Ho! Ho! Holiday Cheers 2010!

What a wrap up to the first Christmas we hosted in our new home in Texas. Or, rather, the first Christmas we have EVER hosted.  In summary, it was delightful!  Tons of work for sure but all good and fun.

The first group of relatives arrived a few days before Christmas. My in-laws drove in on Christmas Eve after stopping to see family in Dallas, Texas. 

We had scrubbed, cleaned, washed, and scented the house until Christmas smells were everywhere.  
We baked dozens of cookies starting with gingerbread and moving on to snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, ginger, molasses, and a variety of others.  Madeleine's favorite sweet is rice krispie treats so she and Patrick made large batches of those.  
We chuckled as the flour and sugar bin levels dropped and eggs were constantly plucked from the refrigerator.  

Then I got started on the main dishes:  

beef stout pie, 
cinnamon rolls, 
and breads 

were all prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen.  I made a batch of brioche dough and put that in the freezer.  
So many lessons learned in terms of cooking for 10 people.  

Biggest lesson was ALWAYS give everything more time to thaw and to bake.  

It was great fun to set the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I had walked through my mind all of the dishes and table arrangements that I wanted to put together and finally laying everything on the table was so satisfying.  It was like playing tea party for REAL.  

Everyone here was happy about the warmer weather in Texas. It was cool and nippy here but more like fall rather than winter.  Family was coming in from Missouri and they had experienced freezing temperatures and an impending snow storm just before leaving for Texas.  The weather was beautiful here in comparison and it was nice to give everyone a break from their cold winter.

After Christmas, we all packed up and headed further south to the Gulf of Mexico.  We rented a beach house on Surfside Beach on the Gulf.  It was cute and cozy.  My brother-in-law fished, we found fun shells, ate lots of leftovers, and shopped in nearby Galveston.  The holiday was hectic at times but overall relaxing and spirited.

Time to move forward now.

 Everyone is on their way home.

 We've rid the kitchen of the caloric treats (except for the cookies) that we consumed at will.  Bills needed to be paid and financial objectives to be established for the new year.  

Basically, the one word that will guide our financial decisions in the future is:  college.  

Our daughter is a junior in high school and the college decisions that will need to be made in the upcoming 6 months just baffles and frightens me.

So, in reflection, 2010 was a year full of constant change for our family.  Moving to Texas tops the list.

Traveling to Switzerland and Provence was the highlight and feels like a lingering dream.  Hosting Christmas for the first time made us feel very grown up.  

Not shoveling snow or dealing with wintry weather was welcomed by Patrick but sniffled at by the rest of us.  So many new people met and hopefully so many more to encounter in the upcoming year.  

Life is changing.  Our daughter is readying to leave the nest and none of us are ready for this change.  We are a cozy happy family of four.  Every Christmas tradition seemed bittersweet and dearly noticed.  We don't know how far away she will head for college.  Hopefully she will stay a few hours away in Texas but being new to the state, we don't want to shackle her here.  

Here's to another year upcoming, promising to be full of impending change for all of us.  However...

Life is good.  
Life is precious.

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