Friday, January 5, 2018

Christmas 2017

It was a pretty emotional holiday season this year. A lot was the same - we had the gingerbread house party, I baked a million cookies, we decorated the house.

cookie assembly line

christmas cookies 2017

christmas cookies 2017

christmas gifts

gingerbread house party 2017

holiday mantle

yule log 2017!

Yayoi Kasuma

But a lot was different too. I'm pregnant, and it felt extra special during this season. Something about pairing the holidays with this fleeting period in my life felt big. I mean, yes, it was a little sad to skip all the festive cocktails, and I had to buy a couple of holiday maternity dresses that I'll never wear again, but I was extra aware of how short this time is, and it felt crazy to think that this is the last year it will be just the two of us.

My sister moved back down right before the holidays and the best part of the season was getting to spend a ton of time with her family. My niece and nephew light up our lives, and being able to see them for casual hang outs or to have them stay with us for a few days is so, so sweet. I'm not sure how we survived apart for the last three years.

And yet, it was the first year without my stepmom, the first year where we didn't go to my dad's house and sit around the tree. It's been the hardest part of the pregnancy, knowing that I can't tell them this news, wishing we could all be together again. I waited a long time to announce to our families and friends, because telling people really highlighted the fact that I was missing two of the most important people. I take comfort in our time with family, and knowing that my dad and Claudia would have been thrilled. I'm in this crazy space of feeling happy and excited and broken all at once. I navigate it as best I can.

A few more prosaic notes about the holidays this year -

I made a lot of cookies. This year I did my usual almond crescents, melomakarona, and gingerbread, and then added in my favorite rosemary butter cookies and some peppermint pinwheels (which are so cute and tasty, but I only make them every few years because I forget just how annoying they are - the dough always wants to crack and rolling the layers up sucks, and usually one roll looks perfect and the other one is all wonky and sad). As usual, I packaged them up using boxes from Papermart and then printed some labels for them (I just buy some full sheet labels and cut them up after printing). The little decorations are from my stash of wrapping supplies. We made the laser cut snowflakes a few years ago, and the mini ornaments are from Ikea.

Emily and I were able to make our yule logs together this year and it was so much fun. Also a little exhausting. We followed my notes from last year and it went pretty smoothly.

We didn't exchange any gifts but we did get a few things for the kids, and we bought a bunch of lottery scratchers as a Christmas Eve activity (buying scratchers in bulk really proves how terrible an investment it is - we've done this two years in a row and have never come close to making our money back but it's fun).

The week after Christmas D and I waited in line for five hours (!!!) to get tickets to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors show. I'm normally incredibly impatient about lines but I can do it if I'm mentally prepared. It helped that the Broad is so close to Grand Central Market, so I took a couple walk breaks to grab good coffee and finally got breakfast sandwiches at Eggslut (which I've always refused to do because the line is usually 40 minutes long, but when it's a choice between waiting in one line or waiting in another it's less frustrating). The show was really fun, and I think the baby will appreciate that we documented her first (?) time in a room of adorable stuffed phalluses.

I'll be back with more posts soon, although they might be about pregnancy for the time being. I'm not sure what else I would write about, since I've more or less stopped cooking, and I'm currently just re-reading the complete collection of Miss Marple mysteries.

27 comments:

  1. Hi Rachel-

    Long time reader. I have a 9month old baby girl and lost my Dad unexpectedly when I was 6.5 months pregnant and gave birth at the same hospital that he died. I cancelled having a baby shower and just did the best I could to enjoy the experience as much as possible in lead up and after she was born. There was still so much joy and support and love. It is certainly a hard space to navigate, but the happiness you will experience from having this baby will be indescribable. If you ever want to talk to someone who is going through the same thing, shoot me an email- Jennie_Birnbaum@hotmail.com

    Some things I found helpful were bringing photo albums of my Dad right after I was born to the hospital to look at while I was recovering and referencing Papa in conversation with friends and family after her birth, to ensure he was still very much a part of the conversation and festivities.

    It is SO hard.

    Sending you lots of love,

    J. xx

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    1. Oh, Jennie. My heart breaks for you. This is really similar to my sister, we lost our dad just a few weeks before she gave birth to her first child. I know how incredibly hard that was.

      Congratulations on your baby girl and thank you for the suggestions! We're definitely figuring out how to make sure that my dad and stepmom are still a part of the kids' lives in our family.

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  2. Hi Rachel, I'm another long-time reader. When our boys were born (now in their early 20s) they only had one grandparent left, and she was an ocean away. It is tough. Here's wishing you all the best for the pregnancy, hoping you can enjoy it despite the sadness you are understandably feeling.

