better, but he still seemed so mad.  we finished the movie, i of course cried, and was ready for bed.  richard wanted to stay up because he always went to bed late and he still had to wrap all of my presents.  we decided to set an alarm for the next morning at 1030am to give us plenty of time to get up, make breakfast, take our time opening presents, and hang out for a bit. 

however, long about 9am i was ready to get up and open presents!  i mean it is christmas.  instead i decided to go in and make breakfast to keep myself busy.  that lasted about a half hour and i decided it was time to wake up richard, that didnt go too well.  he was not excited about me waking him up to open presents at all, he kept trying to convince me to go back to bed, i was wayyyy too awake for that.  so i let him sleep and went to try to upload pictures from the night before.  he came out a few minutes later and told me he was awake enough, we could open presents.  so as i started to bring the breakfast stuff over i found him curled up on the couch under the blanket barely willing to even open his eyes.  so not ok.  instead i made him sit on the floor with me and the bacon that didnt wiggle.

we began with stockings, something i struggled with the most to fill.  turns out we bought each other the exact same thing, silly candy and beautiful cards!  we continued on to more wrapped boxes filled with cartoon character t-shirts, flasks, and electric toothbrushes for him.  and minions, disney character mugs, ladybug girls, and sparkly earrings for me.  both of us were beyond excited about our gifts!  we ended up opening a little faster than we expected and once finished just looked at each other like now what?  so we cleaned up breakfast and decided to go back to bed before heading over to my parents house.

a few hours later we loaded up my car with the gifts and made our way up to my parents house to have christmas part 2.  we had to make sure we came over before erik and his family got there so we could do our family christmas.  it was so fun!  we had multiple gifts for all of us and they were all really thought out, the best was my minnie mouse seatbelt wallet.  as we were leaving the apartment we had to make sure we grabbed the last of my dads tools to take back, and i made the joke, wouldnt it be so funny if the presents under my parents tree were tools.  i told him though, thats how you really know you made it into the family because thats what we always bought my dad. 

erik and donna came over a little while later to help finish making dinner and so we could finally eat.  we had very entertaining dinner conversation that kyle holding me back at one point and richard defending me at another point.  after that i tried to drive moms car to the movie, it didnt fly well.  quite a few years ago the four of us started going to a movie together on christmas.  we had gotten old enough to not have lots of toys, so we would get bored with nothing to do.  last year we picked a boy movie in sherlock homes, this year we picked a girl movie in tangled.  it was really cute, very disney, very cute.

richard and i made our way home after going back to my parents house for pie, we had been there most of the day and were ready to go home.  or so i thought.  richard ended up deciding to go to matts house after we got home for a few hours.  i was tired anyway i guess and just wanted to spend time on my couch, while thinking about such a successful day.

this was our first christmas living together.  we got to start our own traditions and do them the way we want.  it was like a real grown up christmas, our way:)

Monday, January 17, 2011

the ornament party.

a few weeks before thanksgiving we had decided to have our very first christmas party.  i was super stoked, always wanting to have my own place to throw a party.  richard was equally stoked to show off our place now that we had lived there over 2 months and to have so many of our friends together.  there was of course a great debate on which weekend to have it, as finally settled on the 18th of december.  i had decided not to put up a facebook invite after we got home from our thanksgiving weekend because i thought it was too soon and people would probably forget by the time the party rolled around.  other planning was beginning to come together though.  we thought about doing a secret santa, but that would be hard with such different groups of friends not knowing each other.  then we thought about white elephant, but werent super excited about that so we decided to just make the decision when it got closer to time.

when we got home from thanksgiving richard went over to hang out at matts house and found out that he was also planning some kiond of holiday party.  richard told him we were thinking the 18th and they said no problem, they would figure out a different weekend.  a few days later the facebook invite showed up in my requests folder while i was at work and i knew this was not going to be good.  it was also for the 18th.  now mind you, we had not sent ours out yet because i thought it was too soon, guess not.  the invite had said they were flexible and realistically so we were we, we hadnt set the actual date yet.  i received a text from richard asking what we were going to do now and see it hadnt been too early for the invite.  i suggested we talk to the matt and see what other weekend they were thinking and then go from there.  while i emailed matt, the we should have sent it out turned into a quick downward spiral into maybe we just shouldnt do this at all because it wouldnt be the right weekend.  after emailing a few times with matt i realized how loose their plans were and knew that we could easily figure this out, richard however was not at all convinced.  while on lunch that day i called him to tell him what matt and i talked about, but he was still not convinced and the spiral was going farther down.  luckily matt actually walked into the lunchroom at that moment and he and richard ended up talking about the whole thing and figuring it out in about 2 minutes flat.  we would keep the 18th and he would take a friday either the day before or the weekend before, problem solved!

