Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Holidays are Upon Us Again – With a Few More Bumps This Year!

Yep, it's that time of year again. I usually kick off the season with the celebration of Little Guy's birthday – this year, he turned 12. I feel like I barely took a breath since he was born and here we are. When I remember my daughter holding him in the hospital the day he was born, it feels like it just happened a week ago. And here she's a college sophomore, and he's 12!!!

There are of course routines and traditions that go along with his birthday, but this year, there were a few changes. He still had his celebration, but we tweaked it a bit.

 First of all, that 2-day sauce I talk about was shelved until My Girl's bday in a couple of months (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can find out more about my {well, not really mine, it comes from my mother-in-law's family} Genovese Sauce here: Several reasons factored into the delay, first and foremost, My Girl didn't come home for the festivities, plus Little Guy's hockey schedule was very intense.

Well, there ended up being more changes than anybody thought. I did well, planning ahead by bulking up the word count on Norseman's Salvation ahead of time, knowing I wouldn't be doing any work on it again until likely Monday. I cleaned, I shopped, I ordered the food – we ended up going to a local Italian deli for catering. The food was awesome, as it always is, and I was able to manage my cooking requirements down to only the appys and baking. One of these days, I will put up some of my appy recipes – they are a specialty of mine.

All was good, until Thursday morning, when I get a call from Little Guy's school nurse. I've become very acquainted with her - he's only been in the school three months and I've already spoken to her several times, and gone in to take him home a couple more. But this one fell into the category of one of his more serious injuries (stitches in his tongue at 16 months, a broken wrist at 8).

Let me preface by saying my son has a very severe overbite and we are about to embark on an extensive orthodontic journey. Still, that severe overbite comes with two beautiful big front teeth. You can probably guess where I'm going with this, right?

Between classes, apparently he tripped, because as is the norm, the hallways are crowded and kids are rushing around, and Little Guy has a tendency not to always be paying attention to what he's doing. After he tripped, with his arms full of books, he face-planted. Which may not have been the killing blow – someone else tripped OVER him and landed on top of him. His mouth is bleeding, and the teachers present rush him off the the nurse, who calls to tell me he seriously chipped one of his teeth. And when I got there, it was a fairly nice chunk of his tooth missing. Plus, the gum was swollen, bleeding, the whole bit. They tried to find the piece of tooth, but couldn't. To be honest, even if they did, after it had been trampled in the hallway by 500 middle-schoolers, I don't think I'd want it back in his mouth anyway! 

Anyway, I brought him to the dentist, but the trauma of the impact needed to settle before they could do anything, so hopefully, his scheduled appointment this week will be used now to fix his tooth. At least there's not root or nerve damage. And I got to see the really cute dentist on staff, as well. LOL 

And that crazy hockey schedule? On hold until we get that tooth fixed. In some ways, that was kind of a relief, in others, it's a bit frustrating.The risk of another blow to his mouth, even with his helmet, could result in permanent tooth loss. And even if that didn't happen, his mouthpiece no longer fits properly, so the integrity of that protection is severely weakened.

So all that threw me off my game a little, but we recovered nicely – until I dropped the tray of chicken parm. Like I said, off my game, though thankfully, that damage was relatively minor. It's funny now, not so much when it happened.

But to my original point, now is when the serious holiday rush begins. Already the first of the kids' presents have arrived, lists are being made and names have been chosen for the family gifts. Another change this year – I am hosting Christmas Day for my family.

I don't really mind. After all my years of entertaining on a large scale, I know managing it won't really be an issue. But I still have worries – after all, there are traditions and if there is one thing cooking-wise that I have royally failed at, it's getting the candied sweet potatoes thick and gooey like my mother does. I've tried everything – changing ratios of brown sugar and butter, changing the type of brown sugar (light or dark), drying the potatoes out for an extended period of time, cooking them on the floor of the oven, cooking them at a higher heat, cooking them on the floor of the oven at a higher heat.

And let's not forget that three weeks after Christmas/New Year's, we'll be celebrating My Girl's birthday. One thing I have to say, at least I get everything all over with in a span of a few months!

And don't forget – In the Enchanter's Arms is relaunching on the 26th. Perfect for curling up with after you've stuffed yourself and then braved the Black Friday crowds. Yeah, you knew I had to plug it right? And check out the sexy new cover by Winter Bayne. But that's not even the best part - I'm planning some holiday fun this season, so stay tuned! 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating and good luck in your travels to visit family and friends – may they be quick and easy!  

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