Thursday, January 17, 2013

Two Christmases and a Homecoming

So, for the last few weeks months, my dog has been living somewhere else. I felt like this was necessary for my sanity, and probably also for his. 

You see, when I moved from apartment A to apartment B three years ago, Gatsby never did quite adjust to the change. He went from a fairly quiet content dog to one that barked at the sound of a beetle crawling along the carpet outside the door. I don't know why this happened, exactly, except that he seems to get stressed out when things are moved around too much and people appear to be getting ready to "GO". I don't know if this is anxiety over possibly being left behind, or excitement over some "me time" and the chance for a treat, but either way it's annoying.

He prances around your feet, barking, pushing his ball into any conceivable corner and then whining for you to throw it, kick it, push it back, or trip over it. Any of these outcomes would make him supremely happy, but not happy enough to do the exact same thing again two seconds later. So, as I stood there in a maze of boxes, throwing out my back to try and retrieve his ball from behind the pieces of my bed frame for about the millionth time, I decided I had to do something before one of us died an ugly death. So, he got shipped off to stay with my mother.

That was in September.

Fast forward to early December, and he was still staying there. Between redoing the floors, unpacking boxes, and trying to get the house to be generally livable, I didn't feel like I could take him back. Plus, I wanted to do it at a time where I had the leisure to be home with him a little longer so he could adjust with the comfort of having me there. As everyone probably knows, the holidays are a hard time to make that happen.

This is how my first Christmas happened without Gatsby around to join the festivities.

Every year, a week or two before ACTUAL Christmas, I have Christmas with three of my very dear friends. One I've known since first grade, one is her mother, and the other I happily inherited by marriage. We usually have it at either my place or theirs (they share a home), and after a couple of years at their house, I was excited to have Christmas in my new place. None of them had been over since I painted the living and dining rooms and got my furniture set up, so it was exciting.

I put up my color coordinated Christmas tree (which, apparently, goes out the window when you have kids. That kind of gives me a headache) and wrapped the gifts to go along with it.

Burlap garland, white ornaments, and large twig star ornament as a topper.

I had dreams of putting up outdoor lights until I realized my house has not a single outside outlet. Which, ultimately, was fine, since I hardly needed the added stress of stringing up lights in the cold and dark. I set up a happy little beverage and snack bar on the buffet and got the table ready for some serious board games. We love us some board games.

We ate dinner out and then came back to my house where I had hot apple cider, coffee, hot chocolate fixings, apple cider cupcakes and chocolate bark (white chocolate cranberry, cupcake, peanut butter cup, and peppermint flavors). It was so cozy and such a fun night, that we didn't even notice the time until it was 3 a.m.!

A few days later Gatsby finally came home with me. He actually seems to be adjusting quite well and has only really barked at the cats who live next door (one of which snuck into my house as I was getting my mail once, so it's nice to see that he has discouraged that).

Seems like he's having a hard time adjusting, huh?

My second Christmas happened on the actual 25th of December. My family is usually a smaller group at Christmas since some visit in-laws, but I was still excited to have everyone over. Since it was my turn to host (finally), I got to choose having a brunch instead of a late afternoon meal. This worked out perfectly since I have a couple of breakfast casseroles I love to make.

We had the Pioneer Woman's Sleepin' In Casserole, an improvised hash brown casserole with sausage, cinnamon rolls, honey baked ham, and french toast cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. All washed down with OJ, mimosas, cider, or coffee. We followed all of that with some amazing Coconut Cream pie that my mom made in honor of my grandpa who passed away last year and a game of dominoes before everyone had to head home.

It was such a good time, and I loved hosting everyone in my own house. I am glad for a little break now, though!

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