It’s hard to believe it’s already the last day of December. The last week has been filled with plenty of downtime, family and friends, which has been a nice change of pace. The kids have been out of school for the holiday break and I’ve taken several days off work.
|Stockings all hung by the mantel with care.|
Christmas Day was relaxed and mellow. I loved having Mike and Isaac here to spend the morning with Gills and I. I enjoy Christmas more when it’s shared with others. Even though the kids are teenagers, they’re still kids at heart and love being surprised. It was fun watching them open their presents and play with their toys. Yes, they had toys. Mike made sure there were plenty of fun games and gadgets in their stockings. Isaac was a trooper, since he hadn’t even been to bed when we called him at 7 a.m. on Christmas morning to let him know it was time to come open presents. He’d spent Christmas Eve with his friends celebrating in the traditional Hispanic way, with a big meal and celebration that started at midnight.
|Isaac trying to figure out how a gravity stick works.|
|Surprise! An iPad for Gillian.|
|Isaac's gift to me.|
|Mike's favorite gift--a thank you card from Isaac.|
After opening presents, Mike’s grandma joined us for a big breakfast cooked by Mike, including waffles made with his new Belgian waffle maker. After cleaning up (which is never a small task when Mike cooks!) it was time to get ready for our next meal. We had a nice Christmas dinner with my stepmom and dad at their house. Then it was off to work for Mike, and Gillian went to spend time with her dad, sisters and brother. I enjoyed having a few hours alone to relax, read and not have to eat!
|Ugg slippers for G.|
|Enjoying waffles, eggs and potatoes for breakfast.|
Mike spoiled me this year in the present department, even taking on the daunting task of picking out a purse for me. He had some help from some female co-workers and some of the girls from the shelter where he works. Despite their best efforts at guessing what I’d like, I decided I’d rather have a different pattern. The day after Christmas we headed to Park City so I could exchange my purse. Lucky for me, when we walked into the store there was a great sale on almost everything in the store! I found a purse I loved (It was the one Mike had originally picked out for me, only to be talked out of it by his female shopping assistants), and even got a wallet and cosmetic bag to match.
|My new purse and wallet.|
Then it was off to dinner with Mike and an old friend of his. I’m pretty sure I made both of them look better that night because of my smashing new accessory! Mike and B have known each other for over 15 years. He’s one of a group of four friends that were roommates and spent much of their early twenties together. It’s fun being with Mike and his friends, as they have many great stories of their crazy youthful exploits and shared memories. I enjoy seeing the friendships and bonds he’s formed with people that for him are like family (lifers, as he calls them). Great friends are rare treasures, and I think it speaks volumes about his character that he has many friends that he’s kept in his life for so long. In a not so unusual twist, given that Mike and I have lived in the same town for nearly our entire lives, B and I also have a connection. We went to elementary school together for a couple of years. It was fun to reconnect with him for the first time last year after not seeing him since the fifth grade.
Yesterday, I was spoiled even more, first because Mike and I had another day off together. Two in one week! We went to breakfast, then went to get pedicures, which is one of our favorite guilty pleasures. My toes now match my purse, which any girly-girl like me will appreciate.
Last night I spent several hours with my stepsister and her husband, who are visiting from Minnesota along with their three little ones. It was fun to spend time with them as we only see each other every 18 months or so. In another case of shared friends, Mike has known my stepsister almost as long as I have. We only discovered this last year, through Facebook of course! It was a funny conversation. I asked him how on earth he knew T. He told me they’d been friends for years, and wondered how I knew her. He was shocked to find out she’s my stepsister. They even met at the same coffee shop where Mike and I first met.
I like to compare living in Ogden to the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, except in Ogden it’s more like two or three degrees before everyone is linked back to the same mutual connection. Sometimes I wonder if Mike and I crossed paths before. It’s very likely, given that we’ve lived fifteen miles or less away from each other for years, and frequented many of the same places.
All together, it’s been a very enjoyable, relaxing week. I’ve loved having time to spend with family, friends and loved ones. It’s a been a great way to end the year.