THIS IS A LONG POST! Feel free to close this page at any time.
So, I was going through my "1st year of marriage" journal the other day and I re-read over our 1st Christmas together. I cried and I laughed and I cried again. I am so glad I kept the details of our interesting Christmas. Some details are boring but some are hilarious (to me). So here is the journal entry for December 28, 2009.
New family, new house, new holiday for the Shanks. Two of my favorite things about Christmas? Decorating and gift giving. Mom did such a great jo
b decorating our house growing up. Everything was color coordinated and it changed regularly. We got to choose which colors to use and where to use them. Most Christmases were at our house with our huge family. We baked and decorated cookies and wrapped hundreds of presents, including Uncle Rick’s (we wrap ALL his presents, EVERY YEAR). We always knew that Dad would depend on us to pick out a good gift for mom and that grandma always got dad underwear. I can recall each Christmas so vividly. I sometimes wonder if I will remember, in such great detail, the Christmases as a wife (and later, mother).
Looking around our little house with our little family. I’m sure that will change one day but for now its just perfect. Our first Christmas looks ….cute. Of course it’s a relative term but we did good for what we had. We forgot to budget for decorat
ions :) Also, my husband is an energy freak. Therefore, no Christmas lights – anywhere. Lol. Most people cringe at the thought but I will get my revenge next year!
Maybe he felt guilty for the lack of lights but I convinced him that we NEEDED at real tree. I always had a real tree growing up and I loved the smell that lingered into the new year and he never had a real one so it sounded like a great idea. As the weeks got closer to Christmas I watched the trees dwindle at the stores. Finally, we got dow
n there still with two weeks till Christmas. We walk into the garden section at Wal-MartJ and I am sure they have moved them, I only see like 5. After asking, we find out that there are only 5 left! We looked carefully through all 5 of them and decided on the perfect one(of five). I let him get into the spirit of tree shopping but warned him that “that one is too big”. He insisted. Grateful that he let me get one at all, we put it in the truck and headed home.
After dragging it into the house, cutting it to size, and sweeping all the needles up, we decided that a fake one might be better next year. Or at least until there are kids around to enjoy it. Oh ya, it was wayyyy to big! It took up most of our dining room… but it smelled great.
Now we have this huge tree and nothing on it. Thanks to Mom Shanks we were able to fill it with all of the ornaments he had/made as a kid. It was so
fun to hear about each one as he put them up. Still, it didn’t have lights and it looked so sad. I decided to make tissue paper flowers to put in the tree. Much better! Its very…me.
Shopping for new family is stressful especially when your new husband's past shopping experiences usually revolved around gas station stops on the way to Iowa from Texas. Neil convinced me to open gifts early because “we don’t want to travel with them”. Good one. Got me. That was 1st Christmas.
Second Christmas sent us down south to San Antonio. This time it was Dad that convinced us to open one gift each early. Then we decided why stop at one. Lets make it two. We did stop there. After helping mom with decorations and cooking as usual we spent Christmas Eve with 60 family members. The next morning, like kids on Christmas morning, we all came out to the living room to open our santa gifts and stockings. Its funny how Christmas morning always makes you feel like a kid. Then, we packed up to head North for 3rd Christmas. It is Christmas Day.
“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” is like a fairytale in Texas. Not this year. We had snow on Christmas Day! Its in the books if you don’t believe me. From Dallas on we would have snow. Well, a white Christmas is not all its cracked up to be. We were stranded on the highway going 10 mph at most. At this rate we were never going to get to Iowa for Christmas L. Our patience was wearing thin, not even Christmas carols on my new Ipod could keep the spirits up. Our dog was get antsy. We had no choice. We had to stop. We found an open room at the Drury Inn. There we are on Christmas Day with our dog and cold tamales weeping while watching Marley and Me.
It’s a Christmas I will never forget.
*We did eventually make it to Iowa. As usual, it was great food, fun family and lots of love. I sledded for the first time.
It will be fun one day to look back 20 years from now on these details. I don't know that this year will be as eventful but we are sure excited to see family again!