Because of predictable slowness of the mail around Christmas and New Year, I received a lot of presents in the days after Christmas. Which made it even more fun – I feel like I have a month worth of Christmas!
My older granddaughter Nadia made these ornaments with her palm print all by herself 🙂
The packager from New Zealand arrived as well. Each Christmas, I feel like this is the coolest thing to receive cookies from the opposite side of the globe! And it’s not just cookies, each year there is something else special!
Almost all f my parcels, except for one, already reached their destinations, which delights me. I haven’t heard from two people who have received my parcels according to the USPS, but I hope to hear from them soon.
And now finally the packages which were sent to me started to Arrive. That’s the gift I received from Kentucky.
The vanilla body lotion is heavenly, and the ornament is beautiful. When I realized that my new friend sent me the components to mix, add the liquid components, and bake-it-myself, I had mixed feelings, which might be understandable after 774 cookies :).
It looks like last week, I was fortunate to see three shows which will be now closed. I already wrote about the Field Museum event, and now I am going to writ about the Orchid Show.
My friend Lena (Lena- One, the one who used to live in Palatine and now lives in Ann Arbor) loves orchids, and she visits the Orchid show annually.
This year, she planned to come the first weekend it was opened (good for her and me!) I was glad, she visited (not even mentioning, it was right after my surgery number two when I needed help). I joined her and her other friend from Palatine for the first time, and we also took my Mom along.
The show was amazing! My Mom could not believe all of those were indeed orchids 🙂
On Friday, my Mom turned 85. I started to think about how we will celebrate that day way-way in advance.
Most of the time when somebody is celebrating the 85th birthday, there are lots of friends and family members who can take part in the celebration. But Mom immigrated to the US less than two years ago. Moreover, she is extremely reluctant to develop new connections, and she firmly believes that she does not understand people around her. There are very few of my friends with whom she interacts on a more or less regular basis
I knew that an essential part would be having all grandchildren there, and because of that, everything depended on Vlad’s schedule. First, he said he will be able to do Saturday, but turned out that January 11 was going to be his first day back to work after nine days off. He suggested that we do Friday night, and I said it had to be in Palatine. After all, it turned out great, because it was easier for everybody, including Anna.
It was almost a surprise party for Mom. I told her that we would do “something” for her birthday and that she should be ready by 5-30. She did not know until the very last moment, that all of her grandchildren and her great-granddaughter will be there.
Many people told me that they are impressed with how much I managed to do this holiday season. Most of the time it is expressed in a rhetorical question – how I manage to find time to do “all that.” The truth is, this season I did less than I normally do. The reason why it does not seem so is that I knew ahead that won’t have time for all my usual activities, and I planned which of them I am going to reschedule or cut entirely.
The moment Anna asked me: Mom, are you still enjoying your Christmas, or are you stressed out, I realized I need to watch for the latter. I can’t rush when choosing presents. I can’t rush when I wrap presents, because this is an enjoyable activity. I need to wrap carefully each and single cookie I am sending out because that’s the way I add my love to the recipe :).
And you know what? I am really happy with my season. I didn’t do any of the shows: either Welcome Yule, nor the Christmas Carol, nor the Nutcracker. And I am OK with that. I didn’t get a chance to listen to the Caroling at the Cloud Gate, not even once, and this is a little bit upsetting. But I am delighted that I had time to meet with many people who are near and dear to me. People are the most important, and for all the rest, there will be next year – this is not the last Christmas season!
Mom and I had a subscription concert on Dec 20, it was a matinee, and it was one of the days when Icould not leave work earlier. I’ve exchanged out tickets for Sunday matinee, the same show. It was great since it was Dec22, and all shopping and packing was done. I could spend time with Mom, not thinking about other things in the background. I also delivered two more boxes of cookies:), and we had lunch with my friend Lena -2 (not to be taken for Lena -1 from Michigan).
I’ve already posted this video on Instagram, but Instagram saves only the first minute. Here is the full version – all three minutes :). There are lots of things I am going to write about in the next several days, which will be relatively relaxing (but only relatively:)). Still, before all these things, I just wanted to say how much I love my house at Christmas and how happy I am to be able to spend this after-Christmas time here by myself.
I spent the last couple of hours sitting by the fireplace, catching up with my friends’ updates, and drinking hot black tea with Finnish blueberry liquor. And having some parmesan cheese with the most fantastic fig jam with ginger and cardamon, a Christmas gift from my friend.
One of the craziest things I ever did – the flights both way with two connections, more time in the air than in Helsinki. But if I am supposed to be not just a godmother for Sonia, but a Fairy Godmother for the whole family, I have to measure to these standards!
This week, presents started to arrive, and thus the second best part of Christmas has started! One of my most favorite moments is always the arrival of the parcel from New Zealand. Because… well, because it is New Zealand!!!
My friend made this neckless for me, with a coffee cup charm. And she and the girls baked some cookies: