A week of contemplation…

The time between Christmas and New Years seems almost like a holiday, even though it isn’t one. It doesn’t feel like a busy party with presents and too much food but a contemplative party heading toward the birth of new year.

20181225_202409-01We opened all our presents yesterday and I got the gift I was hoping for… a new scale that says “You are amazing”. I need that daily affirmation, I think most of us do. I also got two pairs of slippers, one unicorn and one with mermaid sequins and two hot chocolate mugs, one with a unicorn that says “be magical” and one is a white cat with legs. Plus I got an ornament for my tree, a round, pink pig with wings and a crown. I knew they were sold out at every Pier One nearby, I didn’t realize my Mom had picked up one of the last ones.

More importantly was the time spent with family. Kait, her boyfriend, and their baby came over for Christmas morning, complete with stockings and cinnamon rolls. Then we all went over to my parents’ house for more presents, conversation, and yummy meals.

But Christmas is over and now it’s time to look forward to 2019. I have my main goal, I want to get on track diet wise so I can be a decent weight for our family Dominican Republic trip. I’ve slipped up this month and regained four pounds (arguably it could have been worse).

I want to spend more time with my friends and family. I’ve been enjoying Saturday karaoke nights with my friends each week and Sunday visits with family. I need to make it a priority to see Kait regularly too. I was going quite often when the baby was born and now the pendulum’s swung the opposite direction. I’d like to see her once every week or two.

I also want to get moving consistently. I don’t have to reach 10 thousand steps every day but I do need to get physical. It’ll help both my weight and my sleep.

My contemplative self wants a peaceful year. No worrying about trolls, whether they’re on Facebook or anywhere else. They can deal with their negativity on their own. And more connecting with my online friends. A message means so much more than a like.

The hardest one will be getting back into writing. I just don’t have the concentration I used to have. I read that writing in comic sans can help with concentration and creativity so that’s worth a shot. I can change the book back to garamond later.

This week will be spent converting our apartment back to it’s usual appearance. The tree will unravel back into plain green and the village will abandon it’s spot on the kitchen table. Soon they’ll all be tucked away in rubbermaid bins and moved into our storage unit. Recycling will be sorted and placed into the outside bins and our big garbage bag of gift wrap removed from our front hall. And, all the while, I’ll be ever so conscious of the new year looming ahead with it’s promise of a fresh start.

Hello 2019. I think I’m ready for you!

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Me at my parents’ house on Christmas evening

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The Countdown to Christmas…

20181220_082144I think Christmas, for me, started on Thursday with breakfast in bed from Colin. He knows I always have an english muffin with peanut butter and a mug of hot chocolate every morning so attempted just that. As he was walking into the room he said, “I’m sorry, I added too much margarine”. That might be the understatement of the year. Then he saw me looking at my hot chocolate and explained the beverage exploded in the microwave, which explained both the half empty cup and the bits of cocoa powder all over the mug. Breakfast was still good though and it’s not often I get it served in bed.

 

20181221_093339That day I bought myself a present of my own for Christmas. I’d seen it at Pier One and just had to have it. It’s the perfect reminder that I matter too and deserve to follow my dreams. It goes quite nicely with the wall art although if I’d known I was going to buy the metal word art I’d have put the sticker somewhere else.

I had my friends over yesterday for an afternoon of conversation, present opening, and Christmas Crack. Kait came over with the baby and we all got our chance to hold him. And, when he got a bit overwhelmed I managed to calm him down again with a lullaby and some rocking. I can’t share any pictures from the party because they all have the baby but I can share my present.

 

20181221_145910-1These slippers are just perfect for me. They’re mermaid sequins and are glittery silver when brushed the other way. Lara was quite interested but wandered away when she realized they a) weren’t doing anything and b) weren’t edible. They’re lined with fleece and are so comfortable.

After my guests left I went out with my Mom to finish up our grocery shopping. Now everything is full to the brim with food. Other than fruits and veggies I can’t see us needing to buy anything throughout January. Definitely a good way to start off the New Year!

20181222_154323Today was a quiet day. I talked to Kait for a while, which was nice and she shared some pictures of the baby via messenger. And I chatted with Colin while he worked on one of his computers. Then I wrapped the rest of the presents, with some help from the kittens, and called my girlfriend. That was a good conversation although it was pretty much my bedtime when we finished chatting. I wanted to write this blog too so I’ve swan dived over bedtime but I can sleep in tomorrow. The stocking stuffers are sorted out too for Christmas morning. I can’t believe it’s only two days away!

I’m looking so forward to Christmas! Colin and I are having a quiet Christmas Eve and then we’ve got Kait, her boyfriend, and the baby coming over for Christmas morning. And then we’re all going to my parents’ house for a big family dinner. I’m finding that the older I get, the more family means to me and I’m looking forward to seeing them all.