planning continued and we finally decided on a theme for the party!  since it was our first year in the new place our tree was a little sparse and we were trying to come up with ways to fill it.  with help from jodi we decided to make our theme an ornament party.  instead of spending money on a secret santa gift, guests would take the money and purchase an ornament for our tree that would remind us of you and that we would keep for seasons to come.  we had also decided to do appetizer/dessert foods so that people could come and go as they needed to.  the weekend was getting closer and closer and we just had to buy the last few things to be completely ready.  i didnt have to work that morning, but did have a 2 year-old birthday party to attend that afternoon for a family friend.  my plan was to get everything baked, cleaned, and put together before i had to leave so when i came home i had very little to finish up.

it all sounded like such a great plan, until you actually put life in there.  richard did errands in the morning to finish his things up, and nothing was going right.  he couldnt find the things he needed and people were in the full christmas mean mode of shopping.  i ended up staying about 45 minutes too late at the birthday party, which meant i was late getting home.  he was upset cause i lost track of time, i didnt think it was that big of a deal as long as i got everything done, which was going to be tight.  he offered to help put the last minute food things together so i gave him the punch detail.  as he was combining things together we realized there wasnt enough alcohol for the punch recipe, and all hell broke loose.  he was mad at me because i didnt tell him the right amount.  i was mad because he didnt look at the recipe i gave him.  he was mad because i stayed at the party too long and didnt plan well enough.  i was mad because the last minute things were taking too long.  both of us stomping around mad at the other, richard decided to go get the alcohol and i decided to stay and finish my things.  i finished a few minutes before he got back so i decided to take out the trash to help.  on my way to the dumpster i passed him and he wouldnt even look at me.

we came back upstairs and didnt even speak to each other, oh except for him to ask if i was going to take a shower because i stunk, which definitely helped my mood.  i finished my appetizer things and left for the shower still not talking.  after getting dressed i knew we had to at least figure this out a little bit because all our friends were coming over in about an hour.  i finally broke the silence and apologized for running late, well that just opened a whole door of pent up things.  we had a pretty serious discussion the weekend before because i was pretty upset and thought things had been resolved, guess not.  he had said his piece, i felt about 3 inches tall, but knew we couldnt have an all out argument because we were running out of time.  so i kept it all in and finished getting ready.   he seemed better once getting it all out and was helping set the table and arranging food so i ran with it.

the party was a definite hit!  everyone really got into the ornament buying and had to find the perfect one.  they loved the food and could not believe how many decorations we had for just being our first year.  it was a small party, which was fine with us, but it was definitely a good tradition to start.

that same night there was a pretty big ufc fight happening, which i was afraid was going to totally derail the party plans.  but the guys had been big thinkers and taped the fight to watch once the party was over, thank goodness.  (ufc fighting is just not one of my favorite things, im not so good with that stuff.  but richard loves it and so does his friends.)  right around 10 everyone was pretty full and the guys were ready to go watch the fight.  i stayed home, gladly, to clean up and hang out with the newest girl in the group (had to feel her out).  i think it was one of the best things for richard and i to spend a few hours apart anyway, still not super settled on our fight.  we hadnt really hung out a lot during the party, both keeping busy on purpose with others.  this was our first really big fight since we moved in together and we were trying to figure out how to do all of this.

girl time with heather and a very drunk lora is exactly what i needed.  mike and lora had shown up right as the guys were headed over to matts to watch the fight.  so we kept lora with us and mike went with the guys.  i was going to take heather home later and pick up richard when they were done with all their manly things.  the girls talked about so much and i got great advice from lora.  like i said, it was exactly what i needed.  i realized some things i definitely had done wrong and was able to clear my head so that richard and i could talk about them later and not be defensive.

as the guys finished the fight lora left to pick up mike while heather and i stayed for awhile longer.  the original plan was to drop heather off at matts and pick up richard at the same time when he was ready.  after both of us falling asleep on the couch we decided to just take her home and i would go out again later and get richard.  i was trying to give both of us space and had no problem going out again later.  right as i was getting home he called.  he said he wasnt quite ready to come home and anthony would actually bring him home later.  i was a little sad, but so glad he had called, i knew that everything would be ok.

