Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Christmas - Southern California Edition

This post has been in the back of my mind since before we left for our Christmas travels. I had hopes of posting while we were out so that details would remain fresh and crisp, but we all know how time consuming blogging can be, especially when I'd rather be in the moment with my family and friends. So here we go, depending on mental notes and photographs- my head fogged and clouded with sickness, teamed up with a  box of tissue and a big mug of steamy-rich Theraflu to help me along the way.


This holiday season has been a big deal for us, for me. I have been anticipating this trip for months now because we would be venturing out of our comfort zone and, well, out of  state for only the second time with Lola. Our Christmas consisted of two parts- one part Southern California, celebrating Christmas Eve at my Tia Claudia's house- a tradition since I was a little girl, and one part Santa Fe, to spend Christmas day and a couple extra with Pieter's family.

Now we all know how stressful packing can be, but packing for the three of us always ends up being a frustrating obstacle, and this one was not about to be easy on me. A days worth of adding and striking through must-haves compiled our list of things worthy to bring along. Sacramento's lows were Santa Fe's highs, so extra clothing was required. And even before the actual packing had begun, I was ready to call it quits. Somewhere along the road of sorting and packing, Lola found Pieter's old pair of push up bars. I like her version of how to use them better! It definitely was the high point of my night.

 No matter how far I go, there really is no place like home. From the moment I walk through the doors, the smell and all it's familiarities come at me. Nothing has changed, in fact I feel as though I am time warped to my youth. The living room is still poorly lit, casting out it's familiar sepia tones. This space becomes real once more, untouched by the years that have passed since I lived here. I am home, and it feels good!

My mom is amazing. She is wonderfully thoughtful. On one of her previous visits, she brought Lola her first set of bubbles. Since then, Lola has become obsessed, and I mean obsessed with bubbles. Or better yet, "bubububbbllleeesss", the way she says it. So being aware of this, my mother found a dinky toy gun bubble maker for something like five bucks at a swap meet and had it waiting for Lola.

Five bucks well spent if you ask me! That little toy provided hours of enjoyment and soapy hands for all!

 On day two of  the Southern California portion of our trip, we took the traffic-infested 91 freeway to Riverside to meet up with old friends and the newest addition to the group.

Meet Daniel. The sweetest, most snuggly little man I've ever met. Seriously, he is so snuggly! I love him! His mom, my dear friend Katie, is such a wonderful mother. She is so good with him, and the love for her son is radiant. She speaks beautifully and softly with him and as she does this, her eyes beam full with love. I am so happy about this new chapter in her life!

I went ahead and made the executive decision to "John Lennon" Dennis. This is what happens when your eyes are closed!

Christmas Eve was booked full. I can't remember the last time my mom, sister, and I were all in the kitchen cooking together, but man did it feel good! My sister is the baker in the family. It comes easily to her. She has always been a perfectionist and very precise, thus mastering the art and science of baking-me, not so much.

Lola looks like she's having fun, doesn't she!?!

And later, it was finally time to head over to my Tia's house. Aunts, and uncles, and grandparents, and cousins, all gather together to spend the evening eating, playing games, and using their not so inside voices to debate the rules of Pictionary. Lights flash like the paparazzi as each family takes turns being photographed in front of the Christmas tree. It's a long and daunting process, but it's all done for family and the spirit of Christmas. One picture is bound to come out right, right? Cousins gather around the tree, decorating and adding the finishing touches. Littles stay up, snacking and playing, the sounds of their little shoes pattering on the wood floors as they run in and out from room to room.

It's a long night of love. It's the rare opportunity we get annually to be with those who mean most to us. It's a chance to put differences aside and rekindle relationships.

I ended up getting sick on the way home, leaving my mark on both the freeway and my mom's poor car. I almost made it full year without getting sick. Merry Christmas to me!

The next morning, we opened presents, arranged and rearranged items in suitcases, and it was off to the airport for part two of our journey.

 My favorite cheese-ball picture of the evening. Little did I know, this would be a reoccurring expression for the rest of the trip!

1 comment:

brytney said...

your mom looks exactly the same. what a sweet grandma she is, they always have the best surprises when the little ones come to visit. Lola is a crack up, she seems like such and explorer with everything around her. i love the winky faces and the pearl necklace she had on in a lot of the pics, so sophisticated haha