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    1. Thank you, Patricia, and I'm so sorry for your losses. xo

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  3. Third long-time reader (I'm sure there are a lot of us!). You look so radiant! Take videos, esp. at the end - we have an awesome video of my belly rippling with kicks, and another great video when I'm 8 mths pg during the holidays, flipping latkes with ease.

    More than anything, savor this special time, and your thoughtfulness and reflectiveness will get you through.

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    1. Thanks, Sally! I've been surprised by how decent I feel during the pregnancy (once I got through the first four months - whew) and I've found myself making a conscious effort to take photos regularly. I really think there are more photos of me from the last three months than the last three years! Ha.

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  4. So wonderful to read this update, Rachel! I am also due in April with my first baby, so pregnancy posts would be just fine by me. :) I totally get what you're saying about the holidays -- they did feel special this year, and I imagine they will only get better from here as we get to see them through little ones' eyes from now on.

    I hope you are feeling well!

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    1. Yay! So exciting! Congratulations and I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly!

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  5. Hi Rachel, I'm also a long-time reader. I'm not sure how I first came across your blog, but I added it to my RSS feed at the time and followed your posts. I'm so happy to hear about your pregnancy! I also live in LA now, in Brentwood (moved here from San Diego last year) and have an 8 month-old baby girl, so recently it's been interesting to hear about your LA adventures (my husband and I also went to the Broad :) I hope you're feeling well, and if you ever want a mom friend in the area, I'd love to talk sometime :) Take care!

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    1. Oh, fun! I miss Brentwood so much sometimes, hope you guys are enjoying yourselves there! Shoot me an email if you want to meet up sometime. I'm always looking for an excuse to get a cookie at Tavern...

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  6. Rachel, I love your writing. There's something so tender, honest, and intimate about it. Grateful for your post! Congrats!

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  7. Huge congratulations Rachel! I'm so happy for you!

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  8. Another long-time reader here 🙂 Just wanted to say congratulations!! After seeing your IG post, I was smiling to see what you've been up to - such wonderful news! I can only imagine what you are navigating, and wish you so much happiness for this next chapter of your life.

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  9. Congrats Rachel & Dustin! I started reading your blog 5 years ago and am happy you've returned (and with such exciting news!).
    My baby will be three this April and I remember how magical pregnancy felt (well months 4 to 8.5 at least!)
    Best wishes and looking forward to the pregnancy/ baby posts so I can wallow in nostalgia

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  10. All of the hugs. Life is whole thing. <3

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  11. Congratulations!! I did wonder if you weren't posting on your blog because you were pregnant.

    I know how you feel about not having everyone there that you want to share this news with. My Dad died when I was 14. I'm now married with two young sons and, although getting married and having two children are wonderful experiences, those experiences are tinged with sadness at not having my Dad around to share those experiences with the rest of my family. I know he would have loved being a grandparent and I feel such pain at times that my sons have missed the chance to know him.

    Take care and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy xx

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  12. Congratulations to you and Dustin!
    It may not be something you want to blog about, but I would love to hear how you two decided to have a baby.

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  13. Congratulations to you! I'm due with my first in early May and it is indeed such a strange, wonderful time. I'd love to read anything you'd be open to sharing about your experience :). I hope you're feeling well! And sending extra good thoughts as you navigate a season of something new (baby!) amid a bigger season of loss. xx

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  14. Another longtime and largely silent reader.

    Who is totally here for any and all pregnancy blogging you might want to do.

    I can only imagine the bittersweetness of this Christmas, and I wish you all the joy of new life to come.

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  15. Congratulations you two! I was SO thrilled to see the news on Instagram over the weekend as I've missed your posts so much. Wishing you so much joy and peace throughout the rest of your pregnancy. I can only imagine how difficult it is to experience so much joy along with the sadness.

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  16. So happy for your news- all of it- the baby AND you sister moving back. That's great timing.
    Congrats! I've missed reading your blog posts.

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  17. Congrats on the pregnancy. Such lovely news.

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  18. Congratulations!!! SO happy for you!
    -Long time reader from Canada

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  19. Another long-time reader. I can completely imagine the bittersweetness of it all over the holiday season. Such a blessing and its difficult to not be able to share it with loved ones. All your readers are here for you if and when you want to post xxx

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  20. Long time reader from Sacramento. Thank you for sharing and congratulations!!

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  21. i had been thinking about how much i miss this space and dropped in. a huge congratulations!!! sending you best wishes. -annamarie

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  22. Oh, Rachel, I didn't realise your sister moved back! I'm so glad, for both your sakes. Having her & her family nearby will be so good. Little cousins to play together, plus aunt & uncle for your girl. <3 <3 <3

    All the hugs for the bittersweet pangs. (((((R&R)))))

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