I don’t even know where to start. We are already over one week into the New Year and life is moving fast. The holidays came and went so quickly I didn’t have the time or will to blog. I’ll do a quick recap here.
We spent the first part of December getting ready to get ready. Right after Thanksgiving Juan went into the attic and brought down our 12 crates of holiday decorations and the artificial tree we purchased last year. I thought it would be a great idea to have an artificial tree so we could put it up early and enjoy it all month long.
The tree stood in the living room, and the boxes lined the hallway untouched for two full weeks. I kept wishing the tree would decorate itself and trying to find the motivation to hang a few decorations. My advent wreath was set out on the dining room table and the first two candles stayed unlit. Then Olivia came home from her first semester at college, Diego continued to ask about the decorations and I got tired of running into boxes in the hallway. Finally, mid-December we decorated and started our Christmas shopping. Bam! It was Christmas in my house!
The weekend before Christmas my family got together to make tamales. I grew up eating tamales at Christmas and for many years I would get together with my mom and grandma to make them. Since my grandmother died two years ago we have not made tamales. This year it was time to start our tradition again. Olivia wanted to participate so we went to my mom’s house and learned the craft of tamale making while the men “helped” by drinking Coronas, watching football and taste testing. I guess some traditions die hard.
My sister-in-law and I spread the masa.
Olivia earns her stripes with her first tamale making experience.
Tamale Tasters? Traditions?
Another one of our Christmas traditions involve debating how we will spend Christmas. Juan and I have celebrated a dozen Christmases together and I can safely say that we have probably spent three of them in our own house, waking up in our own bed. That’s because every year when the kids were younger, we would have to share Christmas morning with the other parents and divide our family time between my extended family and Juan’s extended family. That usually meant Christmas Eve dinner with my parents followed by a sleep-over at my sister-in-law’s house for Christmas morning and then driving back to our side of town for the custody exchange, mid-day. It was hectic but that became our routine. Now that the kids are older and there is more flexibility with the custody exchange we have been able to cut down on some of the Christmas day driving.
Every year I try to eliminate the Christmas Eve sleepover, and this year was no different. Juan and I wanted a nice, relaxing Christmas morning in our own house, but we were completely out-voted. The kids protested, arguing that part of the fun and “tradition” was staying up late and sleeping over to celebrate Christmas with their cousins. So, that’s what we did. In our annual tradition, we went to an early Christmas Eve service and then returned home to hurriedly load our van with presents for both our families, and our kids, overnight clothes and sleeping bags and then drove to Orange County to celebrate Colombian style with my in-laws. The celebration involved a late night meal, dancing and a hilarious gift exchange where my mother-in-law was the big winner! The kids were right. It was really fun! I guess part of our tradition is that every year I have to complain about our “tradition.” At least this year I didn’t have to rush through Christmas Eve dinner with my parents since everyone in my family was willing to have that part of the celebration on Christmas day. Maybe that’s a new tradition.
Juan and I take a selfie in church while we wait for the Christmas Eve service to start.
Cousins at the annual Christmas sleepover.
Silliness and laughs for the White Elephant gift exchange.
My mother-in-law was the big winner with the knit cap and gloves. She added the pan-flute!
Part of our Christmas eve is waiting until all the partying ends and the kids finally fall asleep so we can play Santa. We’re still waiting and it’s 3:30 a.m!
Christmas day on the patio at my parent’s house and relaxing family celebration. Thank goodness.
New Year’s Eve was also the start of something different. For a couple of years now I have spent New Year’s Day hosting an open house and serving black-eyed peas and posole. The black eyed peas are for good luck and the posole is because I like it. This year we decided we wanted to host a party and switched it up for New Year’s Eve. We got together with another local family who are Colombian and combined forces. They brought over a 65 pound female pig to roast and 30 of their closest friends.
Part of our new tradition? A 65 pound pig to roast.
We supplied the house, the black beans, rice, platanos, along with a few other appetizers, a whole lot of left over alcohol from my 50th birthday party, and about 20 friends. We danced, lit fireworks, and finally ate at 1:00 a.m! It was a good time for all! So good that the party turned into a sleep-over and carried over the next day as we all sat around in my kitchen eating leftover tamales and the posole I made for New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in my family room!
My mother-in-law and nephew getting ready to limbo. Who knew she was such a party animal?
Several hours later and the pig is done. We ate at 1:30 a.m!
Posole may not be known for its curative effects for a hangover but it was still good!
I guess looking back at how busy we were for the the holidays, I can understand why I didn’t blog much. Remembering how wiped out I was after my New Year’s party, I can also forgive myself for waiting over a week into the New Year for my first blog post. I have some intentions for this New Year which I hope to share with you in posts ahead.
In the meantime, I have some black-eyed peas I need to eat. Happy New Year!
Our other traditional New Year’s food.