One thing I'd like to do this year is to write about my life in a way that encourages you to write about your life, giving you tips and tools to try along the way.
I'm going to start by making a fairly bold statement, which I will support with evidence arranged in a numbered list. Here is my claim:
Christmas 2014 Was Practically Perfect in Every Way
Don't believe me? Allow me to present the evidence.
1. Utah had been experiencing an unusually warm December. We had seen nary a single flake of snow the entire month. But on Christmas morning, we awoke to the beauty of shimmering white snow blanketing the landscape. The first major snowstorm of the year arrived quietly in the early hours of Christmas day.
The kicker: when Keira finally ventured onto the front porch to behold the beauty, she spotted clear evidence of reindeer tracks leading right to our door. Magical!
2. After watching A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version, of course) as a family the night before, and having Keira fall asleep right on my chest while snuggling under a Christmas quilt made by her grandma (see? perfect!), Keira slept in until after 8:00 a.m. This meant mom and dad got to snuggle under those warm, cozy covers for a few extra winks.
3. Mom and dad managed to stick to the Christmas budget much, much closer than in years past. (Blame that on a possibly ill-timed home-office remodel in November and our contribution to our college boy's tuition, which was due December 19. Could there be a worse due date?)
4. Keira's closest cousins (in age) were in town from California and staying with my mom, which meant my sister and I were able to coordinate matching Christmas Eve pajamas for our girls once again. Behold the cuddly cuteness.
5. We spent exactly the right amount of time playing in the white wonderland (translation: before anyone got too wet and cold and began to cry). We managed to build a small snowman, complete with eyebrows, using the ingenious "snowman kit" my sister-in-law gave to us a previous Christmas. Alert: great neighbor gift idea for next year!
6. One small piece of counter-evidence to our "perfect" day: while Travis used the snow blower to clear our driveway and the driveways of several neighbors, Keira and I pelted him with a few friendly snowballs. While I was distracted with the snowman, Travis paused for his counter-attack. Of course, I moved just as he unleashed the snowball, so instead of hitting my upper arm as intended...you guessed it, right between the eyes! Which was kind of perfect in its own way.
7. I achieved the goal of NOT exhausting myself by spending the entire day in the kitchen. My contribution to the Hill family potluck was not only simple (Sweet Chex Mix and a veggie tray), but it was also prepared the night before. And I kept breakfast delicious but simple, unlike the cinnamon rolls I have baked in years past. This year: fried eggs, bacon, and sharp cheddar on oven-warmed bakery croissants. Our taste buds thanked us, while our arteries most assuredly did not.
8. Keira's big brother, Jeremy—who has chosen to go by his middle name, Conrad, henceforth—popped in for presents, hugs, and dinner mid-day, and we had plenty of time to visit with him before he had to rush off to various other parent and grandparent commitments. (Much like many other children of divorce, this kiddo has probably a dozen grandparents. :) My parents timed their gift drop-off perfectly, so they could give him a gift and a hug as he was on his way out the door.
9. The experimental, simplified Christmas dinner I attempted was a big success. I was looking for something festive and traditional, but easy. I stumbled across this crockpot Sauerbraten recipe while Googling "easy holiday recipes" on my iPhone from the aisles of the grocery store. It is apparently a traditional German holiday dish. (Yes, we probably have some German in our melting-pot European heritage.) It did not smell great while it was marinating overnight and cooking in the crockpot. But it was tender and delicious, and definitely easy! We enjoyed it with baked Idaho potatoes, straight from the farmer to our door earlier that week, and steamed broccoli. I've seen a few other fun variations on this recipe that I think I'll try next year.
10. After a lovely, low-key dinner with Travis's parents and Conrad, we had several hours alone, just the three of us. We read books, played with Christmas toys, eventually cleaned up all the wrapping paper, and even enjoyed a long winter's nap.
11. Miss Keira was allowed to wear her Christmas pajamas all day long, just as she wished.
12. Later that evening, we gathered together at a rented church with every single member of my side of the family, except my brother and nephew who had the flu. (So, there's one more piece that was not quite perfect.) The kids had plenty of room to run and play, the music lovers among us had pianos on which to sing and play Christmas carols, we enjoyed a simple pot-luck dinner, and we giggled through our traditional white-elephant gift exchange for the adults. A pair of yellow, men's Batman underwear were exchanged for the third year in a row.
There you have it. A dozen pieces of evidence to support my theory that Christmas 2014 was practically perfect in every way. I got to see nearly every person I love most in the world. I awoke unexpectedly to a glorious, White Christmas. The food was great, the Christmas spirit was abundant, and God blessed us, every one.
In your journal, on a scrapbook page, or on your blog, make a claim and then back it up with evidence presented in a numbered list. It's a simple and inviting way to tell a story about your life. Here's a version you can save and share on Pinterest to remind you!