I hope you all have wonderful plans for the holiday, whether it’s with your birth family or chosen family. Merry Christmas!!!

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Making spirits bright…

20181212_180507-01My absolute favourite holiday is Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the time spent with family and friends, the music, the food, buying just the right present for someone, and wondering what’s been wrapped up for me. It is all glorious.

We are just under two weeks away from Christmas and this is the first year I’ve been behind. I usually have our tree set up in mid-November and the presents wrapped soon after that. Cards get mailed right at the end of November. But this year it’s changed. I just don’t have the oomph to do everything all at once. The tree got put up yesterday, the presents are unwrapped and I’ve only sent out half the cards. But I will get there and I’m sure the cards will be just as appreciated the week after Christmas as they would the week before. The important thing is things are getting done and it’s not draining me to exhaustion.

20181212_180552-01-1I am looking so forward to this Christmas, my grandson’s very first. He loves lights and I can’t wait to see his expression when he’s faced with the tree. And Kait loves cinnamon rolls, something I’m determined to bake for breakfast. I have a simple, vegan recipe and, if I give myself an hour, I should get them all done and ready for breakfast and stocking opening.

Every time Kait is asked for a present suggestion for her, she replies with a gift for the baby, which makes it really hard to shop for her. Luckily I’ve found something she should enjoy. The same with Colin who has so much stuff, it’s hard to figure out where he’d put any more.

20181211_161618One of my oldest friends got me a present for the tree this year, a little silver spoon with the words “Grandbaby’s First Christmas 2018”. It was totally unexpected and totally perfect. She gave Kait some absolutely adorable clothes too, all in larger sizes, which is good because the grandbaby is a big baby.

I am looking forward to a holiday filled with family, from Kait and her family in the morning, to everyone at my parents’ house in the evening. It gets crowded and a bit overwhelming but it’s still fun.

My wish for all of you is that you have an amazing holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate, and a fantastic new year!

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Two different types of people…

There are two different types of people in this world; those who plan for holidays early and those who say “Why are you buying presents so soon?”… right up until they change their mantra to, “OMG I can’t believe the holiday came so quickly! I barely have enough time to shop!”

I’m firmly in the first category.

Christmas presents

A few of the presents I’ve bought already

At this point I have several presents for Colin, a present for Kait, a present for the little sproglet, presents for both my nieces and one of my nephews, my Mom’s gift, and I know what I’m getting for Kait’s boyfriend. Phew! And almost every single person I mention this to is shocked because it’s so early. Why would I buy presents this soon? Like gifts have an expiration date.

Then there’s the people in my group who give me a knowing nod and smile, one that says, “You’re not alone. I have bags in the closet too.” I like talking to these people. They know the thrill of finding the perfect gift at an amazing price then tucking it away for four months.

My absolute favourite stores to shop at are Dollarama and Marshalls. Dollarama gets some amazing stuff, like that word art picture above, which was originally from Hallmark for $19.95. I love wandering the aisles in search of treasures and am thrilled to pieces when I find one. Marshalls is my favourite place for birthday cards and unique gifts. I already have the sproglet’s 2nd birthday card from there and he hasn’t even been born yet. But it was so cute!

So the earth will continue to spin and I’ll continue to buy presents months in advance. And people will continue to criticize because it’s “too soon”. And I will sit in my swing chair in December, sipping a mug of hot chocolate and thinking about all the people struggling their way through the crowds in search of the perfect gifts, and will decide that my way is a pretty good choice.

The pause…

Our presents are opened and mostly put away. The wrapping’s been pitched and the gift bags carefully saved for another day. And we have just under a week until New Year’s Eve. But this week is empty. No school, no groups, and, depending on where you work, no shifts.

I like this week, it’s a pause between two major holidays, a time to reflect on the previous year and prepare for the new one, if only by thought instead of deed.

This year I’m going to serve healthy meals that I enjoy. Colin has a very limited palate and dislikes most vegetables and all legumes (other than baked beans). I’m tired of making bland dishes for him to enjoy. He’s old enough to cook and, while he’s ignored my multiple offers to teach him some basic cooking skills, he’s more than capable of trying to prepare a meal and asking for help if needed.

I’m going to keep up with my walking. I’m aiming for seven days a week but am happy with five. I’ve got my Fitbit to track my 10,000 and it’s making a difference. I want to encourage Colin to walk with me more. He’s gained so much weight in the past couple of months. I handed him a sweater of his to wear to his grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve, a lovely black sweater with tiny sequins on it, only to find out he’s outgrown it. Luckily I had a tank top which fit. One of my favourites with red sequins across the top. It looked festive so that part’s good. And he liked it which was better. Hopefully he’ll forget that by summer because I’m not sharing it.