once he got home that night i was already asleep and he was not feeling good.  he woke me up to let me know he was home and then he started getting sick.  he hadnt really eaten that day, then drank all night, and we had a pretty big fight.  i immediately got up and tried to help out anyway that i could.  it actually was a blessing in disguise.  we both started openly talking and being very vulnerable to each other.  we both apologized and admitted to those we had done wrong.  we realized in that night that the newness had really worn off.  we really lived together and were starting to find out a whole new level of the other person.  a friend had told me the first year is the hardest thing ever.  the second year is so much easier, and the third year is amazing.  up until this point everything had been so easy.  i really thought we had skipped the hard part, definitely realized we were not any different than any other 2 people who lived together.

the holiday party was a great success, even with all the things that went awry.  we definitely figured out a little bit more about each other and that it was ok to fight and then take space.  as long as we came back to the table and could talk openly with each other.  and we had a whole new set of fantastic ornaments added to our tree!

Monday, January 10, 2011

the tree lighting.

after returning from a somewhat bummy ending to the thanksgiving weekend, it was time for one of my favorite things to do of the year, put up the christmas tree.  while driving home i had seen all kinds of friends posting things on facebook about their trees and could not wait to add mine.  we had already decided to put up the tree and decorations when we returned from california, which i could not be more excited about!  plus i was excited about really having our apartment decorated.

we had been buying for awhile, as you know.  but it seemed like when we really thought about it, we didnt even know what we had.  we finally purchased our last piece, the tree while in california.  we were definitely ready to put all of our things together.

once we got home we unloaded the car, we tried to get a few things organzied before completely undoing a whole nother set of things.  putting together the chirstmas tree with my dad and brother has always been one of my best childhood memories.  after that my dad and i always put the lights on together.  and by lights, i mean tons.  i was really excited to start this new tradition with richard.  we had returned home with chick-fil-a that i knew richard would eventually be taking over to friends that evening as well, we had a lot to do.

we decided to put the tree together first, as it was the biggest and the most center piece.  finally opening the box we realized this was going to take awhile.  there was metal pole, a topper, and each row of branches had 6 pieces to attach to the center pole.  im pretty sure there was at least 8-10 rows.  about an hour later...we finished the tree, there was so much fluffing once all the branches were attached.  this tree had also pretty much taken over our whole living room.  we knew the measurements of the tree, but didnt really understand what that would look like until we had the tree assembled.  it was right about that moment richard realized it was already time for him to go.  i hadnt realized he was going to leave so soon after we got home or i never would have started the tree process.  however while he was gone, i was very firm on not doing anymore without him.  this was our first decorating together.

once he got back he decided to put the lights on the outside while he still had warm clothes on.  we had rope lights to go around the pole on the balcony and blue and white icicle lights to hang off the edge.  it was so much easier said than done.  first we couldnt get the rope lights connected to light up.  then they kept falling apart.  the 2 of us are damn near hanging off the balcony to get the rope lights to wrap around the pole.  and every time we do they fall apart again.  then there is no way to attach the icicle lights.  we have a drill that we borrowed from my dad but he is sure the stucco is going to break.  then he is drilling on the bottom of our wall to see if it will even work.  im telling him he needs holes on the top of the ledge for the nails to hold the lights there and he is telling me none of it is going to work.  needless to say it was your typical first decorating experience.

after we decided the rope lights were wrapped around good enough we started with the lights on the tree.  i have been doing this part every year, forever, while it had been a few years for richard. we had quite a few strands of different lights between the multi-colored, blinking, and white, they overlapped a lot.  we also realized we did not have nearly enough for such a large tree.   i will say, he did a very good job.  except for the fact he kept saying we needed to turn the lights on before putting them on the tree because then you could see where they need to go.  and i kept saying you do the big lighting at the end.  either way the tree came out beautiful.
we didnt have any ornaments for the tree that day.  in my family every year while growing up you got to buy one new ornament for the tree.  this way when you moved out you had your own starter collection, which had not been unpacked at my parents house yet.  richard and i decided to make it a blue theme this year, thinking we wouldnt have enough ornaments to really decorate the tree, we just hadnt purchased them yet.  we placed our other decorations, the train, the gingerbread house, and a few other things, but realized that we really didnt have that much.  it was becoming more and more apparent that this is really one of those things you acquire over time.

looking back now, im realizing i could have been a lot more flexible.  like who cares if the lights are lit when you decorate the tree.  or if he wants more white lights, it doesnt matter.  or if the ornaments he does put on there hang off the bottom all awkward.  and yes a pre-lit tree would have been a lot easier, but that takes half of your memories away.  for our first christmas together, it was perfect.
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