Jeff and I celebrated our first Christmas together 14 years ago. He proposed to me on Christmas Eve. I don’t remember anything about presents, I don’t remember about decorations but I remember the moment he asked me to be by his side for the rest of his life as clear as if it was just yesterday. It was a blue moon and he said we should go outside to look at it. It was cold and I was complaining because I wanted to go in and when I turned around to go in, he was behind me on bended knee. It was wonderful and just perfect.
We were married for our 2nd Christmas together. We lived in a small rent house that was literally 2 feet from a bar. There were a few times when people would accidentally walk into our house thinking it was the bar. We would also occasionally find people passed out in their cars parked in our front yard. We shared the house with several small rodents who made themselves at home. We drew the line when they got into our Coffee and then we had super-hyper-I-will-fight-back rodents. Have you ever seen a mouse stand on its hind legs and bat its tiny arms at you when you have a huge broom in your hands? It was just like a scene out of a cartoon.
That was my first Christmas as a stepmom. I was so excited to give Annah all her gifts. She got so many small thing but the big thing is what I remember the most, a Jeep Powerwheel. She was really good at driving it. Her gift to all of us that year was that she cut her own hair.
Annah ( and her self performed haircut ) and her Jeep Powerwheel
Our First Christmas Tree
Our First Angel
Our First ornaments :
I bought this one for Jeff, he just loves Alice in Wonderland
These are so delicate, we lost one the first year but have maintained to keep the other 3 together for all these years
These were a "free with fuel fill up" Jeff would get one each time he filled up his car on his way to work at this small gas station. These are ALWAYS on the tree, no matter what the theme is.
Our first stockings, Jeff's, Annah's and mine.
Our 3rd and 4th Christmas’ run together; we spent those in apartments. We had gift exchange parties with our friends. I honestly don’t even remember where in our apartment the 3rd Christmas tree was placed. It was around this time that we stopped exchanging gifts for Christmas and Birthdays. We felt it was silly because buying little surprises all year long was so much more fun and more of a surprise than waiting for it on a specific day.
Our 5th – 9th Christmas’ were spent in our first house in Azle. The first year we were there, we tried to decorate the outside but soon realized that it took a lot more lights than what we expected. All we had were the mini lights and there were 5 different colors attached together strung all over our house. We called it the Punky Brewster Christmas. Its funny how even with me being a perfectionist at so many things in my life, we were able laugh at our first attempt at decorating. We learned about C9’s in this house and how if you complete a circuit and plug the ends together, you can blow a fuse and start a fire. I remember being on the ground looking up at the roof and watching Jeff plug in the lights and the next thing I know, I see smoke coming from the attic ( where the whole circuit was plugged into ). I climbed up the back of my jeep and jumped on the roof so fast it was amazing! Thankfully, there was no fire but again more laughter. Paloma’s first Christmas (our 5th) was celebrated in this house, as well as Daisy’s (which was our 7th). We had fun dressing them up and making them pose in front of the Christmas tree. Paloma was such a sport and even let us put bows on her head. We also discovered after Christmas sales while in this house. My addiction to shopping the day after Christmas is what led to the 17 storage boxes full of ornaments, decorations and lights that I have now.
This was one of the strands of lights that were on our house in Azle. They were PINK but as you tell over the years the color has started to come off the bulbs.
In 2005 (our 9th Christmas) we spent it in our beautiful house in Fort Worth. We bought this house for its decorating potential. We even had an outlet put in the alcove above the front door so we could put another tree up there. The first year, we realized that the tree we once felt was huge was now too small to be put in the front window. We had to place it on a box to give it some height. Jeff climbed on our steep roof in 20 MPH winds and put up the Christmas lights. I loved decorating that house. We were in that house for 4 years but only celebrated 2 Christmas’ there. In 2007, I went through a deep depression after finding out about an unexpected loss. In 2008, we didn’t decorate because we were preparing to make one of the hardest, most important steps in our lives… moving back to Boyd so we could save money and move to dream destination, Vermont.
All of this leads me to our 14th Christmas together. It has been a hard year for us. This year we have learned so much about ourselves, our expectations, the importance of family and the perceptions you have about others. We have laughed a lot at our situation, our house that just isn’t right, family drama and people that are too serious about life. We have grown up a lot and realized that success is not measured by the size of your house or your belongings but by your happiness and your compassion towards others.
Our tree this year doesn’t have a star or angel on the top because it brushes our 8 foot ceilings and we don’t have any lights on the outside of our house but its beginning to feel like Christmas used to feel, surrounded by love, family and laughter.