I’m going to spend more time with friends. Which is easier said than done because most of them have social anxiety, but I’m at least going to try. I have one friend who’s an extrovert *waves at Allison* and I plan on spending more time with her. Woo hoo… karaoke in a week.

I’m going to push Colin into bringing his dishes into the kitchen when he’s done eating, not when he gets a whim to carry in an armload or two. That’s way too overwhelming for both of us and gross besides.

I’m going to get back to writing, which is also easier said than done. I’m going to get back into reading too. I’ve got a $50 Indigo card from my parents and I’m going to buy ebooks for my phone.

I call Colin, Emma at home because she enjoys hearing it, just not in public where her masculine looking features contrast with her name. With family I tend to flip between the two names, depending on who we’re with. I use Colin and he/him on the blog so I don’t confuse everyone here by using two names. But I need to remember, despite my own confusion, to continue doing so. I’ve called her Emma on the blog five times so far and have to keep backspacing and writing Colin. Using one name would be so much easier but it’s his path and not mine.

And I need to be more gentle with myself. I look around at other people and think *I should be doing that* but I’m not them and I need to make sure I don’t overdo things. Otherwise I end up overwhelmed and the next day’s ruined too with high anxiety. I need to do the best I can, not the best someone else can.

Well my hot chocolate (in my new handmade mug from my parents) is done and it’s time to get Colin up to buy kitty litter and cat food (I’m telling you, my life is a font of excitement). I hope those who celebrate had a wonderful Christmas! And enjoy the pictures 🙂

Kait, Kathleen, and Emma

Kait, Kathleen, and Colin. Colin’s wearing the emergency top and you can barely tell he’s wearing it with his track pants LOL

Emma's new kitty ear headphones

This is one of my favourite pictures of Colin because you can actually see him smile instead of the usual half grimace he claims is a smile. And he’s wearing the kitty cat headphones I bought him. He’d asked for them but it’s nice to get verification that a gift’s enjoyed anyway.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. The decorations, the lights, the chocolate, the music, the family and friends, the baking, the presents, the cards, the chocolate. I have to include chocolate twice because it’s so yummy.

We’re still sorting out what we’re going to do on Christmas. Is Kait coming here on Christmas morning? Will we have dinner at my parents’ house or my sister’s? But I’m sure that will all get sorted over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve already decided to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. Bonus is that’s a big incentive for Kait to come over here. And both my Mom and I picked up a Gardein vegan turkey for dinner so I’m all set there. Colin’s stopped being vegan so he’ll be eating turkey with everyone else.

When I was a little girl, my Mom would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I’d reply “a tree with sparkling lights”. That hasn’t changed. And now we have even more. I hope you enjoy my pictures and wish you could share yours as well.

tree and mantle

My electric fireplace mantle and our little tree, which is actually standing straight, no idea why it’s leaning in the photo.

sparkle ornament

My favourite ornament. It reads “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go”

dining room

Our dining room. I love this little penguin. Oh and you can tell which decorations on the hutch are mine and which are Colin’s.

Christmas village

This was Colin’s favourite decoration as a child. He’d spend hours walking the little figures around and making stories for them.

If you do want to send me a picture of your ornaments, feel free to message me on Facebook and I’ll add them to this post.

There may be some confusion…

Colin’s decision to postpone his transition has caused some confusion for both of us. What do I call him? Colin or Emma? I mean he’s still technically female so Emma fits but he’s also fine with Colin. He wants to be called Colin in public, except at his doctor’s office where he’s Emma. And he’s still wearing female tops.

So I’ve ended up with a mish mash of Colin and Emma, she and he whenever I talk to or about him. This seems to suit him just fine.

Christmas is coming, along with an assortment of presents. I asked Colin what he wanted on the labels.

“I don’t care,” he replied. “Colin or Emma are both okay.”

The presents are staying at home so I wrote Emma on the tags. And I’ll write Emma on his last remaining present, a pair of kitty cat ear headphones he breathlessly showed me and said, “I need these!”

Yesterday he went out and bought my stocking stuffers and a present. He had a budget of $20 and spent $70. Apparently we need to discuss restraint. My stocking stuffers are hanging out in a bundle buggy because they’re too big to fit in a reusable bag. I don’t know how he’s expecting them to go into a stocking if they can’t fit a bag and I’m curious as to what he actually got (although not curious enough to peek).

I came into the living room this morning and discovered my wrapped present with To: Mom written in the thickest black marker he could fine, I mean that marker’s bigger than jumbo. Then I looked down, wondering what name he’d pick for himself.

Emma's present to me

Apparently he’s just as confused as I am because it says From: Child

We’ll sort things out eventually and, until then he’ll live ambiguously. As long as he’s happy that’s all that really matters.